These days, many people travel with animals of some sort that help them in their everyday life or even just to remain calm, but flying with them is about to become a bit more of a process. Delta Air Lines has now revealed a stricter set of rules for passengers wishing to fly with service animals or emotional support animals, and they are starting soon.
Seeing as how there is no legal certification needed for service animals, there have been many cases of people just taking their pets with them and putting a vest on them. No proof has been necessary to show that the animal is medically required for the person, and that has caused a number of problems in businesses and in public.
According to USA Today, Delta Air Lines is putting in these new rules as they have had an ever-increasing number of emotional support animals disrupt flights. Each day, Delta transports close to 700 service animals and many have defecated in cabins, misbehaved, and even bitten other passengers.
— Bloomberg Pursuits (@luxury) January 19, 2018
Beginning March 1, 2018, any passenger wishing to travel with a service animal or emotional support animal must present additional documentation. This proof is going to be used to confirm the safety and necessary need for the animal, and it must be delivered to Delta at least 48 hours before departure.
Those wishing to fly on Delta Air Lines with either type of animal must provide:
- Vaccination records or a veterinary health form for the animal
- Signed letter stating the animal is trained to behave without a kennel (For comfort animals and psychiatric-service animals)
- Signed letter from a doctor or mental-health professional stating why the passenger needs to have the animal with them (For comfort animals and psychiatric-service animals)
Delta Air Lines is not looking to upset anyone or anger passengers, but they have had a number of problems in the past couple of years. While the Americans with Disabilities Act does consider dogs and miniature horses service animals, passengers have brought on snakes, ducks, turkeys, and even possums.
The airline said they will no longer accept exotic animals as comfort animals and that includes “hedgehogs, ferrets, reptiles, or anything with tusks or hooves.”
— Mark Essig (@mark_essig) October 16, 2016
In October of last year, Walt Disney World opened up its policy to allow dogs to stay at designated resort hotels, as reported by the Disney Parks Blog. Within just a few days of announcing this new policy, Disney had to release a number of additional details to help ease the minds of those who opposed the decision.
John Laughter, Delta’s senior vice president for corporate safety, security, and compliance has said these rule changes are not to anger anyone, but for the safety of everyone.
“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. We are committed to consistently improving our policies, prioritizing the safety of all Delta customers and employees.”
Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA has said that they support Delta in this move as they have seen “more and more animals in the cabin and it appears as there is growing abuse of the system.”
After hearing from numerous customers, Delta knew that action needed to be taken in this matter to provide the best service to anyone traveling on their airline. Many people do need service animals or emotional support animals, but as with anything, there are those looking to take advantage of the system. Delta Air Lines believes their new rules and regulations will end up helping everyone in the long run.