On December 2, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced new rules that give airlines the option to no longer recognize emotional support animals. These rules went into effect on January 11, 2021. As a result, U.S. airlines are no longer accepting emotional support animals on flights.

If you currently have an emotional support animal, the ESA must meet the airline’s requirements for normal pets, and a pet fee will be assessed each way. That means that only smaller pets that can fit into a carrier can board the cabin. However, all psychiatric service dogs (PSDs) are still welcome to board the cabin free of charge, even if they are larger in size.  

Psychiatric service dogs are like emotional support animals trained to provide a task or service to an individual with a mental or emotional health disability. Here are a few examples of tasks that psychiatric service dogs provide to their handlers:

  • Licking or nose nudging handler for tactile stimulation
  • Providing deep pressure touch to calm handler
  • Nudging handler during freezing behavior to rouse handler from a dissociative state or fear paralysis
  • Interrupting and redirecting handler from self-destructive actions
  • Grounding and reorienting handler during an anxiety attack
  • Waking up their handler for work or school
  • Reminding handler to take medication

It is possible to train an emotional support animal to become a psychiatric service dog if you need a disability-related task performed by a dog. The training can take some effort, and not all dogs are suited to being PSDs, but for some people, the assistance from a PSD can be well worth the commitment.

If you are interested in qualifying for a psychiatric service dog, a licensed therapist or another healthcare provider can evaluate whether you meet the criteria for owning a service dog under the ADA and Air Carrier Access Act. If you qualify, they can issue a signed PSD letter to establish you have a qualifying condition. 

If you need a Psychiatric Service Dog Letter, we would be happy to connect with you with a licensed healthcare provider specializing in assistance animals. 

PSD Letter
Get your Psychiatric Service Dog Letter

Please follow this guide for helpful information on how to fly with a psychiatric service dog.

For airline specific information on flying with a psychiatric service dog or pet, click on the links below: 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The information below pertains to emotional support animals and is no longer accurate. ESAs are no longer accepted on U.S. flights. This information is retained only for archival purposes. Please consult with your airline for the latest on their assistance animal policies.  

American Airlines

American Airlines acknowledges the needs of an individual who requires an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal. The company requires supporting documents to facilitate the request, such as an ESA travel letter issued within the year of travel.

The documentation must come from a licensed mental health professional or a medical doctor, with the following details as per the American Airlines site.

  • That you have a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 
  • That you need the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at your destination
  • That the individual providing the assessment is a licensed mental health professional or medical doctor
  • The date and type of the mental health professional or medical doctor’s license and the state or other jurisdiction where it was issued

The documentation should be given to the airline at least 48 hours before the scheduled flight or else the emotional support animal would have to be checked into a kennel in the compartment during the flight.

Flying with an ESA on American Airlines

  1. Only one ESA or psychiatric service animal per passenger.
  2. The emotional support animal must be clean and well behaved.
  3. American Airlines only accepts the following emotional support animals:
    • Emotional Support Dogs
    • Emotional Support Cats
    • Miniature Horses
  4. ESA must be fit at your feet, under the seat, or on your lap.
  5. If you choose to put the animal in a kennel, it must fit under the seat in front of you.
  6. ESA’s cannot sit in the exit rows, block aisles, eat from tray tables, or occupy a seat.

American Airlines Emotional Support Animal Forms

American Airlines - Emotional Support Animal Form - Download Here - ESADoctors.com

You must complete and submit 3 additional forms when traveling with your ESA on American Airlines. You can download the American Airlines ESA forms here.

  1. Medical / Mental Health Professional Form
  2. Veterinary Health Form, or vaccination record with current rabies vaccination information
  3. Confirmation of Animal Behavior Form

How to submit your ESA Forms

You must submit your American Airlines ESA forms along with your ESA letter at least 48 hours before your departure.

  1. You can submit your American Airlines ESA forms by email here.
  2. You can submit your forms via fax: 817-967-4715

Forms for flights over 8 hours

If your flight is over 8 hours, American Airlines requires an additional form called the Animal Sanitation Form for your ESA. You can download the Animal Sanitation Form here.

