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emotional support animal

Whether you’re traveling for a vacation or for business, getting to your destination can be a stressful experience. Even though taking your emotional support animal (ESA) along with you can provide the emotional comfort you need to relieve the anxiety of travel, it can also create a more stressful situation if you travel unprepared. Consider the following tips to make your journey with your ESA enjoyable and stress free.

Give Your Airline Advance Notice

The Air Carrier Access Act guarantees that your right to travel with your ESA will be protected, but notifying your airline in advance can work further to your benefit. The airline may go the extra mile to accommodate your needs, which could mean moving you to a more spacious seat in first class at no additional charge. By notifying your air carrier at least 48 hours in advance, you will make their jobs easier and you will make it easier for them to help you.

Don’t Lose or Forget Your ESA Letter

Traveling with your ESA letter is essential part of traveling with an ESA and, without it, you can’t benefit from laws like the Air Carrier Access Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act. By presenting your ESA letter to the ticket agent before boarding, you can ensure that the airline and its staff will respect your rights. Be sure to have the letter updated or reissued, if it’s more than 12 months old.

Prepare Your ESA for the Flight

Your animal’s behavior on board the flight is a primary concern for flight attendants, as they have the right and obligation to take action to protect other passengers. Some people turn to tranquilizers and sedatives to calm an easily excitable animal, but experts frequently warn against their use. For instance, a sedated dog may experience breathing difficulties in a pressurized cabin. Instead, before your trip, discuss your travel plans and concerns with your veterinarian to ensure that you and your ESA enjoy a safe flight.

Bring Along Food and Water

Travel can be unpredictable. You may miss your connecting flight or experience other delays. This means your ESA may need to eat or drink during the journey. Keep an adequate supply of food and water with you to help your ESA stay safe and cope with the journey, especially in warmer weather. Remember, dogs get dehydrated faster than people.

Bringing your ESA along on your trip will make it easier for you to cope with the stresses of travel, but only if you prepare in advance. By being prepared, your experience will be that much better. Remember that flying may be a new and intimidating experience for your ESA, so your ESA may need your support as well. Happy travels!

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