BREAKING NEWS

Frequently Asked Questions - Travel

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, which regulates the Americans with Disabilities Act, "People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be charged extra fees, isolated from other patrons, or treated less favorably than other patrons. However, if a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may be charged for damage caused by his or her service animal." See the Business Brief below for additional information, or call the U.S. Department of Justice's ADA information line toll-free at:

800 - 514 - 0301 (voice)

800 - 514 - 0383 (TTY)

Yes, on flights originating and arriving at points in the U.S. or U.S. territories. The Air Carrier Access Act requires air carriers to permit service animals to travel in the cabin with their disabled handlers unless an animal physically does not fit in the space allotted to the traveler and there is no other space on board to accommodate them. If the animal will not fit in the cabin, the air carrier must offer to transport the animal as cargo free of charge.

No. "People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be charged extra fees, isolated from other patrons, or treated less favorably than other patrons." (See ADA business brief link below.) Requiring them to stay in a certain room when other guests are permitted other rooms would be treating the person with a disability less favorably than other patrons.

You can verify this information yourself by calling the U.S. Department of Justice's ADA information line at: 800 - 514 - 0301 (voice)
or
800 - 514 - 0383 (TTY)

Most people ask for bulkhead seating, and most airlines automatically offer bulkhead seating, assuming that the extra leg room will make the animal more comfortable. This isn't always the case. For those animals able to fit at least partly in the under seat storage, there may actually be more room in a regular seat. There may be additional under seat storage in the last seat on the plane, but be aware that close to the engines it will be noisy and may make some service animals uncomfortable.

Once you know what type of aircraft you will be flying check with Seat Guru for insider tips on which seats are the best. Remember that service animals are not allowed in exit rows, which, unfortunately, are usually the rows with the most leg room.

"For a service dog, there must be a physician's statement which certifies as to the disability, and that the service dog provides assistance having to do with that disability and documentation of training, or a certificate of training as a service dog by a training program accredited by Assistance Dogs International, Inc., or a service dog training program with equally rigorous administrative, operational and training standards."

Please note that the doctor cannot certify as to the dog's training. You'll need separate documentation for that.

Hawaii is rabies free. The purpose of the original 120 day quarantine was to protect the state from the import of rabies into the state. An alternate method to protect the state from the import of rabies has been established. It typically requires 6 or more months of preparation.

The exact same procedure is required of all dogs entering Hawaii, regardless of whether they are pets or service animals. The only differences between pets and service animals is that pets MIGHT be held up to 5 days and service animals are typically released the same day, and the import fee is waived for qualified service animals.

Emotional support animals and psychiatric service animals are often not accepted as recognized service animals, so make arrangements establishing whether your dog will be accepted before departure.

Hawaii Department of Agriculture
Animal Quarantine Station
99-951 Halawa Valley Street
Aiea, Hawaii 96701-5602
Telephone (808) 483-7151
FAX (808) 483-7161
E-mail: rabiesfree@hawaii.gov

NOTE: Failure to meet all of the requirements can result in a 120 day quarantine at a fee of $17.80 per day.

You will need (for pets OR for service animals):

1. Rabies vaccinations: Pet must have been vaccinated at least twice in its lifetime against rabies. Vaccinations must have been administered at least 90 days apart. The most recent vaccination is current and was not administered less than 90 days before entry to Hawaii. The date, brand, and lot number of the vaccine must be indicated on the pet's vaccination certificate and health certificate. You need the two most recent rabies certificates.

2. Microchip: The animal must be microchipped, verified by a veterinarian.

3. OIE_FAVN blood test: The animal must have an OIE-FAVN rabies blood test no more than 36 months old or less than 120 days old. The result must be greater than or equal to 0.5 IU/ml and must have been done at either Kansas State University or the DOD Food Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory in Texas. A copy of this test result must be presented that shows the pet's microchip number.

4. Documentation: you'll need to submit documentation that arrives in Hawaii at least 10 business days prior to your animal's arrival. This documentation includes an import permit, rabies vaccination certificates (2 most recent) and blood test results, with the appropriate fee.

You'll also need to plan to arrive at an airport that accepts animal imports, such as Honolulu International Airport.

Read complete details in the two official links below.

