In 2018 we’ve seen the major US airlines crack down on emotional support animals. The first airline to do this was Delta, as they announced changes, though the other major US airlines followed as well.
Delta announced a second set of changes to their emotional support animal policy in June, and now the airline is introducing a third set of changes to their policy.
As of December 18, 2018, Delta is banning service and support animals under four months of age regardless of flight length, and they’re also banning emotional support animals altogether on flights of over eight hours in length.
Delta says that the age requirement aligns with the vaccination policy of the CDC, while the eight hour flight limit is consistent with principles outlined in the US DOT Air Carrier Access Act.
Delta’s SVP of Corporate Safety, Security, and Compliance, had the following to say:
“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.”
This new policy applies for those ticketed on or after December 18, 2018. Those who have already requested an emotional support animal for travel on subsequent dates will be allowed to take it, as long as travel is before February 1, 2019. As of that date, the new eight hour restriction and four month age restriction kicks in no matter what. Delta says they will be contacting those who are booked after February 1 with an emotional support animal that doesn’t meet the new rules.
Delta says that they saw an 84% increase in incidents involving service and support animals in 2016-2017. You can find Delta’s full service and support animal policy here.
(Tip of the hat to Live and Let’s Fly)