When is a service animal not a service animal? Delta introduces new rules March 1

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service animals on flights
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Snakes on a plane, anyone?

Delta Air Lines has seen that movie one too many times and wants to rewrite the script!

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New docs required for trained service or support animals

Beginning March 1, Delta will roll out “advance documentation requirements” for all trained service or support animals.

Owners will now be required to do the following:

For all trained service animals

  • Submit a signed Veterinary Health Form and/or an immunization record (current within one year of the travel date) for their animal to Delta’s Service Animal Support Desk at least 48 hours in advance of travel

For psychiatric service and emotional support animals

  • Submit a signed Veterinary Health Form and/or an immunization record (current within one year of the travel date) 48 hours before travel
  • Submit an Emotional Support/Psychiatric Service Animal Request form, which requires a letter prepared and signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional 48 hours before travel
  • Submit a signed Confirmation of Animal Training form to Delta’s Service Animal Support Desk at least 48 hours in advance of travel

Comfort turkeys, anyone?

Some 700 service or support animals fly on Delta each day, which tallies up to 250,000 annually.

That’s created a lot of opportunity for some passengers to play fast and loose with the definition of a service or support animal.

“Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more,” Delta notes.

Delta got input into the first major revision of its animal flight policy from a 15-member Advisory Board on Disability.

This group of disability advocates, composed of diverse Delta frequent flyers with a range of disabilities, was established more than 10 years ago.

We should note that the new documentation requirements do not change the type of animals that are permitted on board Delta flights.

As always, the following are not permissible trained service or support animals:

  • Hedgehogs
  • Ferrets
  • Insects
  • Rodents
  • Snakes
  • Spiders
  • Sugar gliders
  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians
  • Goats
  • Non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game bird, & birds of prey)
  • Animals improperly cleaned and/or with a foul odor
  • Animals with tusks, horns or hooves

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller "Living Large in Lean Times."
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