We have just added a new cartoon video on our YouTube channel! Our latest video discusses Pet Travel to and from Hawaii. The video explains why travel to Hawaii is the most difficult pet relocation in the United States and will teach you about what is needed to get your pets to Hawaii.
Click here to watch it!
Service animals are excellent assistants trained to help people who have disabilities, including visual impairment, hearing impairments, mental illnesses (such as PTSD), seizure disorder, and mobility impairment. The pets, whether they be cats, dogs, pigs, miniature horses, or even snakes, have gone through special training and are able to perform a specific task for individuals who have disabilities and are certified. These service animals must be accepted in all public places, as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therefore, if you have a service animal you will be traveling with, they can go in the cabin with you while you fly. As such, the animal will be part of your personal reservation as the airline must accommodate you and your service animal.
Emotional support animals are animals that provide comfort and support in forms of affection and companionship for an individual suffering from various mental and emotional conditions. They can assist with conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, fear/phobias, and other psychological and emotional conditions. These animals do not have to perform any specific task, but a letter from your doctor saying that you need the animal is required if you would like to bring your pet with you to places that otherwise would not accept live animals.
Therapy animals are used to bring comfort and joy to those who are ill or under poor conditions, such as those who have been affected by a natural disaster. Therefore, these pets often do not travel with an owner, but travel for business purposes. These pets commonly are transported by their handlers, or volunteers, to locations of natural disasters, or hospitals.
While it is great that there are so many classifications of service animals to help those who need it, unfortunately when it comes to pet travel many people abuse the system. When your pet travels as a service or emotional support animal, they can fly in the cabin alongside of you, no matter how large they are. If you were to bring your pet as a carry-on they have to fit under the seat in front of you. Therefore, any other pets must be transported under the cabin in a special live-animal section on the plane. In this area pets’ airfare is charged based on their weight in their crate. These fares typically run from $400 - $2,000 depending on the size of your cat or dog, and your destination. While there are many legitimate cases of people needing service and emotional support animals, far too often passengers are abusing the system in order to avoid spending the additional money on their pets’ airfare.
If passengers continue to abuse the system, it will make it more difficult for those who really need service animals to continue bringing them along. Not only will stricter requirements and certifications be put into place, but saying your animal is a service animal or emotional support animal, when it is not, can cause safety concerns. While service animals go through special training, emotional support animals do not. Therefore, when brought to a busy airport and confined to a small aircraft these pets may display behaviors that they do not typically do at home and could cause harm to you or other passengers.
Please be mindful and courteous to those who really need such animals. There are still many ways for your pet to travel to their new home, or even on vacation with you. While it may cost you some extra money, pets who travel below the cabin are generally more comfortable than in the cabin. This is because they have their own space, and more room to move about during the flight. It is also not as crowded and is quieter so they will not get as stressed out.
While Happy Tails Travel is unable to assist with the relocation of service and emotional support animals as they must be tied to your personal reservation, we are happy to assist with the relocation of your pets that will be traveling as live animal manifested cargo! For more information please visit our Website, and fill out our Pet Travel Form today!
*March 6th, 2021 Update: As of February 1st, 2021 domestic airlines no longer have to accept reservations for emotional support animals. If you would like your pet to travel on a flight with you, they must be booked as live animal manifested cargo, unless they can comfortably fit under the seat in front of you. An alternative is Happy Tails Travel's By Ground Safe and Sound program, which is a benefit for larger breed dogs and restricted breeds.