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Volaris Emotional Support Animal Policy 2023
An emotional support animal (ESA) can be life-changing if you suffer from a mental or emotional disorder. Fortunately, international laws and companies such as Volaris Airlines recognize the benefits of ESAs during travel and provide guidelines for doing so safely.
This article covers Volaris’ emotional support animal policy, clarifying what you need to know to ensure a smooth journey for you and your companion. It covers key distinctions between ESAs, psychiatric service animals, and pets and provides details concerning how policy is different for each group.
Volaris Emotional Support Animal: Volaris Airlines Policy
- Volaris Airlines has separate policies for emotional support animals, service dogs, and ordinary pets.
- Volaris accommodates emotional support dogs and cats in the cabin on domestic and international flights.
- Passengers must provide a recent letter from a licensed mental health professional stating the need for the ESA.
- All animals must have proper documentation, including their health certificate and vaccination records.
Flying With Emotional Support Dogs And Cats On Volaris
Volaris Airlines offers comprehensive guidelines for passengers planning to fly with emotional support animals. The availability of this service is subject to other conditions as well. Always call ahead, and always plan early.
Volaris provides ESA accommodations at no additional cost for certain routes:
- Within Mexico.
- From Mexico to Central America and vice versa.
- From Mexico to South America and vice versa.
- Within Central America.
- Within South America.
- From Central America to South America and vice versa.
An ESA letter is the ticket that distinguishes ESAs from pets. To be valid, an ESA letter must:
- Come from a mental health specialist such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker.
- Be issued on letterhead paper that includes the specialist’s professional license number.
- Indicate that the individual is under professional care and requires the animal to travel.
- Have a date of issue no more than a year before departure.
It is important to check with the airline beforehand and ensure you have the necessary documentation for your animal. Your safety and comfort, as well as the safety and comfort of other passengers, are the top priorities.
To travel with a service dog, ESA, or pet, passengers must present the following at the airport:
- This should include the first administration of a rabies vaccine or a current booster dose.
- If your dog is getting the rabies vaccination for the first time, it must be administered at least 30 days before the flight.
- If the dog is 15 months or older, it must have a current booster dose of the rabies vaccine.
- Deworming treatment should be done no more than six months before the return date.
- An animal health certificate (original and copy) documents that your animal is clinically healthy.
- This must be issued on letterhead paper with the veterinarian’s professional license number, dated fewer than five days before the flight.
- If the return flight is more than 5 days after the certificate issuance, a new certificate will be necessary.
- Flights from the United States to Mexico do not require a health certificate.
Pet Transportation Form:
You must sign a Volaris pet transportation form available at their airport counters. The DOT form is also required for service dogs traveling from the United States.
Animal Health Certificate For Export:
Flights from Mexico to Central America require the original and a copy of the animal health certificate for export issued by SAGARPA/SENASICA.
Sanitary Inspection Certificate (CIS):
If traveling from Colombia, a Sanitary Inspection Certificate (CIS) issued by the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) is needed.
Emotional Support Animal & Psychiatric Service Dog
While emotional support animals, psychiatric service animals, and pets might all seem similar, state laws and company policies distinguish between them.
Emotional support animals provide comfort and support to individuals with mental and emotional conditions. An ESA isn’t trained to perform specific tasks like a service animal. It provides therapeutic benefits through simple companionship.
On the other hand, service animals, such as psychiatric or OCD service dogs, are trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities. These can range from leading the blind to flipping switches for the paralyzed to reminding psychiatric patients to take their meds.
Lastly, pets do not have the same privileges as ESAs or service dogs. Understanding these distinctions can help you navigate the Volaris pet policy and other airline regulations (such as Delta’s ESA policy) more effectively.
Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA): What Is It?
The local laws of your destination may affect policies and restrictions on other routes. For instance, if you’re traveling to or from the US, you must be aware of the Air Carrier Access Act. The ACAA makes it illegal for airlines to discriminate against passengers with disabilities, including those who rely on ESAs. However, due to recent updates, there are certain restrictions that may vary depending on your destination and the airline you are flying with.
Service Dog Policies Of Volaris
Traveling with a service dog on Volaris is relatively straightforward if you have legitimate service dog certification. The airline acknowledges the rights of people with physical, sensory (visual or hearing), or intellectual disabilities to bring their service dogs on board at no additional charge. Volaris staff are on hand to assist throughout the journey at the airport.
