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Delta Air Lines Updates Policies for Emotional Support Animals



Delta Air Lines announced it had updated its policies for emotional support animals (ESAs), which includes discontinuing its eight-hour flight limit but keeping the ban on pit bulls.

Delta made the changes following the United States Department of Transportation’s release of its guidance for service and support animals. Together, the government agency and the airline are looking to develop a solution to protect the health and safety of passengers and crew members onboard, while also allowing ESAs to fly on longer flights.

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“We will never compromise on safety, and we will do what is right for the health and safety of our customers and employees,” Delta Senior Vice President John Laughter said in a statement. “We continue to work with the DOT to find solutions that support the rights of customers who have legitimate needs to travel with trained animals.”

While the carrier has worked to accommodate all approved ESAs, Delta officials have not been able to find a solution for allowing pit bulls onboard that satisfies its safety requirements. The airline said pit bulls account for less than five percent of the overall dog population but 37.5 percent of vicious dog attacks.

“The safety of our people is paramount. In 2018 alone, more than 40 instances of aggressive animal behavior occurred aboard a Delta aircraft,” Delta Senior Vice President Allison Ausband said in a statement. “Our 25,000 flight attendants are my greatest responsibility, and I will do everything I can to keep them safe and send them home to their families in the same condition they came to work.”

Delta officials said they continuously review and enhance its policies and procedures for animals onboard as part of its commitment to customer and employee safety.

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