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Delta Bans Emotional Support Ducks, Possums, Snakes, etc. From Flying

Joshua the Writer

Very Nerdy Guy, Any Pronouns
V.I.P Member
[not written by me]
Delta Cracks Down on Pets Claimed as Emotional Support Animals
Delta casts a skeptical eye on snakes, turkeys, possums and ducks in the cabin.
By Justin Bachman and Mary Schlangenstein
January 19, 2018, 11:39 AM EST Updated on January 19, 2018, 2:07 PM EST
The day of the service duck and emotional support chicken on airlines may be drawing to a close.

Delta Air Lines Inc. said Friday it will more thoroughly vet passengers’ efforts to fly with all manner of unusual animals, which often board U.S. airlines under the guise of psychological or medical support.

“Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more,” the airline said Friday in a news release. “Ignoring the true intent of existing rules governing the transport of service and support animals can be a disservice to customers who have real and documented needs.”

As of March 1, Delta customers traveling with a service or support animal must show proof of the animal’s health or vaccinations 48 hours before a flight. Besides the current letter signed by a doctor or licensed mental health worker—which can be easily obtained on the internet—those with psychiatric service or emotional support animals must sign a form to attest that the animal can behave.

“These measures are intended to help ensure that those customers traveling with a trained service or support animal will no longer be at risk of untrained pets attacking their working animal,” Delta said.

Delta flies about 700 service animals per day—a 150 percent increase since 2015. The Atlanta-based company said reported “animal incidents” have increased 84 percent since 2016, including on-board problems with urine, feces and aggressive behavior. In June, an Alabama man was taken to an Atlanta hospital with facial wounds after a dog lunged at him on a California-bound Delta 737. A police report said the dog was issued to a U.S. Marine for support.

The airline considers the matter a safety risk, Delta spokeswoman Ashton Morrow said. “There is a lack of regulation, and what we’re trying to do is put some more arms around the process and ensure we’re keeping safety top of mind,” she said.

For several years, flight attendants have been calling attention to the probable abuse of rules allowing service dogs and emotional support animals in aircraft cabins. In many cases, the animals aren’t confined and may amble about the cabin, creating safety concerns.

The Association of Flight Attendants said it “adamantly supports” Delta’s policy change, President Sara Nelson said, as “it appears there is growing abuse of the system. We are hearing a public outcry to stop the abuse.”
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The 1986 Air Carrier Access Act requires airlines to transport disabled passengers’ service and support animals, but the Department of Transportation allows carriers to require documentation from the animals’ owners. Even with the proper verification, airlines may refuse to fly the animal “if the service animal’s behavior in a public setting is inappropriate or disruptive to other passengers or carrier personnel,” the DOT wrote in a 2005 guide for airlines on compliance with the law.
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In a statement Friday, the DOT said it would monitor Delta’s policy to make certain “it preserves and respects the rights of individuals with disabilities who travel with service animals.” That said, the government added that “airlines are not required to accommodate unusual service animals, such as snakes, reptiles, ferrets, rodents, and spiders.”

It isn’t clear what has spurred the increase in animals on planes in recent years. In some cases, airlines have banned certain breeds of dog from cargo holds due to the stress those animals experience in flight. There has also been a proliferation of online screening sites to allow passengers to “diagnose” anxiety or other disorders and offer a document designating their pet as a support creature.

Delta’s Morrow said the airline will be interested to see the effect on service animal volume after the policy is enacted. Meanwhile, rival American Airlines Group Inc. echoed the carrier’s concerns and praised the new rules.

“We are looking at additional requirements to help protect our team members and our customers who have a real need for a trained service or support animal,” American said in an emailed statement. “Unfortunately, untrained animals can lead to safety issues for our team, our passengers and working dogs onboard our aircraft.”

— With assistance by Alan Levin

(Adds government comment in 11th paragraph and American Airlines comment beginning in the 13th paragraph.)
I sent this to this section because it could affect those on the spectrum that have these animals as ESAs. This will affect so many people. So what if another passenger is disgusted by an Autistic's emotional support possum? They don't own the animal. Heck, possums are cuter than you'd expect. Delta also banned dog breeds related to pits, including pugs. Yep. Delta banned something as adorable as a pug.
Only the death of a loved one might get me on an airliner flight. Otherwise, forget it. Too many negatives these days associated with flying.

But they may be onto something. Hopefully they can craft new policies to get all those pesky humans off flights as well. :cool:
I wouldn't want to sit next to a turkey or a pit bull. I don't care if they're your "emotional "support" animal or not. To often people abuse the privilege of having such an animal. I think they should only allow SERVICE animals, i.e. seeing eye dogs etc.
Thank goodness I don't see Weasels on the list. The first batch is close to graduation and I have invested so much!
Thank goodness I don't see Weasels on the list. The first batch is close to graduation and I have invested so much!

