Air Canada New Emotional Support Animal & Service Animal Policy 2022

Jan 01,2022

The largest airline of Canada in terms of passenger carries and fleet size, that provides both charter and scheduled flights to 207 destinations is Air Canada. If you are a pet owner and you have decided to travel with your pet, using this carrier, you need to be familiar with their pet policy first.

Service Dogs

Air Canada is a subject of Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the "Accessible Transportation for Persons with Disabilities Regulations", which guarantee people with disabilities rights of services and accommodations. The carrier is also a subject of the rule for “Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Air Travel”, enforced by the US Department of Transportation. Since the department changed its regulations in regard to traveling with service dogs, Air Canada has provided changes accordingly. 

New Policy

The new policy, that came into effect on March 01. 2021, states that Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are no longer considered service dogs and their presence will not be allowed in the cabin.

Only service dogs that are trained to perform specific tasks for the benefit of an individual with disabilities will be allowed by the carrier.

Service Dog Number Limitation Per Passenger

A person can be accompanied by one service dog free of charge. If you travel from or to the US with this carrier, you will be permitted to take two service dogs free of charge, in case that they fit under your seat.

Forms You Need To Submit When Traveling With A Service Dog

When traveling from or to the US you must submit the following form(s) no more than 48 hours prior to departure:

US Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form;

US Department of Transportation Service Animal Relief Attestation Form- when the flight will take 8 hours or more.

For other flights you will be required to complete and submit: 

Air Canada Service Animal Form

Additional Space For Your Service Dog

The ability of your dog to fit under your seat will be verified by the Air Canada Medical Assistance Desk. You will be requested to provide information in regard to the dog’s size and weight. If your dog can not fit and does not feel comfortable, you are allowed to require extra floor space. If this is the case, you have to contact the Medical Assistance Desk no later than 48 hours prior to travel. You will not be charged any fees for domestic flights. If you travel internationally you can purchase additional floor space for your service dog.

Service Dog Behavior

You always need to supervise the behavior of your dog and keep it under control. When it is not in a carrier, it should be restrained with a harness, leash, or any other device.

Service Dog Requested Documentation

Unless you fly from and to the US, an ID card and any other documentation issued by a professional trainer or an organization, may be requested. These documents may be required as a proof for the person’s disability and the specific tasks, that the service dog is trained to provide. As already mentioned before, these tasks must be directly related to this disability.

Pets In The Cabin

Small dogs and cats are allowed to travel in the cabin if they have enough space in the pet carrier to lie down, stand, or turn around. The carrier should be placed under the seat in front of the pet handler and remain closed at all times.

These regulations are valid for flights provided by Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge; Air Canada Express flights provided by Jazz, Sky Regional, or Exploits Valley Air.

According to the carrier’s pet regulations, a pet in its travel cage will be considered “one standard item toward your carry-on baggage allowance”.

When Is A Pet Not Allowed To Travel In The Cabin?

If the pet handler is an unaccompanied minor, a pet will not be permitted to travel in the cabin. If your seat is on an exit row or on a bulkhead row, your animal also will not be allowed to stay in the cabin. Since the pet carrier should be put under the seat in front of you, the use of any medical devices, that have to be placed under the seat, will impede the presence of your pet in the cabin. In case that you are traveling in the Premium Economy cabin, you need to keep in mind that seats in this cabin do not allow the safe storage of a travel pet cage.

Are There Pet Fees?

Yes, the carrier will charge you for one-way flights within Canada and Canada/US (except Hawaii): $50.00 - $59.00 CAD/USD

The fee for international one-way flights is: $100.00 - $118.00 CAD/USD

Taxes from 0% to 18% are included in the fees and may apply depending on the route.

Exceptions From The Standard Pet Policy

There are some exceptions from the standard pet policy of the carrier in regard to flights to or from Hawaii.

Pets will not be allowed in the cabin or in the baggage section.

If this is your case you may want to contact Air Canada Cargo (AC Animals) for assistance. It is important to mention that you need to check carefully the government regulations and restrictions that may be enforced for some international destinations.

Pet Carrier Size Requirements

The travel carrier must be with maximum dimensions: 

Boeing 789: H- 20 cm (8in) x W- 40 cm (16in) x L- 43 cm (17in);

Boeing 788: H- 20 cm (8in) W- 40 cm (16in) L- 43 cm (14.50in);

Boeing 777-300ER and 777-200LR: H- 21 cm (8.25in) W- 38 cm (15in) x L- 43 cm (17in).

The carrier should be large enough in order to ensure that the pet will not exceed its size. As already mentioned you need to grant your animal enough space in the carriage so that it can lie down, stand up, and turn around. If the airline employees determine the size of the carrier too small, your pet may not be allowed to travel with you.

