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Delta introduces enhanced requirements for customers traveling with service or support animals effective March 1

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Delta Air Lines is taking steps to further protect its customers, employees and service and support animals by implementing advance documentation requirements for those animals. This comes as a result of a lack of regulation that has led to serious safety risks involving untrained animals in flight. The new requirements support Delta’s top priority of ensuring safety for its customers, employees and trained service and support animals, while supporting the rights of customers with legitimate… ( المزيد...

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Kenneth Schmidt 25
There are too many bogus "Service" animals out there. There is one in my building, and I am ready to call his bluff after it's constant barking and growling at me. I have been bitten once too often, requiring 12 stitches from a "friendly" well trained dog.

There should be certification for all service animals.
Mike Mohle 9
Amen Brotha'. No more "fakes" allowed!
Brad Littlejohn 4
There are. It is up to you to ask for those to be shown, as they are required by law to prove that it is a service animal.

I know this firsthand; my wife is legally blind, and has a guide dog.
Jacob Clarke 3
By law you can not approach a person with a service dog and force them to prove that it is a service animal. There are only TWO questions that can be asked.
1) Is this animal a service animal?
2) Is this animal trained in tasks to mitigate a disability?

For someone’s wife who has a service animal wouldn’t you know the law and rights?
Brad Littlejohn 5
You miss the point with the word "you". The "you" in this case would be the airlines. They have to know, for the safety of others flying their airline, if the animal is safe for transport with them in their cabin. If they accept the service animal, and the service animal attacks someone, not only is the person holding the animal they claimed to be a service animal liable for the damages done by that animal, but the airline would be as well, as they would be negligent in accepting the animal without knowing if the animal is trained.

Furthermore: from

Special documentation cannot generally be required of a person traveling with a service animal unless the carrier has reason to doubt the animal is a service animal after first speaking with the handler, possibly asking what tasks the animal is trained to perform. However, DOCUMENTATION IS REQUIRED OF A PERSON TRAVELING WITH AN EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL IN THE FORM OF A DOCTOR'S LETTER.

A person traveling with an ESA must have a letter, not more than one year old, on letterhead, from a mental health professional stating all of the following:

1. That the passenger has a mental health-related DISABILITY listed in the DSM IV. Note it is not just a mental illness diagnosis, but a mental illness Airlines are not permitted to require the documentation to specify the type of mental health disability, e.g., panic attacks.

2. That the presence of the animal is NECESSARY to the passenger's health or treatment.

3. That the individual writing the letter is a licensed mental health professional and that the passenger is under his or her care. NOTE: Airlines may also require documentation including the date, type, and state of the mental health professional's license.

"The purpose of this provision is to prevent abuse by passengers that do
not have a medical need for an emotional support animal and to ensure that
passengers who have a legitimate need for emotional support animals are
permitted to travel with their service animals on the aircraft."

Caps for emphasis.

The airline would be within their right to ask for this letter. If the passenger doesn't provide it, the animal doesn't board the main cabin.

I know the laws and rights, especially when related to the ACAA. By your post, it is blatantly obvious that you don't.
flypilot12 2
Yep, and when I worked retail I had a woman with a chihuahua try to scam us and say her dog was a service animal. I politely asked her to leave or prove that it was a service animal. And while you are correct that the law says that you can not ask, that just means LAW ENFORCEMENT can't ask. Doesn't mean that I, a private person or I as a employee of a corporation can't ask. Delta is on the right track with this. If the animal is truly a service animal, it should be nothing to prove it if asked. I have to register my drones now despite the fact that no drones have resulted in the downing or damage of any aircraft anywhere in the world. Suck it up buttercup, no more special snowfake status. That misspelling was intentional.
WhiteKnight77 1
I guess you missed this that was reported here on FlightAware back in September? The authorities even found the drone pilot flying it in a no-fly zone as well as out of sight when the crash happened. Charges are pending, at least according to this article.
Mike Mohle 22
Hey, people are finally waking up to this ongoing scam. Next for changes in restaurants, condos, and apartment complexes......
Tim Marks 7
Service dogs should have to wear an identifying vest and attached to that vest is a federally issued license to verify the dog has been trained for the purpose it is intended. Pigs, cats, birds and other animals are not legitimate service animals, they are pets and need to go into the cargo hold if they are traveling with their needy owners.
I have a service dog. She is a seizure indicator dog. A REAL service dog. That said, when we fly she is in a crate under the plane. I am more comfortable, she is, everyone is. ESD's are simply NOT Service Animals. Nor are chickens, snakes, Ginnie pigs and on and on and on.

