EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO FLY WITH YOUR SERVICE DOG
ADA law also allows service dogs on airplanes when individuals with service dogs are traveling and they do not have to pay an extra fee to have their service dog by their side.
Airlines and Service Dogs
The bottom line is that it’s a breeze for you to fly the friendly skies with your service dog, as long as you have your dogs in a row. By that we mean that you’ll need the following for clear sailing, based on the Air Carrier Access Act and recommendations of all USA-based airline companies:
- Ability to explain your need to have a service animal (what the dog is trained to perform for you) to the airline and/or airport personnel.
- Identifying patches on your animal (or its cage, if it’s kept in one)
- An attached photo ID card identifying your animal as a service dog (from a legitimate agency like the US Service Animal Registrar)
- A Registration document from a legitimate registry company (such as US Service Animal Registrar). Although not required, this helps eliminate confrontations.
The Air Carrier Access Act allows for physically impaired persons to be accompanied in the cabin of the aircraft with a service dog and not be charged a fee.
Airlines not only strongly recommend that you have ID cards and a service vest with patches, but all USA-based airlines recommend using National Service Animal Registry. When you have an official and documented service animal, the airlines are NOT allowed to charge you additional fees when your service animal accompanies you.
Here are the guidelines that some of the airlines have with regards to flying with your service dog:
Flying with a service animal or emotional Support Animal (ESA) for the first time can be very anxiety producing, but in reality, the experience is actually easy and low-stress for the prepared handler. It is a very good idea to contact the airlines and/or consult their website a week or more before the flight (or at the time tickets are purchased) to find out what the requirements are for flying with a service dog or ESA. Most airlines now require advance notification and some, like United Airlines and American Airlines require a special verification form to be completed.
Service Animals shall have identifiers such as:
- Identification cards
- Other written documentation
- Presence of harnesses
- Tags or “the credible verbal assurances of a qualified individual with a disability using the animal”
There is no charge for service animals used by customers with disabilities.
- Tag or
- Vest indicating status as a service animal will be helpful in distinguishing them to airport personnel.
- However, credible verbal assurance that the animal is providing a service to assist with a disability will suffice should an inquiry be made.
US Airways (Now American Airlines)
To show that an animal is a service animal, you must provide one of the following:
- Animal ID card
- Harness or tags
- Other written documentation
- Credible verbal assurance
Service animals (seeing eye dogs and other animals that are appropriately certified by a physician or other credible person/agency, etc.) may accompany a Guest with a disability on a flight.
Any of the following evidence is acceptable as proof of an animal’s service status.
- An identification card for the animal;
- The presence of harness or markings on harnesses tags; or
- The Guest’s credible verbal statement.
There is no additional charge to travel with a working service animal.
- Harness,Tag or Vest indicating status as a service animal will be helpful in distinguishing them to airport personnel.
However, credible verbal assurance that the animal is providing a service to assist with a disability will suffice, should an inquiry be made.
Properly harnessed service animals may sit at the traveler’s feet, unless the service animal is too large and obstructs an aisle or other area used for emergency evacuations.