Spirit Airlines ESA Travel Policies
Spirit Airlines understands that your Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an important accommodation, which they welcome aboard their airlines. To fly on Spirit Airlines with your ESA, here is what you need to know:
Spirit Airlines does not require a specific form to be filled out before approving your ESA; however, they do require you to have a letter from your licensed mental health professional or medical doctor.
The letter must meet the following guidelines:
- Be typed on official letterhead for your mental health professional or medical doctor's letterhead
- Be dated no more than one year from the date of travel
- State that you are under this professional's care
- State that you have a mental health related disability (in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM IV))
- State that your ESA is required for either the flight itself or activities at your destination, due to said mental health related disability
- State the medical or mental health professional's medical license number, state, and date of issue
Keep a copy of this document while traveling in case any questions or concerns arise. It can be useful to get this letter renewed on an annual basis so that it is always handy when you are ready to travel on Spirit Airlines. If you have more than one ESA, the letter much state each ESA individually. Although health certificates for the ESA are not required, for your ESA's safety, please be sure your ESA is healthy before flying.
In general, when approving ESA for travel on airlines, Spirit Airlines considers the Department of Transportation's guidelines, which include considering the animals size, if there is any health threat posed by the animal, if it would cause a major disruption on the airline, and if there are rules and laws at the destination prohibiting the animal from entering. As such, it is important to note some of the laws in possible destinations. Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are part of the United States, but they have separate regulations from the continental US. 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. Regardless of the destination, ESA handlers should always check specific requirements with the airport, state, and country where they will be traveling too.
ESA Animal Restrictions
Before you book your flight, it is important to note that Spirit Airlines does not accept the following animals inside the cabin of the aircraft as ESAs: snakes or any other kind of reptiles, rodents, ferrets, and spiders.
ESAs must remain with their handlers at all times during the flight, but it may not sit on the seat itself. ESAs must sit safely on your lap, in a carrier beneath the seat in front of you, or at your feet. This information is important to note when booking your flight. Think about where you will want your ESA to be. If you want him or her on your lap, you may not sit in any seat with an inflatable seatbelt. This is for your ESA's safety; should the seatbelt inflate with the ESA on your lap, it could pose a danger to your ESA. Spirit Airlines employees as well as the Spirit Airlines website does have a list of seats with inflatable seatbelts for you to refer to. If you choose to keep your ESA in a carrier in the seat in front of you, note that you must not sit in the front row (which lack the area to safely stow your ESA's carrier). Should you want your ESA at your feet, in the seat's footprint area, you must remember that he cannot block the aisle and regardless of if your ESA sits on your lap, in a carrier, or at your feet, you may not sit in any emergency exit row. You should also consider your ESA's behavior and personality when planning where you will sit on your flight. ESAs that are overly fearful or shy in new situations or around other people should not travel unless safely crated, both for the safety and security of fellow passengers and the ESA itself.
ESA Behavior Requirements
As your flight date approaches, start thinking about your ESA's behavior. Consider basic obedience training for your ESA. Your trip will be less stressful if you feel assured that your ESA will behave well on a leash, in a foreign environment, and around strangers. Although seeing an animal at the airport may be a novelty for other passengers, remember that your ESA's comfort and safety are of the utmost importance and you are under no obligation to let anyone else touch or pet your ESA! ESA vests can help as some people recognize that animals should not be petted by strangers when they are "on the job". Remember, ESAs should remain under their handler's control at all times. ESAs should also be clean and free of strong animal odor before boarding.
Airport Pet Reilef Areas
Many airports offer "pet relief areas". Use these areas for your ESA's comfort, as well as to help keep the airport clean and sanitary. For directions to these areas, please ask Spirit Airlines staff at the airport. These pet relief areas are not exclusive to Spirit Airlines and may be used by any ESA traveling with their handler.
These are the basic guidelines. Be sure to contact Hawaiian Airlines if you have further concerns or questions.