Flying with Service Dogs – Good or Bad Experience?

by Spot on December 30, 2009

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I recently sent an email to my customers who purchased Service Dog ID Tags and asked which airlines they and their service dog had flown on and if they had incidents when they presented their Service Dog ID. The overwhelming results where that they had no problems what-so-ever. I was surprised by how many people said that they use jetBlue and the airline made it easy. The few responses I did receive about issues were scattered and no incidents where they and their service dog were not allowed to fly. Issues that did arise seamed to be caused by the attendant and not the airline. Many readers stated that they also took papers from their doctor just as back-up.

The airlines that people said they had flown on were: Southwest Airlines,Delta Airlines, Continental Airlines, jetBlue, American Airlines, US Airways, America West, Frontier Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Air France, KLM, Iberia and Spirit.

One reader responded that the issues she had had were not with the airlines but with Greyhound and Amtrak. Others responded that they had issues with airport security and not the airlines themselves.

I decided to put the feedback I got here and give those that wish to share their experiences with everyone. You can leave your comment right below. :mrgreen:

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1 Pete Pierce 12.30.09 at 12:34 pm

American was great. We went to the Admiral’s club and they were great.

2 Todd and S.D. "Rocky" 12.30.09 at 12:52 pm

I have Rocky booked on a flight with us on Hawaiian Airlines next month and so far, the only thing that I’ve done was called Hawaiian after booking the flights for my whole family and requested a bulkhead seat and they gave us a seating code and told us to give the code to the check in counter after we arrive at the airport and asked for my cell number. I’ve never known Hawaiian to be easy at anything. They are not a family friendly airlines and their website isn’t designed to serve families like bringing a family to Hawaii is like taboo or something. I’m praying that everything goes smooth. Happy New Years to everyone and best wishes for 2010. :mrgreen:

3 Kathleen Horoszewski 12.30.09 at 1:21 pm

I recently flew on JetBlue with my two service dogs. The airline and its personnel couldn’t have been nicer or friendlier. They made my whole experience a pleasure.

However, last year I flew with the two dogs on AirTran and the trip was a nightmare. Flying from Fort Myers into Philadelphia was without, however, flying from Philadelphia home was unbelievable. AirTran did not want to allow the second dog to fly with me and told me to have someone come to the airport to pick up the dog as I could only fly with one service animal. I missed my flight because there was no supervisor to “solve” the problem. Eventually they did allow me to fly with the two dogs, however, going forward JetBlue has my business.

4 Pat 12.30.09 at 1:58 pm

We flew Continental last year and encountered intense questioning at the check in counter. The manager was consulted by the clerk who demanded specific medical documentation. The manager, cognizant of federal law, inquired as to how our dog assists my husband in his disability. When satisfied, he graciously wished us a pleasant flight. On our return flight the flight attendant, initially not seeing our service dog, inquired about her after we were seated. Once satisfied, he notified the flight crew and we experienced no additional difficulties.

5 Carol Gomes 12.30.09 at 2:20 pm

We flew from Hawaii to Oakland on Hawaiian, I carried the vet file with me, and once they read the letter signed by the dr they were fine, and even moved us to the bulkhead. I had no issue on the plane, we have a maltese and he slept on my the whole trip.

We flew Southwest for Christmas and no one even questioned him!
They also moved us to the bulkhead. It was a great flight!

6 Marilyn 12.30.09 at 2:31 pm

did you notify the airlines in advance of your takeoff or did you just appear with the dog?

7 Gary Jacob Daffron 12.30.09 at 2:42 pm

i and my mobility service dog Henry went the the DR this past Jan and Fed. we fly first class round class on American Airlines. the only issue was going from Chicago to Maimi. the flight filled up with mileage upgraders and the flight attentant said that, we were seated at the bluk head, that if we needed more room then i should have bought 2 tickets. the other 3 legs were fine, but they were not full. be wareful of this and that if you have a large dog, he is going to need space. Henry was very good as it was his first time flying. i do not call that service dog friendly, you, your dog 2 tickets.

8 Nancy Melton 12.30.09 at 3:59 pm

I have a yellow lab Service Dog and have flown with her on American, Southwest, Alaska and Delta. I always call early on and request the bulkhead seat and tell them about my dog. I have never had a problem. If the fllight is not too full they always leave the center seat empty. If the flight is full they put a child there (their feet don’t reach the floor). My girl always curls up and goes to sleep for almost all the flight.

9 Angela 12.30.09 at 4:28 pm

hi there!
I recently flew from Oakland to DC on JetBlue. I always call ahead and reserve bulkhead and let them know I am traveling with a dog, just to let them know as a courtesy on my part.

I had some trouble with the person booking it, but it ended up they were just new on the job and still being trained. Jetblue apologized up and down which I told them was not needed, no one is perfect and they were new and did not know any better.

The questions I was asked from the 2nd person who helped me (who apologized for the 1st person) were just what kind of dog it was (a Golden Retriever), how big it was, and what type of SD it was.
She asked if I had any paperwork and I just said I only had the backpack and the ID given to me when I graduated with the dog, which she said was fine.

At the airport I removed his backpack so they could scan it and let them pat him down and inspect him. No problems there.
Jetblue was awesome and so was OAK and Dulles airports, no problems at all. No one asked to see any type of paperwork. They boarded me and the dog first, let me take his pack off and store it in over head so he would be more comfortable, checked the wheelchair at the gate, left the middle seat open as the flight was not full, etc.

There was a problem with someone’s little Yorkie not fitting under the seat. I felt bad for her as she had to leave the plane. When she commented why the large Golden could be seated on the floor in the front, the flight attendant was knowledgable and told her about service dogs.

I had one person ask if they needed anything special to bring their pet dog on board disguised as a service dog. The woman behind her scolded her before I could say anything.

It was my dogs first flight and he did well for such a long flight. I however, can’t use the restroom on a plane and I dread the thought of long flights. I find the trick is no fluids for 12 hours! Oye.
Anyway, that’s my recent experience! Cheers :mrgreen:

10 pat 12.30.09 at 5:21 pm

:?: why do I always need my medical drs.note my chinese crested weres his tag and most often his vest. Sometimes it can get really embarssing to keep repeating myself at rest areas or a store.I do not take him food shopping,but people can be rude about him being with me..I wish the public would have some understanding,especially employees about medical dogs.They are our life line and without them plenty of us would be lost……

11 John M. 12.30.09 at 5:54 pm

I have a 6lb Morkie( 1/2 Yorkie-1/2 Maltese), a self trained Service Dog for a hearing disability resulting from my occupation as a pyrotechnician (fireworks displays). We have traveled extensively together on several airlines.
Recently we traveled to Las Vegas, flying on US Airways through Salt Lake City, Phoenix and finally LV. Overall we were treated well by TSA and flight crews. Sparky is so damn cute and tiny, it was a miracle I wasn’t married before we returned from las Vegas. :shock:
We stayed 7 nights at the Encore by Steve Wynn. This is probably the nicest Resort on the strip. We were received well at check-in after presenting the U.S.S.D. Registry wallet card. Security Staff in the Casino and at entrances to the resort were kind, but watched us very closely at the tables and as Sparky was passed around the slot machines by cute girls, to press the “spin button” on Wheel Of Fortune machines. The totally amazing cocktail waitresses loved Sparky! :mrgreen: We avoided the fancy restaurants at the Wynn, out of respect for the patrons who were paying over $50.00 per person for a unique dining experience. We ate at Red Lobster off the strip and were received there very well, without being asked for any documentation, but showed our card anyway.
The pool areas at the Wynn and Encore were the most challenging, even with a tiny, cute, well behaved and silent little partner. We were checked for documentation at the pools several times and snubbed by some of the waitresses.
We did the Hoover Dam Tour as well. He was checked very closely again for documentation there, but he was thoroughly enjoyed by our tour group. He pee-pee’d at will, all along the way on the stone walls of the small tunnel.
I used the U.S. Service Dog Registry Card and Certificate much more than the Photo ID Cards. The Photo ID cards are just “eye candy”, but do help in some cases. The U.S.S.D. Registry Wallet Card and Certificate are a MUST and make traveling with my little boy a breeze.
The Photo ID Cards that attach to the animal need more pet owner contact information on the back of the card, and other minor improvements as well.
Sparky n Me

12 Roxanne 12.30.09 at 6:44 pm

My dog, Delta, is always with me. This past Nov. I drove to FL from NY and at one trucker rest stop I was told I couldn’t have the dog with me and I’d have to leave. They only allow guide dogs for the blind (little did they know at that point I was temporarily blind in my left eye). The other diners around me were saying to leave me alone, I was in my rights and Delta is a service dog. Anyway, I eventually told the asst. manager to call the police to have me removed, but I’m sure I would “win”. As it were, they called the owner of the particular fast food place where I was eating. He couldn’t apologize enough for his staff. He said an educational seminar about service dogs was in order. Oh how we have to educate the public.
I think the best one was a manager of a grocery store confronted me about Delta. He wanted to know if she was going to jump in his meat case. Well, I’m sure I could teach her that, but that’s NOT her normal job. Please note: Delta is a small sheltie. She stands a little ove 13″ at the shoulder so I think I’d actually have to pick her up to jump in the meat case.
Or the restaurant owner who asked me when I was leaving if the next time I come in would I please sit in the corner. And when I go to the ladies room could I please leave my dog. Um, the answer to both inquries is “NO”! I have not been back to that particular place.
On a flight back from Fl last Feb. the attendents asked if I wanted to sit in first class to give my dog more room. Well, sure! It really wasn’t necessary as Delta doesn’t take up much room, but hey, if they are offering I’m accepting.
Aftermaking my flight reservations online, I always call the airlines to advise them that I have a service dog. When I get to check in, there has never been a problem.

13 Jeanne 12.30.09 at 9:28 pm

My service dog Lilly is always with me and although I have not flown with her yet I have rarely encountered any problems when she’s with me.
She is always at my side and the most common problem I have is everyone wanting to talk to me about her.
I’ve had some uninformed people challenge me but I just ignore them and continue as if nothing happened. If they persist I simply quote the law and they leave me alone.

14 Terry Wittenberg 12.30.09 at 9:55 pm

I have flown on South-West Airlines many times and never had a problem with my service dog that is a husky wolf mix. Nanuq (my service dog) Needs too wait while I go through the metal detector and then let the TSA do a pat down because of his coller setting off the detector. The first time he did this process was very interesting, none of the TSA employees were familiar with the procecdure, this is it:
(1) You are to remain in control of the animal and the service animal is never to leave your custody.
(2)Your animal must submit to a pat-down if it should set off the metal detector.

15 Evie McMurray 12.30.09 at 10:25 pm

I’ve had a variety of experiences with my Yorkie who is 5 lbs.
I find that there are more restictions on buses (Trailways, Grreyhound) and trains (AMTRAK) and feel that is often a problem when you live in Manhattan and don’t have a car. There are lots of places where you rely on other modes of transportation than a plane. My 2 experiences on Northwest and Delta were fine. I did have to pay for the dog to go under seat and she was not allowed out of carrier. I hope that these restictions mentioned above would be addressed by organiztions like Spot and the general public. i was wondering if anyone has had these similar problems or do they just sneak the dog on which i’d rather not do.

16 D Martinez 12.31.09 at 1:27 am

Evie McMurray stated Northwest and Delta made her pay for her dog and that she had to keep her dog in a carrier. If her dog is a service dog she should not been required to pay and keep her dog in a carrier. Are these Airlines not complying with Federal Regulations. I am wondering if your company can check and make sure these Airlines know that they are not to charge a fee for service dogs?

