Your Guide to ESA Travel Letters
Due to the Department of Transportation's 2020 ruling that now allows travel companies to make their own policies related to emotional support animals, traveling with your ESA is not always easy. Many companies, like United Airlines and Southwest, have changed their ESA airline policies to ban emotional support animals in the cabin, while other travel companies like Uber have their own discretionary policies as well.
Even when an airline, hotel, or other travel company does allow ESAs, you will often be required to show an official ESA travel letter for verification. Find out what you need to include in your ESA travel letter, who needs to sign it, and how DoNotPay can help you if the company you're traveling with does not allow ESAs.
What Is an Emotional Support Animal?
An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that provides comfort to a person with a disability and helps alleviate at least one symptom. ESAs help people with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental or physical disabilities get through daily activities through their emotional support.
Frequently Asked Questions About ESA Travel Letters
When you want to take an airplane, train, car, or stay at a hotel while traveling, you will likely need an ESA travel letter.
What Is an ESA Letter?
An ESA letter is what you need to have in order for your emotional support animal to be classified as such. Keep in mind that ESA letters are the only documentation that can certify an animal as an ESA, so if you see a site that claims to create "ESA certificates", this is fraudulent.
Is There a Difference Between an ESA Letter and an ESA Travel Letter?
Typically, "ESA letter" and "ESA travel letter" are used interchangeably. However, many travel-related companies, like airlines or hotels, have their own specific policies for what an ESA letter must include in order for your ESA to be granted access to that travel institution.
Who Can Write an Emotional Support Animal Letter for Flying?
An ESA letter must be signed by a medical professional, like a psychiatrist, licensed clinical social worker, or registered nurse. Some companies may have more specific rules.
|Any of the following licensed healthcare specialists can write up an ESA letter:||
|Some of the common mental conditions that qualify individuals to receive an ESA letter:||
What Should Your ESA Travel Letter Include?
Although each airline has its own policies, many requirements for ESA travel letters are similar. For example, to bring your ESA on a Volaris flight, your ESA letter must:
- Be a document from a mental health specialist, like a psychiatrist
- Be dated within the past year
- Say that the ESA owner needs their ESA to travel
- Issued on letterhead paper with the medical professional's license number
- Say that the owner acknowledges that the ESA dog is in the owner's control and will adhere to the airlines' pet policies.
What Airlines Accept ESA Travel Letters?
Unfortunately, many airlines have developed very restrictive policies for ESAs onboard the cabin, with many of them banning ESAs outright. However, according to Pettable, there are still a few airlines in North America that allow emotional support animals to fly alongside their owner, including:
- Latam Airlines
How to Get an ESA Travel Letter on Your Own
To get your own ESA travel letter without any help, here is what you can do:
- Go to your medical practitioner to ask for an ESA letter. Explain how having your pet with you helps alleviate your symptoms and discomfort. There are also services online where you can get an ESA letter from a medical professional.
- Check to see if the airline or other travel company allows ESAs and what their policies are for verifying the ESA letter. Make sure your ESA letter meets those specifications.
- Submit a copy of your ESA letter to that company.
- If your airline or other travel company has an emotional support animal ban, you will need to write a demand letter to the travel company instead. This demand letter should explain why you and your ESA must be allowed access to that travel company's services.
Keep in mind that this process is not always as simple or easy as it sounds. There are often hurdles and roadblocks along the way.
Example ESA Demand Letter for Travel
If you are struggling with getting your travel company to accept your ESA letter, you can instead send them a demand letter that states why you need them to make this accommodation for you. Here is a sample ESA letter for demanding travel accommodations:
Dear [Airline or Travel Company Name],
According to the Air Carrier Access Act (49 U.S.C. 41705 and 14 C.F.R. 382) [or other applicable transportation legislation], you are obligated to allow me and my emotional support animal access to your services.
Due to my [Your Specific Condition], I am entitled under the above statutes to have my ESA with me in [the plane, train, or another transportation service.] My ESA is up-to-date on his/her vaccinations, is well-behaved, and will not bother your other customers.
If you deny my emotional support animal access to your services, I can file a lawsuit against you. It is in your company's best interest to settle this matter before a lawsuit is filed.
[Your Full Name]
How to Demand Travel Accommodations for Your ESA With the Help of DoNotPay
Although DoNotPay cannot create an official ESA letter for you because we are not licensed medical professionals, we can create a demand letter addressed to a travel institution that asks for accommodations to be made for you and your ESA. If you need an ESA letter, we can also help you find an affordable service where you can get one.
Through our new Service and Emotional Support Animals product, DoNotPay can help you with all of your ESA-related concerns, including contacting your landlord about your ESA, asking airlines about their accommodation options, and finding the most affordable online ESA-letter service.
- Search "service animal" on DoNotPay.
- Select the type of issue you need help with, including contacting your landlord about your ESA/service animal, asking your airline about ESA options, or requesting ESA/service accommodations at other venues.
- Answer a series of questions about your current situation and the details of your ESA/service animal, so we can generate the best results for you.
Depending on your issue, DoNotPay will generate a letter to your landlord and mail it on your behalf, contact the airline agency and get back to you with an answer, or send a letter to your mental health professional requesting an ESA letter.
Why DoNotPay Is the Right Solution for Your ESA Travel Letter
Unlike many other sites you see online, DoNotPay does not claim to be able to write your official ESA letter, since a medical professional must be the one to do that for you. We know we can't do that one thing for you, so instead, we can write convincing demand letters for you to get an airline, travel-related company, or landlord to make accommodations for you.
We have your best interest in mind, and we will use legal expertise to quickly craft ESA demand letters for you. It's the fast, easy, and successful solution you're looking for.
DoNotPay Has More ESA-Related Solutions
If you still have more questions about emotional support animals, we have more answers. DoNotPay is an information and problem-solving hub, so here are some other emotional support animal articles that may give you the answers you're looking for:
- American Airlines emotional support animal policies
- ESA letter for housing
- Fair Housing policies for emotional support animals
Get More Help Related to Your Pet
DoNotPay has tons of products designed to help you take care of pets. Check out our other services for furry friends:
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