Delta Tightens Up Its Support Animal Policy (Again)

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Delta has added a couple of new restrictions to its support animal policy which, when you find out what they are, will probably leave you wondering what some passengers are trying to get away with.

The new restrictions will come into force on 10 July 2018 and here’s what Delta has had to say about the policy enhancements:

“The enhancements include introducing a limit of one emotional support animal per customer per flight and no longer accepting pit bull type dogs as service or support animals. These updates, which come as the peak summer travel season is underway, are the direct result of growing safety concerns following recent incidents in which several employees were bitten.”

I genuinely don’t know where to go with this.

As far as Pit bulls go I’m surprised it’s taken this long for an airline to legislate for this breed. While most of the Pit Bulls I’ve encountered here in LA have been well behaved and fun, the breed as a whole has a quite different reputation.

a collage of different dogs
Image courtesy of Wiki Commons Media

These are dogs that have historically been bred to hunt, attack and hold large animals and, in certain societies, to fight other dogs. They’re genetically predisposed to being strong and violent and aren’t exactly a breed that I’d trust around people the animal doesn’t know (it’s been illegal to own a Pit Bull in the UK since 1991 because of the number of attacks on humans).

As for the issue of multiple support animals….

Apparently enough people have been trying to claim that they need more than one support animal to survive their flights that Delta has felt the need to put a restriction on this behavior.

That’s just incredible.

Have people been turning up at airports all over the country with menageries in tow? What sort of person would think that’s acceptable behavior?

a group of animals on a wooden bridge
Perhaps we have travelers out there who think an aircraft is Noah’s Ark.
Image: Yu Su Via Flickr

I should admit that I believe that the majority of people claiming to need a support animal to get through a flight are either lying (to get free travel for their pet) or just overly delicate – I have little doubt that the number of genuine cases is comparatively small.

Yes, there are definitely people out there who clearly need the help of a support animal for one reason or another and they should be given all the help they need….but they’re far from being a majority.

I’m not sure what measures can legitimately be taken to weed out the scammers from the genuine cases but something needs to be done…..and it’s more than what the airlines feel they can do right now.

As things stand passengers wishing to bring a support animal on board have to provide the following:

  1. A signed Veterinary Health Form and/or an immunization record (current within one year of the travel date)
  2. A letter prepared and signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional confirming the need for a support animal
  3. A signed Confirmation of Animal Training form.

Numbers 1 & 3 don’t have anything to do with if the person really needs an emotional support animal and, considering just how easy it is to get a piece of paper signed confirming whatever it is you want it to confirm, number 2 doesn’t prove anything either.

Sadly I can’t think of any measures that could be put in place that wouldn’t harm those in genuine need just to stop the scammers from scamming – anyone have any ideas?