17 Janis Lee 12.31.09 at 1:34 am

Aloha I appreciate all your information, however where do I get U.S.S.D. paperwork ? I have all my Dr’s Letters , However I’m moving back to the mainland from Maui after thirty years, I need good hospital, and DR’s that have more information of my sickness, I will pay for my old service dog, and my Airedale ,good homes in Seattle, And my 13 year old weights 85 LB and Hawaiian tells me she is to heavy and N.W takes us Maui Dallas, Seattle, Portland.Much to long a fight for my service dog and myself, I’M to sick to sit that long two days,My service dog is small, but does anyone have any suggestion on my service dog going the bathroom? small diaper? I do not want to act to strange? Both my dogs that will be in the Belly of Plane,I call Gargo I would guess, I found good homes in Seattle, Maui does not have great dog care except a owner ,that loves their fur family.Know one Will adopt my over weight ridge back, she is 13 and only had love all her life, My fault she is over weight, I can no longer walk them, she is strong, but has hip pain now from over weight.So I guess my only other choice is to put her down, my heart is broken, A Seattle home would be better then tied up in the heat foe the rest of your life, My heart breaks all the ignored dogs ,tied 24X7 with no human contact, and the Maui Humans Society will do nothing, as long as they have food and water, rips my heart out.That is why I guess Kahala is better put to sleep, I will try Graigslist first but people want young dogs, Broken heart. Mahalo & Aloha Janis Lee

18 Gary Jacob Daffron 12.31.09 at 8:53 am

it was a pleasent trip and everyone was quite helpful except for this one flight attendant. I booked my flight well in advance and they told me what i would need to get back into the country and the DR wanted the same thing. this is all fine and dandy, except for one thing. we had a lay over in Miami and the airports (large airports) do not facilities or take pity on where our service dogs can relieve themselfs. the place is full of police dogs and i asked where do they take their dogs and was told he was on duty and could not be bothered. i took Henry outside and he tried and with hardly any grass he ended up holding it from Maimi to the DR. there is still alot to do. these may be small things to some but they are large issues when it comes to our friends and when working they are always there. we need to do more than educated people in our country. in the DR they treated us with lots of respect, believe it our not being treated with more repect in a 3rd world country than we are at home.
Thanks from Herny and Gary.Jacob his friend

19 Robin B 12.31.09 at 2:08 pm

I live in California and we have thought about going to Hawaii the main island, has anyone had any problems getting off the plan with a service dog do they try to put them in quarantine? I heard Hawaii is strict, how did people treat you :roll: . Also has anyone taken a Fall tour of Vermont, Maine, etc. with your service dog.
Thanks Robin

20 Janis Lee 12.31.09 at 2:55 pm

Aloha Robin B, I Live in Hawaii and Hawaii is strict, but the Law is suppose to be no Quarantine for service dogs, that is suppose to be everywhere in The United States, However I would call or go on Line to quarantine Hawaii, It should state all rules but it is located at the Honolulu Airport, I called them with all the rules so I made no mistake, because if you cannot get your air fair back but get your rabies shots now at home then you wait 60 days your vet reads results sends to Kentucky UN It takes them about a month to get it back to your vet then your dog gets second shot count 90 days, then cleared to travel back and forth, as long as you keep rabie shots current, that is good even if you never go back to Hawaii, other places you travel ,your dog will be safe in third world countries, I could not believe they would not let the President to even bring Bow, but you have to be six months old for first shot, and this whole ordeal called home quarantine,took me 10 months with all the waiting for notices. But I still think service dogs have to be waived.Hope this helps a little.I will not be back to Hawaii unless to see my friends, thirty years on a rock ,way to long wish I had the insight to leave before I became sick.Aloha Janis Lee

21 Ash 12.31.09 at 3:18 pm

I had a big issue with Continental, since they called the FBI to meet me at the gate for “sneaking” a dog on the plane. Even though I had pre-boarded in order to get my dog settled in, and even though I’d been questioned at the desk before pre-boarding. Agents met me at the gate and they were confused as to why my clearly labelled service dog was an issue. Nothing came of it.
JetBlue was amazing. They originally messed up and changed my seat from bulkhead to exit row (the emergency one), but they quickly resolved the issue when I pointed it out.
I flew Continental again more recently without any problems. I’ll be flying them again in a few days, so hopefully nothing insane happens like that one time.

22 Sandy P 12.31.09 at 8:27 pm

I flew on 3 Southwest Airlines flights over the Christmas Holidays and they were SUPER. Couldn’t have been more friendly and helpful. On one fight an attendant even offered to get Tiffany her own water (I shared my own with her on the other 2 flights.)

The airports I went thru were Los Angeles (LAX – destination), San Antonio (home port) and Phoenix (Shy Harbor – layover). This is the first time I’ve requested a wheelchair in the airports because the walk is usually so far from curbside to the gate (I’ve had 4 back surgeries and can’t walk a long way, or stand for long.) The skycap(?) that assisted me in San Antonio was fantastic. It was Tiffany’s first flying experience, and now that I know how well she did, and that a wheelchair can ease the hassle, I look forward to flying again. Lately I had come to dread it, but now it’s a pleasure. Altho my how flight had an unavoidable layover, which made for a long day. In the future I will stick to non-stops. Thank goodness Tiffany has a good bladder!

23 Sandy P 12.31.09 at 8:48 pm

To Evie McMurray, My dog, Tiffany, is a 15 lb terrier mix. We brought a soft-sided carrier to the airport, just in case, but Southwest Airlines knew that a service dog doesn’t have to be in a carrier, so I didn’t have to use it. I didn’t realize I could request a bulkhead seat, but we managed to get one on all 3 flights. I made Tiffany a little portable bed by folding a cheap fleece blanket to size and sewing it around the edges and diagonally. She quickly learned that was “her spot”. It’s small enough to roll up and carry in a tote bag, so I take it to restaurants, too, and put it under the table (I prefer a booth – she thinks it’s her temporary den!).

24 Kay 12.31.09 at 10:27 pm

I have traveled with Rufus(my yorkie service dog) on Southwest. every time i have flown i have been treated wonderful and he has always been treated the same. well except for ONE TIME. unfortunately we flew the first day they started allowing pets on board. we were treated horribly from the minute we checked in, the ticket counter and gate personnel on all stops were rude and made it a horrible trip for us. but before and since Southwest has been wonderful. the TSA has always been super as well.

25 Eden 01.01.10 at 5:03 pm

We took my ‘yorkie’ service dog to Italy last summer. Flew on Delta and they were great. Booked the flight a long time ahead and told them I have a service animal. We had his paperwork from the vet, the USDA, my doctor’s letter, and the photo id tags. He wore his vest, but most of the time I carried him in his Sherpa bag because I’ve found that a 7 lb. dog can easily be stepped on, in large crowded public places. I often take him into restaurants in his bag, because people in general don’t understand about service animals. In Italy as in much of Europe, it’s wonderful because you can go pretty much anywhere with your canine helper, and no one cares. Once Delta people knew that he was a service animal with proper papers, they were extremely helpful and courteous. I find that as long as you have all of the documentation that proves that your dog is really a service animal, and you handle yourself calmly and keep it on a more ‘professional’ kind of level, often those in positions of “authority” seem to treat us well.

Wondering if anyone has traveled on El Al to Israel ?

26 Terri 01.03.10 at 9:21 am

All my flying with my service dog was prior to getting my Service Dog Tag, so I don’t know how that will help. I flew American/American Eagle and they were super! I had told them ahead of time and on all but one leg in American, flew bulkhead. I was kicked back a few rows on one flight, but those sitting in bulkhead had much more serious health problems than I did, and I had a great seat partner – we both just carefully placed our feet and it was fine. American Eagle was absolutely wonderful – I got the whole back row on those flights! Unfortunately, my experience with Northwest sucked big time. Even with the advance notice, I had to fight each leg of the flight. They bumped me back on one leg and then said that my girl had to be by my feet, but there was no room. Those in bulkhead were just fine (ie, didn’t need to be there for health reasons) and they finally ended up switching me with them and putting me back in the seat I had originally booked. But they were nasty about it.

I will be flying Southwest later this month. Sounds like I won’t have any problems from what I’ve read here. And my hometown airport does have a doggy relief area.

I do try to book window seats so that my seatmates don’t have to crawl over my girl

27 Doc 01.03.10 at 9:53 am

Why would anyone need 2 service dogs ????????? AirTran Ft Meyers to Phili ????

28 Rachelle 01.03.10 at 10:41 am

I’m VERY disturbed by those who have posted and talked about how cute/tiny/adorable their “service” dogs are, and how some put them in carriers to make it “easier” (for whatever reason) and so on.
A service dog isn’t meant to be passed around to a bunch of “cute girls” playing the slots, or to be hand-carried like a baby.
A true service dog is doing a JOB. You don’t treat them like a PET – at least not in public. And you don’t allow OTHERS to treat them like a PET, to distract them from their JOB.
There are way too many people using SD products – an unregulated business – to get their animals through doors – whether on an airplane or into a restaurant or grocery store.
If you have a LEGITIMATE SERVICE DOG, you’re last concern should be about whether the dog is “allowed” or not or is CONVENIENT or not. You just DO it. And if someone confronts you, you stick to the ADA language – even if that means calling 9-1-1 to have the LAW enforced. You don’t give in to providing them with doctors’ papers – that’s none of their business! You answer the legitimate questions: Is that a service dog? What service does it provide?
You don’t get all giggly, gushy and googley-eyed about your dog. They should be an extension of you like your arm/legs. You don’t bring attention to your own arm or leg, do you??
Of course, if you’re dog is not trained, is not truly providing a LEGITIMATE service as recommended/supported by your doctor, you have no business passing it off as such.
For those of you getting your FAKE “service” dogs access in an ADA situation, SHAME ON YOU.
It makes us REAL service dog owners have to deal with stupid questions from places that would otherwise never have blinked an eye in the first place.
Sooner or later, service dog access is going to become government-regulated because of self-entitled idiots like many of you who bring your pocket pet or house dog along for the ride.
P.S. – Yes, I have traveled extensively with my service dog, on airlines and cruise ships. I have experienced unquestioning acceptance as well as been held from a flight because of ignorance in the industry.

29 Kay 01.03.10 at 11:09 am

service dogs DO come in all sizes. and the attitude of a “pocket dog” is what causes those of us that do have small service dogs all the problems. it seems some people with the more normal size service dog dont believe a small dog has the qualities needed for a wonderful service dog. that is why i had such a horrible time the day after SW started allowing pets on board. my yorkie works hard for me. i have ms and other health problems and would not be able to go anywhere if not for him. yes i agree some people do misuse the items for service dog, but bad attitudes dont help either. i have friends with all sizes service dogs from lab/st bernie mix to shih tzu and my yorkie and all the sizes in between. if people in the airline industry just used common sense and the rules they are supposed to know none of us would have any problems. i worked for the airlines for over 20 years. i KNOW THEY ARE TAUGHT THE ADA INFO AND REFRESHED ON IT EVERY YEAR. so if they give ANYONE a hard time, it is because they are lazy or in a bad mood.

30 Gary Jacob Daffron 01.03.10 at 11:50 am

Since i must claim ownership to some of the statements, the last 2 i have read really make since. i really want to know who uses 2 service dogs and what is there use. i am going to hold my thoughts on that one until more edification. the last one, you hit it on the bullit. there are degees of service dogs, but a companion dog is not a service dog. my service dog is a Bernise Mountain Dog, well over 100 lbs. that is the type of dogs i am talking about a real “SERVICE DOG”. getting him in the seat and at my feet and expect him not to have him move for 5 hours, someone is on something. the next time i fly and it would have to be a real good reason, i will buy 2 tickets way in advance to get them at a price someone that is disablity can afford. then we would have room and there would be no error from the airline. there are lots of people that do not even pay to fly and we should expect our service dogs get the same treatment. i buy, tell the airline and they x the seat beside me.
everyone of you have a nice with

31 Kay 01.03.10 at 12:35 pm

yep Jacob there are degrees of service dogs. i can not do anything without my SMALL fellow. he lets me know if i am able to go out, when i may have a flare up and when to take my meds. ms is a very odd disease, but having him sure does make it easier. i can understand buying 2 seats. and i think the airlines really ought to look into allowing us to purchase a second seat at a discounted rate. they allow over sized people to purchase a second seat at half the rate of their ticket, why not let us purchase one at half the rate of our discounted rate. with more and more people finding that they can continue on with some semblance of the lives we once lived with the help of our partners why not do something to help us continue to fly as well. i am sure there are just as many “fake” dogs out there flying with their owners and most of them are unfortunately small. i dont understand why they do it, but i know my “little” dog works super hard for me. i also know at some point in the far off(i hope) future i will need a much larger service dog to help with mobility for now i am thankful my little guy does all the hard work he does. God Bless you all and i hope you have only good experiences on the airlines. AS I SAID I WORKED FOR THE AIRLINES FOR OVER 20 YEARS. I WILL PASS ON THIS LITTLE BIT OF ADVICE. IF THEY DO GIVE YOU ANY TROUBLE, HANDLE IT WILL GENTLE DEFIANCE. IF THAT DOES NOT WORK, ASK TO SPEAK WITH A SUPERVISOR OR EVEN THE MANAGER. ANGERING THE EMPLOYEE WILL ONLY CAUSE MORE TROUBLE FOR YOU AND YOUR DOG. IT WILL BE VERY STRESSFUL FOR YOU SERVICE DOG. THIS WILL WORK. IF THE SUPERVISOR IS FACED WITH AN INQUIRY FROM THE ADA THEY WILL STEP BACK AND SEE THEIR EMPLOYEE NEEDS SOME RETRAINING. good luck to you all

32 Nancy Kurimay 01.03.10 at 1:04 pm

I travel with my emotional support dog – a 6 pound maltese. I have never had a problem until now. A week before our last trip I received a call from the special service desk from American Airlines informing me that we had to check in 2 1/2 hours prior to our flight because of the dog. The gentleman(?) told me it was a new ruling from the department of transportation as people have been bitten by service dogs and we had to check in so early so he could be observed@!!!!?? I was furious. I asked if and how he would be observed and who would be doing it. No answer to that. We did not check in early. No one at the counter knew anything about the ruling and we all decided it was just another way to inconvenience us.

