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Passengers with Service Dogs

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 service dog will be screened. The passenger should inform a security officer that the dog is a service animal and not a pet. It is helpful if the animal is wearing gear (a harness, vest, etc.) to indicate that it is a service animal. Passengers with service animals may request to access the checkpoint by the dedicated family or wheelchair lanes if they exist.

Passengers are expected to maintain control of their service dogs 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 metal detector or thorough patdown if the passenger does not want to be screened by metal detector. Regardless of how the passenger is screened, he or she may be subject to explosives trace testing. If there is a positive test result for explosive residue or material,  the passenger will have to undergo additional screening  to be cleared for travel.

If the passenger and service dog are screened by a metal detector, they can proceed 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 the 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 service dog alarms but the passenger does not, 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 an officer.

Regardless of how the passenger and dog proceed through the metal detector, the dog will receive additional screening. The officer will inspect the dog and the dog’s belongings (collar, harness, leash, backpack, vest, etc.). 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 exits past the checkpoint to relieve his or her dog, the passenger and dog will need to undergo the screening process again. When he or she returns to the security checkpoint, he or she can 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 inspection screening. Passengers should tell an officer 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.


Please click on the links below for specific information about screening for passengers with disabilities or medical conditions:

Latest revision: 02 May 2014