Emotional Assistance Dogs
Delta Airlines Toughens ESA Policy
The skies are a little less friendly for passengers flying with emotional support animals (ESA), and for some, it can’t come a moment too soon. The new policy, which is set to begin March 1, will require a bit more documentation that the animal flying under ESA status will behave on the flight and not put other passengers in danger.
While Delta is not requiring evidence (i.e., certificates) that service dogs or psychiatric service animals (PSA) and ESAs have been so trained, passengers must sign the Confirmation of Animal Training form that states the animals have been trained to behave and obey in a public setting.
Passengers must also have a signed Medical/Mental Health Professional form that includes the doctor’s medical license number, state and date where it was issued. The third document is a Veterinary Health Form with the dates when the animal had its rabies and distemper vaccines. The documents must be uploaded to the passenger’s My Trips’ section at delta.com 48 hours prior to the trip.
The Americans with Disabilities Act officially recognizes dogs and the occasional miniature horse as a certified service animal. These animals are taught to perform a service or assist their owners, such as the blind, or provide physical assistance, or alert their owners about an imminent seizure or if their blood sugar is too low. They have been trained to behave in public and tolerate a wide range of activities and strangers around them.
ESAs are pets – most without any real training – that provide therapeutic benefits to their owners through their companionship. They include dogs, cats, pigs and even turkeys, chickens, ducks, even peacocks.
The new policy asks service animals to be leashed or otherwise restrained by carrier or tether and remain under the control of their owner for the duration of the flight; the animals cannot obstruct an aisle; animals must remain in the passenger’s personal seat/foot space during the flight, and if an animal carrier is used, it must meet approved guidelines and fit under the aircraft seat. —The editor