Delta will impose a strict new ban on emotional support animals on longer flights, effective next week. The carrier will also tighten restrictions on service animals next year.
While the carrier already tightened its emotional support animal policy earlier this year, it has now banned emotional support animals on flights longer than eight hours. Furthermore, both emotional support and service animals under four months of age will not be allowed onboard a Delta flight (regardless of flight length) starting in February.
Emotional Support Animals Banned On Flights Longer Than 8 Hours
The ban on emotional support animals on longhaul flights seeks to balance the needs of travelers with their safety. John Laughter, Senior Vice President – Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance, explained:
We will continue to review and enhance our policies and procedures as health and safety are core values at Delta. These updates support Delta’s commitment to safety and also protect the rights of customers with documented needs – such as veterans with disabilities – to travel with trained service and support animals.
As I’ve covered before, Delta reported an 84% increase in incidents involving service or support animals in 2016-17. Delta articulates its policy changes is within the law and a necessary step to protect innocent customers.
Customers who purchased tickets prior to December 18, 2018 who have already requested to travel with an emotional support animal will be allowed to travel as originally ticketed. That means you still have one week to book your emotional support animal on a longer flights.
Service + Support Animals Less Than Four Months Old Banned
In a less controversial move, Delta will also ban any service or support animal who is less than four months old. That is merely a reflection of the amount of time it takes to train a dog or other animal to be well-behaved onboard an airplane. That policy does not kick in until February 01, 2019.
I’m very much in favor of these changes and hope that United and American move to quickly match them. The pendulum swung too far in the direction of travelers with emotional support pets, allowing abuse of the system. These new reasonable policies will draw us back toward a more equitable compromise.
> Read More: Bravo! Delta Restricts Emotional Support Animals