Author Topic: Letter to Southwest  (Read 554 times)

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Offline putipa

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Letter to Southwest
« on: July 10, 2017, 10:16:17 PM »
My counselor wrote a letter for me to fly with my ESA dog, but I have a concern about the way she worded one part. Other than that it's perfect.

 She says "My name is Lori Russell, and I am dual clinician at the Center for Human Development in La Grande, Oregon. I am writing to inform you that Margaret Turner needs the presence of her two companion dogs to assist with symptoms related to her DSM-5 diagnoses. They will provide emotional support both on her flights and throughout the duration of her trip. Please contact me with any concern." she signed the letter and has her license number under her name and qualifications (LCSW, CADC III)

Am I going to have a problem because she called them companion animals? This is the first letter for flight with an ESA and didn't know what to say.

Thank for your advice,
Margaret

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Letter to Southwest
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2017, 10:54:17 PM »
I think it will be fine but since you need to notify the airline at least 48 hours in advance of your intention to fly with an ESA you can ask at that time whether there's going to be a problem.  The reason you have to give them 48 hours advanced notice is so they can follow up by contacting your mental health care provider's office if necessary.  Be sure your provider has your permission to talk with them (because of HIPAA).  You can discuss with her in advance how much or how little you want her to reveal if she does talk to them.  She doesn't have to give a diagnosis.

Ideally it would say you are disabled as well.  Here's our article on flying with an ESA, including sample letters:  http://servicedogcentral.org/content/ESA-flying
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 putipa

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Re: Letter to Southwest
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2017, 11:02:18 PM »
Thank you for your input. I am disabled and receive SSI. I told Southwest about my ESA's when I booked the ticket and they were very nice about it and said it would not be a problem. I'm on hold with them now for the 48 hr confirmation (I'm flying out Thurs).

I'll see how the call goes and then decide if I need a new letter or maybe bring my disability award letter as back up.

Online Ariel

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Re: Letter to Southwest
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2017, 01:06:12 AM »
This is a question I don't know the answer to but the thread brought up the question in my mind. Is it a thing to have two ESAs flying with you? I've not heard of that. I know that someone may have two service dogs who do entirely separate tasks or that someone may have a SD and ESA, but wouldn't two ESAs be unreasonable, especially loose (not contained) in cabin?
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Offline putipa

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Re: Letter to Southwest
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2017, 01:42:38 AM »
I haven't had a problem in 3 different apartments. When I told Southwest I have 2 ESA's they said it was fine and were very friendly about the whole thing.

 I have several DSM-5 diagnoses. One of my dogs is more of a psych support dog, but she has not had formal training. When my anxiety starts coming on, she will lick and love on me. She will not stop until my anxiety eases. When I am hyper-vigilante (99% of the time), she is vigilante with me. When I jump because of something or someone, she reassures me and then stands stoically in front of me. She is pug/jack russell.

My other ESA is a chi/doxie who was born blind. She is my sweetheart. She is very calm and having her in my lap slows me down and helps to stop my thoughts from snowballing into major tragedies, and for some reason she makes me stop and think before I do something bipolar. Like give everything I own away. My pug could never fill this need because she is too active and never relaxes. She even patrols the house every hour or so. It's hilarious at times. Especially when she goes off on the tv. At the same time, my chi/doxie could never fill the protection need. I don't believe a dog exists that could fill my needs by himself.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: Letter to Southwest
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2017, 01:58:44 AM »
If they can both fit in the foot space it should be okay. 

Keep in mind that the law that allows ESAs in "no pets" housing is different from the law that allows ESAs on commercial aircraft.  The former is administered by HUD while the later is administrated by the DOT.  Why does that make a difference?  Different regulatory agencies can have different takes on interpreting similar laws.  For example, the DOJ has a different take and allows only dogs (while both HUD and the DOT allow other species) and no ESAs for public access.

In this case the airline is expecting two and has probably already asked about size.  And a pug and dachshund would probably fit in the foot space, at least for take off and landing.  If the plane isn't sold out there might be a chance for a little extra foot space.
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

Online Ariel

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Re: Letter to Southwest
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2017, 12:35:16 PM »
Thanks Kirsten, that's a helpful answer.
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In Loving Memory of Service Dog Saxon (6/5/13-12/2/15)