Now Delta Bans Emotional Support Animals

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First Alaska Airlines banned emotional support animals at the end of December, then American Airlines announced a ban earlier this week, and now Delta has announced that it too will no longer ticket emotional support animals from Monday, 11 January.

The Announcement

In an announcement made yesterday, Delta confirmed that it will stop issuing tickets for emotional support animals from Monday. Service animals (as defined by the recent rules set out by the DOT) will be the only animals permitted to travel free of charge in the airline’s cabins.

Per Delta:

“Effective Jan. 11, Delta will no longer accept emotional support animal bookings on any Delta flight. Delta’s updated policy follows a final rule issued last month by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which states carriers are no longer required to recognize emotional support animals as service animals.”

“We applaud the DOT for making this change and acknowledging the concerns that Delta and many other stakeholders have raised for the past several years. The DOT’s final rule enables airlines to put the safety of all employees and customers first, while protecting the rights of customers who need to travel with trained service animals.”

As of 11 January 2021, this is what Delta’s service animal policy changes will look like:

  • Delta will no longer accept new bookings for emotional support animals.
  • Customers who hold a ticket with their emotional support animal(s) confirmed for travel (i.e who already had a booking) prior to 11 January 2021 may still travel as planned on Delta.
  • Trained service animals are defined as dogs regardless of breed, specifically trained to assist a person with a disability.
  • Customers traveling with a trained service dog(s) should submit DOT documentation via attesting to the dog’s health, training, and behavior 48 hours prior to departure. If travel is booked less than 48 hours prior to departure, a customer may present the documentation at the ticket counter or at the departure gate.
  • Customers traveling with a trained service dog on flights scheduled for eight hours or more must also submit a DOT Relief Attestation form available on attesting that the dog will not relieve itself in the aircraft or can do so without causing health or sanitization issues.

In addition to the above, Delta says that it will lift its ban on pit bull-type dogs that meet documentation requirements for trained service animals from 11 January but that pit bull-type dogs will continue to be banned from traveling as emotional support animals for those customers who have emotional support animal bookings confirmed before 11 January.

Carry-On Pet Rules Remain As They Were

The reason why we’ve seen so many incidents relating to emotional support animals on aircraft is that, over recent years, a significant number of inconsiderate imbeciles have been using the fact that emotional support animals travel for free to take their pets on vacation by fraudulently claiming that the pet is an emotional support animal. These pets have often been poorly trained (if at all) and have come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and species, most of whom have no place inside an aircraft cabin.

Now that emotional support animals have been banned, most people who want to travel with their menagerie will have to pay for that privilege (although some idiots will undoubtedly try to find a new loophole) and to that end Delta’s rules on pets in cabins haven’t changed:

“Small dogs, cats and household birds can travel in the cabin for a one-way fee, collected at check-in. They must be able to fit in a small, ventilated pet carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. Pets in cabin kennels will count as your one carry-on item. In addition to the kennel, you are permitted to bring one personal item onboard the aircraft.”

Follow this link for Delta’s full rules on pets in cabins – they’re extensive!

Bottom Line

Delta will no longer issue bookings for emotional support animals from 11 January 2021 although anyone planning to fly with an emotional support animal and who has a valid booking made before 11 January will be allowed to travel as planned. In addition, Delta has removed pit bull-type dogs from its list of banned breeds but the ban remains in place for anyone wishing to travel with a pit bull-type dog as an emotional support animal.

With Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and now Delta all banning emotional support animals, how long before United Airlines follows suit?


  1. Finally, some common sense returning to travel. This was long overdue. I’m all for those that actually need service animals.

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