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Thread: Emotional Support Animal--Flying

  1. #1
    Young Pup Mandy'sMommy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Shreveport, LA

    Default Emotional Support Animal--Flying

    Hey Everyone!

    This may be a long post, please bear with me and read through it so I can get some advice! I'm flying next month (Feb. 14) from Washington D.C. to Pensacola, FL with a layover in Atlanta. I am desperate to take my little girl Mandy with me. My boyfriend of 5 years is in flight school for the Air Force in Pensacola, and he's really been struggling with the stress of flight school (to the point where he's talking about not wanting to even be in the Air Force anymore...) and keeps begging me to bring Mandy to visit him. I really want to surprise him with her because I know it'll boost his morale and get him out of that winter depression slump.

    So--I called just about every major airline to see which one had the most under-seat room, and it seemed to me like Delta does, so I booked my flight with Delta. I ordered a carrier for Mandy, the I-GO2 Traveler, which measures 17Hx16Wx11.5D. It lays flat on it's back under the seat on the plane. When I called Delta I found out that the measurements for the plane I'd be flying on are 20Lx15Wx11H. So with a little bit of squishing the bag around (it's soft-sided), I think it will fit under the seat just fine. Here's a link for the specific carrier I got: http://www.amazon.com/I-GO2-Traveler.../dp/B003SZOOBU

    Now, the main issue is Mandy's size. She's a rescue, I adopted her about two years ago and she's five years old. She weighs 22-23 lbs, and is 15-16" from floor to shoulder. And about 18" from tail to neck. (By the way--when measuring a dog's height, why don't you take into account their heads?? I don't understand why you measure a dog up to their shoulder for height, but the airlines say that the dog has to be able to stand up comfortably in their carrier and all that...every picture I've seen of a dog in an airline carrier has it's head poking out of the bag and it's head clearly goes way over the top of the bag...) I haven't measured the barrel of her chest, but she's got a pretty wide chest. Tiny waist though, all muscle! So she's juuust a bit cramped in the bag when she's sitting up in it, but when I lay it down on it's back as it will go under the airplane seat, she can curl up just fine. She curls up in little balls anyway when she sleeps. I'm just concerned that when I get to the Delta counter to check in they may say that she's too cramped and deny her access to the plane. So now I'm in a dilemma--do I risk her being a little bit cramped and try for it anyway, then beg and plead with them that she's going to visit a military member? Or do I just abandon the whole idea and leave her at home? Does anyone know of any slightly taller carriers for airplanes that still lay on their back under the seat that I could get for her? When you've flown with your Bostons, do they really require them to stand up in their bag? Most of those bags (like Sherpas) are like 12" H at the most, which is why I got her this odd-looking one that lays on it's back under the seat.

    The other thing I considered was getting her registered as an Emotional Support Animal...I did some research on it, and know that you need a letter from your physician or therapist. And once you present this letter to the airline attendants, they can't deny you access to bringing your dog on the plane. I was diagnosed with depression about three years ago and bounced around between a few different therapists, however it's been almost a year since I've seen a therapist. Should I still try for it? I also thought about telling my boyfriend about the ESA thing, and seeing if he would try going to his physician on base and explaining what it is, and how stressed he is, and if they would write a letter for him. ESA's don't require any training, they are basically just household pets who improve the mental/emotional quality of life for their owner, who may have depression, anxiety, etc.

    I am just DESPERATE to get her down there to see him...I know that he would be overjoyed. He hasn't seen her since last June when he moved down there to start flight school. Please help!

  2. #2
    All-American Dog aileen231's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    SLC, UT


    Hi there!

    I was hoping to see how your flight went? I use to work for an airline and yes if you have the letter from a Dr they cant say anything about your dog. As long as your Dr gives you a note, you can have almost any animal. The reason they cant give you a hard time and have to watch how they frase things is because you might have a disability and they dont want to get sue'ed for making you feel uncomfortable or denying a person to board because of thier disability.

    You should definetly ask your Dr about it.

    Give us an update on if you took her and how it all went, I hope it was smooth and easy for you.

  3. #3
    Young Pup
    Join Date
    Oct 2013


    I am also wondering if you ended up taking many on your flight? My boston is about the same size as Mandy and we are moving so we HAVE to take her. We are a military family and flying to our new place and we aren't sure how we are going to get Piper there. if any one has advise please help! -.-

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  5. #4
    Round Head Jojo Bananas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013


    My grandma flies with her dog all the time. She lies about his weight, and no one cares. Find out what the requirements are for your airline, they are all different. If/when they ask you about your dog you know what the answer needs to be. No one is going to get out a tape measure or weigh him. The weight limit is 20lbs for some airlines. BTs aren't allowed to fly cargo because they are brachycephalic, so flying under the seat is the only option! You do need to let the airline know ahead of time that you have a dog, and will have to pay an extra fee. Usually they only allow a certain number of dogs per flight, so make sure to call right away!

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