That said, rarely do I have a vest on my dog. No one reads it, if they do they claim it is fake. From there, they are quite costly at +/- $140 or so. So, people with limited income would have an issue affording a vest. Or, if I forget one or what ever. Thus, Federal Law states that she does not need to have her vest on.

My dog has now been attacked (and bitten with blood shed) by two other 'service dogs', in grocery stores. It is far beyond ridiculous.
Brad Littlejohn 4
My wife has a service dog. My wife is legally blind, and has been basically since birth. She has had a guide dog for the 20 years that I have known her.

Per the Air Carrier Access Act, her dog is allowed in the cabin of any aircraft, although she must be properly identified as a service animal, by having a vest on saying so, or, in our dog's case, her harness. Again, this is given per the requirement that a guide dog and her partner need the harness to know and work together as a team.

With that said, it is also up to the airlines to ask for paperwork certifying that the service animal is indeed that. If it is not, they should refuse the animal.

I will say (and this has happened to us before) that if anyone objects to my wife's guide dog, I happily shove the ADA and the ACAA into their face and dare them to tell the airline to kick us off the flight or crate our dog.
I agree. Your dog is a total other ball game than mine. Mine knows about +/- four to five hours before I have a seizure (Gran Mal) most of the training is me knowing what she is telling me...and to properly medicate. So, most US flights I feel pretty comfortable. To me, a guide dog is a whole other ball game than what I have, far more important. These idiotic "ESD's" are a train wreck.

I keep copies of this handy and have it on my phone at all times. As I said, generally she is not vested. I get far less drama with out it.
Jacob Clarke 1
Ada does not govern Air carriers that’s covered by ACAA.
Jacob Clarke 2
ADA and ACAA law do not honor “registrations” they are not valid.
If someone Denys a service animal access they will have a report filed and received by the Department of Justice.

BY law a service animal and their handler cannot be denied access!
Brad Littlejohn 2
Not necessarily. if the handler of an ESA doesn't have the paperwork required, they can be denied access.
Charles Arkens 2
The question is not about the person but the qualifications of the animal. As with most laws this one needs to be cleaned up. Great discussion thanks.
Supercool Marmol 2
But since your wife's dog is trained, it will not lunge, growl, bite, bark, urinate, deficate, etc. all willy nilly.

its sad that you have all the proper documentation, but the 95% (my made up fact) of the animals out there are just so that snowflake can have their little schnoodles next to them when they get their tripple grandel no whip soy milk quad vanilla pump latte.

