The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in air travel. The Department of Transportation has a rule defining the rights of passengers and the obligations of airlines under this law. This rule applies to all flights of U.S. airlines, and to flights to or from the United States by foreign airlines.
Under the Air Carrier Access Act, anyone with a formal diagnosis from a licensed mental health professional and a verification letter that states that the individual would benefit from emotional support and should be allowed to travel with the animal.
The Air Carrier Access Act also exempts individuals from paying any extra fee that may usually be incurred from traveling with a pet. If for whatever reason the airline or their staff refuse to allow the ESA on board, the owner should immediately ask to speak to the customer resolution official (CRO). CROs are specifically trained to deal with issues relating to disabilities, and airlines are legally required to employ CRO and make them available when required.
Things to Consider When Traveling with Your ESA Under The Air Carrier Access Act
First, if you intend on flying with an ESA, then you should be fully prepared with all required legal documentation before flying. Check with the airline of choice by visiting their website or calling.
It is recommended by most airlines to contact them with your intention to fly with an ESA at least 48 hours prior to departure so they can ensure that you, your emotional support animal and the other passengers have enough room and are as comfortable as possible when flying.
Airlines are constantly changing their policies so please consult with the airline before booking a flight with your ESA. The last thing we would want is for you to not be able to travel with your beloved ESA.