In March 2018, the executives at Delta Airlines changed their pet policy and they have now announced further amendments. The initial changes focused on the paperwork that is required for people to have pets flying in the cabin. They stated that anyone flying with an animal in the cabin would need to provide health and vaccination records at least 48 hours prior to the time of their scheduled flight. This is regardless of whether the animal is a pet, an emotional support animal or a service animal.
Another new rule that was added to the policy was that owners of emotional support animals must sign a voucher before boarding a plane that confirms that their pet is able to behave during the flight.
According to Delta, they made these changes in response to the increase in complaints in 2017 that were pet-related. Combined with incidents concerning employees of Delta, they have since felt it necessary to make additional changes.
Delta announced in a press release that they are now banning all pit bull-type dogs from traveling with them and that this change is effective from July 10, 2018. This new rule relates to both service and emotional support animals. These dogs are too large to travel with passengers in the cabin and prior to the new policy changes, they were already banned from flying in Delta’s cargo holds. This new change means that pit-bull type dogs are banned from traveling with Delta Airlines altogether.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Delta Airlines explained their decision. The ban was prompted by a recent incident in which two employees were bitten by pit-bull type dogs traveling with their airline. As Delta know that some of their customers have genuine and legitimate needs, they said that this had been a difficult decision to make. However, their decision was that untrained pit bull-type dogs posed a potential safety risk to other passengers and employees of Delta Airlines.
They have also made a further amendment to their policy as Delta will now only allow one emotional support animal per passenger. The airline has explained that this is also a direct result of growing safety concerns following incidents when employees have been bitten by an animal.
Since 2016, there has been an 84 percent increase in the number of incidents reported. These include complaints of urination, defecation, and biting. There was even an incident that was widely reported involving a dog weighing 70 pounds.
Every day, Delta carries an estimated 700 support and service animals and this totals almost 250,00 each year. Although this sounds a lot, it needs putting into perspective that this airline has annual passenger figures of around 180 million.
There are many instances of customers ignoring the existing rules that are in place in relation to the transport od support and service animals and this can create problems for those who have genuine needs. There are examples of people wanting to fly with gliding possums, comfort turkeys, spiders, and snakes.
In their statement, Delta also revealed that they are leading the way in such policy changes as since they have amended their policy, other airlines are following their example. There are several examples of airlines changing their pet policies in recent months, especially in relation to restrictions regarding emotional support animals.
United is just one of the airlines to have given their pet policy an overhaul. Their pet transport program was changed following incidents involving animals. The most significant of these was possibly the death of a French Bulldog called Kokito. It had been placed in an overhead bin during a United flight and this led to the death of the dog.
As more incidents come to light, it seems that many other airlines could also follow this example and make changes to their pet transport policies. Although this could create difficulties for some customers who have a genuine need for support or service animals, the changes are intended to reduce the potential safety risks to other passengers and the people who work for the airlines. If you require a service or support animal and you are planning to travel, then it is best to check for any changes to policies as even if you have traveled with an airline before, you may now face new restrictions.