side note. I was at the zoo when a round of service animals were being trained. they were by the leopard enclosure. The leopards freaked out, started attacking the glass, tryin gto get the dogs. i think all but one dog was just sitting there. the one started to bark, but was easily calmed down and joined the rest of the group quietly sitting.
Bruce Falkenhagen 13
OK, American, United, and all you others, time to follow Delta’s lead, or lose my respect and business. Bet their Service Animal percentage will drop 95% now after the 84% increase from 2016 reported. No more BS needs to be taken.
canuck44 13
Good move, but watch the claims of discrimination for not being able to take your seeing eye pig on board. The bonus beyond not having the aisle full of pig shit is that some of the more obnoxious PAX will be excluded with them.
Justthefacs 4
Entitled Americans. I see this BS going on everyday from handicapped parking to bogus "service" dogs. This abuse really makes it tough on legitimate users.
isardriver 4
its about time, unfortunately, various animal related tags, leashes, collars, etc are available all over the internet. a disservice to those that really need these animals. there is always someone out there to cheat the system and legitimate folks pay the price. shame on those that cheat like that
ADXbear 6
This is great, now have this board work to address the small lavatories the violate the Americans with disabilities act ADA.. we can't use these small rooms, can't stand or turn around inside them without great physical effort which is more difficult at altitude... So have this board of experts look into this long time issue... in the mean time many of us disable choose to just drive and not put up with all the hassles from our dogs, to seat size to restrooms on the aircraft..
Neil Klapthor 3
...and on a related note, I'm at the point of planning ALL my trips (if possible) using my vehicle to avoid the ongoing, unrelenting hell that commercial flying has become these days.
Paul Hurford 6
support animals? Oh yes, that 70 pound dog sitting on the floor next to you is such a great comfort, as is the little yappy, 6 pound full-grown dog that is always getting kissed during the flight by the woman who has to have her doggie there. Snakes, Turkies, Spiders - my heavens, what a hell these passengers create. Regardless of the written regulations, these passengers will sue if their little cuddlies aren't allowed on board, in coach, when they travel. Service Dogs - that's a completely different story as long as they aren't ducks or god forbid Geese.
Geoff Arkley 3
So called "Service Animals" have become a much abused scam. I'm sure there are a few fully legitimate needs but I personally know three different Ladies who readily admit they abuse the privilege.
Can I take my "Service Horse" into a movie theater please?
linbb 5
This needs to be done everywhere as most are just pets and you cannot ask for supporting documents to prove otherwise. Got bit by one of those mutts and the lady who owned it got 86 out of the bar.
Larry Toler 9
I was working a flight from KRIC to KPIT years ago. The so called seeing eye dog did well in flight, but I figured wasn't legit. We landed in KPIT and that dog took off across the ramp area as soon as I opened the air stair door on our EMB145. I couldn't really blame the dog, the owner was not one of my best pax.
kfdeken 2
As others have noted, I add my "about time" comments. What about people who are allergic to dogs or animals, or just don't want to share a row with them? True service animals -- welcome and thanks!
john Gargiulo 2
Yea Delta, way too many fake service dogs in this country and on planes, people buy a “service dog tag or sweater” and pretend. I know people whom have partipated in this scam.
ken young 2
This service animal thing has gotten out of control.
People with ordinary house pets are going thru a quick no verification process where they can have their pets status labeled as "service animal".
I think the getting should be every bit as stringent if not more than acquiring a handicapped driver placard for an auto.
I have seen all kinds of fraudulent activity.
Brad Littlejohn 1
the process of getting a service animal is very stringent. What is happening is that people are trying to take advantage of calling their pets "service animals" without showing the proof that it is indeed a service animal, and what the cause of having the service animal is for. Again, you can ask for paperwork showing that your animal is a service animal without asking for the paperwork stating what your condition is for having the service animal. Those are two separate, mutually exclusive things.

Ask for the paperwork for the animal, and watch the claims of them go down.

mary susan watkins 2
I recognize that people can get the orange or red vests anywhere that say "service animal",and they do come in sizes small enough for a hamster or small cat! I also know that people try to use or abuse federal laws regarding service animals, by bogus a matter of fact, i was in the grocery store a few months ago and a man came in with a baby pig in his cart,wrapped in a blanket! he got a lot of attention and the clerk closest to the door politely escorted him out!i was also working flight on one occasion when a woman in a wheelchair came down to the gates with her service animal, which happened to be a fully grown ,very large goose!how she got through security I will never know,and the flight attendants did not want her on the plane with the any case, throughout my years with a major airline,our ticket counter personnel were very good at checking documentation such as vet records,and the need for the animal to travel..with the exception of the goose, i never dealt with any animal other than dogs,and they all were well trained,obeyed commands,and never attempted to bite or bark at anyone..also I might add, you are not supposed to pet,touch,nor approach a service animal unless the person who is using it says you may do so,whether you want to or not..that goes for is merely reinforcing rules and regulations which have been in effect for many years, but not always followed...
Ric Wernicke 2
I would like to take a step further. There are so many fake service animals you cannot ask for proof from those with legit animals that perhaps we deny boarding to those that cannot prove they (the human being) needs a service animal.

Another approach is to have certain flights on the schedule noted as "pet free" flights for those with sensitivity to pet dander. A limit of one service animal per flight would also push back on the nutty comfort pet people, and allow people with trained guide dogs travel.

