The Bottom Line:
- Does Volaris Still Accept ESA Letters? - While PSDs are allowed to fly as service dogs, ESA animals are no longer considered service dogs. ESA letters are not accepted.
- What is a PSD Letter? - PSD letters help you establish that your dog is a psychiatric service dog and not just a pet or ESA.
- How Do You Get a PSD Letter? - To get a PSD letter, you must be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional in your state.
- How Do You Qualify for a PSD Letter? - Your mental health professional must attest to your eligibility based on having a qualifying disability.
- How to Get Started? - Submit the Pettable 3-minute quiz to get started. Pettable uses the responses to this quiz to match you with a qualified mental health professional in your area.
With recent changes to the rules about emotional support animals on airlines, it can be confusing to know whether you can travel with your ESA or service dog. In this guide, we cover the Volaris emotional support animal policy as well as the airline's regulations on psychiatric service dogs.
Recent Changes to Volaris' ESA Policy
In January 2021, the ACAA regulations pertaining to service animals were revised. The highlights of this final ruling include:
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks that benefit a person with a disability.
Emotional support dogs are no longer considered service animals.
Airlines are required to treat psychiatric service animals the same as other service animals.
Airlines are allowed to refuse transportation to service animals that exhibit aggressive behavior or pose a threat to the health and safety of others.
Service animals cannot be refused transport based on breed.
Airlines are prohibited from requiring a passenger with a disability to check in at the counter. Passengers with disabilities now can check-in via online or app processes.
Airlines are allowed to require documentation from passengers traveling with a service animal.
The change to note is that psychiatric service dogs are treated the same as other types of service dogs. If you need an official letter that designates your animal as a psychiatric service dog, Pettable makes it easy to discuss your needs with our world-class team of mental health professionals. Contact us to learn more about getting a PSD letter.
How To Fly With Your Psychiatric Service Dog on Volaris
Because psychiatric service dogs are considered service animals, you simply need to follow the Volaris service dog policies to fly on this airline. When you book your flight, you can notify the airline to let them know you’ll be traveling with a service dog.
If you have an especially large service dog that won’t fit in front of your feet or on your lap, you will need to ask for another seat. When you arrive at the airline for your flight, let the staff know that you are traveling with a service animal.
Service animals are required to have documentation to fly:
Valid vaccination certificate or card showing current vaccinations
Health certificate on letterhead paper from a veterinarian with the professional license number
To be accepted as a PSD, your dog must have the proper training to meet the standard of a service dog. First, the dog must be well-behaved in public. Second, a PSD must be trained in a task that supports your mental health. On the DOT form, you will be asked who was responsible for training your PSD pet. It is perfectly acceptable for you to answer that you were the trainer. Nowhere on the form does it ask what tasks your pet performs for you, nor does it ask about your disability.
It is a good idea to check with the country to where you’re going about any local requirements. Though service animals can be transported on the flight, there may be restrictions on which animals can be brought into a particular country or whether your animal has a rabies vaccine.
How To Get Your Legitimate Psychiatric Service Dog Letter With Pettable
PSDs are required to have a letter from a mental health professional that attests to the need for a service animal. At Pettable, it’s very easy to get this letter. You’ll be asked a few questions about your PSD, and then we match you to a professional in your state. Once you are approved, you’ll get your letter within 24 hours. Our therapists will also complete any other documentation you need and will talk to your landlord if necessary.
What Is the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA)?
The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination by disability on airline travel. The Department of Transportation defines the rights of passengers with disabilities and the responsibilities of airlines. The ACAA applies to all U.S. domestic airlines and to foreign airlines that fly into or out of the United States.
Emotional Support Animals Under the ACAA
Before the ACAA, air travel policies pertaining to passengers with disabilities varied, even among flights on the same airline. Passengers with disabilities did not get timely assistance and often had to travel with companions, at their own expense, even if the companion did not provide assistance.
Under the ACAA, passengers with disabilities have more support and accessibility. The ACAA also defines service animals, developing a comprehensive system to travel with these helpers, including emotional support animals.
Although airlines are required to allow trained service dogs to fly with their handlers, in March 2021 the rules about emotional support animals changed. Airlines can decide whether to allow emotional support animals on their flights or to charge a fee.
All airlines are required to accept psychiatric service dogs, as service animals are a federally protected class of pets. Service animals can fly free at the owner’s feet.
ESA animals may be permitted on Volaris airlines, provided the dog or cat is under 20 pounds. Many emotional support animals weigh more than 20 pounds, which can throw a wrench into some people’s travel plans.
What Is the Difference Between an Emotional Support Animal and Psychiatric Service Dog?
