Travelling with a Service Animal

Travelling with a Service Animal

Specific rules apply to travel with a service animal, as well as to travel within Canada with a dog as emotional support or psychiatric service animal.

Certified, professionally trained service animals which are assisting customers with disabilities are carried, free of charge, in the passenger cabin at the customer's feet. The animal must be harnessed and certified as having been trained to assist a person with a disability by a professional service animal institution (as a requirement under the Canadian Air Transportation Regulations).

If you plan on travelling with a service animal, we require that you:

  • Inform Air Canada Reservations at least 48 hours prior to departure. However, we will make every effort to accommodate requests made within that time frame.
  • Be at the airport for check-in at least one extra hour ahead of the recommended check-in time

For exceptions on travel to international destinations, please consult specific government regulations of any countries you are travelling to.

International Business Class

Visually impaired customers may be seated in an International Business Class and may travel with a service animal such as a seeing-eye dog, provided the animal travels under the Suite's footstool and/or seat at all times.

 

Additional Floor Space

By contacting Air Canada Reservations, you can request a seat with additional floor space to accommodate a service animal.

You must provide at least 48 hours' advance notice (72 hours for  certain destinations) when requesting a seat with additional floor space. However, we recommend that you provide advance notice as soon as practicable to ensure that the seating can be reserved. Note that Air Canada will make every reasonable effort to provide seating accommodation to persons with disabilities when requested within 48 hours of departure.

The policy detailed below applies exclusively to travel within Canada.

If you are travelling within Canada with a dog* as an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, you must advise Air Canada Reservations 48 hour in advance of travel, and provide supporting documentation in the form of an original letter on the letterhead of a licensed mental health professional (e.g. a psychologist, a psychiatrist, the general practitioner who is treating the passenger's mental or emotional disability, or a licensed clinical social worker), dated within one year of your departure date.

  • The letter must confirm that:
    • You have a mental or emotional disability recognized by the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).
    • You need your dog for emotional or psychiatric support during travel and/or at destination.
    • The person who prepared the document is a licensed mental health professional.
    • You are currently under the care of the licensed mental health professional who prepared the document.
  • The letter must also provide information on the mental health professional's license (i.e. type of license, date issued, and issuing authority).
  • For Canadian residents travelling on a purely domestic itinerary, the letter should be issued by a practitioner certified in Canada. Other credible alternatives will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

Important:

  • Your dog must remain harnessed at all times.
  • Your dog will be accepted on board in addition to your carry-on baggage allowance.

*Air Canada does not accept animals other than dogs as emotional support or psychiatric service animals.

Air Canada is subject to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Rule on "Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel" (14 CFR Part 382) applicable to the services we offer customers with special needs who:

  • Are travelling on a flight between Canada and the United States; and
  • Have purchased a ticket with an Air-Canada operated flight through a US-based airline (the ticket will then bear the code of the US airline, e.g. United Airlines' UA 7811).

If you wish to travel with a service animal:

We recommend that your service animal be harnessed at all times. If it is not harnessed, we strongly recommend that it be held on a leash when it is not in its kennel. 

As evidence that the animal you are travelling with is a service animal, you may present an identification card or other written document, carry tags or a harness for your animal, or provide credible verbal assurance.

 If you are travelling on a flight segment scheduled to take 8 hours or more, you must:

You may, in certain circumstances, hold your animal in your lap during the flight. Please contact the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk for more information.

If you are travelling with a dog* as an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, you must advise Air Canada Reservations 48 hour in advance of travel, and provide supporting documentation in the form of an original letter on the letterhead of a licensed mental health professional (e.g. a psychologist, a psychiatrist, the general practitioner who is treating the passenger's mental or emotional disability, or a licensed clinical social worker), dated within one year of your departure date.

The letter must confirm that:

  • You have a mental or emotional disability recognized by the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders);
  • You need your dog for emotional or psychiatric support during travel and/or at destination;
  • the person who prepared the document is a licensed mental health professional; and
  • You are currently under the care of the licensed mental health professional who prepared the document.

The letter must also provide information on the mental health professional's license (i.e. type of license, date issued, and issuing authority).

*Air Canada does not accept animals other than dogs as emotional support or psychiatric service animals.