Emotional Support Animal Requirements for Air Canada 

(Disclaimer: ESADoctors.com is not associated or affiliated with this airline or any of their subsidiaries. The information below is for educational purposes and should be confirmed directly with the airline.)

Air Canada does not discriminate against those that need a service animal or emotional support animal. According to Air Canada’s website, they follow the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rule on “Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel” (14 CFR Part 382) which applies to those customers with special needs. This includes traveling on a flight between Canada and the US, as well as for those individuals that have purchased a ticket with an Air-Canada operated flight through a US-based airline (the ticket will then bear the code of the US airline, e.g., United Airlines’ UA 7811).

In this post, we will take a further look at Air Canada’s policies as they pertain to both Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals (ESA).

Air Canada

Air Canada allows you to travel with your emotional support animal.

Service Animals – Air Canada

A service animal (usually a dog) is there to assist the handler with a task that they cannot do for themselves. This could be anything from picking up dropped items to alerting the individual to an imminent health risk such as a seizure or drop in blood sugar.

When traveling by Air Canada, you must keep your service dog harnessed or at the very minimum on a leash at all times. You will also need to have proof that the dog is indeed a service animal if it is not visible. Forms of identification include;

  • ID card
  • Other written proof (i.e., a doctor’s note, etc.)
  • Tags and harness for the dog

If your flight is going to be longer than an eight-hour duration, you must also advise Air Canada reservations 48 hours before your trip and be there one-hour before the suggested check-in time. If the dog is small enough, it may be able to sit in your lap for the flight.

Emotional Support Animals – Air Canada

Air Canada does allow emotional support animals and psychiatric service animals in the cabin of the aircraft. However, some very specific regulations must be followed. These include contacting the airline 48 hours prior to your flight date and having the proper documentation from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other licensed mental health professional.

Air Canada only allows dogs as emotional support animals at this time.

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ESA Letter Requirements

When traveling by Air Canada and your Emotional Support Animal, you will need a letter from your doctor stating your need for the animal. Your disability must also fall within the recognition of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The letter must include the following information;

  • Confirmation that you need the emotional support animal for traveling
  • Must be currently under the care of a licensed physician
  • The type of doctor you are seeing
  • The date the doctor’s license was issued
  • Who issued the license
  • Dated no later than one-year from travel date

Note: Air Canada only accepts dogs as a service animal, ESA or psychiatric service animal.

In-Cabin Policies Concerning ESA’s & Air Canada

For you and your ESA, service dog, or psychiatric service dog to travel safely, Air Canada asks that your animal not protrude into the aisle. This means it can be seated on your lap or in front of you. However, no exit seating will be permitted and your ESA must be well-behaved and pose no disturbance, risk or danger to the other passengers.

Air Canada and Assistance Animals

Air Canada will do their best to accommodate you and your service dog, emotional support animal or psychiatric service dog; however, be sure to follow their policies to prevent any delay in your travel plans.

Start the questionnaire now to see if you qualify for an emotional support animal.

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