Letter for Flying with an ESA
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has set specific guidelines for flying on commercial airlines with an Emotional Support Animal (ESA).
Persons wishing to fly under provisions provided by DOT – ESA rules must have a letter from a licensed mental health professional. The letter must meet the following criteria:
- Must be from a verifiable mental health professional
- Must be printed on the professional’s office letterhead
- Must not be more than a year old
The letter must state the following items:
- The presence of an animal is required to maintain the passenger’s treatment or health
- The passenger has a mental health disability. The diagnosis is not just a mental illness, but a mental illness that substantially limits at least one major life activitiy. Airlines are not allowed to require the disclosure of the specific mental disability – for example, panic attacks.
- The mental health professional must state that the indicated passenger is a patient under their personal care. The person must state what type mental health professional they are (psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker, etc.)
Airlines may also request documentation including the following:
- The type of mental health license the professional has
- The license date
- The State issuing the license
You must review the guidelines of the airline you plan on flying in advance to assure that you have made proper arrangements prior to departure of your flight. Failure to follow all guidelines instituted by the airline could revoke your right to fly with an ESA and you may charged normal pet travel fees or be excluded from flying with your ESA.
We recommend that you identify your animal with an Emotional Support Animal ID or vest to help identify your ESA to avoid confusion and conflicts.