Home YOU ASK - WE ANSWER Service Dogs Earn Special Flight Status
Service Dogs Earn Special Flight Status PDF Print E-mail

Q: I recently boarded a flight, and was surprised to see a big German Shepherd dog stretched out on the floor inside the first row of seats. His harness plate ID showed he was a service dog. During the flight, he sat between the bulkhead and his blind master’s feet.

He looked very calm, as if flying was no big deal. I know service dogs are permitted to ride in the passenger area on U.S. flights, but what about other countries? ADF, Minneapolis MN

A: In 1940s and 1950s Navy duties, your travel4seniors.com editor rode in some third-world flights with chickens and goats wandering the aisles. Of course, it has become a bit more sophisticated since then. U.S. airlines allow documented service dogs to ride in passenger cabins.

For people who must travel beyond the U.S. in foreign airlines with service dogs, it’s necessary to check the rules. If you or a companion intend to bring a service dog, first contact the embassy or consular offices of countries where you’ll be visiting. Where service dogs are permitted in the passenger cabin, owners must first show documents as required by quarantine and vaccination rules. Prior to flights, owners should talk with the dog’s vet about health and safety concerns. Be sure of the dog’s ability to withstand crowds, strange surroundings and loud sounds. For more info, go to travel.state.gov

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