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Delta Emotional Support Animal: Everything You Need to Know about Flying

Veterinarians.org Team

By

Medically reviewed by

Ivana Crnec, DVM

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Does Delta take Emotional Support Animals?

Does Delta take Emotional Support Animals

No, according to delta.com, Delta Airlines is not one of the emotional support animal airlines.

Delta emotional support animal flying is no longer an option due to a new rule by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that allows airlines to choose whether or not to allow emotional support animals (ESAs) on their planes. Most airlines have decided to permit them no longer the way they did before 2021.

However, air travel providers are still required to permit trained service animals. Delta specifically changed its animal policies in January 2021.

Is Delta Banning Emotional Support Animals?

Yes, Delta has updated its emotional support animal policy to bar ESAs from boarding planes. 

This update from the DOT no longer protects ESAs and as such, airlines are no longer required to allow them on planes. Since this change, major airlines like Alaska Airline and American Airlines have also changed their ESA policies to bar ESAs from flying.

What is the Delta Pet Travel Policy?

Here is a closer look at the Delta emotional support animal and pet travel policy.

Pets in the Delta Plane Cabin. Emotional support animals do not receive special treatment when flying and must follow rules put in place for pets. This means to fly in the cabin they must be a small dog, cat, or household bird and must be able to comfortably fit in a pet carrier that can be stored in the seat in front of the passenger.

There is a $125 fee for one-way travel for carry-on animals. Below we have listed the rules Delta has on their website for carry-on animals:

  1. The pet must be at least 10 weeks old for domestic travel.
  2. The pet must be 16 weeks old if traveling to the U.S. from another country or 15 weeks old if traveling to the European Union.
  3. Only one pet is allowed per kennel with a few exceptions: one female cat or dog may travel with her unweaned litter if the litter is between 10 weeks and 6 months old, there is no limit to the animals in the litter, and two pets of the same breed and between ages of 10 weeks and 6 months are allowed in one kennel if they can fit comfortably in a single carrier. They will be charged as one pet.

In order to bring a pet on board a plane, the pet carrier is recommended to be no larger than 18” x 11” x 11” and must be leakproof. The pet must remain inside the kennel while in a boarding area, airport lounge, and while on board the aircraft.

Pets in the Delta Plane Cargo. As stated before, ESAs may still fly with their owner, however, they are now considered pets. If they do not fit the criteria listed for carry-on animals they must be shipped via cargo.

Delta has specialized cargo holds to provide a safe travel experience for animals and a separate booking is required plus additional fees will be charged. The fees will vary so it is best to contact the airline to determine the exact fee.

Delta only accepts international pet shipments from known shipping companies. It also requires all international customers to use a pet shipper approved by the International Pet and Animal Transport Association.

What is the Delta Pet Travel Policy?

How do I Fly With my Pet on Delta?

These are the steps to take for Delta emotional support animal and pet flying:

  • Ensure the Pet Carrier is Appropriate. Pet carriers must be leakproof and small enough to fit under the passenger’s seat but large enough for the animal to stand up and turn around. Delta recommends soft-sided kennels no larger than 18” x 11” x 11” as this will fit almost any passenger aircraft.
  • Make a Reservation. A pet owner must make a separate booking for their pet. The total number of pets allowed per flight is limited so it is best to make the reservation early and call Delta Airlines at 800-221-1212 for confirmation of your pet reservation. Try to book your pet for the most direct route possible to limit the amount of time your pet will be spending on a plane. This may mean they will be shipping without you but they will have spent less time on a stressful flight.
  • Animal Preparation. The day before the flight, freeze a dish of water for your pet as this will prevent the spilling of the water but still provide them with hydration for the flight. Attach a current photo to the top of the carrier in case of emergency and do not feed the animal leading up to the flight.
  • Check-In. Arrive at the airport early and check-in at the ticket counter. If the pet is flying as cargo it may need to be taken to the cargo terminal.
  • Security Screening. The pet carrier will go through the X-ray and from there will be boarded appropriately based on the size and reservations made for the animal.
Certapet

Legitimate way to certify your emotional support animal

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What Pets are Allowed on a Delta Flight?

Allowed pets on Delta flights are:

  • Small dogs
  • Cats
  • Household birds
  • All warm-blooded animals including show or exhibition animals

Pets that are not allowed are:

  • Snub nose dog breeds like Pugs and Shih Tzu
  • Burmese and Himalayan cats
  • Pit Bulls
  • Large breeds like Mastiffs and Great Danes
  • Unhealthy animals
  • Dangerous animals

How do I Travel With a Service Animal on Delta?

How do I Travel With a Service Animal on Delta

Delta only accepts trained service dogs as service animals. Delta only recognizes service dogs as dogs who have been trained to perform specific tasks to help people with disabilities and as such, emotional support dogs are not recognized as service dogs as they have not received the training service animals have.

Those who are traveling with a service dog must complete the DOT documentation requirements and the dog must be up to date on their vaccines, have proof of microchip, and be at least 6 months old. The dog is expected to be seated on the floor below the customer’s seat and is not to occupy empty seats.

For travel booked 48 hours or more prior to departure, customers must submit the required documentation in advance for validation through the Accessibility Service Request Form. If the reservation is made less than 48 hours prior to departure, passengers may present the U.S. DOT Service Animal Air Travel Form at the check-in counter or departure gate.

For longer flights that are scheduled for at least 8 hours, customers are to submit a DOT Relief Attestation Form, stating that the dog will not relieve itself in the aircraft or can do so in a sanitary manner.

The Air Carrier Access Act states that service animals are not pets but are necessary for the handler’s mental health. Since they are not considered pets there is no pet fee for flying with a trained service animal.

How do I Submit Service Animal Documents to Delta?

There is a selection of paperwork required to bring a service animal on a Delta Airlines flight. These forms must be submitted to Delta’s Service Animal Support Desk via Delta.com at least 48 hours in advance of travel. The required paperwork is listed below:

What are Delta’s In-Flight Requirements for a Service Animal?

Delta’s requirements for in-flight service animals are listed here:

  • Must be up to date on vaccines
  • Must be at least six months old
  • Disruptive or aggressive behavior such as growling biting, jumping, and excessive barking are grounds for flight refusal
  • No animal may occupy an empty seat
  • Animals must be seated below the passenger’s seat or on their lap
  • The animal must not extend into the aisle
  • The passenger and animal are not permitted to sit at an emergency exit
  • Passengers with pets may not also bring the pet into the cabin with the service animal
  • Animals in training are not allowed in the cabin unless with a professional trainer
  • A maximum of two service dogs per passenger and it is the passenger’s responsibility to make sure they have enough space to accommodate both animals.

How Much is Flying With a Pet on Delta?

Here is a breakdown of the Delta emotional support animal and pet flying fees:

  • Delta Fees for Pets Flying in Cabin: $125.00 per pet carrier for a one-way fee if flying to or from the U.S., Canada, or Puerto Rico.
  • Delta Fees for Pets Flying in Cargo: Prices vary greatly depending on the duration of the flight and the size of the animal and kennel but prices can range from around $200-$1,000 for a one-way flight.
  • Delta Fees for Flying with Service Dogs: There is no charge for service dogs.