There are big ones and little ones. Where do they sit? Some lay on the floor under the seat in front of you. Others sit on your lap.
Service Animals are generally dogs and sometimes miniature horses. Some of these amazing animals help with medical issues alerting their handler when their blood sugar is low or when they are close to having a seizure.
Emotional Support Animals calm their owners when they fly. In most cases, these animals are not trained for a specific need. They just love their owners. They provide comfort to help relieve a symptom or effect of a person’s disability.
Emotional Support Animals are generally dogs and cats. Other animals may provide support to their owners like guinea pigs or miniature horses, but exotic animals may not qualify due to risks of harm to others or potential diseases.
Most airlines will allow Emotional Support Animals, with proper documentation from a veterinarian and/or mental health counselor, and small animals such as cats and dogs can be held on the passenger’s lap during the flight.
Regarding airline policies affecting persons flying with animals that are not emotional support or service animals, most airlines charge fees and require the animal to be in a cage that can fit under the seat. If a caged animal cannot be placed under the seat, the animal flies with the luggage. You can find a lot of great information regarding traveling pets on the Department of Transportation website.
For example, American Airlines is not checking pets right now due to flight changes due to COVID19. In the past, American has been asked to transport an ant colony, a sloth, kangaroos, rabbits, lizards, pigs, crabs, wallabies and monkeys.
With Emotional Support Animals, on the other hand, they are not required to be caged, nor are people charged for flying with an Emotional Support Animal. In 2017, Delta Air Lines had a quarter of a million passengers who boarded flights with their Emotional Support Animals.
In my own flying adventures I had to ask myself, “Will our dogs fly well or not?” Our Shitzu-Bishon mix named Ollie is hyperactive and skittish around strangers. Peanut on the other hand is calm in most circumstances unless Ollie eggs him on.
Flying with your dog isn’t as ruff as you might think.
Here is a good article on 8 Things to Consider Before Flying With Your Pet
Allegiant Air (flies out to Concord, NC)