Alaska Airlines ESA Policy

By: Nina Kulenkampff Updated: June 15, 2020

Alaska Airlines ESA Policy

The Alaska Airlines ESA Policy is all good news for people wanting to travel with their Emotional Support Animal or Psychiatric Service Animal. The best news? Your ESA will be able to travel with you free of charge!

There is a long list of boxes to check to ensure smooth sailing when taking your Emotional Support Animal or pet on a plane. To be sure you don’t get turned back because of one small detail you missed, give yourself enough time to plan!

Alaska Airlines ESA Policy: Pet Fee for Non-ESAs

Alaska Airlines ESA policy has tightened the airline’s pet policy on allowing Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals. While the Alaska Airlines ESA policy is a lot more strict, it’s important to note that their pet fee is fairly cheap, with a charge of $100 per pet per trip.

A List of ESAs That are Permitted on Alaska Airlines

Dog, cat, bunnies and bird together, permitted ESAs according to Alaska Airlines ESA policy

According to the Alaska Airlines pet policy, Alaska Airlines allows the following animals in the aircraft cabin:

  • Cats
  • Dogs

Breed Restrictions

Alaska Airlines will only permit one dog or cat as an emotional support animal allowed to travel in the aircraft cabin with its disabled owner. The dog or cat must be leashed or kept in a carrier at all times.  

Alaska Airlines ESA policy— like many airlines—now dictates that they will no longer allow Brachycephalic breeds (a.k.a short-nosed dog breeds or snub-nosed dog breeds) on any of their flights.

These breeds include:


  • Persian
  • Exotic Shorthair
  • Himalayan
  • Burmese


  • Boston Terriers
  • Boxers
  • Bull Dogs
  • Bull Terriers
  • Brussels Griffons
  • Chow Chows
  •  English Toy Spaniels
  • Japanese Spaniels
  • Japanese Chins
  • Mastiffs
  • Pekinese
  • Pit Bulls
  • Pugs
  • Shih Tzu,
  • Staffordshire Terriers

ACAA and ESAs: What You Need to Know!

When it comes to traveling by air, ACAA and ESAs is perhaps the most important law you need to be aware of. An ACAA is known as the Air Carriers Access Act and it is under this act that you and your pooch are protected by federal law.

The ACAA dictates that any person traveling with a service animal, or emotional support animal, is required to have the necessary legal documents, that enable your ESA to travel with you.

Alert Alaska Airlines You Will Be Bringing Your ESA!

According to Alaska Airlines ESA policy, the number of animals traveling on any Alaska Airline flight is limited. Even if your animal is an Emotional Support Animal. It’s first come first serve.

According to the Alaska Airlines ESA policy, you will be required you to submit a completed, 3-page form to them via email at least 48 hrs before the flight.

This form includes:

  • Animal Health Advisory Form – They recommend that you always have a certified copy of your ESA’s Health Certificate from your vet on you at all times.
  • Mental Health Form – This part needs to be completed by a certified mental health professional.
  • Animal Behavior Form – They need to be sure that your animal is trained and well behaved.

You will also need to provide them with a health certificate for your animal dated 10 days before the trip, and 30 days after you got back. For a one-way flight, the health certificate needs to be dated within 10 days of your trip.

Take the pre-screening today if you think you qualify for an emotional support animal.

CertaPet’s Alaska Airlines ESA Fact Sheet

To get all the information and more in one place, we created an emotional support animal fact sheet when cruising in the sky with your ESA. Easy to download so you don’t have to forget anything!

Know Alaska Airlines’ Pet Carrier Requirements!


Alaska Airlines ESA policy makes traveling with your pet stress-free!

Luckily your ESA will be allowed to be out of their carrier. If you do decide to take a carrier with you, be sure it meets the passenger cabin’s pet carrier requirements – also under Alaska Pet Policy!

What’s Acceptable

Alaska Airlines ESA policy does have a set of rules when it comes to meeting the cabin pet carrier needs:

  • Have sufficient ventilation
  • Be leak proof
  • Have an absorbent lining
  • Maximum size hard carrier dimensions: 17” x 11” x 7.5”
  • Maximum size soft carrier dimensions:  17” x 11” x 9.5”

What’s Restricted

According to Alaska Airlines ESA policy, you cannot bring a pet carrier, a personal item and a carry-on bag onto the flight. You will need to choose 2, and the rest will have to be added to your checked-baggage.

