So you’ve spoken with your doctor or therapist and qualify to fly with an emotional support animal… now what?! It can be a bit confusing to figure out all of the necessary paperwork you need to submit for each airline so I’m here to help!
Now that I’ve been flying with Rory as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) for over a year it’s safe to say that I have the process down. I’ve been flying all of the major airlines with her and have laid out below which forms you need for which airlines and how to submit them. Many of the forms are basically the same but each airline has their own template and their own way to submit the paperwork. I’ve also included tips and tricks on how to make the process easier for yourself! Keep in mind, if you’re traveling with an emotional support animal, your dog can either sit/sleep on your lap or between your feet throughout the entire flight with no need to be in a bag at any point in time.
Forms must be dated within one year from the date of your outbound/initial flight and submitted at least 48 hours in advance of your flight. You also need to carry the hard copies with you while you travel. Delta is the only airline that has ever made me show these forms again at the airport but better safe than sorry as they all state that you need to carry them with you.
The only other time you would need to get new forms not within a year is if your dog’s rabies shots are expiring and you need to get the new ones so for instance Rory got her new rabies shot in June of this year so even though I didn’t technically need new forms until August because that’s when they were signed the year prior, I still needed new forms in June to prove that she had her up-to-date rabies shot.
Behavioral form – this is a form that you sign and date yourself stating that your dog is well behaved and will listen to you, not bite anyone, etc.
Vet form – this form needs to be signed and dated by the Veterinarian stating that your pet is healthy and up to date on their rabies vaccine.
Medical form – this form needs to be signed and dated by your doctor or therapist stating that you require an ESA to fly.
Tips & Tricks
Print out a copy of each airline’s forms and bring the whole stack with you to the doctor and vet – yes I bring the form for every single airline because even though it might be a little bit awkward to ask them to fill out and sign all 5 forms at once, it is much easier and cheaper than paying for a new appointment and asking them to sign a new form every time you book a flight on a different airline.
After they fill out and sign the form with your name / your dog’s name, take it home and make photocopies of the forms prior to writing in your flight information. This is only necessary for American & Alaska seeing as the other airlines don’t require you to put your flight info on the form. For the airlines that don’t require you to put the flight number or travel date info, you can use the same forms over and over again for an entire calendar year – this is one year from the date of the signature on each form. Keep in mind even though you can use the same forms for the year, you still need to re-submit them prior to every flight. I recommend keeping a hard copy in a folder that you can just carry with you every time you fly. Also, it is a good idea to have a copy saved on your computer so that every time you book a new flight, you can just submit them right away. For American & Alaska you’ll need to take your photocopy of the forms with the vet & doctor signatures, write in the flight info, and then send it in.
Forms & Process by Airline
Alaska Airlines – Forms to download, print, and have filled out and signed. Once you have your forms completed, submit them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 206-392-2804.
American Airlines – Forms to download, print, and have filled out and signed. Once you have your forms completed, submit them via email to email@example.com or fax to 817-967-4715.
Delta – Forms to download, print, and have filled out and signed. Once you have your forms completed, submit them via My Trips on the Delta website.
Jetblue – Forms to download, print, and have filled out and signed. Once you have your forms completed, submit them via this link where you will need to fill out your information, the info from the forms, as well as upload the documents.
Southwest – Read this document that states what you need written in the letter from your doctor / therapist. For this airline you only need the letter stating that you need the dog in order to fly.
Spirit – ESAN Forms to download, print, and have filled out and signed. Once you have your forms completed, submit them via this link and make sure to attach the necessary forms at the bottom.
United – Forms to download, print, and have filled out and signed. Once you have your forms completed, submit them via this link on the United secure portal.