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I have a 3 year old emotional support dog and we are planning to head to Hawaii these summers. I live in NY and am familiar with flying with my ESA before. But I am not sure if it's possible for me to fly with Butters for such a long flight. I have a legit ESA letter. Is it enough to inform the airline provider beforehand? Also, which is the best airline to travel with my pet?
 

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As you know, ESA's do NOT have access while Service Dogs do. ESA's are not service animals. As you note.. Butters is a pet.

Some airlines allow ESA's to ride in the cabin. Others do not. Many are going to NOT allowing ESA's to fly in the cabin. They are not trained service animals and do not have access.

When flying, the safety of ALL the passengers is the highest priority. If an ESA has an issue, it is not like they can stop and "let you off" a the next airport (though if the disruption is serious enough they will and I suspect the individual responsible for the incident may get a bill!).

While Butters may be perfectly trained and lie at your feet (or wherever he/she would ride) the entire flight and most would never know he/she was there, many ESA's are not well trained and behave like pets. They do not perform a service to their handler that the handler cannot do without the dog (such as guide dog work or seizure alert).

It is my opinion that ESA's should not fly in the cabin (unless the airline allows pets to ride in the cabin), they should not be allowed in stores (unless the store allows pets) and they should not be allowed in Restaurants (unless pets are allowed). Letter or not, ESA's do not have access and are not service animals. Butters should ride in the hold like any other non servicedog (FWIW competition dogs ride in the hold). Your better bet might be to board Butters or hire a pet sitter and leave Butters home.
 

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I don't know about in cabin flying with animals.. Am curious from long ago past understanding about military members being stationed in Hawaii and bringing their pets. Their pets had to actually go through a long facility containment period. Is it different now?
 

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I don't know about in cabin flying with animals.. Am curious from long ago past understanding about military members being stationed in Hawaii and bringing their pets. Their pets had to actually go through a long facility containment period. Is it different now?
A friend did not bring her Bengal cat with her when she moved to Hawaii. I don't remember if it was breed prejudice or that the quarantine period was inhumane.

The length of the flight is concerning for me. I have a small terrier mix (not a Service dog or ESA) who can use pee pads, but she is a dog; I can't see putting her in a crate for that amount of time and only giving her a human bathroom-break sized bathroom break. For that matter, it's an awfully long time to confine an emotionally fragile human in a small space with a bunch of strangers.

There is nothing like a dog and a road trip but a petsitter or kennel is more humane if you can't avoid airline travel. I'm not sure who "we" implies, but you may need to stand up for Butters and/or yourself if somebody else is forcing an inappropriate situation. You are worth more than that.
 

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As you know, ESA's do NOT have access while Service Dogs do. ESA's are not service animals. As you note.. Butters is a pet.

Some airlines allow ESA's to ride in the cabin. Others do not. Many are going to NOT allowing ESA's to fly in the cabin. They are not trained service animals and do not have access.
That is incorrect. Legally under the Air Carrier Access Act, ESAs are protected as well as service animals. Service dogs do not need to have specific paperwork. Now, most airlines do require you submit specific paperwork for ESAs and psychiatric service animals. Some have limited ESAs to flights less than 8 hours. They cannot decide "actually, we don't want this ESA on the plane" willy nilly though. They can still dismiss an animal for behavior or if they cannot fit at your feet without impinging on other pasengers/asle space

More concerning than the flight time, for me, would be the extensive quarantine procedure animals coming from the mainland must go through to enter Hawaii. Service animals can be pushed through with very specific paperwork, but ESAs are not included in this, and it is a tough process even for service animals.
 

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http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/aqs/aqs-info/

It isn't kind or helpful to separate an emotionally fragile person from their ESA. Your doctor knows that and will be able to help you. That is what they are getting paid to do.
 
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