Delta Air Lines to No Longer Accept Emotional Support Animals Aboard Its Airplanes

As a result of the final rule which was issued by the Department of Transportation of the United States — which amends the Air Carrier Access Act regulation pertaining to the transportation of service animals via airplane — emotional support animals will no longer be accepted for new travel by Delta Air Lines to become effective as of Monday, January 11, 2021.

Delta Air Lines to No Longer Accept Emotional Support Animals Aboard Its Airplanes

Delta Air Lines

Photograph ©2013 by Brian Cohen.

Only official service dogs will be authorized for transportation aboard airplanes on flights operated by Delta Air Lines as of Monday, January 11, 2021, as bona fide service dogs are specially trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability.

Furthermore, customers will be required to complete an official form from the Department of Transportation — which will be available at the official Internet web site of Delta Air Lines beginning Monday, January 11, 2021 — attesting that his or her animal is a legitimate service dog; is trained and vaccinated; and will behave appropriately for the duration of the journey.

For reservations which are booked:

  • Greater than 48 hours prior to travel, customers must submit the completed form via e-mail message.
  • Fewer than 48 hours prior to travel, customers must submit the completed form in person to the Customer Service Agent upon arrival at the airport.
dog pet Jakie

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

“Delta’s updated policy follows a nearly 85 percent increase in animal incidents since 2016, including urination, defecation and biting,” David Garrison — who is the current senior vice president of corporate safety and security at Delta Air Lines — was quoted in this official press release from the airline. “Our top priority is the health, safety and comfort of Delta customers and our people. We strongly believe this policy change will enhance the overall travel experience for everyone.”

Delta Air Lines will continue to accept emotional support animals under its current policy for reservations booked prior to Monday, January 11, 2021.

Furthermore, Delta Air Lines will lift its ban on pit bull type dogs that meet documentation requirements for trained service animals; however — in line with the current policy of Delta Air Lines — pit bull type dogs will not be allowed to travel as emotional support animals for those customers ticketed and confirmed before Monday, January 11, 2021…

…but Delta Air Lines will continue to deny boarding to any trained service animal that poses a threat or demonstrates aggressive or inappropriate behavior in a public setting.


Easter Island dog

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Do not be surprised if other airlines soon adopt a similar policy to the one announced by Delta Air Lines — which follows similar policies which were announced by Alaska Airlines on Tuesday, December 29, 2020 and American Airlines on Tuesday, January 5, 2021 — pertaining to the banning of emotional support animals aboard its airplanes.

Meanwhile, I have written extensively over the years pertaining to service dogs and emotional support animals in the form of articles posted here at The Gate — including:

All photographs ©2006, ©2013, ©2016, and ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

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