Guide and Service Dogs
Checklist for 5-day-or-less Program

See also CROWDER v KITAGAWA

It is polite to bring with you your own bed cover and use it in place of the hotel's bed cover to keep it free of dog hair.
Do not wash your dog in the hotel's bath tub or use the hotel's towels on your dog. Disposable bath wipes are available for freshening your dog between baths and are suitable to use when traveling.

Do not leave your service dog unattended in your hotel room. He may surprise housekeeping.

Take a collapsible crate with you for emergencies. A basic sport crate that will fold small enough to fit in your luggage is available for as little as $25.

That depends on the country of departure's laws and the country of arrival's laws. Some countries require all dogs, including guide and service dogs, to enter the country as cargo.
Check Consular Information Sheets for the individual countries involved to find where to check the regulations for dog import/export. See the link below for Consular Information Sheets.

Service animals are generally permitted to accompany their disabled owners any place where the general public are permitted to go, including hotels and motels. Lodging establishments are not permitted to charge extra for the service animal or to require a deposit. However, the owner of the service animal would still be responsible for any damages done to the facilities.
A representative of the hotel or motel is permitted to inquire as to what the dog is trained to do to mitigate the owner's disability. If the dog is not trained to perform specific tasks, then it is not a service dog and they are not required to permit it.

In order to fly with an Emotional Support Animal in the cabin of the aircraft with you, you will need a special letter from a licensed mental health professional.


These requirements for the letter are excerpted from http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/rules/20030509.pdf

The letter:
* must not more than one year old
* must be on the professional's letterhead
* must be from a mental health professional

and must state all of the following:

1. That the passenger has a mental health-related DISABILITY. Note it is not just a mental illness diagnosis, but a mental illness which SUBSTANTIALLY LIMITS ONE OR MORE MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITIES. Airlines are not permitted to require the documentation to specify the type of mental health disability, e.g., panic attacks.

2. That the presence of the animal is NECESSARY to the passenger's health or treatment.

3. That the individual writing the letter is a licensed mental health professional and that the passenger is under his or her care. The individual writing the letter should clearly indicate what type of mental health care professional they are (psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, et cetera).

NOTE: Airlines may also require documentation including the date, type, and state of the mental health professional's license.

"The purpose of this provision is to prevent abuse by passengers that do
not have a medical need for an emotional support animal and to ensure that
passengers who have a legitimate need for emotional support animals are
permitted to travel with their service animals on the aircraft."

http://www.regulations.gov/freddocs/04-24371.htm


SAMPLE LETTER

(on professional's office letterhead)
DATE

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

(Patient's name) is currently under my professional care for treatment for mental illness. His/her mental impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities. I have prescribed an emotional support animal as part of the treatment program developed for (patient's first name). The presence of this emotional support animal is necessary for (patient's first name)'s mental health.

I am licensed by the state of (state) to practice (medicine/psychiatry/therapy--choose applicable). My license number is (license number).

Please allow (patient's full name) to be accompanied by his/her emotional support animal in the cabin of the aircraft, in accordance with the Air Carrier Access Act (49 U.S.C. 41705 and 14 C.F.R. 382).

Sincerely,
(doctor's name and title)

Most people ask for bulkhead seating, and most airlines automatically offer bulkhead seating, assuming that the extra leg room will make the animal more comfortable. This isn't always the case. For those animals able to fit at least partly in the under seat storage, there may actually be more room in a regular seat. There may be additional under seat storage in the last seat on the plane, but be aware that close to the engines it will be noisy and may make some service animals uncomfortable.

Once you know what type of aircraft you will be flying check with Seat Guru for insider tips on which seats are the best. Remember that service animals are not allowed in exit rows, which, unfortunately, are usually the rows with the most leg room.

Generally speaking, no.

Service animals can generally accompany their disabled handler in the cabin of an aircraft with few exceptions. Those exceptions may include some exotic species and large animals. If a service animal is excluded from the cabin for any reason, and the airline has facilities for transporting the animal in cargo, then they should offer to do so for free.

If the service animal is too large to fit in the handler's foot space, and the plane is full, then the person can be required to purchase a second seat to provide sufficient foot space for their service animal. If there are empty seats on the aircraft, ask to be placed next to an empty seat instead.