I used to sneak mine (commonly referred to as "ferrets") on airplanes for years. No one ever knew. TSA had no idea that they were restricted and boarding the plane did not require a re-search of carry ons. I wouldn't do it now, though. Too likely they'd get taken from me and murdered.

Yay for 'Murica...
@Fino As soon as I read the article, I thought There goes Fino! :oops:

I don't think any ESA could ever get me on a crowded airline flight anyway. Afraid of flying.
But, some of these 'odd' animals like a snake or even a spider can be in a carrier with the passenger.
It is secure and clean. Maybe they need a section for people with larger service animals to themselves.
Like it used to be smoking, no smoking sections.

I know how much some living thing can distract your attention and help with anxious thoughts.
Heck I have two Darkling beetles in a goldfish jar sitting on a stand on the table where I eat.
I watch them and put pieces of bread or lettuce in for them right along with my meal.
I even say things to them like good morning, Sport. Still sleeping, Liberty? (Sport and Liberty are their names)
Most people would find that repulsive I'm sure, but, for me it is company.
wired and wierd. :D
Personally I think Delta should focus on making flying a less harrowing, miserable experience. Then we wouldn't need so much emotional support.
Their company, their rules. I understand ESAs play an important role for many, but Delta's concerns are very much valid here. Not much room for a three-ring circus on board, assuming there's any room left over...those planes aren't exactly comfortable.

If you cannot maintain control of your pet (or yourself, more importantly) during an airplane flight or any other situation and cannot or will not take accountability, please don't burden others with the consequences. I know there's common decency still left among the population, so hopefully all goes smooth.
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Maybe they should also require the purchase of a ticket for the pet, also. The chihuahua should have had a box or something to ride in and it's own seat. We used to could fly pets, but they'd be crated, sedated and put with the luggage.
Last time I flew I vowed I will never fly again. Everything about it was a nightmare. More than just the fact that autism and flying do not go well together - the airports today are intolerable. Our flight was delayed and we had to move to another gate and then another gate and another. I told my daughter in law that they were just getting us out of the way until they could figure out what to do with us - and I was right. They finally just cancelled the flight after hours of waiting and being moved around. My daughter in law purchased a flight home for the next day. I rode home with my son and grandsons. I'd much rather spend 4 days riding than even another hour inside an airport. She was upset that she had to fly alone and ended up stranded overnight at another airport. She was furious at all of us.
Personally I think Delta should focus on making flying a less harrowing, miserable experience. Then we wouldn't need so much emotional support.

Some of these airlines.... yeah.

I havent flown Delta, but I have flown Southwest a bazillion times. Now THEY are bad.

Worst one recently: There was this family with two kids, right? Somehow, they ended up at the very front of the plane... they got on with the disabled group (but then, so did I, come to think of it). So they're in the front row, which means a wall in front of them instead of another seat.

To keep their incredibly ill-behaved son from acting up, the father had the absolutely brilliant idea of giving him a soup can full of coins. Now this sounds bad enough on paper. Shaking that, constantly, all that sound? But no no no. That wasnt enough for that kid.

He outright SLAMMED (or just plain flung) the can at the wall. Over... and over.... and over.... and over.

Two hours of this. Imagine two hours of this, and you're just on the other side of the aisle from them.

Guess what the flight crew did? FREAKING NOTHING.

Then there was the flight BEFORE that, where this kid... a toddler... just SHRIEKED the entire time. And her mother was one of those sorts of parents who seems to have the odd idea that just going "SHHH" at random intervals will actually do something. Definition of insanity, anyone? Needless to say, the kid never stopped. I remember this old lady, sitting to my right by the window, just more and more looked like she wanted to go over there and slap that kid silly. Couldnt blame her.
I hate flying and I’m not sure I could subject an animal to coming with me but I do think that if the animal behaves it should be allowed on the plane and people shouldn’t be judgmental. If I had an emotional support animal I think almost certainly would not be a dog because I usually become very attached to more unusual animals by accident when they come into my care. In fact I would likely choose a duck. I do love ducks. I’d bring a squirrel in a little bag if they would let me. Like I did before in high school with my first rescue baby. :bearface:
I wouldn't want to sit next to a turkey or a pit bull. I don't care if they're your "emotional "support" animal or not. To often people abuse the privilege of having such an animal. I think they should only allow SERVICE animals, i.e. seeing eye dogs etc.


I ride the city bus and often see folks bringing in dogs they claim are service animals, but then they jump up on the seats, bark, sniff around, etc. I've even seen a dog fight between two alleged "service" pitbulls.

You can tell a real trained service animal immediately. They walk along side their master, don't pay any attention to people or pets, and once boarded, they immediately lie down under their master's seat. The master will tell anyone who tries to pet their animal that they are working and not to pet them.

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