33 Sandy P 01.03.10 at 4:07 pm

Re. size of service dogs: I’m not sure if my dog is “small” or “medium”. She’s a 15 lb terrier mix. I’ve had 4 back surgeries, and I have a bad knee, so she picks things up for me. If I’m at home, she’ll jump up on furniture to give me the item, so I don’t have to bend in the least! She can retrieve things that roll under a table, etc, where I would definitely have to bend and twist to do that. Another reason I have a smaller dog is because I’m only allowed to lift 20 lbs. If I had a larger animal that got sick or injured, I couldn’t pick them up to take them to the vet. I also have a 50% hearing loss in one ear, so she alerts me to sounds. And yes, she also provides emotional support. In fact, my pain management doctor gave me a prescription for a service dog, to distract me from my pain. Sometimes distraction is the best medicine (per Dr. Gott’s column in some newspapers). We were BOTH trained by a professional dog trainer.

34 Gary Jacob Daffron 01.03.10 at 4:50 pm

Sandy by no way do i declare that i am an expert on this subject and i am sorry if i may have sounded that way. yes your case fits i would think. this whole matter needs to be addressed and i feel at the national level. i say this as you follow Missouri laws and travel to Florida and there is waiting, another set of standards. again maybe this is an issus for AARP, but that is not fair as we most likely have more service animal use in a much youger crowd
Blessings to everyone

35 Joshua 01.03.10 at 6:02 pm

My girl, Princess Scruffy and I travel alot and have never had much of a fuss by anyone other than those who are not educated in ADA rules. She is a 7lb Yorkie and yes, cute as a button and more well behaved than many ‘people’ we encounter. I have found American air as well as Quantas to be great airlines to use & the flight attendants love her so much I have many phone numbers given in case I need directions, lol. In las vegas I stay at the Mirage alot & only once had to adjust a security guards attitude towards us, but once done the message got out. The maids are cool also when they SEE they have nothing extra to clean up, Scruffy is of Royal blood & would never soil the insides of rooms & she has a food tray her food/water sits on thanks to In-N-Out burger. I have never carried a Dr. note, her service ID tag has always been 100% good to go. Good luck to everyone!

36 taylor 01.03.10 at 8:47 pm

An emotional support dog is not the same as a service dog. people passing off their pets as service dogs in order to gain access to air travel is wrong. You should be ashamed of yourselves, a small dog can travel in cabin for a fee. Buck up and pay to have your lap dog in the cabin. Your taking advantage of the system causes nothing but problems for people with legitimate service dogs.

37 Robin B 01.04.10 at 12:15 pm

Traveling with a smaller dog would be more easy then a big dog.
I have a 50 lb standard poodle we went through a training program and she is cert. There were two small dogs in our class both under 10 lbs a mix breed and a maltese. one alerted to blood sugar and the other to seizures, they both picked up droped items and went for help as well. The program I went through also trains alot of PDST for Vets.
I have RSD my dog helps me with many things. and she also gives me emotional support. I sometimes get question because she is not a lab or golden retriever some people think those are the only breeds used. The law will most likely change making all SD certified because so many people do pass of pets as SD. once when traveling I had a lady ask me if she could buy a vest for her pet dog. Of course I told her the rules and law.
Everyone have a good day, Robin

38 Margaret 01.04.10 at 1:27 pm

Hello Everyone!

Just wondering if anyone has a service animal out there that is not a dog? I have a primate and was wondering on how the airlines treat primates? I can hardly go out into public without being followed and questioned I assume due to the nature of the species.

39 Doc 01.04.10 at 3:39 pm

Gotta look at this….a real SERVICE dog

40 Todd and S.D. "Rocky" 01.06.10 at 5:54 am

Just a quick update, my flight to Honolulu isn’t until next month but I wanted to touch on a few things. I booked my flights on line due to FF Miles and then called the airlines to request a bulkhead seat for me, Rocky and my family. Hawaiian did ask what kind of dog Rocky is and how much he weights. I told them that Rocky is a German Shephard and weighed 66 lbs as of a month ago at the vets office. No problem there.
Now the state of Hawaii is a different story. Even though my vet informed them that Rocky is a service animal,they insist that I get a letter from my doctor stating my disablities and why I need one. Now, I have a really great doctor and his response was this. He asked for the phone number to the quarantine office in Honolulu and called them himself. He told them that he could not violate the ADA Act of 1990 or doctor vs patient privatcy act and told them that he could not risk losing his license to practice because they are willing to break federal laws. He did state to them that I have a overwhelming and valid reason to have a service animal and told them that he’s been treating me for three years and to take his word for it. Hawaii then called me and asked if I could wait one more month until Rocky meets his quarantine date in February. I told them that I would since they were not giving me a choice in the matter. What they did offer was to meet me at the gate when I arrive instead of being escort to the other side of the airport in Honolulu. I must fax all my flight information prior to departure. Just to let everyone know, it takes up to two years to get any animal into the state of Hawaii if you follow their protocal with the shots,waiting periods,more shots,more waiting periods,blood tests and again,another waiting period of 120 days each mind you. You can fly there sooner and put your animal into quarantine but many of these animals die within a week or two of being release from quarantine. Animals pick up strange things from other animals going in and out of these quarantine sites. I don’t recommand taking this route if you love your pets and service animals.
If you do take your service animal to Hawaii, keep in mind that the Quarantine Office closes at 4pm HST and they are closed every other Friday for Furlough Fridays. Plus Rocky needs a certified Health exam by the vet within 30 days of travel and a special Flee and Tick Drip within 14 days of arrival and must be groom the day before arrival also. Not easy at all.
Back to the flight. I will report back to this website after I get settled in Waikiki and let everyone know how things went. I don’t like surprises but I have a feeling that there might be a few.Aloha and Mahalo!

41 Robin B 01.06.10 at 2:48 pm

WOW! I heard it was strict. Do you have to get all of Rocky’s shots again before you go and wait one month after his shots? Is that what they mean by quarantine date? What if your SD’s shots are not due yet, say the just had their shot in August. Hawaii makes the SD take all the shots again?? I guess I can understand the bath and flea dip but if their shots are current I don’t get the wait until February quarantine thing. Maybe we will rethink going to Hawaii. Todd I hope all goes OK with this for you, Rocky and your family. I think you are brave for taking it on, let us know how it goes.
Best of luck, Robin B

42 Joey 01.25.10 at 10:50 am

I loved your article it has great information. I think you and your readers might be interested in another article I found, about dogs and dry eyes.

43 Margiy 02.08.10 at 9:06 pm

People need to realize that service dogs perform a plethora of tasks and many disabilities are NOT visible. A person does not have to be blind, paralyzed or have CP to legitimately have and use a service dog. My service dog happens to weigh 4 and a half pounds and yes, he’s darn cute. Darn cute doesn’t save my life, but being awakened when asthma severely restricts breathing during sleep, does. It’s amazing how I must explain my service dog to others who think a service dog has to be medium to large and perform a “visible” task. I can appreciate the video about the “SURFice” dog and the benefits that dog has provided others. My service dog is not “at-work” when I fly unless I fall asleep. He is not “at-work” in the grocery store or any other place I take him. Why would I take him to the grocery store and other places? He was only used to being around me. Consequently, the first time I flew to a conference with him, he did not do well around others. I have socialized him so much, he is wonderful at flying and traveling now. There is no need for him to wear an uncomfortable vest when he is not working to satisfy the concerns of others. There is also no reason for him not to get the attention he craves. Many lap dogs do crave attention and are quite playful. I carry him a lot in crowds as crowds can be a danger to him due to his size. It is time for people to stop judging others and realize people eventually have to account for what they do. The ADA protects legitimate service dogs and their handlers. However, nothing protects service dogs and their handlers from ignorance.

44 Sarge 02.08.10 at 11:12 pm

If a service dog bite another service dog, what is the process in order this willnever happen. Who do you go to? Any suggestions?

45 Sandy P 02.09.10 at 12:57 pm

Re. Margiy’s message – Most of her message applies as well to my dog, Tiffany. She is only 12 lbs, but one of the functions she performs for me is that she picks things up for me so I don’t have to bend or twist (especially if something rolls under furniture). I’ve had 4 back surgeries, and still have severe arthritis, so I am under doctor’s orders to avoid bending, twisting, and lifting as much as possible. Tiffany can’t pick up anything heavy, but that’s not a problem because I can’t either! What I usually drop is my keys, or a piece of paper. Even if she didn’t “work” in public, I would take her along, to reinforce our bonding. I do allow people to pet her on occasion, but I don’t encourage it. I’ve never been anywhere that was so crowded I was worried about her being stepped on, except in airports. In that case, I need a wheelchair, so she sits on my lap.

46 Laura 02.21.10 at 10:40 pm


While it is true that emotional support animals are not service animals, they are still able to fly with their disabled owner without a fee (as per the Air Carrier Access Act). The airlines can require a letter from the prescribing doctor as to the necessity of the emotional support animal, as well as requiring 48-hour notification in advance of the flight.

There are definitely people who try to take advantage of this. However, with the requirements for an emotional support animal to fly, this is becoming more difficult. I would also like to remind you that animals other than dogs can be emotional support animals – for example, I have an emotional support cat to ameliorate my mental disability who travels with me on airlines. She is not a pet, and her traveling with me is essential.

So you can see it, a good explanation of the Air Carrier Access Act is here: I can also provide many more sources if you are interested, as I have done very extensive research on the subject.

47 Rebecca 02.21.10 at 11:37 pm

My awful experience on Delta:
I was assigned to seat 1B and had my service animal lying in my lap. The flight attendant, Susan, told me that I needed to place the dog in his carrier for the flight and that I would need to move to another seat so that I could store him under the seat in front of me. I discreetly explained that he was a service animal. The flight attendant said that didn’t matter and that I needed to move seats. I explained that I had traveled with my service animal on a number of flights and that I did not understand that to be Delta’s policy for service animals. I was very courteous and tried to be as discreet as possible as I was starting to notice several other passengers begin to stare and I was getting embarrassed by the whole thing. Even so, the flight attendant spoke even louder and said she did not care what I had done on other flights, this was Delta’s policy. I asked her if she would like to see my documentation. She then got even louder, laughed at me and said she didn’t need to see my documentation because it wouldn’t matter, it would not change the policy, she continued to laugh and look at the men who were staring from across the aisle and gave them a “look” (to me, the look said, what is wrong with this woman and why is she arguing with me). It was very embarrassing and from that point on her tone became very condescending. At this point I was mortified and most of the other passengers were watching on. At that point I decided I would just do what she asked because I just wanted to end the whole scene. I could tell I was turning very red and I was sweating from the embarrassment and just wanted it to stop. I asked her where she wanted me to move and a woman in 3C volunteered to trade seats with me, so I did. When I got up to change seats I approached the flight attendant one last time to discreetly let her know how embarrassing that what for me and that I wished she had handled it more discreetly. I also told her that I really thought all of the airlines were pretty much in line on this policy and that I had double checked it online before my trip and had also notified reservations in advance. I then took my new seat and could not even look up because I could feel everyone staring at me. It was awful. Then the flight attendant came back to my seat with the policy manual and began reading the policy on in cabin animals (not service animals). She read several lines from it in a tone that can best be described as “I told you so.” Again, very embarrassing. I waited for a pause and explained that was not the SERVICE animal policy. She then stopped, went back to the cockpit where the 3 crew members continued to research. She finally came back and asked to see my doctor’s letter (the same letter I had offered to show her much earlier). I handed it to her, she read it and said ok. I looked at her and waited for an apology. She only explained that she was new and that this was her first service dog and she was under a lot of pressure. I then told her that if she was new and unsure of the policy, that she should have listened to me when I told her that I had done this many times before and then confirm it in the policy manual DISCREETLY. I told her I was mortified. I was tearing up and wanted to leave the situation. To make matters worse, the plane was delayed and we were stuck on the plane all told, almost 3 hours and the lavatory was out of order. Since I was starting to cry, I really wanted to go to the restroom, but I was not even able to do that. It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life.

