A Guide to the Central Mountain Air ESA Policy

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plane taking off central mountain air esa policy

If you are flying between the Western Canadian districts of British Columbia and Alberta, you might consider flying with Central Mountain Air. This airline comprises mostly smaller aircraft, but happily, they do permit some pets and/or emotional support animals (ESAs) to travel on-board. Read on for the finer details of the Central Mountain Air ESA policy.

Are Assistance Animals Allowed on Central Mountain Air Flights?

Central Mountain Air does make allowance for pet travel on-board their airplanes. Depending on their size ESAs can travel in-cabin as a hand-luggage. Or, they can travel in a kennel in cargo as checked baggage.

On-duty service animals may fly in-cabin on CMA flights. To qualify, a service animal must have a registered training certificate. They must be harnessed and remain at their owner’s feet for the duration of the flight.

Pets, Service, and Emotional Support Animals Have Their Own Airline Policies!

Pets, service animals, and ESAs enjoy different privileges when it comes to public transport and access to public spaces. It does, to some extent, correlate with the dependency of their owner on their animal for their day-to-day basic needs.

To understand the difference between pets, service animals, and emotional support animals let’s quickly run through their definitions:

  • Pet: A tamed or domesticated animal owned for companionship or pleasure.
  • Emotional Support Animal: This is an animal that helps to reduce the symptoms of mental and/or emotional disabilities. ESAs provide support in the form of their companionship and affection. Typically, these are cats or dogs. Not birds, livestock, or endangered or threatened species.
  • Service Animal: These animals, usually dogs, receive intensive training and perform tasks to assist disabled people. For example, a guide dog that safely leads its blind owner through busy streets.

emotional support animal thinking about plane

ESA Legal Protection: A Look at Canada’s ESA Laws!

The ESA laws in Canada are not yet as concrete as those in the U.S. Additionally, there are some differences in the ESA laws in different provinces. When traveling with your ESA, it is best to read through both the federal laws as well as the ESA laws/policies for the different provinces that you will be traveling in or through.

The Canadian Transportation Agency

According to the Canadian Transport Agency (CTA), “persons with disabilities have a right to an equal opportunity to benefit from the same level of transportation services afforded to others…” In other words, disabled people have the right to equal access.

Aircraft Accessibility Act for Persons with Disabilities

Supplementary to the Canadian Transportation Act (CTA), the Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations (ATPDR) is being formulated. The primary plan for this legislation is to create standards for transportation service providers to abide by. These standards are to make travel more accessible to persons with disabilities.

With regards to individuals traveling with service dogs, the proposed regulations will include a new definition of “service dogs”. This will assert that service dogs provide support for persons with a range of disabilities. The revised regulations will also make an allowance for things such as the construction of ‘relieving areas’.

What Animals and Breeds are Allowed on Central Mountain Air Flights?

There are no cat or dog breeds specifically excluded from the Central Mountain Air ESA policy. However, CMA does not accept the following animals on board:

  • Pets that appear aggressive, agitated, or hostile.
  • Animals sedated and not able to stand up.
  • Female pets that are in season or in heat.
  • ESAs that emit offensive odors.
  • Dogs or cats that are more than 6 weeks pregnant.
  • Kittens or puppies younger than 10 weeks and/or not yet weaned from their mothers.

Which ESAs are Allowed in the Cabin?

No, wolves may not travel in the cabin! Neither may any animals that feature on the endangered species list!

Beyond that, restrictions for pets and ESAs allowed in the cabin are mostly based on size. If your emotional support dog or cat is going to accompany you in-cabin, they must stay in a suitable carrier for the duration of the flight. This carrier must fit under the seat in front of you.

asian man holding his dog up in the air

ESA and Carrier Size and Weight Restrictions

To make the journey for you and your ESA go smoothly, it is important to check all the boxes that you can before even boarding that airplane. A very simple and easy box to tick is that of the pet carrier your ESA is to travel in.

Your Carrier or Kennel Needs to Check All the Boxes!

When flying with CMA, the following restrictions apply:

  • The carrier must be spacious enough for your emotional support animal to safely and comfortably stand up, turn around, and lie down.
  • The dimensions of your pet’s travel kennel should be no greater than a height of 23 cm (9 in), length of 43 cm (17 in), and a width of 38 cm (15 in). The combined weight of the pet and carrier should be 10 kg (22 lbs) or less.
  • Your ESA’s carrier must be well-ventilated (so that Fido can breathe easily and have enough access to fresh air).
  • The carrier must be leak-proof, i.e. no toilet spills to escape!
  • CMA pet policy states that carriers with hard sides are preferable. However, soft-sided carriers are acceptable.

4 Important Documents You’ll Need

  1. When traveling with your ESA, you should always have your emotional support animal letter with you.
  2. If you are traveling abroad, you will need to contact your destination country’s embassy to find out about the requirements for importing a live animal. If you travel out of Canada frequently with your pet, you will want to consider applying for a “pet passport”. This Certificate of Ownership authorizes multiple exports and imports for personal purposes. It is valid for three years and countries such as the USA do recognize it.
  3. Once again, for pups going overseas, you will want to have a Canadian International Health Certificate.
  4. Some airlines may request to see training documents and information about your ESAs behavior in public settings.

How CertaPet Helps People Get Their ESA Letter

If you are looking to get an emotional support animal in Canada, you will need to get a letter from a qualified mental health professional (QMHP). Your ESA letter is a prescription declaring that you need the companionship of an emotional support animal as part of your treatment program.

CertaPet facilitates the connection of individuals suffering from mental or emotional health issues with a qualified mental health practitioner in their province. At this time, CertaPet has qualified therapists in British Columbia, Newfoundland, and Labrador only.

The Central Mountain Air ESA Policy Checklist

Make sure that the carrier or kennel that your ESA will be traveling in subscribes to the guidelines set out by the Central Mountain Air terms and conditions.

You must pre-register your pet before you travel. Call CMA Reservations on 1-888-865-8585 to register your pet for in-cabin travel as your carry-on luggage. Or, if your emotional support animal is too large to travel in-cabin, to register the kennel for transportation as cargo.

happy woman hugging her emotional support dog

Where to Call or Visit for More Information on the Central Mountain Air ESA Policy

Central Mountain Air does not have an ESA policy per sé. However, they do neatly outline all the details about flying with your pet or service animal. To get more information about traveling with your ESA on Central Mountain Air, call their reservations desk on 1-888-865-8585.

Taking a Different Airline? Check Out More ESA Policies Here

Traveling with your ESA in Canada? As we have mentioned before, ESA legislation differs from province to province. Going on a polar bear adventure in Manitoba? Or, want to walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver? Read up on the ESA laws of the specific provinces that you are traveling to or through to avoid any unpleasant hiccups. 

If you are taking connecting flights and transferring from another airline, e.g Air Canada or WestJet. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the pet or ESA policy and baggage policies for these airlines too.

Common Questions About the Central Mountain Air ESA Policy

Which ESAs are allowed on Central Mountain Air flights?

Does your ESA count as carry on luggage?

Which endangered species can travel on an airplane?

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