Allegiant Emotional Support Animal (ESA) and Psychiatric Service Dog Policy

Allegiant Emotional Support Animal (ESA) and Psychiatric Service Dog Policy

The Bottom Line:

  • Does Allegiant Still Accept ESA Letters? - Allegiant now considers ESAs to be pets and does not accept an ESA letter to allow them to fly in the cabin as service animals.
  • What is a PSD Letter? - Psychiatric service animals are still considered service animals under the new policy. A PSD letter verifies that your dog qualifies as a service dog.
  • How Do You Get a PSD Letter? - Consult with a licensed mental health professional in your state to obtain a PSD letter.
  • How Do You Qualify for a PSD Letter? - A licensed mental health professional in your state can evaluate you to determine if you have a qualifying disability.
  • How to Get Started? - Complete the Pettable 3-minute quiz and Pettable will use your answers to match you with a licensed mental health professional in your state.

Federal guidelines require service dogs, including psychiatric service dogs, to be allowed in the cabin of all commercial flights. Allegiant is compliant with this regulation. However, under a Department of Transportation rule change that took effect last year, the Allegiant ESA policy has been revised. Emotional support animals are now considered pets, meaning that you can still take them on the plane with you but you have to abide by the Allegiant pet policy.

Recent Changes to Allegiant’s ESA Policy

Prior to 2021, the Department of Transportation required that Allegiant, as well as all other airlines, allow emotional support animals on planes with the necessary documentation. However, the DOT stopped requiring airlines to allow ESAs on flights as of Jan. 11th, 2021. Instead, it gave airlines the choice of whether they would allow ESAs or not. In response, the Allegiant emotional support animal policy was rescinded, and the airline no longer gives ESAs a status similar to that afforded to service animals.

Per federal regulations, airlines are still required to allow psychiatric service dogs to fly in cabins as long as they comply with the Allegiant service dog policy and have the necessary documentation. Most importantly, you have to fill out a form provided by the Department of Transportation, but the documentation also includes an official PSD letter from a licensed therapist that you can receive from Pettable.

How To Fly with Your Psychiatric Service Dog on Allegiant

To be able to have a service dog on a plane, you need to have a qualified disability. People with physical and mental disabilities, including psychiatric, intellectual, or sensory disabilities, are eligible to bring service animals on planes. Your official PSD letter from Pettable can demonstrate to officials that you qualify by virtue of your disability.

However, proving that your Allegiant service dog has received the necessary training is even more important than documenting your disability. To do this, you must fill out the official Service Animal Air Transportation Form provided by the Department of Transportation. The form is short and fairly straightforward; it asks you to attest to the animal's health and that it has received the necessary training. It also asks you to affirm that you understand the regulations you have to follow as the handler of a service dog and that you are responsible for any damage that the animal may cause through misbehavior.

Ideally, you should submit the completed form to the department that handles Allegiant service dog requests no less than 48 hours prior to scheduled departure. If you book the trip within this 48-hour window, you must undergo an animal verification process with an Allegiant representative. This involves presenting the completed form and the animal to the rep. Allegiant recommends that you present your PSD and the form to the agent at least two hours prior to scheduled departure to allow sufficient time to complete the verification process.

Allegiant also has policies in place for service dogs currently in training. For the necessary verification of the supporting documentation to take place, the airline requires at least 72 hours advance notice. Allegiant approves PSDs in training on a case-by-case basis in accordance with its normal animal policies.

How To Get Your Legitimate Psychiatric Service Dog Letter With Pettable

To provide you with a letter that will allow you to take your Allegiant service dog on the plane, we first need to assess your needs. This is accomplished by responding to a few simple questions on our website; it takes about three minutes to complete. We partner with therapists in all 50 states so, based on your assessment, we can match you to a licensed mental health professional who practices in your area. Once you're approved, you can get your letter within 24 hours.

We back up our PSD letters with a money-back guarantee, meaning that we will give you a complete refund if it doesn't work. However, remember that you must also submit the DOT's Service Animal Air Travel Transportation Form.

What Is the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA)?

The Air Carrier Access Act is a federal law that passed in 1986 and prevents airlines from discriminating against travelers with disabilities. It also requires air carriers to accommodate the needs of disabled passengers, which includes service animals.

Emotional Support Animals under the ACAA

Until 2021, the ACAA specifically included emotional support animals as accommodations for disabled passengers that airlines had to allow. The rule change in 2021 lifted this requirement and gave airlines the choice of whether to allow ESAs on flights or not. The Allegiant emotional support animal policy was revised to make ESAs indistinguishable from other pets.

The rule change defined a service animal as a dog trained to perform certain tasks for its owner, whereas before the definition of a service animal had included other species as well. However, the rule change also prohibited airlines from prohibiting service dogs of certain breeds to fly on planes. Previously, Allegiant pet policy had banned pit bulls on flights, but under the current ACAA, they must be allowed if they meet the other requirements for service dogs and are verified as fully trained service animals.

What Is the Difference Between an Emotional Support Animal and Psychiatric Service Dog?