48 Jessica 02.26.10 at 9:45 am

I’m getting ready for my flight in two weeks from Seattle to Texas, i can only imagine the kind of ignorance that i am about to recieve when it comes to my service dog. I’m in the military, as a wounded warrior from being injured in the line of duty, i have a miniature mastiff who serves as my service dog. However i get looks and questions constantly about my SD’s “looks” people seem to think based on a dogs looks that they will either be yappy or try and eat small children. I’m hoping my flight goes well. It’s on Alaska and American, which i have had no problems with. This is my first time flying with my SD and i thank you all for the great posts, i’m truely informed and have been preparing my dog within a petsmart class with a professional trainer specifically for this trip as she has never ridden on a plane. I have a hip to ankle injury, making it hard to walk as well as severe PTSD. I just hope all goes well.

49 Sandy 02.26.10 at 4:25 pm

Jessica – Good luck to you! If it doesn’t work out GREAT – I recommend you try Southwest next time. I checked, & they fly from Seattle, & I know they fly to San Antonio & Dalls/Ft Worth. I just returned to San Antonio from Los Angeles yesterday. The airline personnel were SUPER nice and helpful, asking a couple of times if my dog needed water or anything. Of course, I have a 13 lb dog. (How big is a miniature mastiff?) With SW, there’s no advance seating, but disabled people get to board first, and while you’re waiting you can request a bulkhead seat. I use cubside, Shycap checkin, and request a wheelchair because I can’t walk from the outside curb to the farthest gate, where my flight always seems to be 8-) I’ve never flown another airline w my SD, but SW really expedites the process, from curb to gate. One drawback – the flights I was on had no food service. I think all SW flights are like that. They have good snacks, but not enough to sub for a meal.I hope you have a great flight – I’ll be eager to hear your report afterward. Andy THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY – meaing, to ME.

50 John M. 02.26.10 at 4:30 pm

Here are 5 simple guidelines to make your flight relaxing and enjoyable with your service dog. I have traveled extensively within the U.S. with my Yorktees Hearing Service Dog using these methods.
1. Call the the airlines carrier you will be flying with, well before your departure date. Tell the agent your reservation confirmation number. Inform the agent that you will be flying with a U.S. ADA Trained Service Dog, and you would like bulkhead seating.
2.When you arrive at the airport for Security Screening, Advise the TSO that you have a Service Dog and you will be going through the the metal detector as a team (i.e., whether walking together or with the service animal walking in front of or behind you). Make sure you place ALL metal in the plastic bins from you and your Service Animal BEFORE you walk through. I use ALL plastic, vests, harnesses, collars and tags that identify my little boy as a Registered Service Dog , to avoid a detection alarm, further invasive screening and delays. Have your U.S. service Dog Registry Wallet Card ready to display. Have a copy of the ADA U.S. Service Dog Federal Regulations in your pocket, ready to show the stewardess upon boarding and seating. Smile :smile: and be polite as you proceed through the screening and boarding process.
3.When the gate agent announces “begin boarding” line up quickly with the Elite Members, elderly, handicapped and special needs passengers. You will board first and be seated and settled in, when the remaining passengers are boarding.
4. If you have a small and cute lap dog that is properly trained, keep it on as leash and have it remain quiet and still in your lap. If you have a large breed of Service Dog….IT MUST BE VERY WELL BEHAVED AND TRAINED TO STAY ON THE FLOOR BELOW YOUR FEET. If you are fortunate to have an empty bulkhead seat next to you, have it stay still there. Remember you can be removed from the flight or asked to place the animal in a crate or carrier if it is barking and disruptive. Make certain your Service Dog is well behaved and trained before you travel by air with it. Don’t be afraid to ask for a cup of ice or water for your Service Animal.
5. Go to the following web sites for reference and to PRINT several copies of the ADA Federal Regulations on Service Dogs, to display at airports, restaurants , checking into hotels and public venues.
TSA Rules And Regulations
U.S Dept. Of Justice ADA Service Dogs

U.S. Service Dog Registry

I hope these guidelines and contact information will help all of you who have had trouble in the past or never have traveled with your service Dog.
Sparky n Me

51 Jessica 03.06.10 at 9:39 pm

Thanks Sandy, my minature weighs in at 75 lbs…i’m worried we may have some problems because she looks like a pit bull but she doesn’t act like one, she is to mellow to be vicious towards anything…and i think she’ll sit under my legs, she sleeps all the time when we get a break anyways…should I not feed her the night before and then not feed her till we get to Hood? I’ve never traveled with my service dog, and she can hold it pretty long, but still thats a horridly long venture on a plane, and this is her first plane ride. I have horrible PTSD, and I HATE flying…but such is life when you have limited time and your husband is 17,000+ miles away and he is leaving in June for Afghanistan :sad: I’m nervous about that!

52 Sandy P 03.06.10 at 11:28 pm

To Jessica – I’m not an expert, cuz Tiffany has only flown 5 times so far. The longest time Tiffy had to “hold it” was 8 hours, which she did with no trouble. I pickup her food dish at bedtime the night before (normally we allow “free choice” I think it’s called, where dry food is available all day), and give her minimal water in the a.m. and on the flight, and she does fine. Tiffy’s relatively young, tho, and has a great bladder 8-) I was disappointed, tho, that the airports claim to have “pet areas”, but as far as I could tell in the 3 airports I was in (LAX, Phoenix and San Antonio), the pet area was any patch of dirt or grass you could find outside the airport building. Maybe I just didn’t ask the right people (skycaps). If you will have time to take her for a walk during stopovers, I think that would be great, but you’d have to go back thru security again. 8-( Maybe others have flown on long flights like yours and can give you better advice than I can. If you let me know when you’re going, and if you’d like, I’ll pray for a smooth trip with easy connections and no hassles. Sandy

53 Jeanne 03.07.10 at 1:35 pm

Is there any way your girl could manage to hit the mark on a peepee pad?
If you had time you could train her to use them on command and then go to a handicap stall plop one down and give her a go command. Roll it up and deposit it in the trash bin (it couldn’t be worse then some of the diapers that get put in them).
They have heavy duty ones and should be able to hold whatever she deposits especially if you have restricted her fluids a bit.
My SD is a 30 lb Springer and she uses peepee pads all the time since I’m not always in shape to get her out the door in a timely fashion.
Just a thought.

54 Jessica 03.07.10 at 5:49 pm

Thanks Jeanne !!

Yeah, i’m pretty sure she could use a pee pad :lol: guess we’ll see! I’ll definantly pick some up! We just went and got our health certificate today…we are cleared to fly!! WOOHOO!

I leave the 13th of this month and I will be returning on the 22nd of this month. Wish me luck and safe journeys! May my prayers be with you all for easy journeys and timely recoveries :grin: every bit helps!

55 Heather 03.13.10 at 12:07 am

Ok, where to begin. To, Janis Lee, you are absolutely disgusting. I understand you are sick and disabled, but you do not just leave your old, overweight dog behind or put them to sleep for your own convenience. You do not let them get fat and then crippled because of it and then put them to sleep, because it is not convenient for you to find a way to take them with you. You should find adiquit arrangements for her, or wait to move until she has either died of natural causes, somehow found a good home, or actually become old enough and sick enough that she is no longer enjoying life and would have a ligitimate reason to be put to sleep. I sware, I don’t know a single guide dog handler who would do such a terrible thing to their guide dog or their pet dog. No wonder those PETA freaks don’t like some service dog handlers. Moving on. I am glad to hear of most people not having access issues, but a few things I am reading are troubling me. One man seemed amused that his service dog was pissing all over the walls of the tunnel his tour group was traveling through. That is unacceptable. A dog should not be marking in public, defiling landmarks and tourist sites. It also sounds as if the dog is not well trained, if it is relieving without permission, multiple times in one walk, and as if he is not fixed, and most responsible hearing ear dog, guide dog, service dog, etc schools would never place an un-altered dog with a handler. Several people have mentioned not taking their dogs places that they are by law allowed to go. Please forgive me if I misunderstand, and some of you are not in the United States, but in the USA, your dogs can go into any public place with you, with out you showing paperwork of any kind or telling them what your disability is. For now at least, it is illegal for anyone to ask you what your disability is, even if it is deafness or PTSD or something else, not overtly visible. One person said that they avoided fancy restaurants because they didn’t want to upset the customers. You are paying to be there, your dog is clean and well-trained, you should eat there if you want to. What the heck? Another person said that they don’t take their service dog food shopping. Again, if your dog is clean and well-behaved, why on earth would you leave your dog behind, when it sounds like they are some sort of medical alert dog? So, if you have an attack or an epesode in the grocery store that is ok, because you didn’t want your dog to offend the store owners? Stand up for your rights, if you are in the right.

. Service dogs ARE. NOT. EXEMPT. from laws that require rabies shots and should not ever be. Yes, they are service dogs, but they must have shots. That is ridiculous. I would never defend the blind person with the unvaxinated guide dog or the deaf person with the unprotected hearing ear dog. Why would anyone not provide proper vet care and get their dogs, pet, service, whatever, vaxinated against a deadly and painfuln disease? Someone mentioned a wolf highbred. You have got to be freaken kidding me. They are not legal, let alone meant to be used as service dogs. That’s all I’m saying on that, because I’m sure I’ve offended quite enough people, and I don’t want to piss off a guy with an illegal animal that he is trying to pass off as a service dog. *Wrye smile* I agree with a previous poster that although there certainly are many wonderful and ligitimate service dogs that are minature or toy breeds, it is inappropriate to be helping them play the slots, passing them into the care of anyone in public, using them to get attention or carrying them around in hand-bags. They are dogs, not stuffed animals, not infants, not fashion accessories. I will defend to the death the right of a disabled person to have their well groomed, well-behaved, well-trained small breed service dog with them, but you show me a pet dog, or an emotional support dog in public that attacks, harasses or distracts my service dog, and I will have them out of that public venue faster than you can say ADA. I know a woman whose German Shepherd guide dog was sleeping under her table in a restaurant when a woman passed by with a Yorki in her purse, yes, her purse. The GSD lifted her head and sniffed the purse, because, duh, it smelled like another dog and it was about three inches away from her face. She didn’t bark, didn’t snarrle or growl. She did not try to bite or nip, her mouth was actually closed. The Yorki popped his head out of the purse and lunged and bit the GSD in the eye. She lost the site in that eye and had to be retired from guiding because of it. Worse, the owner of the Yorki started screaming that the shepherd had attacked her dog, which was covered in blood. Obviously the GSD’s blood. Luckily the woman having lunch with the handler of the GSD saw the whole thing, knew the Yorki was not hurt and grabbed it away from the woman, wiped it off with napkins, while it bit her twice, and took pictures with her digital camera to have proof that it had not been in anyway hurt, and took pictures of the poor GSD. When confronted to return the dog, the woman refused, and said “I am calling the police, and once they sign a police report noting that your dog is unhurt and my friend’s guide dog is very badly hurt you can have your little monster back, but if we have our way it will be put to sleep.” The yorki owner told police that it was her tharapy dog. The term tharapy dog applies to dogs who go into hospitals, nursing homes, schools, etc to help those with mental or emotional difficulties, and it is not a classification of assistance dog or service dog. The woman with the GSD had the owner fined four thousand dollars, although it takes $20000 to $50000 to train a guide dog, and the Yorki was banned from public places by the judge, with the condition that if it bit another dog or human that it would be yuthanized immediately. So, you will have to forgive me for my strong opinions on the subject of fakers with pet dogs, or irrisponsible service dog handlers. Have a good evening all.

