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Rules for Flying With a Service Dog

Here are some of the old and new rules as well as progress in animal relief areas that is currently worth mention.  As ones that used to travel with a service animal, this topic is very close to our heart, and that said, we hope that if you do travel with an animal that you have trained yourself, as we did, that you do so responsibly.  

Existing Rules:  
  • Airlines can not ask passengers what their disability is, but they can ask what the service animal does for the individual, which will briefly touch on that person's special needs (and therefore eluding to their disability).
  • Airlines are required to provide service animal relief areas and must cooperate with airport operators to make these areas accessible and readily available for both arriving and connecting passengers.
  •  TSA will expedite passengers to and from outdoor relief areas if they are on the other side of security and a passenger needs to relieve the service animal during a connecting flight.

Newest Rule: 
  •  Passengers traveling with "emotional support animals" (which are not currently defined the same as a service animal) must give the airline 48 hours advance notice and provide a letter of verification and special need from their doctor.

International Rules: 
Many countries have very strict rules regarding animals and traveling with pets, and no matter what the laws are in the US, as well as no matter whether the new 382 ruling requires their airlines to comply with the rules, if the country's existing laws prohibit animals in some way, they prohibit US travelers with service animals as well and are awarded a "conflict of law waiver" in regard to following 382. Of note, the Philippines, Jamaica, and Mexico have already received their conflict of law waivers, and do not, nor likely will soon, allow service animals into their countries.


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