Flying with Emotional Support Animals - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Flying with Emotional Support Animals

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NBC RIGHT NOW- Under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) an Emotional Support Animal, is any animal that can provide therapeutic and emotional comfort, companionship and affection to their owner. In order to have your ESA travel for free with you, documentation is required from a qualified physician, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional. An ESA does not need to be trained like other assistance animals to perform any specific tasks.

Emotional Support Animals that are allowed to fly have to meet certain qualifications given by the Department of Transportation. Most ESA's are dogs or cats, but any animal that is approved by your physician can fly. It's important to note that airlines are never required to accept snakes, reptiles, ferrets, rodents, sugar gliders, or spiders. Airlines may exclude animals that:

  • Are too large or heavy to be accommodated in the cabin;
  • Pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others;
  • Cause a significant disruption of cabin service; or
  • Are prohibited from entering a foreign country. 

Airlines must have 48-hours notice prior to you boarding the plane that your ESA is traveling with you. Airline officials can also request documentation from your physician. The documents may not be older than one year from the date of your scheduled flight. Several airlines do require you provide proof that your animal was vaccinated.

If you are are think you may need an emotional support animal, its best you consult your physician first.