Other Volaris Pet Policies
Volaris has restrictions for certain breeds due to health complications that can occur during flight.
Short-nosed & Small Breeds
Brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs, cats, and small dog breeds are considered at higher risk.
- Shih Tzu.
- Small dog breeds like Beagle, Chihuahua, and Yorkshire Terrier.
- And cats like Burmese and Persian.
If you wish to travel with a companion from these categories, you must sign a liability waiver at the airport.
Breeds Considered Aggressive Or Dangerous
Dogs considered aggressive or dangerous are not allowed to travel either in the cabin or the cargo hold. Breeds included in this category are:
- Akita Inu.
- Anatolian Shepherd.
- Belgian Shepherd.
- Brazilian Mastiff.
- And Tosa Inu.
Certified service dogs of these breeds can request exceptions, but ESAs and pets of these breeds cannot travel in the aircraft’s cabin.
There are no fees to transport service dogs or ESAs. However, there is a cost associated with transporting a pet. The fee will be due at the airport if not already paid for during the reservation.
Pets On Board Volaris
When bringing your pet onboard:
- The pet carrier should be approved for air transport, and the dimensions should not exceed 44 cm long, 30 cm wide, and 19 cm high (17.5 x 12 x 7.5 inches).
- Your pet must be able to move within the carrier.
- Only one animal per carrier is allowed.
- The carrier can be made of fabric, sturdy plastic, or bubble backpacks.
- During the flight, the carrier should be placed under the seat in front of you, with the rest of your personal items in the overhead compartments.
- Pets onboard are subject to several restrictions, such as
- Only dogs or cats
- No creatures under 4 months of age
- No animals that are: Sick, dead, violent, or pregnant.
Checked Pet Policy
For pets traveling as checked luggage:
- The combined weight of the pet and its carrier must not exceed 100 lbs (45 kg).
- The carrier or kennel should meet certain requirements, such as being:
- with an anti-escape closure and carrying handles.
- It should be labeled with your contact information and the pet’s identification information.
- Leakproof containers with pet food and water may be placed inside, along with absorbent material, kitty litter, and odor-neutralizers.
Tips To Fly With Your ESA And Psychiatric Service Dogs
Before flying with your ESA or service dog, follow these tips:
- Feed and hydrate your companion about four hours before the flight.
- Let your animal get accustomed to its leash, harness, or carrier days before the trip.
- Put a familiar object in the cage to comfort your animal.
- Keep the cage clean by adding absorbent material or sanitary stones.
- Don’t sedate your pet, which can increase the risk of cardiac or respiratory problems during the flight.
- Dogs can be seated anywhere but the emergency exit. Cats are only allowed in the back rows, limiting the number of cats per flight to two.
- Arrive early at the airport: two hours early for domestic flights in Mexico and three hours early for international flights.
Traveling with animals requires careful preparation and an understanding of airline policies. Volaris, like many airlines, has specific rules and procedures for traveling with animal companions. As pet and ESA policies change over time, it’s always best to check the most recent policies on the airline’s official website or by contacting their customer service.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can take your emotional support dog to Mexico if you have all the necessary documents, such as an animal health certificate and a valid vaccination certificate. Check with your airline and lodging ahead of time.
The U.S. Department of Transportation no longer recognizes emotional support animals as service animals, so airlines have the prerogative to treat them as pets. Most airlines still allow ESAs. Check with yours to see what their policies are.
To obtain an emotional support animal letter for an airline, you typically need a licensed mental health professional to write a letter stating that you have a mental or emotional disability and that your pet provides the necessary support for your condition. This letter must be dated and include the professional’s license details.
+ 7 sources
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- Howell, T.J., Nieforth, L.O., Thomas-Pino, C., Samet, L., S. Agbonika, Cuevas-Pavincich, F., Nina Ekholm Fry, Hill, K., Jegatheesan, B., Kakinuma, M., MacNamara, M., Sanna Mattila-Rautiainen, Perry, A., Christine Yvette Tardif-Williams, Walsh, E.J., Winkle, M., Yamamoto, M., Yerbury, R.M., Vijay P.S. Rawat and Alm, K. (2022). Defining Terms Used for Animals Working in Support Roles for People with Support Needs. [online] 12(15), pp.1975–1975. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12151975.
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