What should I do if a US DOT form needs a phone number reference?
Filling out forms is often a necessary evil, but we can help make one box easier to tick!
The short: When the US DOT asks for a phone number, enter your own as the dog’s trainer.
Before you hit the friendly skies, here’s a bit more info:
Connecting the DOTs
The U.S. Department of Transportation refreshed its guidelines for in-flight assistance animals in 2021. The new specifications effectively banned emotional support animals but still allow for service dogs and psychiatric service dogs to board — as long as the paperwork checks out.
Don’t fret before you fly! You’ll just need to complete and submit the DOT’s Service Animal Air Transportation form to, which permits your PSD to fly for free and bypass pet size and weight restrictions. In-flight, your PSD can sit in the aisle or on your lap, size permitting of course.
The form can seem daunting, but it is much simpler when broken down, so let’s do that together:
- Basic information: Typically, the Service Animal’s handler and user are the same name, but you’ll have to specify if that’s not the case. You’ll also need to include your contact info, your PSD’s name, and their description, including their breed, age, and weight. You don’t need to include a photo (but it’s always cute to keep one on hand!).
- Animal Health: Confirm your PSD’s vaccine status and that they’re free of fleas, ticks, or diseases that would endanger other people or animals. This section also requires your veterinarian’s name and number, but not their signature.
- Disability Requirements: Within DOT’s definition, disabilities that qualify for a service dog can be physical or mental/emotional, but must substantially limit one or more major life activities. Qualifying physical disabilities include visual impairment or mobility issues, and psychiatric disabilities include dysthymia, anxiety, PTSD, and bipolar disorder.
- Service Dog Training Requirements: To qualify as a service animal, your dog must be fully trained to perform a task or work related to your disability. It’s legal and acceptable to list yourself as the trainer, especially if you completed ICTI’s training course. You don’t need a third-party trainer or certifications.
- Behavior: Confirm that your PSD is tasked trained and will behave in public. The form will also cover their ability to control their bodily functions and not harm other travelers.
- Other Assurance: Specify that you recognize that PSDs must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered at all times while at the airport and during the flight. If they cause damage, the airline can charge you for repairs. Finally, you’ll acknowledge that you’re signing an official government document. This means that any false statements may make you liable for fines and other penalties, so be truthful and accurate as possible!
We hope this answers your question about flying with your PSD, and that you travel safely. If you need more information, get in touch with our team here!