JetBlue ESA policy welcomes passengers traveling with emotional support animals, service animals, and certain pets. However, the airline has a specific policy that you must follow in order to travel with your animal. Read on to learn more so that you and your animal can travel stress-free.
**Please note, as of January 11, 2021, under new regulations passed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the allowance of Emotional Support Animals onboard flights may vary from airline to airline. Please contact your airline of choice for their most up-to-date policies on Emotional Support Animals.
JetBlue’s Pet Fee
According to the JetBlue ESA policy, the airline charges a pet fee of $125 each way for animals traveling in the cabin.
They do not ship live animals or allow them to be sent as checked baggage. Only small cats and dogs may be brought on board and the animal and carrier’s combined weight must not exceed 20 pounds. Psychiatric service animals and service animals are not subject to this fee. As we mentioned above, new travel regulations allows airlines like JetBlue to ban emotional support animals. So please keep in mind that JetBlue ESA policy can now be seen as JetBlue pet policy.
Take the pre-screening today if you think you might qualify for an emotional support animal.
A List of Animals That Are Permitted on JetBlue
JetBlue ESA policy permits well-behaved, clean emotional support animals, pets, and service animals onboard so long as they are not on the list of restricted breeds (see below), do not pose a threat to the safety or well-being of other passengers, and are of a suitable size that they can sit at the passenger’s feet or on their lap.
Unlike other airlines, the JetBlue ESA policy does not restrict short-nosed dog breeds—or cats—from flying. However, you may wish to think twice about bringing snub-nosed dogs and cats on board as they can suffer breathing difficulties.
JetBlue ESA policy states if your animal is improperly cleaned or as having a foul odor, they will also not be permitted to fly.
If you are planning to fly with an emotional support animal that is not a cat or dog, we would recommend contacting the airline before making a booking to check that your ESA will be allowed to fly.
ACAA and ESAs: What You Need to Know
The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) makes it possible for people with disabilities able to fly without discrimination. And up until 2021, it was a law followed in its entirety by all airlines.
However, JetBlue ESA policy no longer follows the ACAA and will only apply the law if the assistance animal is a service animal or psychiatric service animal.
The JetBlue ESA policy defines a service animal as “trained to perform a specific task to assist the customer traveling such as pathfinding, retrieval of objects, providing stability, alerting to sounds, etc.”
This new travel regulation was published by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in the Federal Register and went into effect January 11, 2021. It states emotional support animals will no longer be recognized as so and will not be able to fly with the same protections. If the airline is in support of this new rule, like JetBlue is, then they are prepared to only accept ESAs as pets.
As to how this could happen in the first place, Prairie Conlon, world’s leading expert on ESAs, said it best.
“We understand that there have been incidents that have discredited emotional support animals and the service they provide, but those situations could be prevented by increased regulation. This proposed rule is a step in the right direction, [but] the aim may be a little off.
Emotional support animals as part of a treatment plan have been utilized for decades [and] are not anything new. They have just recently gained attention in the last several years due to several things: the increase in ESAs as our society looks for alternative non-invasive therapies such as yoga and meditation, the charade of bizarre and exotic animals people are claiming are ESAs, and the lack of regulations on online companies popping up and selling rubber-stamped ESA letters.”
“Eliminating emotional support animals altogether is a quick, cheap fix that disregards those who really need and use the treatment appropriately.”
“I don’t see how they can say yes to a dog flying for a fee of $150 but no to a dog that has a licensed clinician’s signature on it,” Conlon says.
“This proposed rule would be eliminating the ability of all clinicians and doctors to utilize [ESA] treatment for their clients with mental health concerns, when the goal should actually be to eliminate the fraudulent [ESA] sites that are enabling scammers.”
While this is devastating blow to ESA owners that once traveled under the protection of JetBlue ESA policy, don’t worry…
We continue to explore and consider all legal options to help protect the rights of individuals dealing with mental health disabilities. You and your ESA matter; don’t lose hope.
