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Psychiatric Service Animal

Explorer C

Hello SW Family and much LUV


Hold times are 2+ hours so thought this forum might be a better Avenue for my detailed question.


My wife has a trained Psychiatric service animal and I have a trained Psychiatric service animal. Sometimes my wife and I fly together - sometimes we take business trips separately. But each of us always flies with our respective service animal because each dog is trained to do a specific yet different task for either of us.


We are familiar with the requirement to fill out the -U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form-  and if applicable the additional relief form (on flights over 8 hours)


We want to be the best and hassle free passengers we can be and take all the right steps. Here are My questions in order to accomplish that goal:


  • Can we submit the [U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form] prior to the flight and get approval?...that way when we get to the airport there are no issues/holdups/snafu’s!


  • A couple other airlines (gasppp, don’t worry we barely fly anything else other than luv ❤️ - especially with our new companion pass!!) will allow you to submit your service animal DOT form and provide you with an ID card / number that can be used on other flights after being approved - Does southwest do something similar?


  • If preapproval is not an option - Is the [U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form] the only item we need to bring to the airport with us?


Looking forward to a lovely response from NicoleAshley, one of the other excellent moderators or the amazing fellow travelers that give great responses!


Cheers y’all!




Re: Psychiatric Service Animal

Aviator A

It does not appear that submitting the paperwork beforehand is an option.

If you haven't seen Southwest's info about traveling with service animals I'd suggest you start there.


It does mention making notation on your reservation that you plan to have a service animal. That appears to be the only thing before the flight and the form is all that is required at the airport.



Re: Psychiatric Service Animal

Explorer C

Good Afternoon Middle Seat,


Thank you so much for being so responsive


Yes sir/mam I have read ever line on that page and clicked every link prior to posting.


It is just somewhat nerve racking to spend money to book flights, taking off work, packing, driving 2+ hours to the airport, parking, making reservations in the destination city, setting up meetings in the destination city and all the other outliers that come with traveling to rely on a form being approved at the airport.


When we get there we are prepared to respond to the inquiries mentioned in the below section

  •  At the airport
  • A Customer traveling with a trained service animal must check in with a Ticket Counter or Gate Agent and present the required form. In order to accept an animal as a trained service animal, airlines must determine both that the Customer seeking travel is an individual with a disability and that the animal is trained to perform a task(s) or work related to the disability.
  • Our Employees may ask fact-finding questions to determine whether an animal is a trained service animal or eligible to be accepted as a pet. For example, we may ask whether the animal is required to accompany the Passenger because of a disability and what work or task the animal has been trained to perform. A Customer may be asked about the nature of the animal at different points throughout the journey.




But it would relieve 99% the of anxiety and be very  helpful if there were a way we could visit with a Southwest employee prior to booking to confirm everything. Because we cannot travel without our PSDs and visiting with a representative would insure  we have done everything correctly and there are no issues to worry about when we arrive at the airport 🙂


Thank you again for all of your help!



Re: Psychiatric Service Animal

Aviator A

While I cannot speak based on personal experience with this, I would suspect anyone flying with a legitimate service animal has nothing to worry about.  The paperwork is one step in weeding out those who may try to take advantage of the system.  Based on everything you have said I tend to think you fall into the legitimate category and thus have nothing to worry about, but I do understand the anxiety created by the situation in which there appears to be some (very small) chance that you would not be allowed to fly.  Give yourself plenty of time to check-in and if you haven't already, get the service animal noted on the reservation as described on the website.



Re: Psychiatric Service Animal

Frequent Flyer B

Psychiatric Service Animals are very different than Emotional Support Animals, as they are trained for specific work or tasks.  Not everyone is aware of this at the airport.  When you have this noted on your reservation, be sure they note a PSA, not an ESA (as ESAs are no longer allowed).  Be ready to describe what work or task your animal provides.  You do not need to disclose (nor should you be asked) your psychiatric disability.


Glad to see that you have been so proactive.  Happy flying!