Delta Emotional Support Animal Policy

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By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: May 15, 2020

Delta Airlines ESA PolicyTraveling with your emotional support animal on Delta Airlines can be easy and hassle-free! If you’re a person looking to travel with Delta Airlines, either with your pet or your furry emotional support buddy, then make sure you know the rules, regulations, and the crucial forms you must have to travel with them.

Bring And Fill Out The Required ESA Documents/Forms! One of the Most Important Steps!

Whether you have post-traumatic stress, severe depression, or anxiety, Delta Airlines flight crew know how important ESAs can be.

But, before you can board a Delta Airlines aircraft, it is vital for you to familiarize yourself with the Delta Airlines ESA policy required documentation.

Get the Delta Airlines ESA Policy Guide

Emotional Support Animal Letter (Medical/Mental Health Professional Form)

Delta Airlines ESA policy requires you to have an emotional support animal signed form from your medical/mental health professional. The ESA letter needs to be valid for 1 year (from the date of when it was first signed).

If you’re traveling soon and require an ESA letter in the next 48-hours then make sure you get connected with one of CertaPet’s LMHP.

Take the 5-minute screening to see if you qualify today.

Veterinary Health Form

The Delta Airlines ESA policy will also require a signed Veterinary Health Form ensuring your emotional support animal has been vaccinated and is registered at the vet. It is crucial that your veterinarian fills this required health form.

Certification of the Animal’s Health (including rabies and DRB shot verification)

Along with the Veterinary Health Form, you will be required to submit all vaccination records to Delta Airlines in which you can get from the vet.

Signed Testament to the Animal’s Behavior

To make traveling comfortable for all passengers, the Delta Airlines ESA policy requires passengers traveling with ESAs to show proof that their emotional support dog, cat, etc. will be able to behave properly whilst in a public situation.

Do know, your emotional support animal does not have to be professionally trained unlike service animals; however, they need to follow rules and know the basic commands or problems will arise.

ESA Policy Delta Airlines: Pet Fee for Non-Emotional Support Animals

It is important to remember that both emotional support animals and service animals can travel in a cabin at no cost. However, the same does not apply to pets. While your household pet is more than welcomed to travel with Delta Airlines, be aware that the cost can be quite pricey.

ESA cat beside an airplane window on Delta Airlines

Dogs, cats, and yes even your household bird can travel with passengers on Delta Air! In fact, your pet can travel with you in the aircraft cabin, just like a service and support animal!

The cost of traveling with a pet in a cabin is as follows:

  • $125 USD/CAD per pet to and from U.S. and Canada
  • $200 USD/CAD/EUR per pet to the Virgin Islands
  • $125 USD per pet to Puerto Rico
  • $200 USD/CAD/EUR per pet, anywhere outside the U.S.
  • $75 USD per pet to Brazil

A List of ESAs That are Not Permitted on Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines allows a variety of animal species to board their plane. However, according to the Delta Airlines Pet Policy, the following animals are not permitted to board the flight but as checked baggage.

  • Hedgehogs
  • Ferrets
  • Insects
  • Rodents
  • Snakes
  • Spiders
  • Sugar gliders
  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians
  • Goats
  • Non-household birds (farm poultry, waterfowl, game bird, & birds of prey)
  • Animals improperly cleaned and/or with a foul odor
  • Animals with tusks, horns or hooves

In general, Delta Airlines claims that they will ship nearly all pets and non-human primates in their cargo hold.

*Update December 2018: Emotional support animals under 4 months of age are not allowed to fly because of the lack in vaccinations. Delta also announced that ESAs are no longer able to fly on flights more than 8 hours long (make sure to do connecting flights!). Both changes will begin with tickets bought after December 18, 2018 and then a full ban from February 1, 2019 and on.

Breed Restrictions

If you’ve got a psychiatric service animal or emotional support animal then it’s important to know what dog and cat breeds are permitted on Delta Airlines.

For example, on July 10, 2018, a regulation went into effect that banned all “pitbull type” dogs from onboarding as assistance animals or pets. And according to the Delta Airlines ESA policy, the following snub-nosed dogs and snub-nosed cats, are restricted on the flight.

  • American Bulldog
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Brussels Griffin
  • Bulldog
  • Chinese Pug
  • Chow Chow
  • Dutch Pug
  • English Bulldog
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • French Bulldog
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Japanese Boxer
  • Japanese Pug
  • Japanese Spaniel (Chin)
  • Mastiff (all breeds)
  • Pekinese
  • Pit Bull
  • Pug
  • Shar Pei
  • Shih Tzu
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Tibetan Spaniel

Snub-nosed cats

  • Burmese
  • Exotic
  • Himalayan
  • Persian

ACAA and ESAs: What You Need to Know Alert Delta Airlines You Will Be Bringing Your ESA!

An emotional support animal is protected under two laws—The ACAA and the FHA (the latter applies to living situations). The Air Carrier Access Act ensures that your emotional support animal will be allowed on an aircraft if you provide all the necessary documents.

The Delta Airlines ESA policy states that passengers must notify and submit all mandatory forms 48 hours prior to departure. According to the ACAA, an airline is not allowed to inquire about your personal disability, cannot refuse a person with a mental or physical disability, and cannot place your emotional support animal or service animal in cargo.

