Delta Airlines has stopped accepting emotional support animals on their flights, and will now only accept Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved service animals.

In December, DOT ruled that airline carriers are no longer required to recognize emotional support animals as service animals.

“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.”

Delta Airline made their decision after input from their teams on the ground as well as recommendations from Delta’s Advisory Board on Disability. The new ruling went into effect on Jan. 11, 2021 and includes:

Delta will no longer accept new bookings for emotional support animals.

Customers who hold a ticket with their emotional support animal(s) confirmed for travel prior to Jan 11. may still travel as planned on Delta.

Trained service animals are defined as dogs specifically trained to assist a person with a disability.

Delta will lift its ban on pit bull type dogs that meet documentation requirements for trained service animals.

Customers traveling with a trained service dog should submit DOT documentation via attesting to the dog’s health, training and behavior 48 hours prior to departure.

Customers traveling with a trained service dog on flights scheduled for eight hours or more must also submit a DOT Relief Attestation form  attesting that the dog will not relieve itself in the aircraft or can do so without causing health or sanitization issues.

“Delta’s updated policy follows a nearly 85 percent increase in animal incidents since 2016, including urination, defecation and biting,” said David Garrison – S.V.P. Corporate Safety and Security. “Our top priority is the health, safety and comfort of Delta customers and our people. We strongly believe this policy change will enhance the overall travel experience for everyone.”

Delta Airlines will also deny boarding for any service animal that  “poses a threat or demonstrates aggressive or inappropriate behavior in a public setting.”

Customers may continue to elect to travel with a pet in cabin if they meet Delta’s Travel Policy requirements.