JavaScript is required to view this page.


Which Airlines are Recognized for Being the Most Friendly to ESAs: An Updated Guide

Which Airlines are Recognized for Being the Most Friendly to ESAs: An Updated Guide

Traveling with an emotional support animal (ESA) requires thoughtful planning and an understanding of airline policies. Airlines have varying degrees of accommodation for ESAs, reflecting their commitment to passenger needs and regulatory compliance. Not all airlines allow ESAs, but those recognized for their friendliness towards these support animals often have clear, beneficial policies for travelers. As you consider booking your next flight with your ESA, looking into airlines that are acknowledged for their positive practices can ensure a smoother journey for both you and your companion.

Evaluating the best airlines for ESA (Emotional Support Animal) travel involves examining their policies on accepting ESAs, the required documentation, and the level of comfort provided during the flight. According to ESA Pet's list of Pet-Friendly Airlines, with recent changes in regulations, it's also essential to stay informed about which airlines continue to support these practices. Some airlines stand out by allowing ESAs on international flights and providing resources for pet owners to understand all requirements.

Key Takeaways

  • Airlines that excel in ESA friendliness have beneficial and clear policies.
  • Recent regulations have changed ESA policies, with some airlines still offering strong support.
  • Researching airline policies on ESAs can lead to more comfortable travel experiences.

Airlines With the Best Policies for Emotional Support Animals

Finding an airline that accommodates Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) can be a challenge since regulations have changed significantly. Here's what you need to know about the airlines that still welcome ESAs with the best policies.

Airline Evaluation Criteria for ESAs

When assessing which airlines are the most ESA-friendly, you'll want to consider several factors. The ease of the documentation process, the costs incurred for traveling with an ESA, and the level of accommodation provided during the flight are crucial. Airlines are also evaluated based on their staff's knowledge and the clarity of their ESA policies.

Top Rated Airlines for ESA Support

While many major airlines have ceased ESA accommodations due to regulatory changes, some smaller or regional carriers still have favorable policies for your ESA.

  • Allegiant Air has a clear policy and provides specific accommodations for ESAs, but be mindful of the documentation you need prior to your flight.
  • SkyWest Airlines operates several flights for major carriers and typically follows the policies of the partner airline, which may be advantageous for ESA travel.

When preparing to travel with your ESA, check the most current policies on the airline's official website or reach out to their customer service to ensure a smooth journey. It's also advisable to look at recent traveler reviews that might shed light on the practical experiences of flying with an ESA.

Traveling with Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals (ESAs) provide comfort and support in forms of affection and companionship. When you're preparing to fly with your ESA, it's crucial to understand the preparation involved, your rights, and the airline's policies to ensure a hassle-free journey.

Preparing Your ESA for Travel

Before boarding a plane with your emotional support animal, ensure you have all the necessary documentation, which may include a letter from a licensed mental health professional. Check your airline's specific policies as they may have distinct requirements for ESAs. For example, airlines like American and Southwest Airlines have been known for being accommodating. Crate training your ESA can also be beneficial, as some airlines will require your animal to be contained during the flight.

Legal Rights and Airline Obligations

After policy changes by the DOT, airlines are no longer required to accommodate ESAs as they had in the past. They can charge a fee for ESAs to travel and can impose standard pet rules. However, some airlines may still choose to offer more flexible options for ESA owners. It's important to review the latest ESA policies by airlines before booking your flight. Remember, service animals, which are trained for specific tasks to benefit a person with a disability, are distinct from ESAs and are covered by different regulations.

Tips for a Smooth Flight with Your ESA

To ensure a smooth flight with your ESA, consider the following tips:

  • Contact the airline in advance: Airlines have varying policies, so it's essential to notify them of your intent to travel with an ESA and understand their guidelines.
  • Pack your ESA's essentials: Include food, water, toys, and any medications. Check the airline’s regulations for carry-on pet provisions.
  • Visit the vet: Ensure your ESA is healthy for travel and up-to-date on vaccinations. Carry health certificates as required by the airline.
  • Exercise your ESA before the flight: A tired ESA is usually calmer during travel.
  • Arrive early: Give yourself plenty of time at the airport to deal with any unexpected issues.

By preparing in advance and understanding your rights and responsibilities, you can make flying with your emotional support animal a positive experience for both you and your ESA.


Your travel experience with emotional support animals (ESAs) can be significantly influenced by the airline you choose. Airlines have varying levels of accommodation for ESAs, and being informed on their policies ensures a smoother journey for both you and your animal companion. It's important to review an airline's specific ESA guidelines before booking your flight, as requirements and acceptance can differ.

Prior to traveling, confirm documentation and vaccination records are in order, as airlines are stringent about health and safety regulations. Moreover, preparation is key; acquainting your ESA with carrier conditions can minimize stress. Ultimately, choosing an airline that aligns with your needs contributes to a positive and hassle-free travel for all involved.

Leave a comment