Published on November 25, 2016 | by Andrea Guerriero


ESA: Flying with an Emotional Support Animal

Pets are often more supportive than friends to many folks. The furry companions offer emotional support like most humans can rarely do. Especially for someone undergoing emotional distress, the presence of a pet has significant therapeutic value. This is not an observation based on common sense only, but also something recognized by the medical community. Therapists often recommend people suffering alone from acute stress, anxiety, or depression to keep a pet. Caring for the helpless animal eventually brings out the best human qualities of a person, thereby helping him to find the peace love and affection can bring. Many army veterans suffering from PTSD even refuse to call their pets as animals. Instead, they would confess that if it were not for the dog, they might have died as well.


Travel issues

However, the society at large is still confused about honoring this bond of affection between a human and an animal. This apathy is reflected in several fields. For example, often a pet owner has to face troubles in renting a good apartment because of the no-pets policy enacted by the landlord. Likewise, air travel with pets also become problematic, as airlines tend to consider even the cutest dogs or cats as a nuisance! This is indeed a huge problem, but there is always a solution. You should definitely consider the benefits of an emotional support animal letter for flying.

According to the Air Access Carrier Act, the ESA certificate should serve as a valid legal document allowing the presence of the pet on the flight. In addition, the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 also entitles the certificate to be valid for allowing pets on a rental property, except certain specified circumstances.


What is an emotional support animal letter?

The concept of an ESA certificate may be new to many people. Although a service dog certificate sounds familiar, not everyone is aware that ESA certificate is different from service animal papers. The differentiation essentially is in acknowledging the range of assistance offered by the pet. To simplify things, when the presence of an animal is exclusively important for providing therapeutic emotional companionship, the ESA certificate is applicable.

On the other hand, a service animal works on a much wider range of activities such as police work, guarding, and helping disabled owners. However, a service animal also provides emotional support, so you can get an ESA certificate on that ground. Likewise, an ESA certified animal can be enrolled at the National Service Animals Registry without any hassles. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that only the emotional support letter carries the crucial legal validity to allow the pet on flights and on non-pet premises.


One can easily obtain the emotional support animal letter for flying via an online service. The paper essentially is a signed and dated letterhead from a licensed therapist. It would categorically mention the type of emotional distress you are undergoing besides the fact that you are in treatment for the same. One needs to fill up an online form providing details of the distress to be considered for eligibility. Finally, and most importantly, the licensed doctor would emphasize on the therapeutic value of the pet’s presence all time with the owner.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Andrea, a travel blogger, web programmer, seo apprentice and amateur photographer based in Milan. I love reading, I love music. I love to travel but only if I leave on a mission! I've been traveling through most of Europe and I love writing about it. I love photography, especially as a way to document experiences, places, events. My Nikon D300 camera is always with me, and it helps me in sharing my life with the rest of the world. Getting in touch with new people, different life styles and foreign traditions, and write about it, is all I can ask for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