EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS AND FLYING
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is a household pet, usually a dog or a cat, that provides comfort and support to its owner and helps alleviate feelings of emotional or psychological distress.
Federal Law recognizes that individuals with certain types of emotional or psychological issues should be permitted to have their pets with them when they fly if supported by a Qualified Mental Health Professional’s (QMHP) diagnosis and prescription.
If you are dealing with an emotional or psychological disorder you may be able to have your pet classified as an Emotional Support Animal and the airline cannot charge any additional fee for your pet.
DO I QUALIFY?
Many people suffer from some form of anxiety or fear that can be alleviated by having their pet close by. However, it is not enough to merely tell the airline that you feel better when you fly with your pet, or to have your pet wear a special vest or badge. You must have a prescriptive letter from a Qualified Mental Health Professional stating your need to have an Emotional Support Animal with you when you fly.
Some of the conditions that would lead to a diagnosis of a need for an Emotional Support Animal are as follows:
- Anxiety (Specific or Generalized)
- Depression or other mood disorder
- Phobias (including social phobia and fear of flying)
- Panic Disorder
And any other psychological disorder recognized by the DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)
Typically, if you are being treated for any of these disorders by a licensed therapist you could ask them to write you a prescriptive letter stating your need for an Emotional Support Animal. However, many people who suffer from one or more of these disorders are not under the care of a mental health professional. Going to a therapist is expensive and can involve committing to a long-term treatment plan.
The Emotional Support Animal Center works with licensed Qualified Mental Health Professionals around the country who understand that not everybody is willing, or able, to make the commitment to long-term therapy, but can nonetheless have some relief of their symptoms by traveling with an Emotional Support Animal. These professionals will evaluate you online through a brief (approximately 30 minutes) questionnaire designed to identify and diagnose DSM V psychological disorders. Upon review of your form a licensed mental health professional will determine if you meet the criteria for a DSM V diagnosis. If you do, the professional will contact you by email to schedule a follow-up telephone consultation. The telephone consultation should take no more then 15 minutes.
Once a determination is made that you meet the criteria for an Emotional Support Animal, your prescriptive letter will be emailed to you. Very often the entire process can be completed in 24 hours. In the event the mental health professional determines that you do not qualify for a prescriptive letter for an emotional support animal your fee will be fully refunded and your evaluation form answers permanently deleted from our system.
The cost for having your Evaluation Form reviewed by a licensed Qualified Mental Health Professional, the follow-up telephone consultation and issuance of a prescriptive Emotional Support Letter For Flying is $150. Payment can be made by credit card or PayPal. In the event that you do not qualify for an Emotional Support Animal letter a full refund of your fee with be made.
TAKE THE EVALUATION TEST
The process of applying for an Emotional Support Animal letter is easy.
The first step is completing an online Psychological Evaluation Form. This is a questionnaire designed to identify and diagnose DSM V psychological disorders.
There’s nothing to download and you can enter your answers directly into the form. The Evaluation Form should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Please set aside sufficient time to complete the form. If you are unable to complete it, you can bookmark the page. When you go back to complete the form a password will be automatically entered so that you can recall your form.
Once completed, click on the “Submit” button and your form will be sent to one of our licensed professionals for review. If it is determined that you meet the criteria for a diagnosis of a DSM V disorder you will be contacted by email to schedule a follow-up telephone consultation. This telephone consultation should take less then 15 minutes and in many areas is necessary to comply with the state licensing board requirements.
A photocopy of your letter is all you will need at the airport.
If you are ready to complete the evaluation form click on the Payment button below. After your payment of $150 is confirmed you will be automatically taken to the Evaluation Form.
Recently some airlines have started requiring that passengers traveling with Emotional Support Animals submit an additional form signed by a therapist along with the ESA letter. The airlines requiring these forms changes everyday so it is best that you check with your airline before traveling.
When you apply for your ESA letter, or renew one, one airline form will be provided at no additional cost. Additional airline forms, or forms requested at any time after the letter is written will incur an administrative fee.
To request additional airline forms click here.
REMEMBER - In the event that the mental health professional determines that you do not qualify for an Emotional Support Animal letter or an airline denies you an accommodation a full refund of your fee with be made.