56 jeanne 03.13.10 at 8:48 am


57 John M. 03.13.10 at 9:14 pm

Heather……seems to have a dislike for any humor, entertainment, friendliness or spirited light hearted fun of any sort. Just because we have a disability large or small, doesn’t mean we have to be a grouchy snob or carry a “don’t pet my service dog! he is working!” attitude. :mad:
Some of Heather’s remarks and distasteful “tone” were directed at myself and Sparky…along with a few others. I will address only her personal attack upon Sparky and myself. Accusing me of ” having an illegal animal that HE is trying to pass off as a service dog”. Hearing loss is a very disabilitating condition, in my case caused by close proximity loud explosives in my fireworks displays. Sparky is very well trained, registered,smarter and well behaved than most humans.

Sparky’s training, acute sense of hearing and smell forewarns me of unannounced visitors, intruders such as burglers, “street scum” and nocturnal marauders including, but not limited to grizzly bears, as we live in Yellowstone National Park. :shock:

Heather is a natural born agitator who thrives on controversy, hoping and expecting to cause an “explosion” of hateful feed back. I also detect her general dislike of small service dogs. I will bet Sparky’s next container of Cesar Dog Food that Heather has a large breed dog. Her comment smacks with a hint of jealousy as well. I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever, that she has not been on a FUN vacation, cruise or getaway in quite some time. :roll:

I take full responsibility for allowing Sparky to piss on the walls of that dark tunnel, deep in the bowels of Hoover Dam. He has a small bladder and it was a long tour. Water was leaking into those tunnels and the cement floors are wet already with seepage…just like in Shawshank Redemption. When Sparky pees it is a 2 second squirt, not a fire hose like large SD’s. He will keep his balls with pride as I do, and we will continue to proudly piss at will when the need arises, even in airports that don’t provide a sufficient “pet relief area”. Sparky likes to piss on the escalator trashcan at concourse C, in Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. :wink:

As far as passing him around the slot machines at the Encore, he had FUN at it and so did the rest of us those nights. :smile: Imagine that Heather…HAVING FUN! Sparky n me stayed out of the very fancy restaurants at the Wynn and Encore, out of respect for the guests who are there for a once in a lifetime dining experience. Which I might add heather retains not a distant vision of what a resort of this caliber consists of. :cool:

With that said, I will leave the rest of you who were offended, accused of illegal activities or animal cruelty to disregard Heather and her ignorance or defend your selfs. By the way…I am glad that Yorkie “popped his head out of the purse and lunged and bit the GSD in the eye”. :twisted:

58 Heather 03.14.10 at 10:31 am

Wow, you are truly an ignorant reactionary one, aren’t you? I never said your dog was illegal. You have a small-breed, some sort of tarrior, no? I was refering to the person with a wolf highbread as being illegal, not your dog. You let him urinate on something indoors, near the escelator? You give all service dog owners a bad name. I am sure that many people on this discussion with hearing ear dogs, guide dogs, medical alert dogs, etc would all be upset if they saw your dog mark in public. Every time someone like you does something like that, people who with properly house-trained dogs are given an added level of suspician when trying to go through an airport or a hotel. You said you are glad that a dog hurt another dog? Your dog should be taken away if you honestly and truly believe that any dog suffering is good. Holy crap. I do not dislike small breed service dogs. I dislike poorly behaved small breed service dogs. I dislike poorly behaved large breed service dogs. I know several people who have perfectly friendly Yorkies, Shelties, Corgies, long -haired chiwawahs, etc. I love these dogs to pieces and have the utmost respect for them and their owners. If I saw a large breed service dog attack another dog, or urinate in public, etc, I would take issue with that, and have on many occations. A woman with a guide dog who lives in our town, lets her dog onto the back seats of cabs, and it will fit on the floor, feeds her dog scraps of people food on the floor, not in a dog dish or travel bowl at nice restaurants, allows it to jump on people and once completely ignored her dog when she was sick and so she had a terrible accident in the middle of a department store. Everywhere I go I hear horror stories from cabbies, shop owners and restaurant owners and concern that my dog will behave like hers, and have to spend my time explaining their rights to report or refuse to service her if her dog damages their property, and that my dog will not do the things her dog did. The kicker? It is a nice dog, whose training has not been kept up, and with a more risponsible handler, I don’t think this dog would have any problems. It is sad. If you think I am trying to make trouble, I am not. The reason my post seems so long and so confrontational, stems from the fact that I found this post long after many many people had posted, and so I had a lot of comments to respond to all in one place. If your dog is used to piddling indoors on things, I suppose it is a very good thing that you didn’t bring him into the fancy restaurant. I have taken my guide dog into restaurants that you can’t get out of, for less than $80.00 per person, and that is if you do not sample the wine list. As a musician, I have attended and participated in many many extremely high class venues, and the other patrons were delighted to have us there, commenting on how well-groomed and well-mannered my dog was. I have been on two cruises in my life and to many many resorts, as well as having toured France, Italy, Austria, Germany and Switzerland with a performing group, so, don’t point fingers denouncing me as not being worldly or well-rounded, when, I have probably been to more foreign countries, operas, and fine dining restaurants than you will ever visit. Ok, I’m off for now. And if anyone feels the desire to join in with this uninformed dog handler, please, do so, and I will address your comments with no ill will. I would just ask that you read any posts I write fully, so that you don’t make a mistake as the previous poster did, in recognizing what I was saying.

59 jeanne 03.14.10 at 10:48 am

Heather, I’m with you.
The clod who let’s his dog misbehave makes it harder on the rest of us who have well behaved SD’s.
It’s in bad taste to let your animal relieve himself in the places you mentioned. For goodness sake, carry a pee pee pad with you if you know your dog has a problem with a small bladder. Anticipate his needs.
As for your comment about the Yorkie and being glad he bit the other service dog in the eye are you really that callous over harm coming to another person’s dog? I’m certainly glad I don’t know you and I hope to high heaven nothing ever happens to your dog. It would be sad and unfortunate for your dog but something you would deserve!

60 Sandy P 03.14.10 at 2:27 pm

To Jessica – How did your first ever flight with your miniature Mastiff service dog go?

61 Gary Jacob 03.14.10 at 10:23 pm

:?: When i became disabled in 2003 i did a lot of digging about Service Dogs. Besides other problem I have a mobility disorder dealing with balance coming from 2 different reasons. As long as i can keep my mind and eye on something fixed i am good, but much better with the ability to hold on to the handle of the hardness that Henry wears when we go places. Henry is a Bernise Mountain Dog and is great at what he does and a wonderful friend. We traveled from Chicaco to the DR and everything went just fine (it was his first time). Henry comes in about 110 lbs and has been trained and retrained as well as certified. In my readings and investagation i came about several type of definations for these type of workers. when i travel with him i make sure we have 2 seats together so he has room. he is trained on command to do his thing and he has gone over 9 hours, flying, layovers and flying. are we not talking about the category of a companion dog, which by mistake are presented as service dogs and that is fine, but if all my reading these companion dogs do not qualify with the same rules as a service animal. i am serious that this needs to be checked out and you have been lucky to get the animal on board. when we fly and it usually on aa, i get a call from the government confirming all the detail about Henry so there is no mix up at the airport. one more thing, if you are so bored to keep talking about this subject, read a book, watch a movie or take a walk, just do something as this subject has been beaten to death

62 Jessica 03.14.10 at 10:33 pm

Our flight went spectacular!!! Seattle airport actually is the only airport that has a restroom designed specifically for service dogs!! The small plane from Dallas to Killeen was a little tough, but no big problems! My flight on Alaska from Seattle to Dallas was marvelous, we sat bulkhead n they even placed a specific airport personnel on the plane who wax a Ada/service dog advocate. He was great, thank you Greg for your help on the plane!!

63 Ken 03.19.10 at 10:57 am

After reading the comment about traveling on SouthWest, I found the following on the SW site. Doesn’t it violate the ADA rules?

Traveling Tips for Customers with Disabilities
Emotional Support Animals
Animals used for a Customer’s emotional support are accepted in the cabin. In order for a Customer to travel with an emotional support animal, the Customer must provide to a Southwest Airlines Employee current documentation (not more than one year old) on letterhead from a mental health professional or medical doctor who is treating the Customer’s mental health-related disability stating:

1. The passenger has a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fourth Edition (DSM IV)
2. The passenger needs the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger’s destination
3. The individual providing the assessment is a licensed mental health professional, and the passenger is under his or her professional care
4. AND The date and type of the mental health professional’s or medical doctor’s license and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued.

Assistance and emotional support animals must be trained to behave in a public setting. Customers traveling with an assistance animal or an emotional support animal cannot sit in an emergency exit seat.

64 Doc 03.19.10 at 3:43 pm

Ken: SW did NOT violate the ADA rules. The airlines have every right to reguest proof that you require a SD. They cannot ask your diagnosis or disability, but the are entitled to have you show proof. Can you imagine how many SD would be on planes if you didnt need a note? Now I am not saying that there are not a lot of BOGOUS notes out there, but at least this will create some kind of minimal control. There are all ways doctors who think they are helping a patient by writing a note, but they can lose their license with false statements. My problem is that larger SD have not been able to board because of a small animal that can be carried in a animal carrier on board was brought on in full uniform so as to save the $100 bucks or so that would be charged. I have a 50# SD that cannot be carried and I have had to change my plans because there was a small dog that could have been carried in a bag or carry on “cage”. There should be full certification, but that will never happen

65 Sandy P 03.19.10 at 5:08 pm

Doc, Can you please tell me what airline made you change your plans because there was a small dog already on the plane? I want to be sure to avoid that airline. Was it an airline with pre-assigned seating? The nice thing about Southwest is that it’s first come, first served as far as seating, and disabled people go to the front of the line, so I’ve gotten a bulkhead seat all 5 times I’ve flown. I would be so stressed if I showed up and the airline wouldn’t let my dog on. I wouldn’t fly if they said she had to go in cargo – I’d have to change flights. It would turn into such a disaster!
Ken, have you checked out the ADA website re. requirements for emotional support dogs? That would be the best source of information.

66 Jessica 03.19.10 at 5:33 pm

Wow that’s unbelievable!! Yes please do tell so I can avoid it as well!! Lilly, my SD weighs in at 65lbs, n I didn’t have a single problem getting bulkhead seating. The airlines I flew with even made sure there was an empty seat next to me so Lilly didn’t have to try n squeeze in under peoples feet! She didn’t get to ride on the seats but she had 3 seats worth of room!!

67 jackie 03.27.10 at 1:27 pm

Lol– service dog traveling should be used by anyone wanting to travel with their animal– until the descrimination is eliminated. I never have a problem with my 95lb golden in her vest and I have no issues whatsoever except that I am entitled to take her wherever I choose. And guess what–they can restrict the laws to specific licenses but in the end anyone will be able to purchase a license. I carry a copy of the ADA legislation with me–it’s all I’ve ever needed –in fact all my dogs take turns traveling with me in the cabin. Also, an added bonus, about 50% of the time–we get bumped to first class–it’s a win-win

68 John M. 03.27.10 at 8:13 pm

Here is a link to the FAA ( Federal Aviation Administration) Rules and Regulations Regarding Service Animals in extensive detail. Be prepared for a long read of 3 pages. Grab a cup of coffee or cocktail before you begin. In the end you will have answers to every conceivable question regarding flying with Service Animals.
Begin reading on page 24,875 to 24,878.

Sparky n Me

69 Heather 04.10.10 at 12:25 pm

Last summer I traveled via American , 4 flights total. First 3 no problem, even though I had booked specifically bulkhead, I was moved, ticketing agent easily moved me back. Last flight she refused, literally refused. Told me that I had to keep my regular seat and place my 60# dog ‘wherever’. Luckily for her the customer service desk was right behind me. They moved me. Again, easily and with no problem. On a side note, the lady next to me had emphysema and back problems, brought no O2 or meds and had problems during the flight. After it was all said and done, while waiting baggage, I heard people commenting about how I brought on her medical problems with my service dog, that I obviously didnt need. I have an invisible dissability. For that very reason I DO with that there was ONE licensing body that governed service dogs.

