Author Topic: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?  (Read 2744 times)

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Offline sorenlorensen

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Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« on: February 24, 2017, 05:20:51 AM »
I plan on taking my ESA with me to Scotland this summer. However the rules & regulations make it near impossible to get her in. My vet even said they were "a bit much" when I brought him the Third Country Vet Certificate I need him to fill out.
I've read all the rules and I think I've got all that I need to get her into the country. It's the flight that's stressing me out. I'm so afraid that I'm going to do everything right and still get turned away at the gate.
She's a 5lb Biewer Terrier and quiet as a mouse. Most people don't even realize I have her until she pokes her little head out of my purse . I plan on keeping her in a soft side carrier  so she won't draw too much attention.
So does anyone have any experience with bringing their ESA into the U.K.? How was it? Any pearls of wisdom?
Thanks in advance!
- Emily

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2017, 11:07:06 AM »
The thing is, I don't think you can fly in cabin with her to the UK.  While the ACAA applies to any commercial aircraft departing from the US, it does not apply once you enter the UK and they have a different set of regulations for how animals enter their island country.

These regulations are a little in flux right now because of Brexit.  So here are the current import regulations:  https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview  I think coming from the US you no longer need the FLAVN and can just get the international health certificate endorsed by APHIS.  However, the UK does not recognize ESAs or owner-trained service dogs.  So pretty much if you don't have a service dog trained by an ADI accredited program, you have to import your dog, be it service dog or emotional support dog, as a pet, and pets are not permitted to travel in the cabin.

Here's why:  The humans from the cabin enter the country without passing through the agriculture screening area while all the luggage and hold contents go through agriculture screening.  The US cannot override the UK's own laws operating within their own boarders.  I realize this can be confusing because the ACAA does apply to international flights, but it doesn't always apply the same way that it does in domestic flights.

My understanding is that the UK further required or still requires as a condition of cabin travel a certificate that an assistance animal is capable of holding his waste for the length of the flight.  Understand that the UK's definition of "assistance animal" is different from the US's definition.  In fact, we're the only country to my knowledge that includes ESAs in the definition of assistance animal.  In the rest of the world, what we call service animals they call assistance animals and assistance animals consist of guide dogs, hearing dogs, and service dogs only.

So what you should do is check with the airline that you plan on traveling with.  They are supposed to keep themselves up to date on regulations in destination countries that would impact disabled travelers traveling with service animals or ESAs.
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 Kirsten

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2017, 04:05:47 PM »
I thought about this some more.  I answered based on what is different between flying domestically and flying from the US to the UK.  Do you know generally about flying with an ESA?  I mean, even if you cannot fly with your ESA in cabin you can still qualify to fly with her for free, but in order to do that you need to do the 48 hours advanced notice with your documentation.  So another reason to be in contact with your airline well in advance.

One last thought, you can only fly into certain airports in the UK with either a pet, ESA, or SD based on which airports have agriculture screening stations.  It also matters which day of the week you fly in because they don't process animals every day and if you arrive on a day when they don't have an inspector it could mean your dog going into quarantine for a few days.  Thankfully quarantine is no longer 120 days like it was not so long ago (so long as you have the paper work in order) but still I don't think any of us would want to be separated at all if it can be avoided, and it can--with planning and arriving in the right airport on the right day.
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 #3 on: February 24, 2017, 04:28:57 PM »
Another point to consider is the airport in the UK, in addition to the airline.  When I last checked a year or go ago, there was a large fee imposed by the London airport for all dogs arriving or departing (other than ADI service dogs.) This was true even if arriving on a non-uk based airline that did allow non-ADI service dogs to fly in the cabin.  In contrast, there is no such fee when arriving or departing by ship.  Moreover, there is one ship (Cunard line's Queen Mary 2) does carry ESAs (as pets) to and from New York and Southamption.

For any travel mode, the health papers required are the English-language version of those required for entry to any member country of the European Union, except that the UK also requires tapeworm treatment.  The papers must be provided by a USDA-approved vet (not just any vet.) The papers must  be endorsed by a USDA-Aphis office and dated within 10 days of arrival (or embarkation if going by ship).  The health requirements apply to all dogs (SDs, ESA, pets, etc.).  In summary, the health paper requirement is complex and absolutely requires advance planning.  I speak for experience, having travelled by ship to and from England with my own owner-trained service dog three times during the past 4 years.  You can find all of the health paper requirements on the USDA-Aphis web site.  Also the web site PET TRAVEL sells the same papers.














Offline JimZorro

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2017, 04:37:35 PM »
One other consideration.  The flight time from the US to the UK is over 8 hours, which means your dog could not go to the bathroom for about 10 hours or so, allowing 90 minutes check-in and security check.  Even longer if there are any flight delays.  Personally, I would never put my dog to such a test.


