Traveling with a Service Dog: Airline Travel – Seattle Dog Training Classes

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Support for videos such as this one comes from our pet dog training program. When you choose to train with the Service Dog Academy, you are helping fund our low cost programs for people with disabilities.

Mary McNeight, CPDT-KA, is committed to continuing her education as a certified dog trainer and travels often – attending conferences and educational seminars all over the country. Overall, she has taken more than 40 different flights with both her current and previous service dogs and the owner and head trainer of Service Dog Academy would like to share her experience traveling on an airplane with a service dog by offering up a few tips on airline travel with a service dog. While this video focuses on traveling with a service dog, a lot of these tips can be applicable to people traveling with their pet dogs, too!

1. Paperwork!
Have as much paperwork as possible. Service dog rights during air travel are completely different than rights on the ground, and it is important to know these rights and have documentation at the ready.

This is especially important for psychiatric service dogs – when there is no apparent physical disability it tends to raise more skepticism from airline officials. Unfortunately, fraudulent service dogs have been a cause for this, and knowing your rights and having the right documentation to back it up will ensure there is no question from the ticket agent that your dog is a service dog.

The right paperwork can save you a lot of trouble, remember to bring the following:

  • A note from your doctor prescribing the use of task trained service dog to help you mitigate the symptoms of your disability, and proof that your service dog is covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act.
  • Documented training hours. Training is the biggest difference between a service dog and a pet dog, and all service dogs should have documented training hours.
  • Current health certificate for your dog – although it is not required by law to have one, it is strongly advised. Your veterinarian can provide this, and can be given up to 10 days before your flight.
  • Copy of vaccination records. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations required by the state you are traveling. Different states have different requirements, so be sure to check with that state’s department of health to find out what you need.
  • If your city has a service dog registry make sure you have a copy of that with your service dog listed in it.
  • Letter and any certification provided by your training organization to verify your dog’s status as a service dog
  • Copy of air carrier’s access rules – know your rights, and have the paperwork that shows them that you know what you’re talking about.
  • 2. Bring your vest and make sure “service dog” CLEARLY stated on it. The Service Dog Academy suggests at least three different visible places on the vest. A “service dog” bandana is more questionable than a heavy duty vest. The more official the vest looks, the better your chances of getting through the airport smoothly.

    3.Call ahead! When you make your reservation, call the airline and tell them you are traveling with a service dog and ask to be placed in bulkhead seating.

    As a side note: a person with a disability has the right to sit in this type of seating, and cannot be charged extra for these accommodations.

    It is better to be prepared than to be sorry. Even though it isn’t required by law to provide it, the last thing you want is to be in a situation where someone decides they need to see documentation. If one TSA employee is on a power trip, putting up a fight can usually result in not making your flight, missing your connections, and ruining your trip. Cover your bases with as much paperwork as possible!

    The Service Dog Academy is a service dog and pet dog training studio operating out of Seattle, Washington. We provide low cost, do-it-yourself training to all types of training needs from basic obedience for puppies and adult dogs, service dog training, and diabetic alert dog training. Have fun traveling with your service dog, and always be prepared!

    2012-10-14T13:21:51+00:00
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