70 Richard 04.12.10 at 6:21 pm

See Rule in effect beginning May 13, 2009

Part 382, Passengers with Disabilities

People with invisible disabilities are being discriminated against under this Rule. The Rule currently in effect is totally against the ADA because the airlines are being directed to 1) Ask you about your disability. 2) Require proof from a Licensed “Mental Health Professional” Not a Family Dr. or a General Practitioner and that proof should be within the last year. 3) Airlines may require a 48 hour advance notice of travel. I tried to post this in the Service Animal Law What do you think section and because I provided links that back up what I am saying it is being moderated and has not been approved as of the other day when I checked on it. I will follow this post up with a link.

Also please note that unlike the ADA the DOT does recognize “Emotional Support Animals”. The ADA does recognize “Psychiatric Service Animals”.

71 Richard 04.12.10 at 6:22 pm
72 Richard 04.12.10 at 6:33 pm

Okay maybe it wasn’t the links I provided that caused my post to be moderated, perhaps it was the quotes I provided from the Rules PDF file?

73 Heather M 04.29.10 at 5:51 pm

Just so there is no confusion, there are at least 2 Heathers LOL I posted about the airline giving me grief. Thanks for the links. My disability isnt psychiatric , its Lyme disease, causing chronic fatigue plus other things. Again , thanks for the links!

74 Heather and Ellie 05.01.10 at 8:16 pm

Hi Everyone,
There’s another Heather now….please don’t confuse me with the other ones :)
I have a question…and I’m not sure if there is anyone out there that knows, but I might as well try.
I am training a black Lab Service Dog for NEADS ( and I *might* be taking her on an airline flight. She’s 15 months old and very well-trained, a quiet and low-key dog.
Does anyone know anything about taking a Service Dog in *training* on a flight? Do airlines give you more hassle about them because they aren’t specifically doing a job for their handler?
I of course have a vest, tag, and trainer ID card, but I’m worried from reading about the experience some of you have had with airline attendants asking you for certificates from doctors.


75 Jake 05.16.10 at 9:01 pm

John M, your mutt is not a Service Animal. You are the poster child for the need of legislation of service animals.

76 Masayo 05.27.10 at 2:49 pm

Can anyone tell me their detailed experience on flying with a service animal to Hawaii? I am familiar with the requirements on the Dept of Agriculture website – rabies titer, health certificate, etc but was wondering what happened on the day of travel.

77 ken howard 06.13.10 at 11:39 pm

Jake, I have to agree, JOHN M and ¨Sparky¨ are what give SD´s and their handlers a bad name.

SORRY JOHN M, but from what you have posted, in my opinion, you are either a TROLL just trying to stur up trouble or one of the most IRRESPONSAILE dog owners (Disabled or not) I have ever seen post.
Allowing your dog to urinate in the airport, and then posting as if it is funny is sick. I think if you are truly disabled (which I doubt), you need to seek some psychiatric help. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE explain how ¨Sparky¨ was trained to alert you to ¨Street Scum¨ as compaired to the average person walking down the street. THAT is a trick every dog owner would love to know. Alerts you to ¨Grizzly Bears¨? ? ? If you are 50 deaf, then you are TONE DEAF. I know, I am tone deaf from an IED so you can´t BS me on this one. YES, some door bells, some cell phones ringing (depending on the tone of the device) but a grizzly bear? SORRY, that does not fly. YOU sir, remind me of the few idiots in the Military who never served in a combat zone and claim non exhistant purple hearts and other metals. WE CALL THEM GLORY HOUNDS. Seems to me YOU WANT ATTENTION and your dog provides that for you. THAT IS NOT what a SD is for. Those of us who are REALLY DISABLED hate being looked at, stared at, being made to feel different. All we want is a NORMAL life, something I think you have and take for granted.

I am a disabled veteran and although I love my SD to death, I would trade almost ANYTHING to have my health back and be able to convert her into a companion dog where I COULD leave her at home if I wanted to.

ENJOY having ¨Fun¨ in vegas with your PET DOG at the EXPENSE of the rest of us !

78 Amy and Magic 07.11.10 at 2:00 pm

My dog, a Welsh Corgi, was a pet for a year before I became disabled, and hxas flown on Southwest three times this year, and on Amtrak once as well. SW has been great, with the exception of one flight attendant, who told me I couldn’t give him any food on the plane or keep him tethered to me. Other than that, the gate personnel and flight crew have been very helpful.

I agree with those who say it’s best to just proceed into places such as restaurants, with the expectation you will be admitted. My dog’s service tags have been very instrumental, I believe, in our gaining admittance everywhere. I had a couple business owners read the rules on the back of his tag to make sure they understood the rules, but this was not with the intention of excluding him. I think his red vest, his tag, his demeanor and mine as well, go a long way. I show as much courtesy and self assurance as possible, and usually receive polite treatment in return, despite my “invisible” disability.

Also, even though a service dog is legally permitted to travel to hotels and professional conferences I attend, I always call or email ahead that I have a service companion. I also like to use inquiries from the public to educate people about what service dogs do beyond vision and hearing assistance.

Having Magic with me on trips helps make the pain and exhaustion of traveling bearable.

Amy and Magic

79 anaxagoras 07.12.10 at 12:37 pm

I travelled with my SD on USAir from Washington DCA to Tampa, and it was seamless. I had used a travel agent that specializes in disabled travelers, so the airlines knew an SD would be with me. Still I was impressed that *every* staff member (airline, airport and TSA) treated me like every other passenger, nobody did so much as a double-take.

80 anaxagoras 07.12.10 at 1:36 pm

Heather and Ellie,

To my knowledge, airlines are not legally required to accommodate service-dogs-in-training in the cabin with their trainer. Likewise, even if a service dog is fully trained/graduated, the dog is not entitled to travel with a person in the cabin if that person is not the one with the disability (e.g., the service dog is being brought to a disabled person who is already at the destination). The law provides accessibility protection for disabled people who require medical assistance in the form of a service dog, so if there is no disabled person present then there is no protection.

Legality aside, considering whether the airline would let it slide anyway, you’d be rolling the dice on the courtesy of the personnel you’d run into.

On the other hand, if you are disabled and self-training your SD, I do not know where the law would fall on that one.

81 John M. 07.15.10 at 11:03 pm

Ken and Jake obviously have the dreaded ” I Am Disabled With limited Mobilty So I will Be Abrasive And Grumpy” syndrome including but not limited to “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” and “Social Anxiety Disorder” attenuated by a smack of jealousy. You and Heather #1 should get together and be miserable. Life is what you make it.
I bet Sparky’s next bowl of shrimp that you have a large breed Service Dog with few skills and a very small brain, trained by some fly by night Service Dog School.
Sparky would sniff you two out just like the “Street Scum” in Las Vegas and bite your ankle so hard you would never forget the pain. My advise to you is never ever underestimate the intelligence, courage and instict of a small service dog. You served in the military Ken …in a combat zone…..the thought of a tiny service dog peeing a 1 ounce squirt in an airport makes you sick? I am perplexed! Brain matter, arms and legs flying in all directions from IEDs and you are disturbed by Sparky peeing in the favorite Service Dog place in MSP Airport. What a joke! I thank you for your service to defend our freedom and I am truly sorry that people stare at you and make you feel….”different” and inadequate.
I trained my boy to alert me of any suspisious activity, sound, scent or people of certain demeanor with undesirable tendacies. Imagine that…a home schooled and self trained Service Dog that is worth ten times his weight in gold. Sparky has warned me of approaching grizzly bears while camping in the Yellowstone backcountry numerous times. I have no doubt that sparky would attack a bear, sacrifice himself for me giving me a precious few seconds to grab my .45 and blast away. My hearing was damaged by large diameter Titanium Salutes fired by hand in public fireworks displays….ironically celebrating the freedom you fought for. Don’t bring your dark cloud down on the rest of us. Get a life…get out see the world and for God’s sake have some fun!

82 Jim 07.31.10 at 6:07 pm

I know several people with service dogs, and I have to say they are like handicapped parking spaces. Just scamming the system.

Have to mention that one of the people who deserves a handicapped parking space won’t use one as he says, “Leave that for someone who needs it.” Uh, Arch, you need it. “Not as long as I can walk, I don’t need it.”

Time to just eliminate the whole service dog scam and let people have their dogs. The ADA is well meant, but seriously flawed.

83 Illiterati 08.15.10 at 9:57 pm

Not about flying, but…

I traveled on Amtrak a few months ago and didn’t have any problems. I called them after I bought my tickets online to let them know I’d be traveling with a service dog.

They took my number and a little later, a woman called me to ask me what my service dog did for me.

I let her know that my dog assisted me with my disability, she thanked me, told me she’d let the staff on that train know there’d be a service dog, said goodbye and hung up.

I brought puppy pads with me for the trip, as we spent 16 hours on the train. My dog did beautifully both on the train and in the hotel room.

84 Bill W. 08.20.10 at 7:54 pm

We’ve traveled to HI 3 times with our SD Budley, 100 lb. Lab/Retriever mix, direct PHX to OGG. Fortunately, with Miles, we’ve been able to upgrade to the right-front seats in 1st. Next trip, however, we’ll be back in the “cheap seats” just behind 1st.
We’ve never had a spot of bother, except for one small incident which was probably our fault. HI requires a Health Cert dated within 30 days of travel, but USAir requires it be withion 15 days. We assumed HI took precedence but not so. We were 16 days out but they let it slide.
Work with your vet, read HIDA Service Animal rules, and your airline’s. Start planning EARLY!
Feed your dog no food and only tiny water before your flight, empty him as possible; take a few paper towels or a diaper, just in case. Carry 2 handfuls of dog food and use sparingly. FA’s will gladly bring you a cup of ice (no water).
Finally, be familiar with “Frequently asked questions—” by the ADA and carry a copy or two. Patience, pleasance & perserverance.
If you try to smuggle your pet aboard, be prepared to go to jail.

85 Barbara S. 10.08.10 at 3:58 pm

I am new to this website and found it to be helpful. However, I was amazed that people are not supportive of each other on the subject of service dogs. Why not stick to the subject – airline travel. Instead people are arguing about whether or not your dog is a service dog based on size, etc. As service dog owners, we should be banding together to educate the public and change laws – not fight with each other. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories of airline travel. It was very helpful and appreciated.

86 Kimberly Kubalek 10.19.10 at 3:43 pm

I have had HUGE problems with American Airlines. Not only did they pull me OFF of a flight MID TRIP – stranding me due to a minor issue with my service dogs health certificate, they have flat out, in my face lied to me on multiple occassions. After making multiple calls to confirm the notification of my service animal, they actually had the nerve to claim, AT the airport, that I never made the calls and and that I never faxed the documentation (which I have faxed twice). And one customer service and disabilities services MANAGER actually LAUGHED in my face as I was crying in front of her. I cannot believe that there are such awful organizations as American Airlines. I urge everyone I know not to fly with them. American Airlines made flying an absolute NIGHTMARE.

87 Katie Smith 10.20.10 at 2:44 pm

Can my doctor write the letter on a prescription pad? I have the note from him on a prescription pad and I’m due to fly out on Oct 31st on American Airlines to Paris.

88 Steve 03.13.11 at 3:39 pm

Alaska airlines when ever possible. Traveled from Alaska to Portland this past October. I have a bouvier and he weighs 105 lbs. He is a physical assist dog but does many other things as well. At the time I also had a smaller Bouvier that was in training. I called ahead to make sure I had no problems and when I got to the airport not only did they come and ask me to the front of the line when they saw us standing there but they also made sure that we had a bulk head seat. The flight was full but the attendants knew even in the bulkhead we were going to be tight so on their own they blocked the center seat so my dog would be comfortable. Not only did they not charge me for my registered adult dog but they did not charge me for the one in train. Of course she went as check baggage but I had already expected that as per the rules for service dogs. During the flight the attendants even came by several times to make sure were were confortable and to give my boy some attention which he ate up. He really likes girls anyway. The only problem we had if you even want to call it that was with TSA on our return trip. The training was very poor and when they went over my dog they did it in a very dumb manor. All I can say is they were lucky my boy is so tolernet of idiots. I even told them when we passed through that they ha dbetter to learn how to properly go over dogs or one day they might lose a hand. I rate Alaska Airlines as number 1 in my books.

89 Ave Guevara 04.19.11 at 8:32 am

How does one get USSD documentation for their therapy service dog? Currently I only have a letter from my doctor containing no explanation of the medical reason, simply his recommendation for a service dog on his letterhead stationery, and my SPOT ID tags. I have purchased a red vest from the pet store that is not an official SD vest, but looks official and her ID tag is fixed onto it. I’ve had no problems thus far, but would like USSD documentation before I take her on any flights. She is a standard red poodle.

