If your companion is registered as a service dog, he/she can legally accompany you onto the cabin of an airplane during flights. Your rights are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, but it’s important to know every airlines policy prior to booking travel.
While they are required to accommodate you, each airline may have slightly different rules when it comes to flying with your service dog. When it comes to living with a Service Dog, it’s important to always stay as up to date as possible on the rules and regulations. Here is an overview of the policy on service dogs for the major American airlines.
Remember, if you are traveling abroad or to Hawaii, you should look into whether your destination requires animals be quarantined upon arrival. Service Dogs must follow the laws of foreign governments at all times.
While not all airlines have the same rules, there are certain rules that apply across the board. For service animals that are traveling free in the cabin, they must be small enough to sit in their handler’s lap, or on the floor below the seat in front of them. On all airlines, animals cannot obstruct the aisle. Most airlines also make it clear that travelers with an animal cannot sit in an emergency exit row.
When it comes to service animals, airlines do not require more proof than “credible verbal assurance.” However, if the airline feels less than confident, more documentation may be asked for at the time of boarding. Because “credible assurance” is a vague term, we strongly encourage you to check with the airline in person prior to booking tickets and bring additional documentation just in case.
Finally it is important to note that the information below is not necessarily complete. Just because an airlines doesn’t state a particular rule on their website does not mean the rule does not apply. For example, several airlines make it clear that some species of animal are not allowed on flights, while others make no mention one way or the other. You should not assume that the airline’s website is providing the whole pictures.
We ALWAYS encourage our travelers to check with the airline in person or over the phone prior to booking passage to make sure you understand all the details of their policies. This is especially true when booking international travel, as other nations do not always abide by the same laws when it comes to service animals.