Other Pet Carrier Requirements

It has to be ventilated and leakproof. You can choose between carriers with soft sides and hard sides, as both are options are accepted by the airline.

Pet Number Limitation Per Person

Air Canada allows the presence of only one small dog or a cat in the cabin per person. It will count as the one standard carry-on item, which you’re allowed to bring on board.

Pet Age Requirements

Your pet must be at the minimum age of 12 weeks and fully weaned.

What To Do Prior To Travel

You will be requested to arrive at least 30 minutes before your check-in time in order to meet an agent at check-in. An important detail you need to consider when traveling with a pet is that you are not permitted to check-in online or at the self-service terminals at the airport.

Can You Bring Restraint Tools?

Since only one standard carry-on item is permitted and the pet carrier is considered such an item, all restraint devices like car seats or pet carriages should be checked as baggage in accordance with the checked baggage rules.

Pet Regulations In The Baggage Section

Most Air Canada aircraft allow the presence of pets in the baggage compartment. On the following flights you will be allowed to travel with your pet:

Flights provided by Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge; Air Canada Express flights provided by Jazz, Sky Regional or Exploits Valley Air. You may need to take a closer look at the weight/size limitation in regard to the pet carrier for flights, operated by Exploits Valley Air.

Codeshare Partners Regulations

In case that your route includes flights operated by one of the Air Canada codeshare partners, pet owners will not be allowed to travel with their pets.

Weight And Size Limitations

The carrier dimensions must not exceed 292 cm (115 in) (L x W x H). The maximum weight of the carrier is: 45 kg (100 lb) (combined pet and carriage).

Are There Fees?

Yes, fees will be charged as follows- for one-way domestic flights and flights Canada/US (except Hawaii): $105.00 - $120.75 CAD/USD.

For one-way international flights: $270.00 - $318.60 CAD/USD

Similar to the pet regulations in the cabin, pets are also not allowed n the baggage section of flights to or from Hawaii. If you are traveling to or from Hawaii, you need to call Air Canada Cargo (Ac Animals) directly.

Are There Restrictions When Traveling With Your Pet In The Baggage Compartment?

Yes, there are a few things you need to consider if you want your pet to travel in the baggage area.

Up to two pets are permitted to stay in one pet carrier in the baggage section. They need to meet the following requirements:

- to be at the age from twelve weeks to six months;

- to be of the same species (i.e. two dogs or two cats)

If you want to travel with pets, please keep in mind that their combined weight will not be considered and they still will count as two pets.

If you would like to fly with more than two pets you have to call Air Canada Cargo within the time frame- 7-30 days prior to the travel date.

Pet Carrier Requirements In The Baggage Compartment

You can travel with no more than 2 dogs in a carrier, whose weight does not exceed 14kg/31lb (each). 

If fees apply, you need to keep in mind that they will be charged twice. If you have chosen a carriage with wheels to transport your pet, you need to remove these before you check-in.

The container must be with hard sides. Soft-sided and wired carriers are not allowed.

Identical with the regulations in the cabin, carriers in the baggage compartment must be leakproof, secure, large enough, so that the pet will be able to stand up or turn around. Too small carriages, respectively the transport of the pet, will be denied.

It’s important to remember that you always need to remove your pet’s leash before placing it in its carrier.

Restrictions Of Some Breeds

Here are two types of restrictions that need to be considered when traveling with a pet in the baggage compartment:

Short/snub-nosed (brachycephalic) breeds of cats and dogs are not allowed to travel in the baggage section, due to the stressful conditions, like high temperatures, that they may be exposed toSince some dog breeds are considered “strong”, their owners need to ensure special containers, that must be:” constructed of weld or wire mesh, metal, wood or a synthetic material other than plastic. The crate door must be made of wire mesh, metal, or wood and should have a secure lock that can’t be opened accidentally”.

There are also summer and winter restrictions applicable that you may need to check on the carrier’s website.

Air Canada Cargo

If you want your pet to be transported through Air Canada Cargo, you need to contact them directly for more information in regard to their AC Animals service. There is a diversity of animals, that Air Canada Cargo can transport like dogs, cats, tropical fishes, hatching eggs...etc.

Governments Restrictions And Regulations

Government veterinarians in every country where the aircraft lands, may run an inspection. Additional documentation and certificates, as well as additional fees, may be charged. We would recommend that you contact the relevant embassy or consulate for assistance.

Pet Registration

Once you make a reservation, you need to contact the carrier in order to register your pet for the same flight. Information in regard to the pet’s breed, weight, or the size of its carriage will be requested. After completing your reservation you may want to register your pet partner not later than 24 hours. In case that the carrier is unable to provide accommodation for your pet during the selected flight, a refund will be issued. If your booking needs to be changed after this time frame, you will be charged fees.