Delta Bans Emotional Support Animals from Long-Haul Flights, Prohibits ESA Kittens and Puppies
Delta has placed more restrictions on emotional support animals.
After banning pit-bull type service and emotional support dogs in June, Delta announced on Dec. 10 that the airline will no longer allow emotional support animals of any kind on flights longer than eight hours. In the same release, Delta also stated that emotional support animals under the age of 4 months are banned from all of the airline’s fights.
These changes will go into effect on Dec. 18.
“We will continue to review and enhance our policies and procedures as health and safety are core values at Delta,” John Laughter, Senior Vice President – Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance, said in Delta’s statement. “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.”
This update to Delta’s service and support animal policy comes after a noticeable increase in the airline’s number of reported service and emotional support animal incidents. According to Delta, there was an 84 percent increase in reported incidents involving service and emotional support animals between 2016 and 2017, including an incident where an emotional support dog attacked a passenger.
While these new changes go into effect on Dec. 18, considerations have been made for those who booked long-haul holiday travel with an emotional support animal ahead of Delta’s announcement.
“As a result of the policy changes, customers ticketed on or after Dec. 18 will no longer be permitted to originate travel with emotional support animals on flights longer than eight hours and will no longer be permitted to originate travel with service and support animals under 4 months of age regardless of flight length,” reads the airline’s release. “Customers with tickets purchased prior to Dec. 18, who have already requested to travel with an emotional support animal will be allowed to travel as originally ticketed.”
Starting Feb. 1, no emotional support animals will be allowed on flights over eight hours, regardless of when the ticket was booked. The same restriction applies to emotional support animals under the age of 4 months; these animals will no longer be able to fly on any Delta flight as an emotional support animal after Feb. 1.
Cats and dogs, including those under 4 months, along with household birds are still allowed to travel in-cabin on Delta flights with some restrictions: the animal must be able to fit in an airline-approved pet carrier that can safely slide under an airplane seat; pets traveling in the cabin cannot weigh more than 40 lbs.; and if the animal is a cat or dog, they cannot be a snubbed-nose breed. In-cabin travel for pets will cost $125 each way for U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, $200 for Virgin Islands and international, and $75 to Brazil.