CertaPet’s Delta Airlines ESA Fact Sheet

To get all the information and more in one place, we created an emotional support animal fact sheet when cruising in the sky with your ESA. Easy to download so you don’t have to forget anything!

Know Delta Airlines Pet Carrier Requirements!

close-up of Delta Airlines website

Get the Delta Airlines ESA Policy Guide

Delta Airlines takes holds both pet safety and comfort to the highest priority. So, to make air travel a lot more smooth, Delta Airlines has created a set of guidelines for both pet and ESA owners.

If you’re traveling emotional support dog/other animal in the cabin (aka as a carry-on luggage), your ESA must be placed in:

  • Option A: a soft-sided kennel
  • Option B: a hard-sided kennel
  • All kennels need to be:
    • leak proof
    • ventilated (On 2 sides)
    • Need to meet ‘under the seat dimensions

What’s Acceptable

Based on the Delta Airlines Pet Policy, here are the acceptable kennel sizes for animals:

  • Small: 21 x 15 x 16 inches
  • Medium 1: 27 x 20 x 19 inches
  • Medium 2: 32 x 22 x 23 inches
  • Large: 36 x 24 x 26 inches
  • Extra Large: 40 x 27 x 30 inches
  • Giant: 48 x 32 x 35 inches

Delta Airlines states that:

  • Kennels need to be spacious for animals—animals head (ear included) must not touch the top of the kennel.
  • Animals need to be able to stand erect, lie down, and turn around when in a kennel.
  • The kennel needs to have a solid top and needs to be ventilated.
  • The kennel needs to have food and water dishes (empty).
  • The kennels need to contain towels, blankets, or any absorbent material.

What’s Restricted

The Delta Airlines ESA policy does prohibit the following kennels and carriers:

  • Any carrier that is made of welded mesh, wire mesh, wicker, cardboard, and collapsible material
  • Carriers that have doors that open from the top may be restricted
  • Carriers that have plastic front doors, side doors or latches that secure the top half of the kennel with the bottom half of the kennel.

“Where Does My ESA Go Once I’m on the Plane?”

According to the Delta Airlines ESA policy and pet policy, your support animal can join you in the aircraft cabin. While in the aircraft cabin, your emotional support animal should be seated either on your lap or below your seat.

Emotional support animals and service dogs are not allowed to block the aisles of the aircraft, take up a passengers seat, or disrupt other passengers.

Prepare Your ESA for Flight!

Traveling with your ESA can be really fun and more importantly, help your anxiety and keep you calm. But, as a responsible ESA owner, you need to make sure you do your part to keep your ESA well-trained during the flight.

Teach Your Dog The Proper Behavior When in Public and on the Airplane

Like all other airlines, Delta ESA policy has the right to reject your emotional support animal should they believe that your ESA has the potential to cause harm to others, display aggressive behavior, or irritate other passengers (barking dogs).

While they don’t require specific training, it is advised you train your ESA to “get-used-to” their surroundings and be comfortable when in stressful public situations. Make sure your emotional support animal knows the basic commands such as sit, stay, and keep quiet!

Importantly, make sure your ESA (if a dog) knows how to walk properly on a leash.

They’re There For Your Comfort, Not Disturbance

An emotional support animal is there for your sanity! So, apart from very basic training, it’s quite important that you make sure your ESA is not going to cause you or others around you trouble. Generally, bigger ESAs—like Great Danes, Dobermans, or other large breed dogs, may be quite difficult to travel with due to their size so we recommend you speak to Delta Airlines on how they can properly accommodate a large ESA.

Read ESA Owners’ First-Hand Flying Experience on Delta

Ever wonder what happy ESA owners have to say about Delta Airlines? Here are some reviews, courtesy of BringFido.

“I was quite worried that I would not be able to travel with my emotional support animal since it was my first time flying with Milo on Delta Airlines.  I called the customer service line and let the attendant know that I would be traveling with my companion dog. The young lady on the line asked me to send my ESA letter and sent me a link to the Delta airlines emotional support animal verification document. Overall a positive experience with this airline.”  – Agnes

“We recently traveled to Miami with our ESA on Delta Airlines. The staff was friendly and did not give us any problems. Real easy process and they had us sit in the front of the plane so that our dog had enough room to sit with us. The documentation that Delta needs is pretty simple too. The airline was easy to deal with since we were able to send them a digital letter via email. I would recommend flying with your ESA on Delta. Thanks!” – Rowena

Get the Delta Airlines ESA Policy Guide

Are You Traveling Internationally? Check Out Location-Specific Resources to See If Your ESA is Allowed

Sometimes traveling restrictions may apply with an emotional support animal. This is particularly true when passengers choose to travel internationally. When traveling internationally, restrictions may apply depending on the country of destination. So, don’t forget to read up on any pet quarantine procedures, restrictions, and import laws.

For more information about pets and ESAs traveling internationally, check out:

  • Pets and International—U.S Department of State
  • U.S. Domestic & International Pet Travel: Delta Air Lines
  • International Travel with Your Pet—CDC

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