Offline sorenlorensen

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2017, 05:19:10 PM »
The thing is, I don't think you can fly in cabin with her to the UK.  While the ACAA applies to any commercial aircraft departing from the US, it does not apply once you enter the UK and they have a different set of regulations for how animals enter their island country.

I'll be flying Delta into Edinburgh since it is an approved airline/airport point of entry. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pet-travel-approved-air-sea-rail-and-charter-routes-for-the-movement-of-pets/approved-air-routes-for-pet-travel

Delta's official policy regarding this topic. http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/special-travel-needs/disabilities.html
Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals
Delta complies with the Air Carrier Access Act by allowing customers traveling with emotional support animals or psychiatric service animals to travel without charge with the following conditions:
Acceptance Guidelines
May or may not be trained to perform observable functions. However, the animal must be trained to behave properly in public settings as service animals do. Emotional support animals travel free of charge and the animal is exempt from cabin allotment. Like service animals, emotional support animals can be transported in the cabin.
Delta requires documentation* (not more than one year old) on letterhead from either a licensed medical or mental health professional to be presented to an agent upon check in stating:
Title, address, license number** and jurisdiction (state/country it was issued), phone number, and signature of mental health professional.
The passenger has a mental health related disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - 4th Edition.
That the passenger needs the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger's destination.
That the person listed in the letter is under the care of the assessing physician or mental health professional.
*Passengers may use a signed or stamped digital letter on their mobile device as long as the information can be verified (i.e. phone numbers, email addresses etc.)
**Professional's license number is recommended.
A kennel is not required for emotional support animals if they are fully trained and meet same requirements as a service animal. Passengers should ask to speak to the Complaint Resolution Office (CRO) if they encounter any issues while traveling with emotional support animals.
Note: Passengers intending to travel with emotional support animals into England need to arrange PRE-APRROVAL CLEARANCE and pay a fee for processing.
(this needs to be updated. Edinburgh has been added to the list of approved airports since this was published.)



Quote
These regulations are a little in flux right now because of Brexit.  So here are the current import regulations:  https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad/overview  ....

yes that is the website I've been getting a lot of my information from but I can't find in there where it says animals can't arrive in the UK riding in cabin. I guess when I call the Edinburgh airport for pre-approval clearance I'll  get this sorted.

Offline sorenlorensen

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2017, 05:28:19 PM »
One other consideration.  The flight time from the US to the UK is over 8 hours, which means your dog could not go to the bathroom for about 10 hours or so, allowing 90 minutes check-in and security check.  Even longer if there are any flight delays.  Personally, I would never put my dog to such a test.

JFK to Edinburgh is 7h10min
JFK has pet relief areas in all the terminals.
My dog is puppy pad trained as well and can go on command.
Her bowel/bladder needs are covered.

Offline sorenlorensen

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2017, 05:33:07 PM »
For any travel mode, the health papers required are the English-language version of those required for entry to any member country of the European Union, except that the UK also requires tapeworm treatment.  The papers must be provided by a USDA-approved vet (not just any vet.) The papers must  be endorsed by a USDA-Aphis office and dated within 10 days of arrival (or embarkation if going by ship).  The health requirements apply to all dogs (SDs, ESA, pets, etc.).  In summary, the health paper requirement is complex and absolutely requires advance planning.  I speak for experience, having travelled by ship to and from England with my own owner-trained service dog three times during the past 4 years.  You can find all of the health paper requirements on the USDA-Aphis web site.  Also the web site PET TRAVEL sells the same papers.

So the paper requirements on the official gov.uk website aren't enough? I have to go to USDA too?

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2017, 07:14:24 PM »
Under FODCOM 3/2005, which interprets U.K. safety regulations, only guide and assistance dogs may accompany their owners in the passenger cabin on a flight. The FODCOM defines guide and assistance dogs as dogs trained by an individual or organization accepted by and affiliated with the International Guide Dog Federation to provide assistance to a person with a disability and requires formal identification indicating such training. Dogs not meeting the above criteria for guide or assistance dogs, as well as cats and ferrets, are considered pets and are not recognized as service animals in the U.K., even if trained to perform a function to assist a person with his or her disability. FODCOM 3/ 2005, which is mandatory for U.K. carriers and guidance for non-U.K. carriers, states that PETS-compliant animals other than guide and assistance dogs should be carried in the cargo hold.

