JetBlue Airways ESA Travel Policies | ESARA
JetBlue Airways ESA Travel Policies
JetBlue welcomes owners and handlers of Emotional Support Animals (ESA) to fly in the cabin with their ESA at no additional cost. Several requirements must be met, and rules must be followed for an animal to qualify as an ESA. JetBlue defines an ESA as an animal that provides comfort related to a person’s diagnosed mental or emotional disorder.
ESA Animal Restrictions
The first thing to know is that the ESA must be booked at the time of the reservation. There are places to add it to the reservation on the online ticketing platform, or you may call JetBlue to add the ESA to the reservation. Also note that the following animals are not permitted in the cabin of the airline:
- Hedgehogs and sugar gliders
- Insects and spiders
- Reptiles (including snakes)
- Non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game bird, & birds of prey)
- Animals improperly cleaned and/or with a foul odor
- Animals with tusk
Dogs, cats, and household birds are commonly accepted ESAs. JetBlue can accept multiple ESAs on the flight.
ESAs must have proper documentation. JetBlue does not have specific forms. They will accept a letter from a licensed mental health professional or doctor treating a person’s emotional and/or mental health, dated no more than a year prior to travel. The letter is required to state that the passenger/ESA handler has a diagnosed mental health condition, that the ESA is required for that passenger’s well-being or treatment, that the professional writing the letter is currently caring for the passenger’s emotional health related disorder, and finally the number and type of ESAs. The letter must also include the mental health professional’s license number, and date and state of issue. This letter must always accompany the ESA and ESA handler at all times while at the airport and on the airplane. JetBlue employees may ask for this document to be presented at any time.
ESA Behavior Requirements
JetBlue staff may specifically assess the ESA’s behavior prior to boarding to ensure a safe and pleasant flight for everyone on board. Every ESA handler should attend basic obedience type training with their ESA well before the flight so that they can be assured the ESA will respond to basic commands like “come”, “sit”, and “leave it”. It will also make for a less stressful flight for the ESA handler since they will not have to worry about the ESA’s behavior. ESAs should always be leashed and under control of the handler at all times. ESA handlers should keep an eye on their ESA to make sure that it isn’t receiving unwanted attention from curious children and other passengers. An ESA who is shy or fearful may be most comfortable in a carrier. Keep your ESA’s comfort in mind as you travel as well. Be sure to have food, treats, water, and a preferred toy or comfort item in your carry-on bag while you travel.
ESA Stowage Policies
ESAs are required to follow certain rules aboard the aircraft. ESAs are never permitted to be on a seat. While ESAs who are small may safely sit on their handler’s lap, they are not permitted on the seat itself. If the ESA cannot safely fit on the handler’s lap, it may be on the floor at that seat’s footprint, or in an airline-approved carrier under the seat in front. If the ESA is too large to fit in the seat’s footprint, additional adjacent seats may be purchased if available. This is also applicable to ESA handler’s traveling with more than one ESA.
Airport Pet Relief Areas
JetBlue recommends using the pet relief areas throughout the airport and if asked, JetBlue staff can direct passengers to the nearest pet relief area.
JetBlue welcomes ESAs on Mint, with additional rules and requirements. If the ESA is too large for the handler’s lap, the handler forfeits the use of the reclining feature. ESAs must not interfere with the function of a neighboring passenger’s seat. Carriers must be stowed in the overhead compartment during taxiing, takeoff, and landing.
Different destinations may have specific requirements, and they may or may not recognize ESAs. Handlers should check with the destination to be sure requirements are met. Travel within the continental United States has relatively uniform rules, although certain airports may have additional requirements. For example, at Greenville Spartanburg Airport (GSP) and Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) all ESAs are required to be crated. Once off the mainland, other rules may apply. Hawaii has the most detailed requirements, due to their location as an island and needing to protect their indigenous wildlife as well as their rabies-free status. ESAs traveling to or through Honolulu International Airport must meet the requirements and be approved by the 5-Day-Or-Less Quarantine program. This program includes proof of rabies vaccine, microchipping, and other requirements. For travel to other Hawaiian Islands, your ESA must be approved by the Neighbor Island Program.
Although Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are part of the United States, they have separate regulations. Proper tags and ID are required along with proof of a recent (within 6 months) rabies vaccination and a recent health certificate certifying that the animals do not originate from an area quarantined for rabies.
For international destinations, it is common to require a letter from a mental health professional for your ESA. The letter should specify that the handler has a diagnosed mental or emotional health condition and that the animal is critical for the handler’s treatment and/or emotional well-being. It is common to require health certificates and proof of vaccination. However, it is important to note that not all countries recognize ESAs, and if the travel is international in nature, the ESA may be regarded as a pet in the destination country. If the ESA handler is planning a return trip from an international destination, they should also check the requirements for animals entering into the United States from other countries. Regardless of the destination, ESA handlers should be sure to check all requirements prior to purchasing a ticket.