Emotional Support Animals

Traveling During the Holidays with Your ESA or Service Animal

Traveling During the Holidays with Your ESA or Service Animal

While the holidays are meant to be a time of peace and relaxation spent with family and loved ones, the days surrounding holidays can be hectic. Scheduling flights, dealing with delays and missed planes, crazy traffic, and dozens of awkward social situations can put a major damper on your holiday joy. However, having your emotional support animal or service dog by your side can bring you some peace and comfort. Here are a few tips to make travel with your ESA or SA easier.

Traveling with an Emotional Support Animal Vs. a Service Dog
Airline rules have changed within the last year, creating a greater distinction between emotional support animals and service dogs. The Department of Transportation no longer requires airlines to accept emotional support animals. You may still be able to travel with your ESA, but you will have to pay the pet fee and follow the restrictions that would apply to a normal pet. Service dogs and psychiatric service dogs can still fly in the cabin with their owner without pet fees or restrictions. Always check airport policies in advance to find out all of their rules and restrictions, regardless of whether or not you have an emotional support animal or service dog. A few smaller airlines are still accepting emotional support animals.

Psychiatric Service Dog Registration
If you have an emotional support animal that performs specific tasks related to your mental health, you may qualify to register them as a psychiatric service dog. This will allow you to fly with your dog without any restrictions or fees. Talk to one of our professionals today to see if you qualify.

Have Proper Service Animal Certification Ready
In addition to checking individual airline policies, it is important to have your service animal certification ready to go. You can get a service dog certification letter at United Support Animal, as well as a service dog ID card and a vest. All of these tools will make it easier for people to recognize your dog as a service animal and help you navigate through chaotic airports and planes more easily.

Staying in Hotels & Other Accommodations
The same rule applies to hotels and other accommodations as it does for airlines. Emotional support animals are treated as pets, but service dogs are allowed to go wherever their owner goes free of restrictions and fees. Always call ahead and check the policy of the place you are staying and comply with any of their rules.

Train Your Dog in Advance
Airports during the holidays are chaotic and stressful. In advance, make sure to train your service animal to stay calm in loud, chaotic environments. Try to mentally prepare your service animal as much as possible and remember to pack anything they need. Take a water bowl and pee pads with you for the plane, limit their food and water intake, and take them out before you leave, so they hopefully don’t have to go on the plane. If you have layovers, plan ahead to find the nearest dog relief area before you board your next flight.

In conclusion, traveling stress during the holidays can really bring down your holiday spirit. However, traveling with your emotional support or service animal doesn’t have to be difficult and can make the journey easier. If you have more questions about requirements for traveling with a service dog, or if you need service dog certification, contact our experts here at United Support Animal.