Emotional support animals will no longer be allowed on long-haul flights with Delta Air Lines, and there will be new limits on animal ages for all flights; the goal is to prioritize the needs of veterans with disabilities and other passengers that have documented needs for service animals to fly with them.
Beginning December 18, Delta Air Lines will be making some changes to their animal policy for emotional support animals. Now, on flights longer than eight hours, no emotional support animals will be allowed. And on all flights, no animals will be allowed to fly—whether emotional support or service animal—if they are under four months old.
“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,” John Laughter, Delta’s senior vice president for corporate safety, security and compliance, told Market Watch.
According to the airline, the change in policy is due to an increased number of reported incidents—an uptick of 84 percent over the last two years—involving emotional support and service animals, ranging from urination and defecation to a dog attack. The age policy follows vaccination guidelines by the CDC, and the time limit adheres to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Carrier Access Act’s guidelines.
Passengers who buy tickets before December 18 will still be able to travel with their service animals, though as of February 1 it’ll be a hard stop regardless of when flights were purchased.