90 June Pasko 05.02.11 at 9:57 am

My Doctor wrote a short hand written letter on his prescription pad. All it states is “SERVICE DOG” Required for medical condition. This is easy to carry in your wallet. I made an extra copy and placed in my dogs pocket on her service dog vest with her spot tags showing. When I am asked for medical documentation it is reachable.

I have traveled on South West, Jet Blue, USA, American & No West airlines. I have only been asked once to show documentation and once a stewardess asked me what my “problem” was. I asked her if she would ask someone in a wheelchair what their problem was? She said NO, that was the end of our conversation. I have stayed at some high end Hotels with NO problem and NEVER had a problem going into any class of restaurants once they see her with her tags/vest on. I carry a zipped dog blanket bag with me, unzip it and she lays on it by my feet or the side of the table while we eat. She is an American Hairless Terrier (coated variety) around 12 lbs and trained.

Always try and be pleasent to those people who have not a clue as to what a service dog is for. When they see how well behaved she is and I am not demanding I do not run into any problems anywhere.

91 Sarah 05.02.11 at 1:46 pm

I have only traveled on Delta from Detroit to Salt Lake with Riley. It
was a breeze except that Riley is a 65 lb. lab and one bulkhead seat was not wide enough for her. Luckily, I had 2 lab lovers in the seats next to me. They couldn’t have been more helpful, even sitting with their feet on the bulkhead to give Riley more room.
TSA was also very helpful explaining about not triggering the metal detector, by removing her collar and vest. I had a piece of webbing with me which I put around her neck as her leash and collar went through the baggage screener. We walked through the screener with no alarm and were on our way.
I was so proud of Riley as she was just 14 months old, newly certified, and a perfectly behaved SD.

92 Lonnie 05.16.11 at 12:18 pm

My dog and I fly Delta. We have made 26 flights and have never had a problem with the airlines. Flight Attendants even brought me a bowl and small bottle of water for y dog. Delta has been truly wonderful to us and supportive. I have ran across 2 TSA people that have been very nasty about the dog. With 26 flights under our belts, I don’t think that is so bad. I listened to them smiled and moved on. Our hats are off to the folks at Delta Airlines!

93 Shari T. 06.04.11 at 1:33 am

I have an autism service dog for my 10 year old son Austin. She is a 4 year old 45lb. Labradoodle named Maggie that we got from the North Star Foundation when she was a year old. She went through training since she was a puppy and then more training when we received her that I had to do with her. The fact is, training never ends. It’s a constant thing but she is well worth it and has probably saved my son’s life more than once. Her main function is to prevent Austin from ‘bolting’ either into traffic or a crowd where he can easily get lost. He has done both of these when he was little and I have never been more scared in my life. It was fate the day I was doing some research into autism and found an article on autism service dogs. It was an answer to my prayers. Austin is non-verbal and although I make sure to have some form of identification on him if God forbids he does get lost in a crowd, my worst fear is that he could be abducted and wouldn’t even know to shout for help. He wears a vest that is attached to Maggie’s vest by a lead line and then I have control of a leash that is also attached to Maggie’s vest. Maggie is also trained to block him if he starts walking toward moving cars. My son has sensory issues and hates to hold my hand while walking so the vest is the only way I can have control of him in potentially dangerous situations. Maggie has flown once from Seattle to San Diego and she did great. In fact she was so quiet in the bulkhead, many passengers did not even know she was there. We flew Alaska and they did not give me one bit of trouble. They were very accommodating and I was so pleased that we will be flying Alaska again this summer to Hawaii to see my family. We will also be flying to Houston to see the in-laws a month later but even though we booked through United, it will be on a Continental flight since they merged and do that now. Our flight is scheduled for next month and like a few other posters, I always call the airlines right after booking the flight to check about seat assignments with Maggie. For our previous Alaska flight, they gave us the bulkheads with no problem. That also happened when I called about the trip to Hawaii. Continental however is giving me some problems. First they want me to fax in a doctors note. I told the agent that I have flown with Maggie and my son before on Alaska and was never asked for a doctor’s note. I was told that it was required for emotional assistance animals. I asked him what about service animals? He said that service dogs for the blind or mobility issues were not required to do this but emotional assistance animals are. I patiently tried to explain that Maggie is a service dog. That she provides a service for my son to keep him safe. We discussed it back and forth for awhile but he was adamant. Since I have a doctors note in her file, I said fine. It was just the principal of the matter that bothered me. So I faxed in the doctor’s note and waited a couple weeks not hearing anything back so figured everything was set. But something in the back of my mind told me to double check so I called again and asked if all the documentation is okay. The lady told me that the doctors note was 2 years old and they only take doctors notes that are a year or less old. Why didn’t Continental call me about this? What would have happened if I had gone to the airport without this settled? When I told her no one notified me about it she said “Well that’s strange, someone should have.” So far, I’m not impressed with Continental and am praying that things go smoothly when it is time to fly. At least now I have time to get the Drs note fixed beforehand. If we do encounter any problems with the flight, I will avoid Continental in the future. So although we have only flown Alaska with our service dog so far, I give Alaska high marks.
I do want to mention that the reason we got a Labradoodle as opposed to a Labrador Retriever or Golden is that my son is very allergic to dogs so we had to find a hypoallergenic breed. It has worked great with Maggie and my son’s allergies rarely flare up. The big issue I’m having now with travel is staying at hotels. If we go to a hotel that has pet friendly rooms, that’s where they want to put us because of Maggie. The problem is, other dogs have been in that room and causes my son’s allergies to go haywire. I’ve had a couple of hotels that refused to let us stay in the regular rooms and I’ve had to actually leave one and find another hotel. The other we tried to stay in the pet friendly room but my son was pretty miserable and he had to take quite a few Benadryl. Also would like to know what others do about rental cars? The last one we rented balked when they saw Maggie but I had called ahead to tell them we had a service dog so they did let us rent one but didn’t seem too happy about it.

94 Lulu 03.05.12 at 9:17 am

Yes all I can say is I flew delta and they were great! I really thought we were going to have problems considering the size of my dog but they saw his tags and that was it. We had a drs. Letter just incase but they didnt even look at it. I did fly business though because there was no way he was going to fit between seats or bulk head . He’s an Alaskan Malamute and weighs in at a little over 200lbs. No he’s not fat and no they normally don’t get that big. But he’s healthy and a very well behaved dog. We had no problem going through security and no problems on the plane.The crew was very helpful and what made it nice is they asked me if I needed anything for him. Now I’m not sure if it was just people in shock when they saw him heading through security. They couldn’t believe that someone would have a service dog that size. But it was smooth sailing all the way to France. I felt bad though that there was no place for him to go pee but I knew he could hold for up to 18 hours with no problem. And during the summer he does that cause he wants to stay in the air condition. Only problem with him being so large us he does draw a lot of attention. Alot of people wanting pictures and to pet him. I find it hard to say no because most people are terrified when they see a dog his size and I want them to see that he’s just a big teddy bear. But having that great experience with delta definitely put them at the top of the list for flying. Later!

95 Julia 03.08.12 at 11:02 pm

I am very thankful for all the great information I gained from reading these posts on airline travel with service dogs. I have traveled four times on airlines with my girl, Yuki, and have never experienced any issues what so ever. I used Airtran and Jetblue. I have also been on AmTrak with no problems. I always have Yuki wearing her vest, her tags, and her registration cards fit nicely in her vest for all to see. I have never been asked for my doctors notes. If they did, they would get them from three different medical doctors who have each prescribed me a service animal. I never worry about traveling with my girl since I do what I can to make my trips less stressful such as having all of her documents on me. I have only had to embarrass one snooty flight attendant when she asked me what my disability was. I told her that I have a brain tumor which causes me to experience Grand Mal seizures, especially when I get stressed out by invading questions about my disability. She backed away from me like I was a ticking time bomb and my brain was going to go off any second. I smiled and sat back down. No further comments from the peanut gallery. ;)

96 Tom and Mel 03.17.12 at 7:22 pm

Anyone knows if airlines will sell a discounted ticket for a large service dog. Even a lot of seats I first class don’t have the leg room.

97 Tom and Mel 03.17.12 at 8:09 pm

Again Tom and Mel
Our kids, bless their hearts, gave my wife and I an Alaskan cruise for our 47th anniversary. Mel is an outside potty trained dog and was never trained to go on command. NCL offers a 4×4 sand box or pee pads. Mel is a 100 lb Goldie and our yard sand (Arizona) so doubt he would ever accept a 4×4 box when he has a whole back yard while we try to train him . Trying pee pads for 2 weeks and not doing well. Tried the spray, other dogs pee, his pee and poop, and he just turns a blinds eye. Know this is a site for other travel but thought there was probable veteran cruisers out there.He does great flying and can hold it a long time particularly if the weather is bad but don’t think 7 dayss…only kidding

. We have 3 more months to try to train him…3 more weeks until deposit due. Our kids really want us to take this cruise while we can. Guess we could leave Mel home and use a walker, wheelchair but we really would like to take him. He is 3 years old and very well trained but guess this wasn’t addressed. He travels great in a car too. Please, any thoughts. Obviously I would need to eat a lot of wheaties to try to pick him and place him on the pads. My wife has even shoved them under him when he pees as he starts to go, lots of praise, treats, etc. Always have used the same phrase…better hurry…but alas he takes his time and space.

98 Jessica 03.22.12 at 11:30 am

After having an ENORMOUS lab for 8 years of service, my current medical SD is a 5 pounder. Although it is much easier for me to travel(any seat will do, he fits in a little bag in public and is rarely noticed), I am always being questioned about him and met with skepticism. A waitress once said “you don’t look blind…” Needless to say, no tip for her.

As far as flying, I have had troubles with Delta on more than one occassion. The most common issue is that I either can’t pre-board or when I do the flight attendents have no idea (despite me always calling ahead) that I have a service dog or that he doesn’t have to be crated under the seat.

Frontier is fine once you’re checked in, but if you call ahead to add an SD like a good patron, you have to call to check in or go to the ticket counter. It’s a huge pain sitting on hold or waiting in line forever just to check in. If you don’t there are usually more issues at the gate.

Southwest is the best! Go to the gate, get the little pre-board card and you’re off! Never had an issue (and I love no fees).

99 Scott 05.18.12 at 11:31 pm

Here is my expereince with southwest airlines. After pre-boarding with my service animal and seated in blockhead row on the right side of the aircraft in seat closet to the aisle. General Boarding had started when a flight attendant from the rear of the aircraft comes up to the front of the air craft and states that I cannot sit in that seat and that I would need to move to the seat against the window cause I am violating FAA safety rules by blocking any passengers that might be seating next to me. I then stated that I was not violating any FAA Rules and according to the Air Carrier Access Act as long as my service animal and I are not sitting in an emergency exit and my service animal is not blocking the main aisle that I am not violating any FAA Rules. She then stated that because my service animal is sitting on the floor in front of me that she would be blocking any passengers from exiting in the event of a emergency. I then stated that she was applying a different rule that applies to passengers bags or items that they have brought on board with them that cannot be at their feet. I then stated that rule does not apply to service animals, if there was an emergency my service animal would be leaving with me and would not be blocking any passengers that would be sitting next to me in my row. She then stated very rudely that she will have to contact the FAA about this matter, then turned and went back to her position mid cabin as the rest of the passengers boarded. I did try to discuss this further with flight attendant near the end of the flight, however she would not even acknowledge me for the remainder of the flight. After the flight I Spoke with a Supervisor about the incident. He then stated that it is Southwest’s policy to have passengers with service animals sitting in any row that they sit next to the window. I then explained to him that the Air Carrier Access Act states that a passenger traveling with service animal can sit in any seat other then the emergence row and cannot block the main aisle. If this was in fact the policy then why for the past 24 other flights I have been on that I sat in the exact same seat that I had no issue with the other crews. I fly with my service animal three to four flights a week for every week for the past 2 months and have only had this every issue twice. Either there employees have not been instructed correctly on the rules of where passenger with service animals can actual sit or that Southwest have setup policies that violate the Air Carrier Access Act. For all the other flights I have been on excluding those two flight, southwest flight attendents and employees have been very friendly and helpfull.

