Flying with a service dog? The rules have changed. Here’s what you need to know

Flying with a service dog? The rules have changed. Here’s what you need to know

Updated federal rules for flying with service animals took effect in January 2021 and the changes have caused confusion for travelers and airlines. In some cases, people ‘s service dogs were denied boarding. Two women told The Arizona Republic that Allegiant Air wrongfully denied their service dogs. One of them had been unaware prior to her flight that the rules had changed. In December 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation revised the Air Carrier Access Act. The DOT issued a concluding predominate that outlines how airlines must accommodate passengers traveling with service animals. The changes included :

  • No longer allowing emotional support animals as service animals.
  • Narrowing the definition of a service animal to only include dogs.
  • Requiring airlines to treat psychiatric service animals the same as other service animals without additional documentation.
  • Allowing airlines to require passengers to submit paperwork before boarding with their service dog.

The full 122-page document can be found at hypertext transfer protocol : // If you travel with a servicing dog, here ‘s what you should know before booking a flight. Exclusive: NewThese women ‘s avail dogs were denied boarding under the fresh rules

What are the new rules for flying with service dogs?

Among the changes that took consequence on Jan. 11, 2021, are :

  • Airlines can require a traveler with a service dog to complete a DOT Service Animal Air Transportation Form and a Service Animal Relief Attestation Form at least 48 hours prior to departure.
  • Airlines are no longer required to recognize non-task-trained animals such as emotional support animals, comfort animals and service animals in training as service animals.
  • Airlines can limit passengers to two task-trained service animals per person.
  • Miniature horses, cats, rabbits and other animals are no longer considered service animals.
  • Airlines cannot require passengers with psychiatric service animals to provide a letter from a licensed mental health professional.
  • Passengers traveling with service animals cannot be required to physically check in at the airport.
  • Service animals can be required to fit within the handler’s foot space on the plane.

What is a service animal?

According to the DOT, “ A military service animal is a andiron, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualify individual with a disability, including a physical, sensational, psychiatric, cerebral or other mental disability. ” Airlines “ are prohibited from refusing to transport a service animal based entirely on breed or generalized physical type, as clear-cut from an personalize judgment of the animal ’ randomness behavior and health, ” the final predominate states. Service dogs, according to the DOT, do not run around freely, bark or grumble repeatedly, injure people or make or stool outside of allow areas. A discipline avail animal will remain under the control condition of its coach, ” the final principle reads. “ An animal that engages in such disruptive behavior demonstrates that it has not been successfully trained to behave by rights in a populace set and carriers are not required to treat it as a serve animal without a aircraft carrier in the cabin, even if the animal performs an assistive serve for a passenger with a disability. ”

Can you fly with emotional support dogs?

The DOT ’ s final rule “ excludes all non-task-trained animals, such as emotional support animals, comfort animals and serve animals in train. ” however, airlines are allowed, at their free will, to transport emotional back animals without excess charge. many airlines, such as United Airlines and American Airlines, regale emotional patronize animals the same as other pets, which are normally required to be confined to their carriers and incur supernumerary fees. Introducing TSA Cares: The program for travelers who need extra assistant at airports

What do I need for my service dog to fly?

There are two forms that airlines can require of passengers with service animals. These are the DOT ‘s Service Animal Air Transportation Form and Service Animal Relief Attestation Form. Carriers can choose to not require any forms from these travelers. The Service Animal Air Transportation Form is intended to “ allow airlines to receive address assurances from service animal users of their animal ’ s well behavior and education, ” according to the DOT ‘s concluding rule. It educates passengers on how their service frank is expected to behave and potentially deters “ individuals who might differently seek to claim falsely that their pets are service animals. ” Flights that are eight hours or longer can require a Relief Attestation Form, which confirms that the service dog “ can relieve itself on the aircraft without creating a health/sanitation issue. ” Airlines can require that these forms be submitted at least 48 hours in advance of passing, and most have adopted this rule. If a last-minute flight is booked, the traveler can submit the forms at the airport. One imprint covers all segments of a round-trip escape. The DOT ’ s final examination rule reads : “ If a passenger ’ mho reservation was made less than 48 hours in advance of the beginning in the first place scheduled passing prison term on the passenger ’ mho travel guidebook, you may not require that passenger provide progress notice of his or her captive to travel with a serve animal. You may require that the passenger complete the forms & mldr and submit a imitate of the form to you at the passenger ’ s passing gate on the date of travel. ” It is a federal crime to give false data on the forms. If an airline suspects fraud, it can notify the Office of Aviation Consumer Protection, which may refer reports to the Office of the Inspector General for probe and prosecution. The forms can be found at hypertext transfer protocol : // .

