It’s Going to Be Tougher to Bring Service and Support Animals on Delta Flights

Jan 19, 2018

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Delta is introducing new restrictions for service animals. Beginning March 1, Delta will require that all passengers traveling with a support or service animal provide additional documents, outlining the need for the service animal as well as proof of the animal’s training and vaccinations, 48 hours prior to departure.

The carrier says that the new rules are being introduced because of lack of regulation, which “has led to serious safety risks involving untrained animals in flight.” In fact, Delta says that since 2015 it’s seen a 150% increase in the number of service and support animals it’s transported. Not only have support animals become more frequent, but Delta says that there’s been an 84% increase in the number of reported incidents on board, such as urination/defecation, biting and attacks.

The new regulations require passengers to prove to Delta that the animal is both necessary, vaccinated and trained. If you want to travel with your trained service animal on a Delta flight as of March 1, you must submit a signed veterinary health form and/or an immunization record (current within one year of the date of travel) at least 48 hours in advance of departure. Similarly, if you want to travel with an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal, you must also submit a signed veterinary health form and/or an immunization record (current within one year of the date of travel), a letter signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional and a signed confirmation of animal training form at least 48 hours in advance of departure. You can find more details on Delta’s policy on its website.

“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 US air travel,” said John Laughter, Delta’s SVP of corporate safety, security and compliance.

According to federal law, passengers are permitted to travel with their service or support animal as long as they don’t pose a threat to the health and safety of others on board. In addition, the animal cannot obstruct the aisle or any area that would be used for an emergency evacuation.

Delta’s decision to restrict service animals comes after several recent instances where passengers brought non-traditional service animals on board — such as turkeys, ducks and more.

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