As you may have heard, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) is exploring rule changes that would allow airlines to ban all emotional support animals (ESAs) from their aircraft, and would force travelers who rely on their ESAs to be with them during their flight to stow their ESAs in the cargo hold or pay exorbitant fees to bring their ESAs with them in the airplane cabin. There will be no change to allowing service dogs (of any breed) on aircraft, but handlers may be required to arrive one hour earlier than normal, and provide additional documentation to the airline.

Read the full proposed rule changes here: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=DOT-OST-2018-0068-4724

Nothing has changed yet, and you can submit a comment about the proposed rule change here, which regulators will read when making their final decision: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=DOT-OST-2018-0068-4724

USA Service Dogs will always advocate for the rights of people with a legitimate need for an ESA to be able to travel with their ESA as long as it is well-behaved, well-trained, and provides necessary comfort to its handler. We realize there are many competing interests out there, including airlines, flight attendants, other passengers, and the ESAs themselves. However, we feel that current regulation, which calls for an ESA prescription letter by a licensed therapist in order to bring an ESA with you in the cabin of an airplane strikes a fair balance among all interested parties.  The fact of the matter is, flying is oftentimes an uncomfortable experience for most people, and especially those with severe anxiety, PTSD, or other mental health issues that require the assistance of an ESA. Allowing airlines to ban ESAs and treat them as pets will cause severe problems for people who rely on their ESAs to travel, and sadly puts the wishes of airlines above the comfort of those with diagnosed mental health issues.  

We need your help! The D.O.T. is currently accepting comments from the public about the proposed rule change. We ask you to take just a couple of minutes to comment and let the D.O.T. know how your ESA or service dog helps you when you travel, and how a ban on ESAs would effect you. You can even submit a comment anonymously. Just visit the following link: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=DOT-OST-2018-0068-4724

Sincerely,

USA Service Dogs