Emotional Support Animal Flying
Emotional support animals are flying more and more in today’s times, and you may have even encountered one on a flight before. These animals can come in all shapes and sizes and aren’t subject to any type of breed either. They are absolutely crucial for their owner’s well-being, and they have been prescribed to provide their owners with companionship. It’s the presence of these animals which can help mitigate the symptoms of their owner’s emotional disability and result in a significant improvement in overall health and quality of life. These animals are particularly on a flight because they aid in treating people who have depression and anxiety, but they may also just be in transit.
So What is an Emotional Support Animal?
In case you have seen an animal in the cabin of a plane before among the passengers and didn’t know why then you can safely assume that it’s an emotional support animal. These animals are prescribed to their owners by a mental health professional to aid with an emotional disability. This type of disability can be psychiatric or mental and extend to chronic health ailments such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and stress. Their sole purpose is to provide companionship, and they have been proven to be incredibly effective.
How Can These Animals Board Aircraft’s?
The Aircraft Carrier Access Act permits support animals to board planes and accompany their owners in the cabin providing the animal isn’t too loud or big enough to obstruct the aisle. Because they are necessary to the person’s health, they are allowed in the cabin, and this can help to person get through the flight. An ESA can only fly by obtaining a letter of approval from a licensed mental health professional first.
How is This Letter Obtained?
Like the ESA landlord letter, the ESA letter of approval for travel has to be issued by a mental health professional, and any licensed one can do it. The document will state that the patient is currently under their care and that the ESA flying with its owner is necessary for their health. The letter is typically good for one year, and it will allow the ESA to board a flight. Your existing pet can become your ESA if it has good social behaviour and you get it added to the registry.
What Else Should I Know?
Once you have this letter, you can contact the airline and provide them with advanced notice about your flight. This is good practice because some airliner’s will want to verify the authenticity of your letter and they legally don’t have an obligation to let you fly just for having the document. If the letter can be verified or if they accept it on face value then your ESA will be permitted to board the flight. A disabled person can’t be refused service by an airline as this falls under strict discrimination laws which protect them. The staff is also prohibited from asking about the extent of your condition or any intimate details about it. This means that your verified or accepted document is considered to be proof and they can’t pry as to the reason for your disability. If you think that it would help then you could fit your animal with a vest or harness with a patch on it to help deter people from questioning you about the purpose of having an animal in the cabin.