Can you list yourself as your service animal’s trainer on the DOT form?

Yes. On the Service Animal Air Transportation Form, service chase users are asked to fill in the name of the animal flight simulator or aim administration and the trainer’s call number. If you task-trained your pawl yourself, you are permitted to write your own mention. According to the final examination rule, “ serve animal users are free to train their own dogs to perform a job or function for them. ” “ While DOT provides space on its phase for a avail animal animal trainer to country the organization or individual that trained the service animal to do work or perform tasks to assist the handler, DOT does not require that individuals with disabilities have their animal trained or evaluated by an accredit administration as a condition of transportation, ” the final rule reads. Extra resources: Need a short extra help oneself navigating the airport ? here ‘s how to let staff, TSA know

Does your service dog need certification to fly?

No. Your servicing pawl does not need to be task-trained by an accredit dog-training arrangement. however, a servicing chase must be “ both trained to perform a tax or function for the passenger with a disability ” and “ trained to behave in populace. ”

Does a service dog need to wear a vest or other identifier?

Service dogs are not required to wear anything that identifies them as a working frank. however, serve dogs must be harnessed, leashed or differently tethered at all times, whether in the airport or on an aircraft. Airline employees are allowed to ask “ whether the animal is required to accompany the passenger because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform, ” observe its behavior and look for physical indicators such as harnesses and vests in order to verify a chase is a serve animal. According to the final govern, air carriers “ are free to view such paraphernalia as evidence that an animal is a service animal ; conversely, they are besides rid to give the presence or lack of presence of such gear little system of weights. ”

How many service dogs can you bring on a flight?

Airlines are not required to accept more than two service animals per passenger.

Tips for flying with your service dog

Arrive as early as possible. For case, Allegiant Air recommends arriving at least two hours before your deviation meter. Submit your DOT form as early as possible. A congressman for the airline may ask you for more information about your service frank, such as the tasks it performs. It ’ s not rare for passengers to receive defense letters, and you will need time to resolve the emergence before your deviation. Alert the airline that you have a service dog. While booking a flight, search for a way to indicate that you have a overhaul cad. For exercise, on Allegiant ’ s web site, this can be done by clicking on “ special aid. ” Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations. The Service Animal Air Transportation Form has a segment attesting to the dog’s health, including the date of your frank ‘s last rabies vaccination and the termination date. Your dog doesn’t have to be small to fly. If your service dog does not fit in the outer space under the induct in front of you, do n’t fret. According to the final rule, “ The Department far emphasizes that larger service animals are not automatically prohibited from an aircraft if they do not fit in their animal trainer ’ mho foot space. The final convention continues to require carriers to accommodate such animals by moving them to another seat location within the lapp course of service where the animal can be accommodated, if available, such as a seat adjacent to an empty seat on the aircraft, if available. ” You can purchase a seat for your frank to ensure that it has sufficient space .

Why did the DOT change its service animal rules?

