Deltas New Guidelines for Support Animals

In a recent article, I wrote about the ongoing issues surrounding the abuse of faking service animals as an excuse to gain access in public places. Faking your pets as service or an emotional support animal harms the real people with disabilities, so some businesses are taking action with the hopes that it detours those who abuse the system, and Delta Airlines for one just announced their plan for implementing new regulations. There’s no doubt some of you may have experienced a flight where there were one or more animals onboard…in fact, airlines today report multiple types of animals boarding aircraft everywhere; such as pot belly pigs, monkeys, cats, dogs, and even goats. Delta airlines has reported 750 animals daily and a mere 250,000 yearly onboard their flights, in which 84% of those have had an increase of bad behavior. In one case last year there was a reported incident of a dog attack. These types of behaviors are unacceptable and for whatever reason, it seems that people have a hard time approaching those that claim they are real support or service animals.

Beginning March 1st, this year…Delta will implement new regulations for those that will travel onboard their flights with animals. Their owners will have to show proof of health and vaccinations 48 hours prior to their scheduled flight. Also, passengers who need to travel with their emotional-support animal will need a signed statement confirming pets’ behavior as well-trained (and one from a medical doctor). Deltas rules are aimed for two types of animals; service and emotional-support, all others will have to be kenneled. In a busy and stressful world today, many people claim they cannot travel without their pets, as they are needed for emotional-support, however… the number of ‘incidents’ by animals have steadily increased over 84% since 2016 alone; it’s a liability to the crew and its passengers. Safety is their number one priority when flying and some of these badly behaved animals are creating unsafe conditions for everyone concerned.

Deltas tightening of the rules come as no surprise to me, and I can only hope other airlines will follow their example. Too many people for too long have pushed the envelope with their pets, buying fake (service, emotional-support) jackets so they can gain access in movie theaters, restaurants and many other places. Delta airlines are focusing on a better flying experience, while protecting every person on board. These stricter requirements are to keep untrained animals from boarding flights in order to keep everyone safe. As far as emotional pets go, the airline will no longer allow hedgehogs, rodents, ferrets, spiders, snakes, gliding possums, reptiles, goats, amphibians and non-household fowl such as game birds, waterfowls and farm poultry…not to mention any animal that emits an odor or are improperly cleaned.

I’m delighted to see Delta standing their ground for new rules. A spokesman (Ross Feinstein) for American Airlines is also taking a look into implementing similar or additional regulations, while United’s’ spokesman Charles Hobart will review their existing policy on animals to better serve their employees and disabled travelers. With so many people flying the airlines today, it was bound to encounter its share of pet problems, while trying to serve the disabled with their service animals. There is a real need for those service animals today, and unfortunately like many things, people ruin things for others with scams, lies and always pushing the limits…just as they did with faking which animals are being used for service or emotional-support. Hopefully future customers on Delta will rest assured that their flights are now being monitored when it comes to boarding any untrained or imposture (service or support) animals, while making your flight pleasurable and safe… happy flying to all.


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