U.S. Department of Transportation Updates Service Animals Rules

Press Release

ORLANDO, FL. – Beginning tomorrow, January 11, passengers traveling by air will be required to submit a standardized federal form to their airline, attesting to the health and training of their service animal. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued the final rule last month and amends the Department’s Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulation on the transport of service animals by air.

A service animal is defined as a dog, regardless of breed or type, “that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”

“The final rule also allows airlines to require passengers with a disability traveling with a service animal to complete and submit to the airline a form, developed by DOT, attesting to the animal’s training and good behavior, and certifying the animal’s good health,” reads the Federal Register for this action.

According to the final rule, airlines will be allowed to recognize emotional support animals as pets, rather than service animals, and permits airlines to limit the number of service animals that one passenger can bring onboard an aircraft to two service animals.

Those traveling with service or emotional support animals should contact their airline directly for specific guidelines as it relates to their flights and travel plans.