ESA Weekly News Report December 30th: Troublesome ESA Travels Over the Holidays

Reading Time: 2 minutes

dog reading esa news

The end-of-year rush isn’t stopping us from reporting on the most interesting emotional support animal news of the week. Now that the holidays are coming to a close, we have a lot of failed ESA travel stories. Today, we bring you two. Get caught up with what’s going on in the ESA world with CertaPet.

Delta Strands Man and Pitbull in Arizona

Zachary Smith, a Kentucky college student, is stranded in Phoenix, Arizona. He flew home aboard a Delta Airlines flight with his emotional support dog—Kaimani—by his side. When returning to university, he was told he could not board the plane because of his ESA.

Delta representatives told media outlets this was due to the company’s ban on pit bull-like breeds. Since 2018, pit bulls have not been allowed to fly with the airline. Yet, Kaimani was allowed on board from Chicago to Phoenix. Apparently, due to a mistake on the part of airline workers in Cincinnati.

Smith filed a complaint with the airline. According to him, he has all the ESA paperwork for Kaimani to return home with him. However, Delta Airlines isn’t budging.

This controversial ban on pit bull-like breeds has been under fire for months. The Department of Transportation (DOT) bans breed discrimination. Despite that, United has been firm on this policy.


man walking his pitbull

Allegiant Turns Away Woman and Emotional Support Dog

Stacy Christopoulos could not board her Allegiant flight in Tampa because of her ESA, Spikey. The two usually travel together and until this month had never run into problems. All that changed when their vacation was cut short because of technicalities.

Allegiant has an ESA policy that also applied to Stacy in this case. It states that all passengers traveling with a companion animal to bring an ESA letter. Additionally, they must fill out a responsibility form and a vet health form.

Stacy had her ESA letter and veterinary form with her. However, since the information wasn’t filled out on Allegiant paperwork, they “didn’t meet the requirements.” Thus, Spikey and Stacy had to sort out their travel plans in a different way.


dog in airport

CertaPet’s Thoughts on This Week’s News

We’ve voiced our opinion that airlines should not ban ESAs based on breed. United continues going against the DOT’s guidelines for assistance animal travel, which is not right. It’s an arbitrary and unjust ban that hurts people with disabilities when traveling. We hope Zachary Smith has found a way of getting back to school safe and sound.

That said, we support Allegiant’s decision to bar Stacy and Spikey from flying. Bringing the correct ESA paperwork to the airport is a must. Stacy had the right intentions bringing the forms she had always used when traveling. Yet, she should have double-, triple-checked with the airline. We wish them happy travels from now on!

Before traveling with an ESA, you have to read up the airline’s ESA policy. It’ll save you time in the long run and avoid embarrassing moments at the airport! We have a whole list of ESA policies explained—there’s no excuse for not knowing them.

A requirement you’ll always find is having a valid ESA letter, issued by a licensed mental health professional. CertaPet helps you get your own. Start by taking our 5-minute pre-screening test for free and we’ll handle the rest.

All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.