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Re: limits to Service animals and ESA dogs?

Flyingforfun
New Arrival

Yes I am being judgemental when I see someone who presents as needing a service or ESA dog but has a dog that is outfitted with a vest purchased online and an "ID" tag on the collar provided by the "registry." There is no registry in existence for service animals or ESAs.  So if someone meets the criteria for ESA and has the letter from the doctor, just bring the dog onboard without the fake vest and badge. It takes away from credibiity, not the opposite.  And yes I know that service dogs don't need a letter, but that the ADA allows the crew to ask if the dog is needed, and what service the dog performs.

 

I have a  valid physical disability that severely limits my mobility.  When I flew ten days ago someone who is of sound body had a genuine ESA of smaller than medium size. That person was permitted to board before me, walking down the jetway unassisted.  So that person took a seat closer to the front, and the restroom, than myself.  How appropriate is that? I don't begrudge the dog, I begrudge an able bodied person whose dog does not require the bulkhead being preboarded before those who have physical limitations. I understand some dogs are large and need the bulkhead. That was not the case this time.  I think that the crew onboard needs to board those who need proximity to the lav before those who are fully ambulatory.  In fact there were disabled people who could not walk the airport but who could walk the jetway who were boarded before those in wheelchairs. The gate agents need to use better discretion. I know some people will cite conditions as incontinence as  need to be close to the lav. Well there are two lavs in the back of a 737. I too have this condition intermittantly, so I prepare for the flight by wearing the appropriate undergarment.  Yes there are hidden disabilities, but it does not excuse people with disabilities from doing everything available to them to prepare for flight, instead of expecting everyone else on board to compensate on their behalf.

Re: limits to Service animals and ESA dogs?

sevymt
New Arrival

I travel with my Esa and pay Southwests early bird boarding fee just as anyone else can.  I have never been given any preboarding privalage.  What ever my pass says is when I board.  I do try to board early so as to be able to get a seat where I will be the least offensive to passangers.I want to be invisible.  That being said if someone needs my seat because it may be closer to a bathroom , I would gladly give it up. I would not make a blanket statement saying that some one traveling with an ESA does not need a particular seat, but in my case I don't.  I chose my seat  just to be unobtrusive. I feel a window seat is the best for everyone. Having issues myself, I am willing to do what I can to make others with issues comfortable. I am dreading my upcoming flight, but my father was diagnosed with cancer and he lives on the otherside of the country. Flying is getting to be too stressful.  But I have to make myself go for my father.

Re: limits to Service animals and ESA dogs?

Ginat
New Arrival

First off I have an ESA for an “invisible” (to some) disease and disability. I have limited travel to my car to not deal with passengers that have issues with ESA’s. To those eye rolling, under breath comments and any ignorant noises you make fly an airline that allows you to reserve your seat where it is convenient for you or keep your comments to yourself! As for pre-boarding, this is the SWA STAFF’s decision of who to board first not the passenger with an ESA who boarded before you. Make your comments, eye rolls and noises at the employee or again keep it to yourself. Other airlines flight attendants help find room and place carryons in the overhead compartment, this may be something to address on any survey requested by SWA, but then again there is usually one helpful passenger on a plane. To the woman with the incontinence issue, unless you are carrying a box of Depends no one knows you have a problem and you said you”prepare” well you should because I don’t want to sit next to you when you have an “accident” and my ESA is blamed for it! I’m sure you can purchase a vest to identify you’re incontinent so you get a seat near a bathroom! Maybe you can get the vest and ID online! What were all you complainers doing when smoking was allowed?

As for all of us that have to take he extra time for Dr notes identifying our conditions for our ESA to board the plane, we are having our privacy rights violated. Our conditions are our business and our dr’s, a letter from Dr stating we require an ESA is sufficient, if you have something that  is life threatening wear an ID bracelet. Thank you for taking time to read my comments!

Re: limits to Service animals and ESA dogs?

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

Note that, effective 9/17/18, Southwest is making significant changes to its Emotional Support Animal and Trained Service Animal policies.

 

More info here.

Re: limits to Service animals and ESA dogs?

spacecoastbill
Active Member

@beaner_46 wrote:

Many of you are being judgmental. You are judging those of us with diabilities that aren't openly apparent to you and you don't even know us. I have severe PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety. I was prescribed an ESA for my PTSD. When I'm in close contact with large crowds of people (like at an airport or on an airplane), my PTSD affects me. 

