British Airways is happy to accommodate assistance dogs on their aircrafts. According to the airline’s pet policies, emotional support animals are not considered to be assistance dogs. Below, we have included the information necessary to determine if you can fly with your service animal.
Defining an Assistance Dog
For British Airways, an assistance dog is one who has been specifically trained to assist a disabled person. They must be certified by an organization that is a full member of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) or the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF)—the accrediting bodies for assistance dog organizations worldwide. Owners should note that this certification is far more than what most airlines require of service animals. In most cases, you simply need verbal confirmation.
Emotional support dogs that are not recognized as assistance dogs by these organization may not travel within the cabin.
Learn About Pet Travel with British Airways
Assistance Dog Training Standards
British Airways recognizes three types of training standards for assistance dogs.
Guide dogs assist blind and visually impaired passengers by avoiding obstacles, stopping at curbs and steps, and navigating through traffic.
Hearing dogs assist deaf or hearing-impaired people by alerting them to a variety of household sounds, such as a door knock, telephone, baby cry, name call, or smoke alarm. The dogs are trained to make physical contact and lead the person they are assisting to the source of the sound.
Service dogs assist people with disabilities other than a vision or hearing impairment. These dogs can help people who have wheelchairs, have autism, need help balancing, or with other various conditions—seizures, low blood sugar, or a mental health impairment.
If your animal does not address any of the above three forms of aid, he will not be allowed to fly with you in the cabin.
Additional Assistance Dog Information
If you fly with an assistance animal, you are responsible for taking care of the dog’s needs. The cabin crew will not be able to offer assistance during the flight. Additionally, the airline recommends bringing a fleece or bet-bed with you for the dog to utilize during the flight, as well as absorbent pads to place under the fleece. You must provide a dog car safety harness (or equivalent) to secure your animal during takeoff and landing, as well as whenever seat belt signs are switched on.
When traveling with an assistance animal, you must check in at the airport desk. Online check-in will not be an option. Additionally, British Airways will allocate an appropriate seat with more space for you and your dog. This is generally in the bulkhead seat row.
When traveling through the US, you’ll also want to be familiar with the rights and responsibilities associated with service animals in the US. If you are traveling to the UK, you must confirm your flight details with the airport’s Animal Reception Center, who will meet you upon arrival and clear your assistance dog to enter the United Kingdom.