Two major US airlines have announced that they will no longer accept emotional support animals on their planes.
This week Delta and United Airlines said they are making changes to its rules regarding emotional support animals. It follows the US Department of Transportation’s announcement that emotional support animals will no longer be considered service animals on flights.
Delta will no longer accept emotional support animal bookings on any Delta flight with the date of effect from January 11 2021.
“We applaud the DOT for making this change and acknowledging the concerns that Delta and many other stakeholders have raised for the past several years,” said Allison Ausband .S.V.P., In-Flight Service. “The DOT’s final rule enables airlines to put the safety of all employees and customers first, while protecting the rights of customers who need to travel with trained service animals.”
The DOT’s new rule defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, a narrower definition than in the past.
Delta customers who hold a ticket with their emotional support animal(s) confirmed for travel prior to January 11 may still travel as planned on Delta.
Delta also announced it will lift its ban on pit bull type dogs that meet documentation requirements for trained service animals; however, in line with Delta’s current policy, pit bull type dogs will not be allowed to travel as emotional support animals for those customers ticketed and confirmed before Jan. 11.
As per Delta’s new rules, customers traveling with a trained service dog(s) should submit DOT documentation via Delta.com attesting to the dog’s health, training and behavior 48 hours prior to departure. If travel is booked less than 48 hours prior to departure, a customer may present the documentation at the ticket counter or at the departure gate.
Customers traveling with a trained service dog on flights scheduled for eight hours or more must also submit a DOT Relief Attestation form available on Delta.com attesting that the dog will not relieve itself in the aircraft or can do so without causing health or sanitization issues.
As for United Airlines, the site says it will continue to transport emotional support animals for reservations purchased before January 11, 2021, for travel on or before February 28, 2021, as long as all appropriate paperwork has been submitted to United no later than January 10, 2021. No emotional support animals will be transported after February 28, 2021.
United Airlines added that therapy animals are also not considered to be service animals and standard pet-related regulations and restrictions will apply.
“United only recognizes service animals that have been trained and certified,” the company stated. “Animal trainers are permitted to bring one service animal that is training to assist disabled passengers on board free of charge. These service animals must not occupy a seat. Trainers transporting service animals in the ordinary course of business or service animals that are not in training must check these animals.”
According to the Associated Press, the Department of Transportation estimates that under the new rules airlines will scoop up $59.6 million a year in pet fees.