I’m a veteran of the Iraq War, and I have a Psychiatric Support Animal because of my PTSD. I want to travel back east to see some of my buddies and I am wondering if I can fly with my dog, and how much extra I will have to pay. Is there anything else I have to do with the airlines in order to take my dog with me?
First and foremost, thank you for your service to our country.
The good news is that you can certainly fly with your Psychiatric Support Animal (PSA), and since airlines are prohibited from charging for service animals, there will be no extra fees.
That said, you do have to plan ahead and jump through a few hoops in order to fly with your PSA. Under the ACAA, airlines are not required to accept PSAs or Emotional Support Animals (ESA) unless the passenger has a note from a licensed mental health professional stating that the passenger has a emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and as a result needs to travel with a PSA or ESA. The letter must be on professional letterhead, and must be no older than one year. Additionally the mental health professional must be currently treating the passenger.
I know it sounds like a lot of extra work, but the Department of Transportation issued these guidelines to prevent people from passing off their pets as service animals. Once you get a note from your mental health professional, hold on it, as it will be good for up to a year.
After you have a few flights under your belt, you’ll be an old pro at traveling with your PSA, so the requirements won’t seem so arduous.
Have a great flight!