An emotional support animal is a pet that provides comfort and relieves stress for its owner just by providing companionship. The expectation is that ESAs are well-behaved, but they do not undergo any special training. ESAs are also not covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, so there is no legal requirement that ESAs be allowed to go everywhere that service animals can.

Whether your pet qualifies as an ESA depends on your mental illness or psychological condition. Qualifying conditions include the following:

ADHD

Anxiety

Bipolar disorder

Depression

Personality disorders

Schizophrenia

The same conditions that qualify you to consider your pet an ESA also qualify you for a psychiatric service dog. However, to be considered a PSD, your dog has to undergo training to perform specific tasks for you. Examples of the tasks a PSD may be trained to do include moving between you and other people to create a safe zone or making eye contact or touching you when you need to be distracted from your thoughts. Psychiatric service dogs are included under both the ADA and the ACAA.

Allegiant’s Service Dog Policies

Under Allegiant service dog policies, you are allowed to take up to two fully trained service animals with you on the plane if they are necessary to perform tasks or work for you related to your disability.

Any service animal that you bring onto an Allegiant flight must be fully task trained and remain under your control in the airport and on the plane. This means that the animal must be on a leash, harness, or tether at all times. An animal that displays disruptive behaviors, such as showing aggression by biting or growling or relieving itself in the terminal or in the plane cabin, can be denied transport.

Allegiant does not allow animals in the exit row of the plane, but otherwise, you can choose any seat you want. Small dogs can sit in your lap, but otherwise, your PSD has to remain on the floor within your foot space. The dog cannot extend into the aisle nor into the foot space of another passenger, so if your dog is larger than your foot space, you may have to purchase an extra seat to allow adequate room while remaining in compliance.

Allegiant’s Required Documentations

The only form that Allegiant lists on its website as required to fly with a PSD is the Service Animal Air Transportation Form provided by the Department of Transportation.

Advanced Notice

Allegiant requires that you provide notice of your intention to fly with a service animal and submit documentation at least 48 hours ahead of your scheduled departure. You can send the form by mail to the following address: Allegiant Travel Company, Attn: ACAA Team, P.O. Box 371477, Las Vegas, NV 89137. You can also email the completed form to ACAA@Allegiantair.com. If you have questions, you can call customer care at 702-505-8888.

Other Allegiant’s Pet Policies To Know

Traditionally, pets other than service animals have had to fly in the cargo bin on the plane. However, Allegiant does not transport pets by cargo storage. Dogs and cats can travel in the cabin as long as certain requirements are met. Travelers are encouraged to check in with an Allegiant agent at least one hour prior to departure to ensure compliance. Allegiant considers ESAs to be pets.

Allegiant’s Pet Fees

Allegiant charges an each-way fee of $50 to travel with pets in the cabin. This is a non-refundable fee.

Allegiant’s Breed Restrictions

The current pet policy page on Allegiant's website does not specifically mention any breed restrictions, though it does limit pet transport to dogs and cats. The policy does require that pets must be transported in a carrier of a certain size, which would exclude large dog breeds.

Allegiant’s Pet Carrier Size Requirements

Allegiant limits each passenger to one pet carrier, which can contain no more than two pets. The carrier cannot be larger than 16 inches wide, nine inches high, and 19 inches deep. It must be fully enclosed and leak-proof, and while it can either be hard-sided or soft-sided, Allegiant recommends the latter. Pets have to remain completely in the carrier during the entire flight, and the carrier must remain on the floor during take-off and landing.

Allegiant’s Travel Requirements

Allegiant requires that any pets traveling in the cabin must be healthy but does not require a health certificate. It requires that any animals traveling with you must be at least eight weeks old, non-disruptive, harmless, odor-free, and not in any physical distress.

Domestic

Allegiant only transports domestic cats and dogs, and only within the 48 contiguous United States.

International

Allegiant does not transport pets to U.S. territories or international destinations.

Pettable’s Tips on How to Fly with Your ESA and Psychiatric Service Dogs

To make your trip easier, we offer the following tips:

Fill out and submit your documentation early to avoid rushing at the last minute.

Bring pee pads so your dog can relieve himself if needed. If your dog has to go on the plane, take him to the restroom and put the pee pad on the floor.

Dogs can get motion sickness, so do not overfeed your dog before the flight and avoid new treats.

Exercise your dog beforehand to encourage her to sleep during the flight.

FAQ

Here are answers to questions that often arise when flying on Allegiant with pets, service dogs, or ESAs.

Do Service Dogs Fly for Free on Allegiant?

DOT rules require all airlines to allow service dogs to fly for free. This does not include ESAs.

Does Allegiant Allow ESA Dogs?

ESAs are not considered service dogs and are subject to Allegiant's pet policy.

Can Allegiant Deny My ESA?

Allegiant may deny transport to an animal that does not comply with its pet policy. This is true even if the animal is an ESA.

Which Airlines Are Still Allowing ESA Dogs?

See this post for a list of domestic and international airlines that still permit ESAs.

Can My Dog Sit on My Lap During an Allegiant Flight?

An Allegiant service dog that weighs no more than 30 pounds, i.e., approximately the size of a two-year-old child, can sit in the handler's lap during the flight. Otherwise, service dogs must be on the floor and pets must be in carriers.