On behalf of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

Traveling doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Here’s what you can expect if you or someone you know is visually impaired and traveling with a guide or service dog.

Plan ahead
Education and preparation are key to help you and your guide dog gain confidence and a better understanding of what to expect during screening. There are services and programs such as The Guide Dog Foundation and America's VetDogs, that coordinate with airports and TSA to provide demonstrations and practices for you and your assistance dog. These live demonstrations provide guidance to you, your guide dog, and TSA officers as well.

TSA can also provide assistance to help you through airport security. Contact TSA Cares 72 hours before your scheduled flight. A passenger support specialist or a supervisory transportation security officer will arrange to meet you curbside and will help guide you through security.

Pack properly
When packing for your trip, be sure to place your travel-sized liquids in a quart-sized bag and any electronic devices larger than a cell phone, in an easily accessible area as they will need to be removed from your bag for screening. Liquids over 3.4 ounces are not allowed through security, however, the rule does not apply if you are traveling with liquid medications. TSA allows larger amounts of medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols in reasonable quantities for your trip, but you must declare them to TSA officers at the checkpoint for inspection.

When in doubt, consider checking your bag. The fewer items you have to go through security screening with the easier it may be for you and your guide dog to go through security. On the plus side, by checking in your bag you won’t have to worry about any items accidentally being left behind at the checkpoint.

Prepare for screening
Being prepared promotes success and helps the screening process go smoothly.  First, at no point doing the screening process will you be separated from your guide dog.

Unless you have TSA Pre✓®, you will be asked to remove your jacket, belt, and shoes for screening. If you are unable to remove these items, you will require additional screening.

Apply now to get TSA Pre✓®  on your next trip.

Although you don’t have to remove your dog’s harness and leash, be prepared for your guide dog to receive additional screening if you decide to leave these items on.

Additional screening may include being screened for explosives trace detection, a walk-through metal detector, and/or a pat-down. If by chance you or your dog sets off an alarm during screening, then you will get a pat-down conducted by an officer of the same gender as you present yourself. Before the start of a pat-down, the officer will walk you through the process, which includes an officer using their hands to conduct a physical inspection of you and your dog. Reminder, communication is key!

  • An officer will first ask for your permission before touching your guide dog.
  • At no point of the screening process will you be asked to be separated from your guide dog or be asked to remove your guide dog’s harness or vest.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask the officer to use a new pair of gloves.
  • Do remember that you can always request to speak with a supervisor or request a private screening accompanied by a companion of your choice.

Request assistance
Need more information? We have a team ready to answer your questions @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on ET on weekends. You may also email the TSA Contact Center or call (866) 289-9673. Representatives are available 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET weekdays, 8 a.m. to 10 pm. ET, weekends are 9 to 7p.m. ET.

For additional travel tips, please visit https://www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips.

Delta Airlines Requirements

On March 1, 2018, Delta Air Lines’ new enhanced requirements for traveling with service or support animals went into effect.  As a graduate of the Guide Dog Foundation or America’s VetDogs, your dogs are considered “trained service animals,” and you will be asked to adhere to the trained service animals requirements as outlined below.  According to David Martin, the Disability Manager at Delta, service dogs for PTSD are to be considered in the trained service animal category along with guide dogs, hearing dogs, etc., and not the psychological service animal category.

Mr. Martin goes on to explain: “A person with PTSD who has a service dog that is trained to perform tasks to mitigate the effects of PTSD would be presenting a trained service animal for travel on Delta and would only need evidence of animal health, either provided in advance of the passenger’s travel or brought with them to be provided upon request at the airport.”

Answering Questions

If asked by TSA or an airline representative, “What service does your animal provide for you?” the answer should be focused on the trained behaviors/tasks the animal provides to the individual with a disability. Behaviors/tasks examples include opening a door, guiding around obstacles, turning lights on and off, performing nightmare interruption, alerting a handler for hearing work, etc. 

Airport Check-in

Once you arrive at an airport, you may check in anywhere you like (curbside, kiosk, counter).  However, you should carry your dog’s current health record as well as your ID card that includes the IGDF and ADI accrediting body logos for our dually accredited programs. Although it is not a requirement, having your ID card with the dual logos may facilitate a smoother transition through security. 

*These requirements only apply to USA. When flying to other countries graduates should always check with airline requirements.

 

Delta Definitions
Below please find the “trained service animal” flying requirements.

Trained Service Animal

  • Trained service animals receive training to assist those who are blind or have low vision, deafness or hard of hearing, diabetes, seizures, mobility limitations, or other needs.
  • If you are traveling with a trained service animal, in some cases you may be asked to show the animal’s Veterinary Health Form and/or an immunization record or other proof that the animal's vaccinations are current within one year of the travel date

While not required, customers are encouraged to upload this documentation to My Trips through the Accessibility Service Request Form.