Flying with an emotional support animal is not always the easiest thing, which is why we are sharing our experience flying with our cat, Lennon and our dogs Floyd and Gordo. We have travelled five times with Lennon from the US to Ecuador and back. We do not recommend traveling with your pet unless it is necessary. It adds a lot of stress to the animal if he is not used to travel in an airplane.
If you are thinking of exploiting this system to get your pet to fly for free, please reconsider. It can threaten the services provided by the airlines for people with real medical needs.
To fly with your cat or dog in the aircraft and not pay the pet flight fee, you must meet the following regulations:
1. You must have a special letter from your Psychiatrist stating your need for an emotional support animal. It cannot be older than a year old.
2. You need to contact your airline in advance and let them know you will be flying with your pet. Do this as soon as you get your ticket, as some airlines only allow a certain number of pets on board.
3. Have all the required documentation along with your pet’s health certificate (vaccinations, etc).
4. Have a travel kennel that fits the regulations of the airline you are flying with and is comfortable for your pet. Try getting a kennel with small “windows” so your pet can see you and you can pet them to reduce stress.
5. Check with the destination you are leaving from and going to, to see what paperwork or requirements you need for your emotional support animal to enter or leave the country.
Traveling with an animal can be extremely stressful not only for the passenger but to the animal as well. Some people like giving pills to their animal, we avoid doing that because our cat is a little old and the change of pressure might hurt him. With our dogs we had to give them some pills to make their experience less traumatic. We recommend FomoBones as it is all natural. Normally, if you have an animal you can pre-board giving you more time to set his/her space under your seat.
Some basic recommendation when traveling with your emotional support animal:
1. Cut off food and water at least five hours before the flight so they do not get an upset stomach or need to go to the bathroom during the flight.
2. Provide him/her with a small bowl of food and water during the trip, especially during a layover. Water is important to keep them hydrated and healthy during the flight.
3. Line the bottom of the kennel diaper pads in case he needs to go to the bathroom.
4. Take your pet for a walk while in a layover. If the airport does not have a specific spot to walk pets, walk around the bathroom using a leash.
5. Clean the kennel every chance you have to make it more comfortable for your pet. We also take a small blanket to keep our cat warm in the plane.
Here are the main airlines we have used and their politics on traveling with a service animal:
*Keep in mind that every airline have its own regulation and requirements, so you must check with them before making any arrangement. We are sharing our personal experience and the tips we have followed in the past.
Photos of Jazmin traveling with Floyd in Spirit from Guayaquil, Ecuador to Ft Lauderdale, USA.