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Date: 06/14/2017
Title: Traveling by Plane with your Service Animal

If you have a service dog, odds are that you already know what to do when planning to fly with your dog. However, it is still good to remember a few important steps you should take in order to have a smoother trip. These steps are specially important now that there is an increasing number of people traveling with “fake” Emotional Support Animals (ESA).  These people are making it more difficult for the ones with real ESA or guide dogs to fly.

airplane on a runway

The following recommendations will make your trip easier:
1. When preparing for your trip, contact your airline at least a week before your trip. Let the airline know that you are traveling with a service animal and what kind of service animal you have.  The airline customer service representative may help you select the best seat for you and your dog, and go over the documentation, if any, that you will need to bring to the airport.
2. The day of your flight, limit your dog’s water intake. Give him or her a good walk, that will help he or she relax during the flight.
3. Provide your dog with a vest and visible documentation, such as an ID from the Service Animal Registry.  This will allow an easy identification of your dog and, as a consequence, the work of the airline personnel, the TSA, and the airport employees will be easier. And, most importantly, you and your dog will undergo less stress.
4. At the security check point, you and your dog will walk through a metal detector. If your dog triggers an alarm, he or she will have an additional screening; but you will be not separated from your dog.
5. When you arrive at the gate, tell the airline agent that you would like to pre-board.  This will allow time to get yourself and the dog comfortable before the plane gets crowded.
6. In the plane, if the dog does not fit on your lap it will have to sit at your feet or under the seat. The dog should not obstruct any aisle. Remove any rigid harness so he or she can be more comfortable.
Have a happy and relaxed summer traveling!
“Traveling with a Service Dog: Guidelines and Resources.”  Anything Pawsable, August 12 2013,
“Airport Security Screening.” Service Dog Central,
“Care of a service dog while traveling by plane.”  Service Dog Central,
“Flying With Your Service Dog or ESA.” NSAR - National Service Animal Registry,
“Service Animal on a Flight? Complete Guide.”  TSA Travel Tips, April 12, 2016,