What Is An Emotional Support Animal?
An emotional support animal helps individuals who are suffering from mental and/or emotional disabilities by providing support while (housing, travel, or a combination).
Who Qualifies For An Emotional Support Animal?
Anyone with a mental or emotional disability. Disability in this instance refers to anything that makes your life harder on average. This could include:
- Personality Disorders
And a host of other mental or emotional challenges you might encounter on a day to day basis. Pets have an incredible impact on mental health and well-being. As a result, there are a host of mental or emotional issues that can benefit from having a support animal.
Getting An Emotional Support Letter (ESA)
Meeting with a licensed professional can determine if you have a disability that qualifies for an emotional support animal. Emotional Support Letters are compliant with Federal Law and State Laws.
Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers such as landlords or management companies to allow the possession of animals that work, provide assistance for, or perform tasks that benefit individuals with qualified medical disabilities – or that provide emotional support to individuals to reduce a symptom or effect of a disability.
The Fair Housing Act also requires individuals, who wish to possess a service or support animal, to follow specific criteria relevant to the type of support needed.
For an emotional support animal, the individual has to speak with a licensed mental health professional in the state they reside and receive a prescription of an ESA Letter in order to qualify.
Airline Policies For Emotional Support Animals
As of November 20, 2022
Emotional support animals that accompany you on the aircraft in the cabin are expected to be well-behaved, quiet, and may not encroach on the space of another passenger.
As of January, 2021, The U.S. Department of Transportation has enacted a new rule which no longer requires airlines to make accommodations for passengers with emotional support animals. Airlines are now able to charge regular pet fees for emotional support animals. Some airlines may still choose to allow emotional support animals free of charge. As individual airline policies are rapidly changing, we encourage you to always check with your airline in advance of your flight to make sure there are no surprises at the gate. Please read the rule change here.
As part of the rule change, service dogs (all breeds) are still recognized and allowed on all airlines, but other animals, such as miniature horses, cats, rabbits, etc, are not. Psychiatric service dogs are also still recognized as service dogs and passengers are not required to have an accompanying ESA letter. Service dog handlers will be required to fill out a uniform DOT form when bringing their service dogs onto airlines.
Fully-trained service animals and emotional support / psychiatric service animals may fly in the cabin at no charge if they meet the requirements. Please visit the link below to view the full list of requirements and forms:
View AA Policy Here
Delta welcomes service and support animals in the aircraft cabin. Please visit the link below for the most up-to-date policy and required forms:
View Delta Policy Here
JetBlue policies are rapidly changing. Please visit the link below for the most up-to-date forms and policies.
View Jet Blue Policy Here
Please see the link below for Southwest's current service dog and emotional support animal policies:
View Southwest Service Dog Policy Here
Please see the link below for United Airline's most up-to-date policy on service dogs and emotional support animals:
View United Policy Here
US Airways has merged with American Airlines. Please see American Airlines policy on service dogs and emotional support animals.
Please see Alaska Airline's most up-to-date policy and forms for service dogs and emotional support animals below:
View Alaska Airlines Policy Here
International destinations, even on US based carriers, may have different policies and may not always conform to the guidelines set forth by the ADA. Some countries require proof of vaccination, specialized vet forms and documentation, or may forbid service dogs from entering at all due to quarantine or other policies. We strongly encourage you to call your airline in advance to check their policy before attempting to board your international flight with a service dog or emotional support animal.
Contact Compass at 973-259-8557 to discuss with a clinician getting an ESA letter.