The changes were prompted in share by inconsistent definitions among federal agencies on what constitutes a overhaul animal and an increase of travelers fraudulently claiming their pets were overhaul animals. “ It is reasonable to predict that the Department ’ s definition will result in an overall reduction in the number of uncrate animals onboard aircraft, thereby reducing the overall number of animal misbehavior incidents ( and the overall numeral of potential allergic reactions ) onboard aircraft, ” the final convention reads. The final examination rule more closely aligns the DOT ’ s definition of a serve animal with the Department of Justice ’ s definition under the Americans With Disabilities Act. According to the final dominion, the Service Animal Air Transportation Form “ would have the electric potential to serve as a deterrent for individuals who might otherwise seek to claim falsely that their pets are service animals, as those individuals may be less probably to falsify a federal form and thus risk the electric potential for criminal prosecution. ” The two DOT forms are besides intended to help avail animal handlers as they “ will no retentive have to navigate different forms propounded by different airlines. ”

How to find an airline’s pet and service animal policies

here are the links for some of the tune carriers that fly out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport :

  • Alaska Airlines:
  • Allegiant Air:
  • American Airlines:
  • Delta Air Lines:
  • Southwest Airlines:
  • United Airlines:

Can an airline deny boarding to your service dog?

Yes. The DOT allows airlines to refuse service dogs under certain circumstances. These include if the traveler does not provide any needed DOT service animal forms. however, if you reserve your flight less than 48 hours before deviation, the airline “ must even provide the accommodation if you can do indeed by making fair efforts, without delaying the flight. ” Airline personnel can “ make an personalize assessment based on fair judgment and objective evidence ” and deny a service andiron if it causes a “ significant break in the aircraft or at the airport ” or poses a direct threat to people ’ s health or safety. Airlines “ must not deny department of transportation to the serve animal if there are means available short of refusal that would mitigate the problem ( for example, muzzling a bark service frank or taking other steps to comply with animal health regulations needed to permit entry of the servicing animal into a domestic territory or a foreign nation ), ” according to the final rule. besides, “ The final rule allows airlines to preclude enchant of a service animal if doing so would violate applicable safety, health or other regulations of a U.S. federal agency, a U.S. territory or a alien politics. ”

What can you do if an airline denies your service dog?

Travelers who experience disability-related problems can call the DOT ‘s toll-free hotline at 800-778-4838 or 800-455-9880 ( TTY ). The hotline can provide general information about your rights and assist with time-sensitive, disability-related issues from 9 ante meridiem to 5 post meridiem Eastern time on weekdays, with the exception of federal holidays. “ If you encounter a disability-related issue about an airline accommodation or serve, ask to speak to the airline ’ s Complaint Resolution Official. A CRO is the airline ’ second adept in disability related issues in breeze travel and has the authority to resolve complaints on behalf of the airline, ” the DOT ’ sulfur page for air out travel complaints reads. A spokesperson for the DOT told The Republic, “ If a consumer believes that an airline has discriminated against him or her on the footing of his or her disability, which includes not providing required accommodations, the consumer can quickly and easily file a complaint with the Department ’ s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection through its on-line ailment form. ” The complaint will be forwarded to the airline for response, at which item an analyst at the DOT will review both statements and determine whether the airline violated the traveler ‘s rights. A DOT lawyer will then review the case, and an analysis of their findings will be mailed to the plaintiff. For more information, go to https : // If an airline denies exile to a serve animal, it is required to provide a written affirmation of the reason for refusal. According to the final examination rule, “ This statement must include the specific basis for the aircraft carrier ’ second opinion that the refusal meets the ( DOT ’ s ) standards. ” The airline should provide this written explanation either at the airport or within 10 days of refusal. According to the DOT ‘s web site, “ You may be able to seek recourse through small claims court. ” A separate page explains that “ You may file a complaint in little claims court when you can show that a person or a business owe you money or has harmed you financially and will not pay. ” Corey Lovato, a staff lawyer at the Arizona Center for Disability Law, told The Arizona Republic that options for convalescence are limited because the ACAA “ does not allow for, basically, a person to file a lawsuit against the airline. ”

“ All they can do is file a charge with the Department Transportation that they may or may not investigate, and if they do n’t ( investigate ), ( the person ’ south ) lone rectify is to file a lawsuit against the Department of Transportation, ” he said. Reach the reporter at kimi.robinson @ Follow her on Twitter @ kimirobin and Instagram @ ReporterKiMi. Support local journalism. Subscribe to today .

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