Even Delta's Brazilian partner GOL does not allow the comfort pet crowd on intra-Brazil flights. If your Delta flight arrives in Rio with an onward flight on GOL, you will be directed to the bus station for the trip to Sao Paulo.
Kevin Haiduk 1
Comfort Turkeys??? Delta really calling these people out.
Michael Sheridan 1
Bunch of scsmmers and a lot of neurotics.
Wanda Moss 1
Delta must be tired out of writing checks for animals that harm passengers.
R E 1
It's about time. I hope American follows the lead of Delta, who seems to be leading the way.
Judith Lane 1
There is no certification, but the ADA site is quite specific as to the two questions to ask. True service animals are only dogs or miniature horses.
Steve B balko 1
I agree with Delta 100 %. All service animals should have the proper paperwork from legimate certifications. Our wounded warriors and disabled people requireing a service animal. As far as I’m concerned a service animal in the cabin of any comercial aircraft is a K9 not a Pet pig,chicken,goose etc. These animals other than a K9 are a health hazzard to everyone in a closed cabin with everyone breathing the same air under pressuration at altitude. Also as far as I’m concerned it’s a health issue and maybe the health department should step in under certain conditions.
I don’t think the passengers would like flying in a barnyard. I rest my case.
Carlisle Landel 1
Hey, so it's March 2, and my daughter just got off a Delta flight ATL->SJC. Sitting behind her was a woman with a little lap dog that yipped and whined the entire flight. Oh, and as they were boarding and passing my daughter, the dog tried to grab her sandwich.

Patently, not a trained ESA. Somebody just wanted Fido in their lap. The system clearly isn't working in all cases.

If this happened to you, what would/can you do?
WhiteKnight77 2
Did your daughter say anything to any flight attendant at the time the dog tried to take her food? I would if I were aware of Delta's new rules.
ken young 1
That little ball of fur would have gotten a swat in the snoot.
And i'm not talking about the dog.
Brad Littlejohn 1
You should have asked for the FA to verify that the passenger had an ESA onboard. It is up to the airline to ask for the paperwork. If it isn't a service animal (as indicated by a vest or harness), they have the right to ask for paperwork validating that the dog is an ESA. If the lady can't provide that, then the dog needs to be handled. The problem here once again is improper training of the FAs as they have not only ruled from the carrier to follow, but the law as well.

This is a failure of that from the check-in counter, to the TSA, to the gate attendant to the FAs. All of that needs to be addressed.
Bernie20910 0
TSA couldn't care less and you can buy those vests and harnesses on Amazon and eBay with no proof required.
Brad Littlejohn 1
They are supposed to. It's the LAW. And yes, if the passenger is asked to provide proof that the animal is a service animal, they, by law, have to provide it. If they don't, they can be denied boarding. They don't like it, too bloody bad. It's the law, and codified in the ACAA as referenced at least 5 times above.
Bernie20910 1
And since TSA doesn't want to bother with it, it gets left up to the gate agent who is generally overworked and under time pressure to get the flight away from the gate. Law or not, if no one enforces it then what are you going to do, get into a confrontation once you board? You have no authority to challenge the person.

"Supposed to" and "actually does" are two things with a pretty wide bank of fog between them.
Brad Littlejohn 1
You inform the gate attendant or the flight attendant, and ask them to verify the documentation for the animal being a support animal. They are the ones with the authority to do this, as dictated by law (The ACAA). It is their job and they have to perform it. They should, and as a passenger you can make sure they are reminded as such.
Geoff Arkley -2
Howzabout a $250 charge for a service animal? That might sort things out a little.
Brad Littlejohn 2
Yep, and then screw over those who are legitimately disabled; something the ADA and ACAA were created to PREVENT.
WhiteKnight77 1
Provide the necessary paperwork and the fee is waived. There is a simple fact, people abuse systems in place to help others who have needs. Sadly, those who the programs are supposed to help suffer due to such. If someone wants to fly with an animal, they should pay (extra weight and all) except those who can show that the animal is trained to work with large crowds and are not aggressive towards others.
Brad Littlejohn 2
Won't work. You don't tackle the problem by making everyone guilty until they prove themselves to be innocent. You handle it by allowing all, then denying those who don't have the proper paperwork filed. In short, my wife shouldn't have to pay for her guide dog to come onboard, then have to wait for the airline to reimburse us for something the law already requires them to accommodate.

Simple answer is this: If they are identified as a service animal by official harness and/or proper paperwork shown upon check-in, they get on. If they don't have that, they are asked for the paperwork as shown in the Air Carrier Access Act. If they can't provide that, they don't get to board. Plain and simple.

