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ESAN letter review

New Arrival

I travel with an ESAN dog. The one time I took him with me on Southwest, the agent was displeased with the letter from my psychiatrist. It was word-for-word from the Southwest web site, up-to-date, and accurate. 


Is there a way to ask Southwest to verify the letter prior to departure? This would leave the decision about the letter's validity up to a disability desk rather than to an individual agent.


American, United, and Delta all store the ESAN information linked to my frequent flyer number. When I fly American, for example, I just let then know that I'm travelling with my dog, and an agent at their disability (SAC desk) puts an SSR in my PNR to say that the paperwork has been reviewed. I still need to have the paperwork ready, but it takes the burden off of the check-in agent.


Please le me know if there is some way to do this with Southwest. I'm flying again next month.


I know that there is so much abuse related to ESAN regulations. I play exactly by the book, and unquestionably need my dog with me. I just want to ensure a smooth travel experience this time. 


Re: ESAN letter review

Rising Star
Have you been in touch directly with Southwest (most of us here are other customers too)? Twitter may be your best starting point, their Twitter handle and other contact options (to include snail mail) are also available by clicking the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the discussion forum pages.

It may also be worth sending a letter via snail mail, maybe that way you could have something back in writing and on letterhead from the corporate headquarters.

Customer | Home airport DCA

Re: ESAN letter review

New Arrival

@SWDigits Thanks so much for your suggestion.  I just sent Southwest a thoughtful letter (snail mail) today with a c opy of teh ESAN documents. If I hear back, I'll be sure to post something here.

Re: ESAN letter review

Active Member

This is sad to hear. SWA is usually really good about ESAN customers. Southwest's ESA policy  is one of the best and one of the only airlines that do not require additional documents to fly with an emotional support dog. 

Re: ESAN letter review

New Arrival

I sent a paper letter to Southwest, and I received a pleasant email this morning. The staff member who replied just pointed to their policies, and she said, "It appears that the documents I have meet [their] requirements." 


Although it is no dobut still at the ticket counter agent's discretion, this will give me just a bit of backup. 


Fingers crossed; teh flight is on the 25th.

Re: ESAN letter review

New Arrival

To travel along with your pet ESA Letter is required but the Southwest Airlines ESAN Policy is quite good and effective for users. 

Re: ESAN letter review

New Arrival
I had a mixed response since my original post.

On three check-in experiences, the agents did not like the letter. One didn't like it because I kept it in a plastic protective cover. Another felt that my psychiatrist's letterhead "wasn't her definition of letterhead." (It looks just like any other psychiatrists' letterhead. But she thought it should have a logo.) 

In each case, a supervisor rectified the problem and I was able to fly with my dog.

In the third case, the agent was astonishingly out of line. I received a thoughtful response from Southwest, making it clear that the agent was mistaken. Southwest has no rule about logos, typefaces, etc. My psychiatrist thought it was ridiculous and condescending.

I have two upcoming trips on Southwest. I have a little folder with the ESAN letter, but I also have a copy of the letter from Southwest's corporate offices stating that the letter meets their requirements.