U.S. airlines no longer accept emotional support animals. However, if you have a psychiatric service dog, you can still fly in the cabin without fees and exempt from pet restrictions. If you need a PSD letter from a licensed healthcare professional, you can get started today at the link below.

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines recommends an early notification about traveling with animals when booking reservations and you can already request for a seat assignment while doing so.  The animal, however, will be required to stay on the floor beside the individual’s seat. As stated in the company’s site, “No animals are allowed to occupy seats that are designed for passengers.” If you would like to speak with a Delta employee you can call 404-209-3434.

The airline expects the emotional support animal to be well-behaved and will need documentation from the individual before travel. Specifically, the letter must have the following, per the company site:

  • Title, license number and jurisdiction (state/country it was issued), phone number, and signature of mental health professional.
  • The passenger has a mental health related disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual – 4th Edition.
  • That the passenger needs the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger’s destination.
  • That the person listed in the letter is under the care of the assessing physician or mental health professional.

Delta Airlines can consider a digital letter (ESADoctors.com provides this to clients) saved on a device, as long as this has the information above.

Flying with an ESA on Delta Airlines

  1. One emotional support animal per passenger.
  2. ESA must fit in the “footprint” of the passenger’s seat.
  3. Animal must sit on the floor or on the passengers lap.
  4. Animal cannot sit in the exit rows, block aisles, eat off of tray tables, or sit in a seat.

Delta Emotional Support Animal Forms

Delta requires that you submit 3 additional ESA forms when traveling with your ESA on Delta Airlines. You can download the Delta ESA forms here.

  1. Veterinary Health Form
  2. Medical / Mental Health Professional Form
  3. Confirmation of Animal Training Form

How to submit your ESA Forms

You must submit your Delta Airlines ESA forms along with your ESA letter at least 48 hours before your departure. A digital copy of your ESA letter is acceptable.

  1. You can submit your forms via the Delta My Trips portal here.
  2. For assistance with the form, you can call the accessibility assistance line at 404-209-3434.

U.S. airlines no longer accept emotional support animals. However, if you have a psychiatric service dog, you can still fly in the cabin without fees and exempt from pet restrictions. If you need a PSD letter from a licensed healthcare professional, you can get started today at the link below.

JetBlue Airlines

As with other airlines, JetBlue’s requirements for ESA travel is a documentation that has the following, per the company website:

  • The customer has a mental health-related disability.
  • The animal accompanying the customer is necessary to the customer’s mental health.
  • The number and type of animal(s)
  • The individual providing the assessment of the customer is a licensed mental health professional or physician and the customer is under his or her professional care.
  • The mental health professional’s or physician’s license number OR the type of license, the issue date and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued

The letter must also not be over one year old from date of travel and it must accompany the JetBlue ESA Forms found here.

You must submit your completed forms 48 hours prior to departure here.

Flying with an ESA on JetBlue

  1. Add your ESA to your reservation by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583) or when making booking your ticket online.
  2. You must notify JetBlue no later than 48 hours prior to your departure.
  3. JetBlue only accepts the following animals as emotional support animals:
    • Emotional Support Dogs
    • Emotional Support Cats
    • Miniature Horses
  4. Emotional support animals must remain on the floor or if it fits; on the passengers lap.
  5. Your animal must be clean and well behaved.
  6. Animals are not allowed on the seats, ever.

JetBlue Emotional Support Animal Forms

JetBlue requires you to complete and submit 3 additional forms when flying with your emotional support animal on JetBlue Airlines. You can download the JetBlue ESA form here.

  1. Medical/Mental Health Professional Form
  2. Veterinary Health Form
  3. Customer Confirmation of Animal Behavior

If you are traveling internationally with your ESA see here.

How to submit your ESA Forms

You must submit your JetBlue Airlines ESA forms along with your ESA letter at least 48 hours before your departure.

  1. You can submit your JetBlue forms here.
  2. For help with your forms or questions about a Special Service Request, contact JetBlue at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).

