It comes as no surprise that after years of abuse by flyers, Delta is rolling out new rules for customers traveling with emotional support animals. There have been several incidents over the years including multiple attacks and the less dangerous/infamous turkey flight from 2016.
The rise in serious incidents involving animals in flight leads us to believe that the lack of regulation in both health and training screening for these animals is creating unsafe conditions across U.S. air travel. As a leader in safety, we worked with our Advisory Board on Disability to find a solution that supports those customers with a legitimate need for these animals, while prioritizing a safe and consistent travel experience.
-John Laughter, Delta’s Senior Vice President — Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance
In compliance with the Air Carrier Access Act, Delta provides in-cabin travel for service and support animals without charge. The guidelines, effective March 1, 2018, require:
- All customers traveling with a service or support animal show proof of health or vaccinations 48 hours in advance.
- In addition to the current requirement of a letter prepared and signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional, those with psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals will also need to provide a signed document confirming that their animal can behave to prevent untrained, sometimes aggressive household pets from traveling without a kennel in the cabin.
Delta flies over a quarter million support animals per year, with many of them likely not qualifying as “emotional support animals”. Hopefully these new rules will minimize animal attacks in the cabin and reduce the abuse of the Air Carrier Access Act. While I love animals, I just had a flight this week where a dog barked for four hours straight. That’s no way to fly.