You do't make other people pay to play then have to wait to get reimbursed (which could take months) for doing what they normally should be allowed by law to do. That idea is asinine.
Bernie20910 1
All good and wonderful, except that you can buy that "official" harness on Amazon or eBay with no proof or paperwork required.
Steven monfrini -2
Good luck with this. As soon as Delta looks like the goons they are by telling sissy,bubble they can't take there "comfort chihuahua" and cause a scene the Delta gets sued in federal court we will see how this works out.
Bruce Falkenhagen 4
That is great great part of HOW Delta did it. They aren’t saying that sissy-bubblehead can’t bring her Service gopher on the flight, just that 48 hours before, she must give them notice that she will bring George the Gopher with her, George will need a letter from a vet saying the poor guy has had his vaccinations, and she needs to provide the documents proving the George went through the training program so he needs to act respectful under Sissy’s seat and can’t wander over to my seat to start burrowing!

Read the details of the program that are included in the link in the article. Sissy has now been informed of the contract of Carriage, she accepted it by buying a ticket, so this doesn’t even get to Court. Summary Judgement affirmed.

What vet will vaccinate a gopher or snake (licensed vet, that is). And who will put their name on a document that says the snake has been trained to not hiss at people (food)? And this is all for the other passenger’s SAFETY!

Delta needs to spam out a message to all ticket holders of the new policy, so Sissy can’t argue “but I didn’t know”

American? United? Southwest? Jump in for your passengers!
The thing is, according to the ADA you do not need to have a specific 'program' for training. My first seizure dog was 'trained', then I had to work with her an other year so she could read me. My current dog (Golden Retriever) I 'trained' myself. She knows my mood/status before I do.

Q5. Does the ADA require service animals to be professionally trained?

A. No. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program.
Q6. Are service-animals-in-training considered service animals under the ADA?

A. No. Under the ADA, the dog must already be trained before it can be taken into public places. However, some State or local laws cover animals that are still in training.
Jacob Clarke 1
The ADA does not cover Air carriers though. That’s governed by the ACAA.

Delta is well with in its rights to require the above and for service animals only a Immunization record need to be produced. For ESA is much more strict due to the recent attack by an ESA.
Steven monfrini 1
Great points! According to the ADA a public facility oraccommodation may not ask for documentation. Is Delta a public accommodation? I believe the court would find it so.
Bruce Falkenhagen 2
I think the point Delta can make is that they are not asking for information about the disability, they are just asking for documents that prove the animal is safe and will not pose a threat to other members of the public. After all, if it is a publ8c accommodation, there will be other members of the public there that need protection an$ support.

What if the dog/squirrel doesn’t have rabies shots? A snake cruising back to row 34 from 12 isn’t providing the necessary support for its client, so the document provided showing the training for that support is reasonable, in my mind.

But you are right, let’s see how a Court sorts it out.
Steven monfrini 1
I just found the Air Carrier access act. Everything that Delta is requesting is in the act. So it does look like they can do this although I think this will end up in court.
Bernie20910 1
The thing I'm trying to figure out is if the ACAA modifies the ADA or not. I'm no lawyer, so there are things about the law and these two acts that I may misunderstand. I'll have to reread both and see what I can find out regarding which is superior to the other. If ACAA "trumps" ADA, doesn't the ADA need modification to say that? Shouldn't the two acts be merged somehow? Very confusing!
Brad Littlejohn 1
The ACAA actually compliments the ADA. As the ADA basically provides provisions for buildings and public access, the ACAA is applicable to airlines only. As airports are owned by the people (read: the public), they have to meet the provisions of the ADA. The airlines, which are a private business, have to meet the provisions of the ACAA. They both work separately and together and compliment each other.
Brad Littlejohn 1
The ADA says that they can't. The ACAA says that they CAN ask for documentation, especially applicable to Emotional Support Animals. If they don't provide it, they can be denied boarding.
canuck44 1
It will all come down to flight safety vs the ADA. The former will be declared paramount by both the courts and regulation and will ultimately prevail. There will be lots of judge shopping by the advocates likely in the 9th circuit but like the DACA issue, the feds will take it straight to the Supremes where common sense will win.
Brad Littlejohn 2
I disagree. Flight safety, I agree with. The judge shopping by advocates won't be happening, as the ACAA is paramount on what is required by holders of ESAs. If they don't meet those requirements, they don't get on the flight, regardless of what they say or do. And they can't meet those requirements at a later point in time and try to apply it retroactively to a case.

9th circuit, let alone any circuit knows better on that, so let's leave partisan politics out of this.

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