Can I fly on a major airline with a PSD?
Your PSD can help you go further in life – and reach new heights in the sky! Here’s how to turn your (jet-setting) Psychiatric Service Dog.
The Short: Most major airlines allow both PSDs and regular pets to travel in the cabin, but may vary by airline. While there is usually a fee for regular pets, most PSDs jet off for free. Check with your specific airline for the most up-to-date rules, regulations, and requirements.
Here’s more information on getting ready for takeoff:
All major airlines have their own policies and regulations on animal transportation, but vary depending on the airline, the destination, and the type of animal.
Here are the policies for some major airlines:
- American: Cats and dogs are allowed to travel in the cabin or as cargo, and service animals are allowed to travel in the cabin with their owners.
- Delta: Cats, dogs, and household birds can travel in the cabin with their owners or as cargo, and service animals are allowed to travel in the cabin with their owners.
- United: Cats, dogs, rabbits, and household birds can travel as cargo or in the cabin with their owners, and service animals are allowed to travel in the cabin with their owners.
- Southwest: Cats and dogs can travel in the cabin with their owners, but cannot travel as cargo. Service animals are allowed to travel in the cabin with their owners.
Every airline has specific policies and restrictions for transporting animals that are subject to change, so we recommend checking directly with the airline before booking. Your destination may have regulations for transporting animals, so remember to check those as well!
Flying with a PSD
While travel requirements may vary by airline, here are a few questions you should ask every airline while planning your trip to ensure you and your PSD have a smooth experience.
The top items we recommend checking in with your specific airline about include:
- Documentation: Most airlines require official documentation, and a formal letter from a licensed mental health professional stating your case for a PSD will usually suffice.
- Advance Notice: We advise informing the airline about your intention to travel with a PSD in advance, as some may require forms or procedures before your flight.
- Size and Weight Limits: Airlines often have size and weight restrictions, so check that you meet their requirements. Larger PSDs may require that you purchase an additional seat or make alternative arrangements.
- Carrier or Harness: Your PSD may be required to be secured in an airline-approved carrier or harness both in the terminal and in-cabin.
- Health: Ensure that your PSD is up-to-date on vaccinations and meets the health requirements set by the airline. It is a good idea to carry their health records with you.
- Security: Arrive early at check-in and for security procedures, and expect to present required documentation and answer questions for airline staff and security personnel.
To further prepare for your flight, work with your trainer to ensure your PSD is ready to travel, if you haven’t already, which will help keep you, your PSD, other passengers, and the crew safe.