Author Topic: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?  (Read 3150 times)

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Offline sorenlorensen

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2017, 11:17:00 PM »
Update - I spoke to Delta. They would allow me to to fly my dog in cabin but only into London Heathrow, London Gatwick, and/or Manchester. They don't have approval for Edinburgh yet even though the gov.uk site says they do. Just goes to show you - do not rely on any website to be accurate, even the government sites.
Unfortunately for me, there aren't any Delta operated flights into those three airports on the date I'm traveling.
So my next step is to contact Lufthansa and KLM (who are approved for entry into Edinburgh) and see if they'll allow my ESA to fly in cabin. I also have to contact Edinburgh airport to make sure they'll allow my ESA to arrive in cabin. It looks like they will but I'll have to make sure.
Some of this stuff y'all already know. I just wanted to share my experience for others who are trying to travel with their ESA or service dog to the U.K. I haven't found anyone yet who has done it. Plus the information on the gov.uk site is frequently updated which makes it that much more challenging.

* something positive for SD's I learned - it appears service dogs can arrive in cabin into the U.K. Everything I've seen so far says that but you can't rely on the websites.  I'll try to get confirmation on that when I call Edinburgh for my ARC letter.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2017, 01:47:17 AM »
Only ADI accredited program certified service dogs can arrive in cabin (and only in certain airports).  Otherwise it's iffy at best.
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline JimZorro

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2017, 06:30:59 PM »

* something positive for SD's I learned - it appears service dogs can arrive in cabin into the U.K. Everything I've seen so far says that but you can't rely on the websites.  I'll try to get confirmation on that when I call Edinburgh for my ARC letter.

The last time I checked about 2 years ago ( checked directly by e-mail with several non-uk based airlines), I also found this to be true.  Non-ADI service dogs could in fact fly in the cabin. For the uk-based airline British Airways, however only ADI service dogs could fly in the cabin.  However, it was a different story once in the airport, at least in London Heathrow.  You had to make arrangements ahead of time and there was a large airport fee for pets and non-ADI service dogs.  This airport fee did not apply to ADI service dogs.

Thus, you might want to check with whichever airport you are flying too.  If like London Heathrow, you would have to make advance arrangements and pay extra fees directly to the airport.





Offline sorenlorensen

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2017, 12:37:33 AM »
Yes you have to call ahead at least 72 hours in advance, show you're Pet Scheme compliant, they'll issue a pre-approval ARC letter which has to be forwarded to your airline and you have to show a copy of it when you go to check-in. And yes assistance dogs who are not ADI or IGDF accredited must pay 354GBP.

For those of you reading this who are looking for answers and want to fly with your SD/AD/ESA in cabin to the U.K., the most informative site you can go to is the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre's. I would put the most faith in their guidance. They provide vital information that DEFRA does not. Here are links to the most useful pages I've found on their site:

For Assistance dogs -  https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/animal-health-welfare/heathrow-animal-reception-centre/Pages/Assistance-Animals.aspx
For help with the Pet Travel Scheme and Health Certificate -  https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/animal-health-welfare/heathrow-animal-reception-centre/importing-your-dog-cat-or-ferret/Pages/pet-travel-scheme.aspx
Their main page with contact info, you can contact them 24/7 which is really cool  -  https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/animal-health-welfare/heathrow-animal-reception-centre/Pages/default.aspx
Most common problems people face  -  https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/services/animal-health-welfare/heathrow-animal-reception-centre/importing-your-dog-cat-or-ferret/Pages/pet-travel-scheme-common-problems.aspx

There are many more useful pages on their site as well as videos to further explain.
So it's definitely possible, it's just takes a lot of determination.
Unfortunately for me, it's not going to work out due to flight scheduling issues - I'll only fly Lufthansa, Delta, or KLM and only if the trans-atlantic portion is 7hrs or less. But I need to be in Scotland by a certain time on a certain day. There was only one flight that would have worked but it was on a 767 Boeing which is the one aircraft that Delta will not allow animals in cabin. I tried looking at other airports, taking a train, arriving on a different day, all to no avail. And then I found out that my APHIS office is 5 hours away from me and I decided it was time to admit defeat - that maybe it would be better to leave my baby home. It's so stressful on them and there's so many things that could go horribly wrong. Plus, I feel like such a phony because she's not a trained service dog and I don't have a physical disability - just really high blood pressure and anxiety attacks.