100 cecilia demaree 09.25.12 at 5:34 am

That pug dog that died on Jet blue was NOT a SERVICE DOG!! I do not doubt that the woman has psychological problems and the dog offered her emotional support but that DOES NOT make it a SERVICE DOG!! Anyone can get those vests and ID for their pets and call it a service dog but that is a FELONY. This woman is doing a grave disservice to people who do need their service dog with them at all times. Veterans with PTSD and autistic children etc will suffer as the laws have to keep changing to stop people like Brenda Nelson of Salt Lake Utah from pretending their dog is a SERVICE DOG. The pug may have been a therapy dog and may even passed canine good citizen but it was not a service dog and she is not disabled. The death of that pug in a carrier was the fault of its owner not the airline or the stewardess. It is against the law to impersonate a disabled person and it is against the law to pretend your dog is a service dog when it is not. This woman is now all over the news complaining her service dog died on the plane due to the airline negligence. Someone should expose her for the fraud she is and put her ass in jail for failing to protect the health and well being of a sweet biddable pet. Look into the laws & definition of service dog at—I KNOW this dog was not a service dog she got that id off the internet and put it on her pet. Also there is no such thing as 2 service dogs for one disabled person. One dog is taught all of the tasks you need. I have multiple disabilities a my dog does physical assist (brace get it etc) as well as medical alert (diabetes, seizures). People who want to travel with pets will fake the service dog with one or both because ignorant people think they can get away with it. More and more the world is becoming informed and we will report you for the violation of a federal law. You might have a service dog and a pet but you do not have 2 ervice dogs for one person. The older retired one will not tolerate a new dog taking its place and it if does allow the other dog to do its job then it is no longer a service dog but retired.

101 Lisa 12.28.12 at 5:59 pm

I really feel for the persons who are getting a rough time from the ignorance of others. If a person has the need for a qualified service dog, then be respectful of that fact. Some people will never realize the advantages and benefits a service dog contributes, until they themselves are in need of the service.

102 susan 12.29.12 at 10:50 am

I just flew on Allegiant with my ESD, a 45 lb boxer/lab. The flight was not full and I requested to sit not in the bulkhead. My dog prefers “being under the seat” as opposed to being out in the open. The flight attendant told me I had to sit in bulkhead. A very nice man was seated on the aisle, the middle seat empty and I was at window. He immediately reached to pet my dog, stating “I just love dogs”. I explained it was best for her to just lay down and relax before the flight. He was fine with that. Since it was only the 2nd tie my dog had flown, and being out in the open, she got up a couple of times and looked out the window, and when I had to stand to remove something from the overhead compartment she felt it was a sign for her to get up as well, she moved “almost” into the aisle with me. Other than that she slept. As we were landing the flight attendant asked me “are you sure that is a service dog?” – I responded “Why would you ask me that?” Her reply…”she doesn’t look like one”. Needless to say, I was embarassed, knowing she said it loudl enough for other passengers to hear. Is it possible she violated any ADA policy? The return flight (thank goodness not the same crew) was AMAZING. I was able to sit further back, in a row by myself. The crew wanted to meet my dog, and learn a little about her. They never asked WHY. I sent an email to Allegiant, hoping to use my experience as an opportunity for training their staff. The response I got: “for all complaints (I did not send my message as a complaint) expect to wait 4-6 weeks for a response”.

103 Dragonfly 02.15.13 at 12:52 pm

I have a rare neurologic disease which often presents twitching, thrashing, convulsing and/or inability to speak clearly. My 14 lb Schipperke can Alert me of on coming episodes roughly 30 minutes in advance. I truly had problems getting firm and valid approval to legally call him a Service Dog. Federal and State laws vary greatly!! And it’s just not feasible to have Medical Alert/Seizure Alert candidates wait in a trainers office to “prove” their ability. But advance warning he gives has given me incredible freedom in my daily schedules. Size doesn’t matter! We will be flying together for the first time next week…. from DFW to Dulles. Any suggestions for first timers? I already have my medical IDs, his ID card and a copy of the letter from Texas Disabilities and Service Dog stating he qualifies as a Service Dog. Any thing else you can suggest?

104 Cody 02.20.13 at 8:45 pm

I Just recently traveled on Frontier airlines with my service dog Sarge and had the most plesant experiance i had to buy strech seating but the flight crew and ticket counter were very helpfull Sarge is a very large service dog and they blocked off some of the seats in the isel just to make it a pleasent experiance for Sarge and I. They offered water and checked on how he was doing repeditly. I will never fly with another Air line agian. Frontier is the best!!!!!!!!!!!

105 Nannie 03.13.13 at 6:45 pm

Watch out for Southwest. Flew to SanDiego with 8 lb service dog, who medically alerts my daughter with low medication levels. They would not accept service dog documents, incl a current letter from her physician, service vest, tags from county stating a service dog. They argued vehemently in public that dog was an emotional support dog with no diagnosis on Dr’s letter (he stated a diagnosis was a violation of ADA) There was no choice but to pay to board the dog. They were so embarrassing in public. I will never forget their lack of compassion or understanding. A non-forgetting mother….????

106 Nannie 03.13.13 at 6:47 pm

Should add, daughter was on flight as well….

107 Jill 04.04.13 at 3:56 pm

Hi, I have read through a lot of these post, thank you all for the amount of information!
The end of this month, April, will be my first time going on a plain with my service dog Rosie. She is completely certified with ID, vest, the works. I am flying from BWI to FLL, I want to fly direct, just to make it easier for Rosie, and am willing to buy first class to make sure everything goes smooth for her first trip. But I cant decide on an airline. I was going to go with Airtran, but from what I have read Southwest seems my best bet.
something that im concerned with…what do I do if my dog has to go to the bathroom at the airport? the only thing i could think of was pee pee pads to re-train her, or just dont give her liquids, and a light meal….any suggestions?
Also, I really admire what people said about invisible disabilities. I just experienced hell because I brought my service dog to my grandparents clubhouse for Passover! No one in my family defended me, sucked. Only my mom understood because before Rosie, she’s been my service human almost my whole life! So im used to dealing with people who dont understand why I have a service dog because im not blind or in a wheel chair all the time.
Rosie is a 40 pound Potcake. I think she is the first Potcake service dog. Potcakes are basically the street dogs of the Bahammas. She was a rescue as a puppy. It wasnt my intent for her to be my service dog but as she grew up she naturally took care of me. She knew before I had flare ups, comforted me when I got sick, and is soooo smart, I can teach names of people in 5 min. Being that she is a mutt, I really dont know her breed, but would be fascinating to find out!
Honestly, size of the dog should be based on the type of disability. Is someone does not need physical support or help in reaching item of such, then a small dog may suite. For me, I do need support at times because i develop a lot of symptoms where its hard to walk, or get up. but knowing the size of Rosie, I never give her my full weight. I use her more like a crutch. BUT, because of the type of disability I have, when Roise passes the torch down to the next dog, it will Golden Retriever, because they are big, and their one of my favorite breed, next to a potcake.

108 Linda 04.15.13 at 12:07 pm

I have flown with US Air without a problem. However, I do carry a note from my PT and Doctor. I was asked once to show it, but my reply was that asking for a letter is not allowed by law and that I would be glad to answer the 3 questions that are allowed (and then proceeded to tell the three answers).

His point had been the “caption” was asking. My dog’s ID is not really clear due to fur, so I also made sure I pointed it out. He was fine with it at that point.

Most people are when they are told that what they are asking/doing is not allowed by law.

If you call ahead and let them know you have a service dog (or when booking) they will put you up front in a bulk head seat. Only once have I had to be back in a regular row.

The length of trip is an issue for us too. There are outside rest room spots for dogs at many airports. Most are a major hike to get to and then you have to go back through security. I either try to keep it short or have a BIG layover so I can make that hike.

I wish they would do something that is easier for service dogs that keeps you inside security.

109 Suzy 04.15.13 at 2:09 pm

I had a wonderful experience with United Airlines. Whichever airlines you choose, make certain to call them one week in advance to notify them that you will be traveling with a service dog. Most of the large carriers have a special # to call for persons with disabilities. I traveled from Florida to PA and flew out in the morning and had one stop in the middle. I didn’t give my dog anything to eat or drink after 10 pm the night before. He did great and didn’t need to go to the bathroom even through I had the chance to let him go between switching planes. There are many articles on the net about traveling with a service dog and how to toilet them. I think those articles can help you. I was a new service dog owner and I found all my answers there. I’m certain you can find them easily as I did.

110 Marion T 06.03.13 at 1:53 am

I flew with my 8 lb chihuahua who is my self trained Medical alert dog (diabetic) to New Orleans from Ft Lauderdale with Southwest and back. We had no problems at all. He had his vest on and acted very professional. Both airports and airlines were very nice. On the way there I had to set in regular setting because the plane was already filed and it was cramped (that was annoying but thank goodness he is small) but on the way back we got to sit in the front area. More leg room and he was able to lay down and actually relax.

111 Marion T 06.03.13 at 1:55 am

BTW I did call ahead each time to let them know I was bring my service dog.

112 ReneeW 08.01.13 at 3:02 pm

Hi there, anyone have a giant breed SD? I have MS and my service dog is a Newfoundland, he weighs 130#. I am so apprehensive to fly because I have anxiety over where he will fit comfortably. Thank you ahead of time for your help.

113 Jessica 08.10.13 at 10:59 pm

Todd And SD Rocky
Good Luck. You Are The Most informative Post On Here!!!I Have A Small ServiCe dog For Emotional Support. I.have.Severe Ptsd.
I Have A Very Valid And Great Job Offer And A Nice Place To.Move Into In Hawaii. Im So Scared To gO because Of This. :(Ive Been Out Of Work For 5 Years . Why Cant I Go With My Service Dog. I Dont Wanna Be Harrassed. Or Course Ill Do The Paperwork And Favn Test. Of Course She Is Vaccinated And Papered.
But My God! Im Scared They Will Take Her.
I.just Want To Go Back To Work.

114 SGM RAJ 08.17.13 at 11:44 pm

Specifically to Jessica, contact the vet center in Hawai’i and ask for a vet sponsor there to help you with the transition and meet you and your dog at the airport. They will be happy to do it and it won’t be nearly as scary, Sister. If you have problems, contact me and I will hook you up.

It is a bit discouraging to see so many people on here playing the “YOUR service animal isn’t as genuine/important/well-trained as MY service animal” game, which seems to indicate a mean-spirited sense of disability one-upmanship (MY disability is worse/more-genuine than YOUR disability). I hope that each person seeking it finds a genuinely accepting and supportive virtual community somewhere else, since it certainly isn’t evident here.

The ADA definition of service animal includes animals which calm their owners during anxiety attacks, usually sufferers of PTSD, but also from other psychiatric diagnoses. There are a plethora of invisible illnesses with which dogs of all sizes and descriptions (and some miniature horses) can assist their owners.

Please remember each time you see someone who looks to you as though they are ‘getting over’ that they may be one of those with invisible illnesses, and you do not know how thin the thread is holding them together, and how large a roll that small dog may play in keeping that thread safe.

“The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about.”

Wishing all of you much health, peace, and happiness.

115 Naomi 12.12.13 at 5:30 am

Hey I am traveling with a service dog for the first time, do the airlines have places to allow ur dog to potty with out having to go back throw security?

116 Sussie Due 12.12.13 at 10:04 am

Any airport I have gone to has not. But I don’t worry about it. I taught my dog to go on a potty pad. I just go into the bathroom’s handicapped stall, put a potty pad on the floor and let him use it. Then I just toss it in the trash.

117 Alex T 02.15.14 at 7:07 pm

SeaTac Airport has Relief areas for service dogs BEHIND security! You can find them on their website.

118 jess T 03.26.14 at 11:09 pm

Hi, I’m training my own PSD. We are going to D.C. in a few months and I’m growing worried about him going to the bathroom. Is it appropriate for SDs to pee/poop on the grass (obviously not on any monuments) any suggestions on how I can train him not to just go anywhere?? Thanks! Also, I personally don’t care if people fake service dogs. It’s not my dog that will get taken away. My only fest is that I wouldn’t have a PSD because I may not be able to pay for a fully trained one. I love training my dog, we are bonding so much, that we are really building our working relationship. Also, it’s a huge perk when your SD is cute, for someone who had severe anxiety, having people Smile and love my dog helps decrease my anxiety about what prone think since I don’t have a visual disability.

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