Does Spirit Still Allow Emotional Support Animals?
No, Spirit Airlines is not one of the emotional support animal airlines.
Spirit emotional support animal flying is no longer an option. A new rule in the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) in 2021 by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) no longer requires airlines to recognize emotional support animals (ESAs) as service animals.
Airlines now have the choice of whether or not to allow ESAs on board as they would with trained service animals, and many airlines have chosen to change their pet policies to no longer allow ESAs on board as anything other than regular pets.
Airlines that have adopted this new emotional support animal policy include American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines.
Is Spirit Banning Emotional Support Animals?
In the past, they have allowed emotional support animals with an ESA letter from a mental health professional, but a 2021 change in the ACAA has made it so airlines can choose whether or not to accept ESAs the same way they accept trained service animals or psychiatric service animals.
Spirit has fallen in line with many major airlines to change their pet policy to only allow ESAs as regular pets, which means a person bringing an ESA on board a Spirit flight will have to follow the standard pet policy in place at Spirit.
What is the Spirit Pet Travel Policy?
Here are the Spirit emotional support animal and pet travel policies.
Pets in the Spirit Plane Cabin. Pets are to remain in the pet container for the duration of the flight, and the container must meet FAA requirements in that it must be leakproof and well ventilated as well as meeting certain size criteria.
The carrier must be able to fit under the seat while being large enough to allow the animals to stand and lay down naturally. The animal must not emit a foul smell or be disruptive to other passengers, and the combined weight of the animal and carrier is not to exceed 40 pounds.
Pets in the Spirit Plane Cargo. Spirit does not fly animals in cargo.
How do I Fly With my Pet on Spirit?
These are the steps to take for Spirit emotional support animal and pet flying:
- Ensure your Pet’s Gear Meets the Specifications. Spirit Airlines has specifications for pet carriers, harnesses or leashes, and food bowls, if applicable, as well as animal ID cards so it is important to make sure your pet’s gear fits their requirements before getting to the airport.
- Make Reservations. It is generally recommended a customer give an airline no less than 48 hours advance notice to allow time to process the required paperwork.
To make a reservation, you will have to contact Spirit Airlines at 1-855-728-3555. You can also text them at 48763 or use 855-728-3555 on WhatsApp. Spirit does not require health certificates for pets traveling in the cabin but does require rabies vaccination records for those flying to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).
Lastly, air travel is stressful for animals so take this opportunity to confirm your reservations are for the most direct flight available to limit the amount of time your pet is in transit.
- Arrive Early. You may require a little more check-in time than normal if flying with an animal. The agent at the ticket counter will need to examine the health forms and required documents as well as the animal’s behavior and pet carrier to ensure it is suitable for flight. It is recommended to arrive 3 hours early to check in with an animal.
- Go through Security. At this point, you will remove your shoes, bags, etc., remove your pet from its cage, and carry it through the security checkpoint. If you are traveling with a service dog or psychiatric service dog, you may lead it through the checkpoint on its leash.
- Board the Plane. Once you have made it passed security and met with the agent at the ticket counter, you will board the plane.
Please note those flying with animals are not allowed to sit in exit rows, and it is generally recommended to try to get a window seat or a seat in the front row to allow enough room for your pet, especially if you are traveling with a service dog that is not in a carrier.
What Pets are Allowed on a Spirit Flight?
At this time, only cats, small dogs, rabbits, and household birds are allowed as carry-on pets. Reptiles, rodents, ferrets, sugar gliders, and spiders are not allowed on Spirit airplanes, but they have no breed restrictions on cats or dogs.
How do I Travel With a Service Animal on Spirit?
This is mainly similar to flying with a pet. You will need to make a reservation and bring the appropriate paperwork like the DOT Service Animal Air Travel Form and, depending on where you are traveling, DOT Service Animal Relief Attestation Form.
Once you have gone through security, you will need to meet with an agent at the ticket counter who will assess the animal’s behavior and may ask fact-finding questions about the nature of the dog’s training. From there, you will board the flight like normal.
How do I Submit Service Animal Documents to Spirit?
You can submit the documents at this link.
What are Spirits’ In-Flight Requirements for a Service Animal?
A service animal is recognized only as a dog, and it must be accompanied by the handler at all times. The service dog is not to roam the aircraft cabin and is to be seated at the foot of the handler, under the seat, or in the lap if smaller than a two-year-old.
However, to have the animal in your lap, you are not allowed to sit in a seat with an inflatable seatbelt, as this can be dangerous for the animal. The dog is not to display disruptive behavior such as excessive barking, growling, or jumping and is not to eat off tray tables or bother neighboring passengers.
Dogs and handlers are not to sit in emergency exit rows and are recommended to sit in the front seat of the cabin or window seats as the animal is not allowed to wander into the aisle or walk around the cabin.
How Much is Flying With a Pet on Spirit?
Here are the Spirit emotional support animal and pet fees:
- Spirit Fees for Pets Flying in Cabin: $110 per carrier per one-way flight.
- Spirit Fees for Pets Flying in Cargo: Spirit does not allow pets in the cargo hold.
- Spirit Fees for Flying with Service Dogs: There is no fee for flying with a service dog.