Delta Airlines announced Friday that it is cracking down on passengers bringing “emotional support” animals on flights, saying the lack of regulation on the animals has led to an 84% increase of animal-related incidents on board.
Julio Cortez / AP
The airline said vague requirements for passengers bringing their pet on board have led to the system being misused to the detriment of both passengers without pets and people who legitimately need a support animal.
“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 needs, such as disabled veterans, to travel with trained animals,” the airline said.
According to Delta, safety has been the biggest issue, with an 84% increase in incidents involving animals on planes since 2016, including dog attacks, urination, defecation, aggression, and biting.
“The rise in serious incidents involving animals in flight leads us to believe that the lack of regulation in both health and training screening for these animals is creating unsafe conditions across U.S. air travel,” John Laughter, the airline's vice president of security, said.
It is fairly easy to register your pet, of any type, as an emotional support animal. A Google search shows multiple results promising “easy steps” to flying with a pet.