U.S. airlines no longer accept emotional support animals. However, if you have a psychiatric service dog, you can still fly in the cabin without fees and exempt from pet restrictions. If you need a PSD letter from a licensed healthcare professional, you can get started today at the link below.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines allow for travel of emotional support animals within the cabin, except for destinations to Jamaica. The company also needs a travel letter from a licensed mental health doctor with the following details, as stated on the Southwest Airlines documentation guidelines:

  • The passenger has a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition (DSM IV)
  • The passenger needs the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger’s destination
  • The individual providing the assessment is a licensed mental health professional, and the passenger is under his or her professional care
  • The date and type of the mental health professional’s or medical doctor’s license and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued.

Flying with an ESA on Southwest

  1. The ESA must be an emotional support dog or cat.
  2. One emotional support animal per passenger.
  3. Animal must either be in a kennel or on leash at all times.
  4. Animal must be clean and well behaved.
  5. ESA cannot block the aisles or sit in the emergency exit rows.

Southwest Emotional Support Animal Forms

As of August 2019, Southwest does not require additional forms for flying with an emotional support dog or cat. Only an ESA letter dated within one year from a licensed mental health professional is required at this time.

U.S. airlines no longer accept emotional support animals. However, if you have a psychiatric service dog, you can still fly in the cabin without fees and exempt from pet restrictions. If you need a PSD letter from a licensed healthcare professional, you can get started today at the link below.

United Airlines

Flying with an Emotional Support Animal on United Airlines requires documentation similar to other companies. However, the airline has some rules as to where the animal should be within the aircraft’s cabin. Specifically, “an animal should sit at the customer’s feet without protruding into the aisles to comply with safety regulations. Customers may elect to use an approved in-cabin kennel for smaller animals. Exit row seating is prohibited,” as per the website.

United Airlines requires that the travel documents and other arrangement must be provided at least 48-hours before the flight.

Flying with an ESA on United Airlines

  1. Emotional support animal must be seated in the floor space below the seat.
  2. Animal must not extend into the aisles.
  3. Animal must be well behaved and follow their owner’s directions.

United Airlines Emotional Support Animal Forms

United Airlines - Emotional Support Animal Form - Download Here - ESADoctors.com

United Airlines requires an ESA letter and 3 additional forms when traveling with your ESA on American Airlines. You can download the United Airlines ESA forms here.

  1. Medical / Mental Health Professional Form
  2. Passenger Confirmation of Liability and Emotional Support/Psychiatric Service Animal Behavior Form
  3. Veterinary Health Form

How to submit your ESA Forms to United Airlines

You must submit your 3 United Airlines ESA forms along with your ESA letter at least 48 hours before your departure.

  1. You can submit your United forms here.
  2. If you have questions about your United ESA forms you may contact the United Accessibility Desk at 1-800-228-2744.

U.S. airlines no longer accept emotional support animals. However, if you have a psychiatric service dog, you can still fly in the cabin without fees and exempt from pet restrictions. If you need a PSD letter from a licensed healthcare professional, you can get started today at the link below.

Alaska Air

Alaska Airline’s ESA policy for travelers with emotional support animals is standard and as with the rest, the ESA letter should be issued not more than a year before traveling. It must also be written by a licensed medical professional, as posted on Alaska Airline’s site .

The documentation must ascertain that:

  • That the guest has a mental health-related disability; and
  • That having the animal accompany the guest is necessary for the guest’s mental health, treatment, or to assist the guest (with his or her disability); and
  • That the individual providing the assessment of the guest is a licensed mental health professional; and
  • That the guest is under the professional care of the individual providing the documentation.

Alaska Airlines Emotional Support Animal Forms

Alaska Airlines requires an ESA letter and 3 additional forms when traveling with your ESA on American Airlines. You can download the Alaska Airlines ESA forms here.

  1. Animal Health Advisory Form
  2. Guest Confirmation of Liability and ESA Behavior Form
  3. Mental Health Professional Form

How to submit your ESA Forms to Alaska Airlines

  1. All completed and signed documents can be emailed to support.animal@alaskaair.com
  2. You may fax the completed Alaska forms to 206-392-2804.

U.S. airlines no longer accept emotional support animals. However, if you have a psychiatric service dog, you can still fly in the cabin without fees and exempt from pet restrictions. If you need a PSD letter from a licensed healthcare professional, you can get started today at the link below.

Disclaimer: Our content is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. Policies can change and companies can alter their rules and regulations. It is very important to do your own analysis and research before booking any flights.