“Where Does My ESA Go Once I’m on the Plane?”

Unlike other pets that have to stay in their carriers in the cabin, Alaska Airlines ESA policy permits emotional support animals and psychiatric service animals to stay either on the floor at their owner’s feet, or, if they are small, on their owner’s lap.

They won’t get loaded with checked baggage, or into the cargo compartment/cargo hold. Other people will have to wait until they get to the baggage claim area before seeing their pets.

Bring and Fill Out the Required Documents/Forms! One of the Most Important Steps!

There is a bit of paperwork involved in making sure your animal is allowed on the flight. Don’t neglect any part of this important step!

ESA Letter

This document must be less than a year old and on letterhead paper or a prescription pad from a licensed medical doctor or mental health professional. The ESA letter must state the following:

  • That you have a diagnosed mental health condition or mental health-related disability
  • The emotional support animal accompanying you is necessary for your mental health or treatment
  • The type of animal you are bringing, and how many
  • That the issuer of the letter is a licensed medical doctor or mental health professional, and that you are under their treatment or care for a mental health disorder
  • The issuer’s license number, type of license, the license’s issue date, and the state or jurisdiction where it was licensed.

Veterinary Health Form

Also known as the USDA APHIS 7001 Form, a USDA-approved veterinarian must complete this form within 10 days of travel. It proves the animal’s clean bill of health and rabies vaccination record.

Copy of the Animal’s Current Shot Record

Your veterinarian should be able to provide this if you don’t have it at home.

Signed Testament to the Animal’s Behavior

The airline needs to be sure that your pet doesn’t pose a potential threat to other passengers or airport staff. This signed testament by your vet will show that your dog is, in fact, a very good boy!

Prepare Your ESA for Flight!

Air travel with your pet is not as easy as simply putting them into their carrier and expecting smooth sailing and good behavior. Especially if they are not used to traveling. Make sure your ESA ready for the trip!

Teach Your Dog the Proper Behavior When in Public and on the Airplane

Alaska Airlines Pets Policy has very strict rules about the behavior of ESAs or Psychiatric Service Animals. If your animal does not behave, you may find yourself in a spot of legal bother.

Here is a list of behavior that is unacceptable:

  • Excessive Barking
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Free wandering
  • Going potty where they’re not supposed to
  • Jumping up on people
  • Taking up another seat or sitting on the seatback tray tables
  • Eating off seatback tray tables
  • Not responding to your commands

It is not the flight attendant’s job to clean up after dogs and cats, or any other animal. Make sure you get your animal to a pet relief or grassy area to go potty, especially before international flights!

They’re There for Your Comfort, Not Disturbance

A lot of meeters and greeters will love that you have an animal with you. But some people really won’t. Make sure you ESA is not distracting anyone because the only reason you are flying with your emotional support animal is so you can feel safe. When your ESA begins distracting people or causing a disturbance, they are no longer calming you down but in fact, doing the opposite.

Read ESA Owners’ First-Hand Flying Experience With Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines ESA policy ensures that owners and pets will be well-cared for and respected during their travels. Here’s what customers have to say about Alaska Airlines ESA policy!

“I’m happy to pay $100 to have my elderly dog in the seat next to me.”

“Having to pay $100 to transport their pet—that’s dirt cheap! I have never had a bad experience on Alaska Airlines. Just never. From check-in to deplaning, the service has always been top notch. I can’t say that about any other airline, and I’ve flown them all.”

Are You Traveling Internationally? Check Out Location-Specific Resources to See If Your ESA is Allowed

One of the most important steps when preparing your dog for air travel is to research the requirements of taking an animal into the airport, city, state or country you are traveling to. There may be additional vaccinations or paperwork for your dog to have.

There are websites with helpful information on the rules and requirements of various destinations. You need to check whether your animal is allowed at that destination, and if they are, what the requirements are for your animal to be allowed access.

Here are some useful documents to find more information about flying with your ESA:

    • United States Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
    • Alaska Airlines Accessible Services

Do you have questions about Alaska Airlines ESA policy? Let us know in the comments below!

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