Delta, which led the industry in March by updating its service and support animal policy, says it will further enhance its restrictions, effective July 10. The enhancements include introducing a limit of one emotional support animal per customer per flight and no longer accepting pit bull type dogs as service or support animals. These updates, which come as the peak summer travel season is underway, are the direct result of growing safety concerns following recent incidents in which several employees were bitten.
Since Delta's changes took effect in March, many carriers have followed suit. The new requirements support Delta's top priority of ensuring safety for its customers and employees, while supporting the rights of customers with legitimate needs, such as disabled veterans, to travel with trained service and support animals.
"The safety and security of Delta people and our customers is always our top priority," said Gil West, Chief Operating Officer. "We will always review and enhance our policies and procedures to ensure that Delta remains a leader in safety."
The changes follow an 84 percent increase in reported incidents involving service and support animals since 2016, including urination/defecation, biting and even a widely reported attack by a 50-pound dog. Delta carries approximately 700 service or support animals daily — nearly 250,000 annually. Putting this into perspective, Delta carries more than 180 million passengers annually. Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums, snakes, spiders and more. Ignoring the true intent of existing rules governing the transport of service and support animals can be a disservice to customers who have real and documented needs.
The full policy and additional information on types of accepted animals and other questions related to traveling with service and support animals is available here.
The article has been updated to correct the size of the dog in the fourth paragraph.