Travelling with your Service Dog

Good information about travelling with your Service Dog and TSA questions and concerns about airport security checkpoint screening for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions.

If a passenger has a service dog due to a disability or medical condition, both the passenger and the dog will be screened. The passenger should inform a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) that the dog is a service animal and not a pet, and the TSA recommends that passengers have documentation or that the dog wear gear (a harness, vest, etc.) to indicate that it is a service animal.

Passengers are expected to maintain control of their animals by holding onto the leash throughout the screening process, and they should not be separated from their dogs by TSA personnel.

Passengers with service dogs will be screened either by a walk-through metal detector or thorough patdown. If the passenger and service animal are screened by a walk-through metal detector, they can proceed in one of three ways:

• The passenger can walk through first with the dog following behind on its leash.
• The dog can walk through first on its leash with the passenger following behind.
• The passenger and dog can walk through at the same time.

If a passenger and the dog walk through at the same time and the metal detector alarms, both the passenger and dog are subject to additional screening, including a thorough patdown. If the passenger and dog walk through separately, only the party that alarms the metal detector will receive additional screening. It is very important that the passenger not make contact with the dog (other than holding the leash) until the dog has been cleared and inspected by a TSO.

If a patdown is required in order to complete screening:

• The patdown should be conducted by a TSO of the same gender. Sometimes, passengers must wait for a TSO of the same gender to become available.
• The passenger can request a private screening at any time and a private screening should be offered when the TSO must patdown sensitive areas. During a private screening, another TSA employee will also be present and the passenger may be accompanied by a companion of his or her choosing.
• A passenger may ask for a chair if he or she needs to sit down.
• The passenger should inform TSOs of any difficulty raising his or her arms, remaining in the position required for a patdown, or any areas of the body that are painful when touched.
• A passenger should not be asked to remove or lift any article of clothing to reveal a sensitive body area.

In addition to the patdown, TSA may use technology to test for traces of explosive material. If explosive material is detected, the passenger will have to undergo additional screening. For more information about the technology used to test for traces of explosive material, please visit…/tsa-expands-use-explosive-trace….

Regardless of how the passenger and dog proceed through the walk-through metal detector, the dog will receive additional screening. A TSO will physically inspect the dog and the dog’s belongings (collar, harness, leash, backpack, vest, etc.) in order to resolve the alarm. Although the dog’s harness will not be removed, it and other items that he or she may be carrying, such as a backpack, are subject to screening.

If a passenger leaves the secure side of the airport to relieve his or her dog, the passenger and dog will need to undergo the screening process again. When a passenger returns to the security checkpoint, he or she may ask to move to the front of the screening line.

Medication for service animals is permitted through security checkpoints once it has undergone x-ray or a visual inspection. All liquids, gels, or aerosols that exceed 3.4 ounces will receive additional screening. Passengers should tell TSOs in advance if there are medically necessary liquids for the service dog that need to be screened, and these should be separated from other items in the passenger’s carry-on.

A companion, assistant, or family member may accompany a passenger to assist him or her during any private or public screening. After providing this assistance, the companion, assistant, or family member will need to be rescreened. The passenger should inform the TSO of his or her need for assistance before the screening process begins.

If a passenger has concerns about his or her screening, he or she should ask to speak with a supervisor or Passenger Support Specialist while at the checkpoint. Passengers also can report concerns by contacting TSA’s Disability and Multicultural Division at [email protected] or

Transportation Security Administration
Disability and Multicultural Division
601 South 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598

TSA encourages passengers with disabilities or medical conditions to arrive at the airport early and to visit for more information before they fly.