Anyways, Thank you Kirsten and Jim for sharing your wisdom. I hope this was helpful for at least one person.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2017, 12:47:43 AM »
It's not phoney to have a legitimate ESA.  There are some who will try to say SDs are superior to ESAs but not here.   Both have valid and important functions.  It's not a question of one being more legitimate than the other because they are different but equal.  To the person they help they are very important and that is what matters.
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline sorenlorensen

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2017, 06:32:28 AM »
 :biggrin: UPDATE!  :biggrin:
I just received an email from ARC at the Edinburgh airport saying they would be happy to receive my ESA dog (yes they said ESA!) They went on to say that once they've received all of the required paperwork and 350GBP they will "issue a letter of authority to your airline enabling your dog to travel with you in cabin"

So maybe all hope isn't lost just yet. Either way, this is exciting news for the SD/ESA community.
**DISCLAIMOR** This only concerns the Edinburgh airport in Scotland. Please do not assume this applies to all U.K. airports.

Offline sorenlorensen

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2017, 06:55:02 AM »
It's not phoney to have a legitimate ESA.  There are some who will try to say SDs are superior to ESAs but not here.   Both have valid and important functions.  It's not a question of one being more legitimate than the other because they are different but equal.  To the person they help they are very important and that is what matters.

thank you for saying that :wub: Mine is very important to me. People aren't able to "see" mental illness so it's hard for them to understand but I can assure anyone who questions it that it can be debilitating. The attack I suffered in the airport last summer left me completely disoriented and caused me to miss my flight. If I'd had my dog it would have been a different story. In fact I haven't had another attack ever since I got her.

Offline JimZorro

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2017, 03:29:06 PM »
Sorenlorensen, many thanks for posting the links, hard information like this can be hard to fine when planning travel with a dog. 

Offline sorenlorensen

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2017, 05:03:39 PM »
 :wink:

Offline jsh2017

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2017, 10:00:56 PM »
:biggrin: UPDATE!  :biggrin:
I just received an email from ARC at the Edinburgh airport saying they would be happy to receive my ESA dog (yes they said ESA!) They went on to say that once they've received all of the required paperwork and 350GBP they will "issue a letter of authority to your airline enabling your dog to travel with you in cabin"

So maybe all hope isn't lost just yet. Either way, this is exciting news for the SD/ESA community.
**DISCLAIMOR** This only concerns the Edinburgh airport in Scotland. Please do not assume this applies to all U.K. airports.

Thanks so much sorenlorensen! I am currently planning a flight to bring my Belgian sheepdog ESA in-cabin to Edinburgh. Can you share how your experience was (if you've taken the flight that is)? Also, what airline did you end up using? I will be coming from Seattle, so I'm planning to take an overnight layover about halfway through to break up the flight for my dog. So relieved to hear approval for bringing an ESA in-cabin is possible for landing in the UK!

Offline fireweedinak

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #25 on: June 18, 2017, 03:05:51 AM »
Sorenlorensen, I read every post in this thread. Thank you to yourself and others that replied to you. I wanted you to know how valuable I found your information about flying with an ESA into the U.K. was. Thank you for sharing!

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2017, 12:26:24 PM »
Note the fee. 350GBP is around $450 at today's exchange rate. Within the US ESAs fly free and the only paperwork you need is the doctor's letter. Flying internationally, you need permission from the port of entry, any additional paperwork they require for animal import, and any processing fee they require at the destination country.
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline Suse

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2017, 07:35:41 PM »
* something positive for SD's I learned - it appears service dogs can arrive in cabin into the U.K. Everything I've seen so far says that but you can't rely on the websites.  I'll try to get confirmation on that when I call Edinburgh for my ARC letter.

You need to make sure when you talk to them about Service Dogs that they would include Owner trained Service Dogs.  From what I know they require them to be ADI trained unfortunately.  You are right, you cannot rely on the websites, and you cannot rely on what you are told on the phone.  Get whatever information you will be relying on in writing.

I have heard that if you fly to Europe and then take your dog by ship to England, that it is easier to get around the airport/airline dog import regulations.  You would need to check this out an I do not remember where I found this info.