How to Alert JetBlue You Will Be Bringing Your ESA/Pet/SA
You can also notify the airline after booking, either on your online booking page or by calling 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).
You will need to notify and submit required documentation to JetBlue at least 48 hours in advance of traveling with a service animal, to help ensure that journey goes smoothly.
Know JetBlue’s Pet Carrier Requirements!
According to the JetBlue ESA policy, the airlines do not require service animals to travel in a carrier; however, if you choose to put them in a carrier, it must abide by the airline’s guidelines.
Animals will need to come out of their carriers to pass through the security checkpoint.
If they are an emotional support animal or pet, they must remain in their carrier throughout the flight.
The carrier’s dimensions must not exceed 17″ (43.18 cm) by 12.5″ (31.75 cm) by 8.5″ (21.59 cm).
Carriers can be soft or hard-sided but must be well ventilated and leak proof. JetBlue offers a soft-sided carrier for $50 that is designed to fit under the airplane’s seats.
Damaged carriers may be restricted if they allow the pet to escape. Only one animal is permitted per carrier.
“Where Does My Furry Friend Go Once I’m on the Plane?”
If your furry friend is your pet or emotional support animal, you must stow them in their carrier underneath the seat in front. Otherwise, your service animal must sit on your lap or at your feet, without encroaching on the foot space of neighboring seats.
If your animal is too large, you may be required to purchase additional seats to accommodate the animal. No animals of any kind may sit in emergency exit rows.
Bring And Fill Out The Required Documents/Forms
This step is absolutely crucial to being allowed to travel with your emotional support animal, service animal, or pet on JetBlue.
Although JetBlue does not require you to upload your documentation for your pet or ESA ahead of traveling, you must be able to produce copies of the required paperwork while on your journey. You could be refused to board if you do not have the required paperwork.
JetBlue does not allow animals to travel in the cargo compartment, so if you are not permitted to bring your animals as an ESA, and if your dog is too large to travel as a pet in the cabin as carry-on baggage, you will not be able to bring it.
ESA Letter: Optional
While you do not have to bring your emotional support animal letter after 1/11/2021, it never hurts to have the letter on hand.
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.
A USDA-approved veterinarian should be able to provide this; it proves the animal’s clean bill of health and rabies vaccination record.
Signed testament to the animal’s behavior: Optional
This document is no longer required if you are traveling with an emotional support animal, but you can always bring it if that helps you to travel. You could get this from your animal trainer or veterinarian. JetBlue does state that emotional support animals must be well behaved, so this could help to prove it.
If you are traveling overseas with your ESA or pet, including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, you may need to bring additional paperwork. Always check in advance of traveling on the international flight what paperwork you will need. (See below for resources).
Prepare Your ESA for Flight!
Once you have all the necessary paperwork, you’ll need to get your ESA ready to fly!
Teach Your Dog The Proper Behavior When in Public and on the Airplane
Your emotional support animal must behave appropriately at all times in the airport and onboard the plane, or you and they will not be allowed to fly. This means no barking, jumping, growling, or other disruptive or threatening behavior.
If your ESA has never flown before, you could practice taking them on a bus or train to get them used to behave on public transport.
Make sure your emotional support animal is properly toilet trained, even when in new environments. Most airports will have a grassy area outside or pet relief area within the airport terminal where your ESA will be able to relieve itself.
They’re There For Your Comfort, Not Disturbance
A stressed-out emotional support animal is likely to be more of a hindrance than a help.
Bear in mind that other passengers in their aircraft cabin may be afraid of animals, or have allergies, so make sure that your emotional support animal is not getting in anyone else’s way or scaring other passengers.
They have as much right to a comfortable and peaceful flight as you do.
Are You Traveling Internationally? Check Out Location-Specific Resources to See If Your ESA is Allowed
- The first place to check is the USDA website, which has a location-specific tool that will help you to find out what documentation you need to travel to an international airport.
- The JetBlue website also has more information on traveling with an emotional support animal, or you can call them on 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).
Not traveling with an ESA? Make sure you read JetBlue Pet Policy for more information about non-ESA animals.