An emotional support animal is a pet that provides companionship and comfort by being present. An ESA owner has rights when it comes to housing, but businesses and airlines do not have to let you keep your ESA with you.
A psychiatric service dog is trained to perform specific actions that assist someone dealing with a recognized psychiatric disability. PSDs should have obedience training and extensive, individualized training to help with specific needs. This is what makes your service dog different from a pet. Service dogs should also get training on how not to react in certain situations. PSDs are covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act and by the ACAA. PSD owners are protected against discrimination in businesses and public spaces, such as airlines.
Volaris Service Dog Policies
All people with a service dog have the right to travel with their service dog at no additional charge. Volaris airlines staff will assist travelers throughout their journey. It’s recommended to notify the airline when the flight is booked. When you arrive at the airport, you should notify the staff again.
Passengers with service animals are provided with the best place to wait to board the airplane and other information to take care of your pet at the airline. You will be asked to provide documentation to make sure your service animal is healthy. Your service dog must wear its collar or harness and leash at all times. Passengers with a service dog are allowed to choose any seat except the emergency exit.
Volaris Required Documentations
Documentation is required to travel with a service animal. Here’s what you need to provide:
Animal health certificate dated fewer than 5 days before the initial flight (Note: Travelers going from the United States to Mexico don’t need a health certificate; SENASICA personnel inspect your dog upon arrival.)
Volaris pet transportation form, provided at the airline counter
DOT form for flights from and to the United States
Volaris offers easy check-in on their website and through their app. You can also use WhatsApp (+52 55 5898 8599) to check in and notify the airline of additional services you require for your service animal. Facebook Messenger is another avenue to contact the airline.
If you plan to travel with a brachycephalic dog, you will be asked to sign a waiver of liability.
Other Volaris Pet Policies To Know
Volaris’ Pet Fees
Volaris charges up to $190 to bring your pet on the flight.
Volaris' Breed Restrictions
If you are traveling with a brachycephalic animal, you will be required to sign a liability waiver. Breeds that are considered aggressive or dangerous, such as Anatolian Shepherd and Belgian Shepherd, Akita Inu, Brazilian Mastiff, Rottweiler, Doberman, and Tosa Inu, are prohibited on board or in the cargo hold.
Volaris’ Pet Carrier Size Requirements
To take your pet in the cabin, the carrier must be approved for air transport and measure no more than 17.5" long, 12" wide and 7.5" high. The pet and carrier cannot weigh more than 22 pounds together.
Volaris’ Travel Requirements
The only pets allowed on Volaris' flights are dogs and cats. Pets that are nursing, pregnant, sick or under 4 months old are not allowed to fly.
Give yourself at least two hours to get through the boarding process for domestic flights with an ESA or service animal.
Arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before your flight to make sure your ESA or service dog has all the documentation.
Dogs arriving from El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, and Honduras are not permitted to enter the United States except in New York with a CDC Dog Import Permit. This includes ESA dogs.
Pettable’s Tips on How To Fly With Your ESA and Psychiatric Service Dogs
When flying with a pet, make sure it has a comfortable carrier and is comfortable in the carrier. Your animal needs to be well-behaved, so it can be helpful to practice in noisy and busy situations. Check the documentation required for the airline and make sure you have everything prepared before you get to the airport. The Volaris pet policy is located here.
Here are answers to common questions about flying with an emotional support animal or psychiatric service dog on Volaris.
Do service dogs fly for free on Volaris?
Yes, service dogs, including psychiatric service dogs, fly free on Volaris. ESA dogs also fly free.
Does Volaris allow ESA dogs?
Yes, the Volaris ESA policy can be found here. ESA dogs are required to have documentation from a mental health professional that the animal is required for travel. ESA animals cannot weigh more than 26 pounds. ESA animals are required to have their vaccination record, a health certificate and the DOT travel form.
Can Volaris deny my ESA?
Yes, an airline can deny an ESA. If you have proper documentation and if your ESA is well-behaved, it is unlikely you will have a problem.
Which airlines are still allowing ESA dogs?
Most domestic flights in the US no longer permit ESAs to fly. Some airlines that fly to Canada and Mexico still allow ESAs to fly:
Internationally, more airlines allow ESAs, because these airlines aren’t impacted by the DOT regulations.
Before booking your flight, we recommend that you check the airlines policy for ESAs and PSDs to fully understand their requirements and regulations. Some airlines require the ESA to be older than 4 months or to be under a certain weight requirement.
Can my dog sit on my lap during a Volaris flight?
If your dog is a service animal, the dog should fit on the floor near your feet. Smaller dogs can be held in your lap. If your dog is in a carrier, you should keep it in the carrier for takeoff and landing. Once the flight is in the air, you may be allowed to take it out of the carrier.