To combat some of the issues that they have faced with customers bringing on a variety of service and support animals, Delta is strengthening regulations regarding how service and support animals fly. To ensure that customers and passengers with real issues have access to the animals that aid them, Delta is putting new policies into place in order to protect staff and passengers from further incidents.
In the past, passengers have brought an assortment of comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and other creatures onto planes, ignoring established guidelines about what constitutes a service and support animal. This has led to several incidents on planes that Delta hopes to avoid in the future.
Delta has long complied with the Air Carrier Access Act, which allows service and support animals to fly in the cabin free of charge. Going forth, beginning March 1, passengers traveling with a service or support animal will be required to show proof of health or vaccinations 48 hours in advance of the flight. In addition, to prevent household pets from interfering with working animals, those with psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals will need to provide documentation proving their animal can behave on a plane, in addition to the already required signed doctor’s note.
Delta flies hundreds of thousands of passengers with service animals each year and is hoping to improve safety on board flights by creating the new regulations. Delta’s top brass believes that having requirements for both health and training screenings will allow them to continue to fly service and support animals and reduce the number of issues that the airline has experienced—ranging from potty-training accidents to biting.
To create the new requirements, Delta used guidance from its Advisory Board on Disabilities, a collection of frequent flyers with a range of disabilities.