If you want to travel with an animal in the cabin of an Air Canada flight, there are some important developments to be aware of. As a result of changes in U.S. air travel regulations that went into effect in 2021, Air Canada no longer accepts emotional support animals on any flights.
If you are an emotional support animal owner, you now have two options if you want to board the cabin with your animal:
- If your animal qualifies as a psychiatric service dog (PSD), it can still board for free (and exempt from the usual size limits).
- If your animal does not qualify as a PSD, it may still be able to board as a pet if you pay a fee and the animal can fit in a small carrier.
In this article, we will explain what Air Canada requires in order to board with a PSD or pet. We will also talk about the requirements for qualifying for a psychiatric service dog and how you can obtain a PSD letter from a licensed mental health professional online.
Good News! All airlines accept Psychiatric Service Dogs on all flights.
If you are interested in a Psychiatric Service Dog Letter, we are happy to connect you with a licensed healthcare provider so they may assist you.
Psychiatric Service Dog Requirements for Air Canada
Qualifying for a PSD
While emotional support animals have been banned from Air Canada flights, psychiatric service dogs are still welcome. A psychiatric service dog is a dog that has been individually trained to perform tasks or a job relating to a mental or emotional health disability. PSD owners are afflicted by conditions such as PTSD, depression, severe anxiety, bipolar disorder, and panic disorders.
A licensed mental health professional can evaluate whether you meet the criteria of having a psychiatric disability. If you qualify, the healthcare professional can issue a signed PSD letter stating their opinion of your disability status.
In addition to having a qualifying condition, a psychiatric service dog must be fully trained to perform its task before it can be considered a PSD. Tasks that PSDs are called on to perform are numerous, like providing pressure therapy to calm, reminding handlers to take medications, and using tactile stimulation to break dissociative spells or panic attacks.
How to Get your Psychiatric Service Dog Letter from ESA Doctors
Air Canada Document Requirements for Psychiatric Service Dogs
Air Canada will accept psychiatric service dogs on flights if the passenger submits special forms before departure.
For flights to or from the United States, you must submit the following forms to Air Canada at least 48 hours before your flight:
- U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form
- U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Relief Attestation Form (Only required for flights longer than 8 hours)
The completed forms should be submitted to Air Canada’s Medical Assistance Desk. If your flight is within 48 hours of booking, Air Canada will still make reasonable efforts to accommodate your request.
The DOT’s form requires the passenger to certify that they have a fully trained service dog for their disability that will be under their control at all times. The form also requires the name of the dog’s trainer (which can be the owner or handler) and the dog’s veterinarian.
For all other flights (meaning all flights that are not to or from the United States), passengers should complete the following form:
For non-U.S. flights, Air Canada may also ask that you provide an identification card or other document issued by an organization or person specializing in service dog training.
Air Canada Rules for Psychiatric Service Dogs on Flights
There are some other rules to be mindful of when traveling on Air Canada with a service dog:
- Air Canada accepts without charge one service dog per passenger.
- For flights to or from the U.S., Air Canada will accept two service dogs per passenger without charge, as long as they both fit within the passenger’s foot space.
- Your service dog must be under your control at all times. The dog must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered if it is not in a kennel.
- Air Canada’s Medical Assistance Desk will evaluate whether your dog can fit comfortably in your foot space by asking about the characteristics of your dog (e.g., its ability to be in a curled position and its size).
- If the service dog does not fit comfortably at your feet, you can request additional floor space by contacting Air Canada’s Medical Assistance Desk at least 48 hours before departure.
If your animal does not qualify as a psychiatric service dog, you can still bring small cats and dogs in the cabin if you pay a fee. The cat or dog must be small enough to stand, turn around and lie down in a carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Air Canada accepts pets on flights operated by Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge and Air Canada Express flights operated by Jazz.
For flights within Canada and Canada/U.S. (except Hawaii), the fee each way for pets is $50 – $59. On international flights, the fee is $100 to $118.
A pet carrier will count as one standard item towards your carry-on baggage allowance. Pet carriers are not allowed to be in the exit or bulkhead rows of the aircraft. The size of the pet carrier will depend on the type of aircraft you are on:
- On Boeing 789 and 788 aircrafts, the pet carrier cannot exceed 20 cm in height x 40 cm in width x 43 cm in length.
- On Boeing 777-300ER and 777-200LR aircraft, the pet carrier cannot exceed 21 cm in height x 38 cm in width x 43 cm in length.
If you are traveling with a pet, you should be mindful that only one cat or small dog in the cabin is allowed per passenger. Your pet must also be at least 12 weeks old and fully weaned. Air Canada advises passengers to arrive at least 30 minutes before the recommended check-in time as you must see an agent at check-in if you have a pet (you can’t check-in online or at a self-service kiosk).
Getting a PSD Letter
If you are interested in obtaining a PSD letter from a licensed mental health professional, ESA Doctors can help. ESA Doctors can connect you to a licensed professional that specializes in assistance animal evaluations. If you qualify, they will provide a signed PSD letter on their letterhead. The entire process is done remotely without any need for office visits. To get started, click on the link below today.
Qualify for a Psychiatric Service Dog Letter Online Now
Get started on your new, fulfilling life with your PSD!
Disclaimer: ESADoctors.com is not associated or affiliated with this airline or any of its subsidiaries. The information in this article is for educational purposes and should be confirmed directly with the airline.