The form on the DEFRA site should be the official veterinary certificate needed, but it also needs an APHIS stamp to be valid.  (UK form with US APHIS stamp on it).  Treatment for ticks, tapeworm, and screw worm might also be required.  I can mix up which extra treatments are needed for which country.  The DEFRA site should have the most current requirements.  Again, your airline is directed by the DOT through regulatory law to keep themselves aware of what is required and to advise you with the most current information so asking them would be a really good idea.  Not just reading the site but actually asking them.  You have to give them 48 hours advanced notice anyway with your doctor's letter so you might as well do it well in advance and make sure there aren't any surprises.

Piddle pads would not be acceptable under the system as it was a few years ago.*  They wanted a certificate from a veterinarian that stated the dog would not need to toilet.  More recently they've loosened restrictions somewhat due to the influence of the European Union, but they just voted to leave the European Union in the past year and so it makes sense that it would go back to more restrictive but I can't predict how restrictive or how soon, I just expect it to happen during the dissolution triggered by Brexit.  I mean not very long ago no service dog could travel in the cabin or escape 120 days of quarantine.  Then we could get around quarantine with a FLAVN.  Then they opened the FLAVN option to pets.  Finally we got to fly in cabin.  If they allow pets to fly in cabin, then you're okay with an ESA.  If they don't the ACAA isnt' going to override the UK regulations on this matter because it did us no good for guide and assistance dogs.

* I am not aware of this requirement changing.  You might check with IAADP on that.

Hawaii, the UK and Australia are the hardest places on Earth to import a dog because they are islands and rabies-free and they want to keep it that way so they necessarily have strict regulations.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2017, 07:16:18 PM by Kirsten »
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 #9 on: February 24, 2017, 07:41:33 PM »
The form on the DEFRA site should be the official veterinary certificate needed, but it also needs an APHIS stamp to be valid.  (UK form with US APHIS stamp on it).

From personal experience, I can confirm that Kirsten is absolutely correct on this point.  There is a USDA-APHIS office near the JFK airport that does this.  But be sure to check with that office as to wait times.  Last year the wait was up to 3 days.  Also, made sure your vet is USDA approved to do the certificate.  APHIS is very demanding.  I know of one case where they would not approve a certificate due to the wrong color ink being used by the vet.  One other point, for entry into the UK, tapeworm treatment is required and must be administered between 24 and 120 hours prior to entry into the country.


 

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2017, 07:42:51 PM »
They aren't still requiring flea and tick treatment (by a licensed veterinarian)?
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 #11 on: February 24, 2017, 07:48:50 PM »

Hawaii, the UK and Australia are the hardest places on Earth to import a dog because they are islands and rabies-free and they want to keep it that way so they necessarily have strict regulations.

Kirsten, you are right in that these places are hard, but some of the Island countries in the South Pacific are even more so.
 

Offline JimZorro

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2017, 07:56:22 PM »
They aren't still requiring flea and tick treatment (by a licensed veterinarian)?

As of last year, the answer is no.  Only tapeworm treatment in addition to Rabies.  For entry into the UK that is.

Offline sorenlorensen

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2017, 09:33:42 PM »
I know of one case where they would not approve a certificate due to the wrong color ink being used by the vet.  One other point, for entry into the UK, tapeworm treatment is required and must be administered between 24 and 120 hours prior to entry into the country.

I saw that about the ink lol! My vet was like, "are you serious???". And yes I saw the rule about the tapeworm treatment. I don't think my vet is USDA certified though. My neighbor is a large animal vet. I wonder if he might be?

Thank you guys so much! I had no idea about APHIS, USDA, etc. I'm so glad I asked! None of the other pet travel sites have said a word about those things.

I really hope I can get through all of this.  I have malignant hypertension and anxiety attacks. The last two attacks made my blood pressure sky rocket thus earning me two ambulance rides to the ER.
Backstory - I went to Scotland last summer by myself. Long story short - I had an attack in the airport the day I was supposed to come home. I ended up missing check in and they wouldn't let me board the plane so I had to buy a new ticket...$2,000 and it didn't leave for another 2 days so I had to get hotel room too. It was awful and of course caused me to have another attack. I think I stayed hidden in the bathroom for over an hour before I could begin to collect myself and make my way out of the airport. So humiliating.

Anyways, when I told my doctor what happened, he suggested I get an ESA dog to help keep me relaxed and direct my attention to something that makes me happy and depends on me to hold it together.  So I did and she's done wonders for me. I love her to pieces and I take her with me everywhere. Nobody really even notices her in the stores because she's hidden in my purse and doesn't make a sound. And if they do notice her, they just smile and comment on how cute and well behaved she is.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Anyone with experience flying with their ESA to the U.K.?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2017, 12:34:44 AM »
You don't have public access rights with an ESA.  (ie you shouldn't be taking her to stores without permission from the store management.)
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