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Service animals (SVAN)

Service animals refer to trained assistance animals that travel with passengers who need service or medical support.

Important considerations

  • Passengers traveling with a service animal must receive confirmation of their reservation at least 48 hours before their flight.
  • On flights between Istanbul and the United States, we follow the rules of the United States Department of Transportation for the acceptance of service dogs. Passengers traveling on this route with a service dog (SVAN) must fill out the US Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation and US Department of Transportation Service Animal Assistance Approval forms and send them to the following e-mail addresses at least 48 hours before the flight:
  • If the necessary forms are not completed and submitted, the service animal will be denied boarding. The forms can be downloaded from the links provided below

Conditions for transporting a service dog (SVAN)

  • The service dog must be professionally trained and certified. A valid training certificate, vaccination certificate, ID card, and any other documents required by the rules of the destination country must be provided. If the required documents are not available, the service dog may not be accepted on the flight, or may only be permitted to travel in a carrier/cage in the cabin (PETC) or in the aircraft's cargo hold (AVIH), depending on the flight's suitability.
  • If the service dog is on the list of animals not permitted to enter the country at the airport, it will not be permitted on the flight.
  • All lines permit service dogs (SVAN), guide dogs for the visually impaired, guide dogs for the hearing impaired, and medical alert dogs to travel free of charge in the cabin.
  • On flights between Istanbul and the United States, we transport psychiatric service dogs free of charge. On connecting flights preceding or following these lines, the dog must be caged and carried in the cabin or cargo section of the aircraft for a fee. The applicable fee is collected at the first exit point in accordance with that point’s exit baggage procedure. On connecting flights, passengers with a psychiatric service dog must have an empty carrier/cage of the appropriate size. The transport of this cage is free of charge.
  • During check-in at airports in the United States, an empty cage containing a psychiatric service dog is received from a passenger traveling from the United States and continuing on to Istanbul. The dog's cage is prepared prior to embarking on the subsequent voyage. In accordance with Turkish Airlines regulations, once the dog is secured in its cage, it may travel in the passenger cabin or cargo section of the aircraft. The psychiatric service dog of a passenger who arrives in Istanbul from another airport and has a connecting flight to the United States is permitted to be carried in a carrier/cage in the passenger cabin or cargo section from the point of origin, according to our regulations. When boarding a flight from Istanbul to the United States, the dog's cage is delivered empty and stored in the cargo hold.
  • In order to travel with a service animal in the cabin on flights outside the United States, the passenger must present a document to the passenger services officer at the counter indicating that the dog will not need to use the restroom during the flight or will not cause any health issues if it does. Valid documents on this subject are:
    • A signed statement from the veterinarian.
    • A written declaration detailing the measures that will be taken to prevent the dog from using the restroom.
    • A signed declaration that includes photographs or other visuals demonstrating that the dog can relieve itself without causing hygiene or health issues.
    • A promise that the dog's owner will clean the contaminated area if the animal has an accident (passengers must carry a bag, napkin, cleaning cloth and wet wipes).
  • The service dog must be wearing a vest and/or identification collar, and the leash or harness must be attached to the passenger's belt throughout the flight.
  • Throughout the flight, the service dog must remain clean and seated in front of the passenger's feet. It is strictly prohibited for the dog to sit in the passenger seat, and a muzzle must be kept in case of excessive barking, teeth-baring, etc. during travel.
  • If the service dog exhibits aggressive or disruptive behavior before the flight, is not well-groomed or clean, does not fit into the space in front of it, enters the aisle/other passenger's area, is likely to pose a security risk in the cabin, and/or is believed to impede the cabin crew's workflow, it may not be accepted on the flight; or, depending on the availability of the flight, it may be rebooked on a later flight. The cabin (PETC) or the aircraft's cargo hold (AVIH) can be used to transport service dogs.
  • The passenger is liable for any damage caused by the service animal, and their seat may be changed for safety reasons.
  • Passengers traveling with a service dog are permitted to select a seat, with the exception of emergency exit rows or rows that can accommodate infant bassinets.
  • Search and rescue dogs are transported free of charge in times of emergency and disaster.
  • Search and rescue dogs may travel in the cabin during the search and rescue team's journey to and from the operation, even if they are carried in accordance with the rules of the aircraft's cargo section (AVIH).