 

It's NOT EASY to get on a SW flight with an ESA. I had to show a letter on a letterhead from my doctor, stating that he prescribed it AND stating my diagnosis. SW doesn't play around with this like you think they do. Just because you don't know the details of getting an ESA doesn't mean there aren't any. The letter can't even be over a year old. And you canNOT get them online. You can order an ESA vest online, but not a letter from a doctor. 

 

Stop assuming that because people don't have a physical disability that they don't need an ESA. And stop assuming that it's easy to prove your ESA is authentic to SW because it's definitely not. It's a legitimate process that weeds out people who are trying to bring pets onboard for free. SW is providing for people with legitimate disabilities or disorders, according to the law. 

 

It's my personal opinion that ESAs are becoming more common because doctors are seeing the value and benefits that they provide to their patients. I've definitely noticed more ESAs around in general and that would explain why there are more of them on flights. Laws are being obeyed whether you personally like it or not. 


ACA isnt the controlling regulation when flying with Service/ESA animals, the ACAA is.

 

You can most certianly get a letter online so you can get your pet on an airline or in an apartment.  RIght now, I just saw one going for $20.  Check a couple of boxes, and you got it.

Re: limits to Service animals and ESA dogs?

LizF
New Arrival

I'm a 55-year-old woman who lost a significant amount of my hearing from an autoimmune disorder.  This is an invisible disability.  I plan to fly with my hearing alert service dog in a few days.  Traveling with my service dog in the USA is protected under federal law.  

 

A few months ago, I read about a woman from a specific religion that forbids owning dogs.  She claimed she was allergic to dogs and demanded all dogs be removed from her flight. Thankfully, she was removed from the flight instead. This is the United States of America and most Americans own dogs.  If you don't like dogs, don't get on an airplane in the USA.  

Re: limits to Service animals and ESA dogs?

brendabean
New Arrival

ESA dogs and service dogs are not the same. ESA dogs need a letter from a psychologist or other therapist and service dogs do not need any documents. I have been asked about my service dog and have even been asked for certification/registration from an agent at the desk. This is not needed. 

US Government on the Air Carrier Access Act

FAQ on Service Dogs

Southwest Emotional Support Animal Policy 

Southwest Pet Policy 

 

 

Re: limits to Service animals and ESA dogs?

LizF
New Arrival

The ADA provides explicit coverage for service animals.   Businesses are allowed to ask if the animal is a service animal and ask what tasks it is trained to perform, but they are not allowed to ask the service animal to perform the task nor ask for a special ID of the animal.

 

 I have never been harrassed by Southwest Airlines employees about my hearing dog.  Southwest Airlines employees have always been very kind to me.  

 

I was recently harassed by a TSA agent in Oklahoma City who rushed up to me to attempt to ask me what my small service dog "did" and if it served breakfast.  I saw her rushing towards me and that she was laughing, so she apparently thought her hateful actions were funny.  I couldn't hear what she was saying, but my husband did.  He reported her hateful behavior to the supervising agent.  I doubt anything will be done to correct this hateful TSA agent's behavior, but she was at least humiliated WITH ME in front of her TSA peers and all the waiting passengers.

 

Re: limits to Service animals and ESA dogs?

spacecoastbill
Active Member

Thats not harassment.

 

Its embellishment.

 


@LizF wrote:

The ADA provides explicit coverage for service animals.   Businesses are allowed to ask if the animal is a service animal and ask what tasks it is trained to perform, but they are not allowed to ask the service animal to perform the task nor ask for a special ID of the animal.

 

 I have never been harrassed by Southwest Airlines employees about my hearing dog.  Southwest Airlines employees have always been very kind to me.  

 

I was recently harassed by a TSA agent in Oklahoma City who rushed up to me to attempt to ask me what my small service dog "did" and if it served breakfast.  I saw her rushing towards me and that she was laughing, so she apparently thought her hateful actions were funny.  I couldn't hear what she was saying, but my husband did.  He reported her hateful behavior to the supervising agent.  I doubt anything will be done to correct this hateful TSA agent's behavior, but she was at least humiliated WITH ME in front of her TSA peers and all the waiting passengers.

 


 

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Re: limits to Service animals and ESA dogs?

jgallagh1944
New Arrival

Does the ADA actually state that the airline has to let the ESA fly at no fee? If not, SW could charge the people flying with pets the same fare for their pets that they would charge a passenger; that would put an end to most of the phonies looking for a cheap or free way of transporting their pets. For those who need an ESA, limit seating to the back of the plane. That way, those of us that don't want to share our space with someone's animal will be able to enjoy the flight as best we can.