Do you plan on traveling with your ESA via Air Canada? Then you will need to familiarize yourself with the Air Canada ESA policy. To learn more about how to safely travel with your emotional support animal, read on.
Air Canada ESA Policy: Do They Have One?
The Air Canada ESA policy dictates that those wishing to travel with an emotional support animal must provide a valid ESA letter. The Canadian Transportation Agency makes it possible for ESAs to travel with their owners.
Airborne Animals! Which Pets Can Fly In-Cabin with Air Canada?
The Air Canada ESA policy dictates that only dogs may fly in-cabin with their owners. Air Canada does not accept any other animals as emotional support animals.
Emotional Support Animals
Before you choose to fly with your ESA, you will need to be aware of how they are defined according to most airlines. An emotional support animal is any animal—dog or cat— that provides comfort and emotional security to passengers suffering from mental illnesses.
People diagnosed with conditions such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder can benefit greatly from having an ESA.
Unlike an emotional support animal, a service animal is a trained service dog that will assist their handler consistently. Examples of service dogs include guide dogs for the blind or hearing aid dogs.
What Does it Cost to Travel with My ESA?
According to the Air Canada ESA policy, as long as passengers provide a valid ESA letter, they will be able to fly with their emotional support animal for free.
Which Cat and Dog Breeds Can Travel In-Cabin?
The Air Canada ESA policy dictates that only dogs may fly in-cabin with their owners. Air Canada does not specify whether any particular dog breeds are prohibited from flying in-cabin. However, the airlines do restrict certain snub-nosed breeds (also known as brachycephalic breeds) from traveling in the cargo compartment.
Weight Restrictions and Size Restrictions for Carriers
If traveling with a pet in the cabin, carriers need to fit safely under the passenger’s seat. The size requirements for carriers are 11″ x 8″ x 16″ (28 cm x 21 cm x 41 cm).
On Boeing 777-300ER and 777-200LR aircraft, the pet carrier cannot exceed these dimensions: 8.25″ x 15″ x 17″ (21 cm x 38 cm x 43 cm). The carriers should be soft-sided and must be comfortable enough for the pet to turn around or lie in.
Number of Animals on a Flight?
Air Canada only allows a maximum of 4 pets per cabin. There is no restriction on how many emotional support animals may travel in-cabin.
Fido Too Big to Fly In-Cabin? Air Canada Cargo Hold
According to the Air Canada ESA policy, certain cat and dog breeds are restricted from flying in the cargo compartment. The policy dictates that any brachycephalic breeds are prohibited from flying cargo due to the increased risk of respiratory complications.
Brachycephalic or snub-nosed dog breeds restricted from flying in the cargo compartment include:
- Boxer dogs
- Shih Tzu
Some brachycephalic cat breeds include:
- The British Shorthair
- Scottish Fold
- Exotic Shorthair
Pets Traveling with Air Canada: Things You Need to Know
The Air Canada pet policy is significantly different from the Air Canada ESA policy.
Firstly, passengers traveling with pets on domestic flights or a connecting flight should inform Air Canada as soon as possible. Air Canada only allow 2 to 4 pets in the cabin per flight.
Pets traveling in the cabin cannot exceed 22 lbs (10 kg) and your pet in its carrier would count as a piece of carry-on luggage. If you choose to check your pet in as checked baggage, then they cannot exceed 100 lbs (45kg).
Finally, pets cannot fly free of charge with Air Canada. There are certain fees owners need to pay to fly with their pet. The fees are as follows:
- In-cabin pets on domestic flights: Fee of $50 to $59 one way
- Pets in-cabin on international flights: Fee of $100 to $118 one way
- Animals as checked baggage on domestic flights: Fee of $105 to $120.75
- Pets in checked baggage on international flights: Fee of $270 to $318.60.
Documentation: 2 Forms You Will Need Before Checking In
The Air Canada ESA policy dictates that passengers looking to travel with their emotional support animal must show proof of support through an ESA letter. It is also advisable to always carry a vaccination certificate for your dog.
An emotional support animal letter is a legal document that describes your need for an ESA. An ESA letter is written by a qualified mental health professional who can practice in your province or by a doctor. Without an emotional support animal letter, passengers cannot bring their ESAs on board an aircraft.
- An ESA letter must be written on the letterhead of a qualified mental health professional who can practice in your province. This can be a psychologist, psychiatrist, or general practitioner.
- The date of your ESA letter must be within one year of your date of departure.
Veterinary Health Certificate
The Air Canada ESA policy makes no mention of having a veterinary health certificate as part of their mandatory documents. However, it is considered a safety blanket should you ever need proof that your dog is up to date with their vaccinations.
3 Things to Think About Before Taking a Journey with Your ESA
- According to the Air Canada ESA policy, passengers traveling with an emotional support animal need to give a 48-hour notice to Air Canada Reservations.
- The Air Canada ESA policy states that only dogs are accepted as emotional support animals on-board their flights. Passengers cannot bring cats, birds, or miniature horses as ESAs.
- Emotional support animals do not have to be trained to be service animals. That being said, it is advisable to train your emotional support dog to be on their best behavior. The Air Canada ESA policy dictates that they have the right to not allow an aggressive or troublesome ESA on-board their flight.
Interested in getting an emotional support animal? To get started, take our 5-minute pre-screening test for free. We’ll put you in touch with a qualified mental health professional who can practice in your province. They’ll book an appointment with you and, if you qualify, issue your emotional support animal letter!
We are invoking the Human Rights Code when we issue these letters. The Human Rights Code provides the broadest protections to service animal users, as it extends the right to be free from discrimination, harassment, and reprisal in all of the social areas covered by the Code, including services, goods and facilities, accommodation, contracts, employment, and vocational associations. We are also fully aware and understand that an ESA does not have to be honored and can be denied. We make sure to let our clients know this. There is no legal obligation for the other party to approve an ESA request, but they may be motivated to do so on compassionate grounds. Animals that have little training, are poorly behaved or have damaged property will be rejected.