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Travel Tips for Flying with Service Animals

  • Synopsis: Published: 2008-12-31 (Revised/Updated 2015-09-22) - Each airline has requirements and certificates in order for your service animal to accompany you while flying - Darlene Siddons.

Main Document

Quote: "Your service animal is not considered a pet so it is in a separate category and you should not be charged any extra costs to have them board with you."

While you are talking with the service representative be sure and ask the exact documentation and requirements for your service animal with that airline, always remember that each airline may have individual requirements and certificates in order for your service animal to accompany you while flying.

  • The first thing that you should research is which airlines fly to your destination, then find out which one has a non-stop flight to your destination and also your return ticket should be non-stop. Then if you have a choice of airlines find out which one has the least restrictions for your service animal and then that is the one you book your tickets with.
  • You can make your reservations online, however, once you get your ticket with all of your flight information, be sure and call the customer service department of the airline and state you needs and requirements and make sure they indicate it on your ticket information. This is the time to request bulkhead seating and to remind them that the Americans With Disabilities Act states that guide dogs and service animals are permitted to travel with their humans on public transportation. When the special requests are in place, ask them to email you a copy of the updated information. Then be sure and do all of this for your return ticket, as sometimes this information isn't automatically put on the return ticket. Also get the name of the service representative and a direct phone number to the service department in case you need to call back for any reason.
  • While you are talking with the service representative be sure and ask the exact documentation and requirements for your service animal with that airline, always remember that each airline may have individual requirements and certificates in order for your service animal to accompany you while flying. These requirements will need to be current and usually can be completed by your veterinarian. Carry these papers with you along with your tickets and boarding passes.
  • Your service animal is not considered a pet so it is in a separate category and you should not be charged any extra costs to have them board with you. Do remember that you will need to get clearance and will be subject to quarantine laws where you are landing, so be sure all of that research is done prior to leaving so you aren't separated for any length of time. There may be paperwork you need for this, so be sure and check so there are not any surprises.
  • When you get to the airport your guide dog and all of its equipment will need to be physically inspected right along with yours. Be sure and be clear to the inspection station the best way to inspect your dog and to be very clear, as only you know your animal and how it was/is trained. If your dog has been trained that it is off duty when its equipment is taken off be sure and indicate this to the inspector, to leave all of his harness etc on, and do not let them separate you from your animal.
  • Once your guide dog has been cleared for travel, flying with your dog should go smoothly and it gives you the wonderful freedom to know that you can enjoy traveling and experience all the wonders that able bodies people can, which of course is your definite right and that is why there are strict laws in place to protect you and your rights.

Reference: Darlene has been an active traveler and most of it was done as a single traveler. She was traveling alone long before it was a popular thing to do for women and to make the story even more interesting she is a Polio survivor and uses a walker and a small scooter to be mobile when she travels. She, needless to say, is a Specialist in Traveling with Disabilities and can personally assist you in all of your mobility traveling needs. She knows the right questions to ask, to get the right answers. Of course she can assist mobile and active customers with the same expertise. as she is a Personal Travel Specialist also.

Related Information:

  1. Service & Therapy Dogs: ADA & State Rights - Wendy Taormina-Weiss - (2011-12-19)
  2. Major Airline Travel Tips for Travelers with Disabilities - Jessica Padykula - (2015-02-12)
  3. Therapy Cats: Purpose & General Information - Disabled World - (2015-06-02)


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