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2024 Service Animal Travel Guide for Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines is well-known for being strict about Delta service animals, ensuring passengers and their Delta Air Lines service dogs travel comfortably and safely. The airline has recently been in the news for “cracking down on fake service animals.” If you plan to fly with Delta this year, it’s in your best interest to review the airline’s service animal policy and requirements so that you’re in full compliance.

Therefore, it’s essential for passengers flying with a service dog to know about Delta’s policies.

Table of Contents

2024 Delta Air Lines’ Service Animal Policy Requirements

Service Animals Must Be Trained Dogs

Delta Air Lines requires all Delta service dogs to be properly trained. This means that any dog flying as a Delta service animal must be taught to help their handler with a disability. Generally, animals still in training aren’t allowed to fly in the cabin like a fully trained Delta service animal would.

Training Requirements for Delta Service Dogs

Delta’s service animal policy only encompasses dogs (and a maximum of two per passenger), and any dog flying as a service animal must be trained to assist their handler with a disability. With very few exceptions, service animals in training are not allowed to fly in the cabin as a service animal would.

How do you train a dog to perform assistive tasks without spending thousands of dollars on professional training? I Train Academy is an online training program we offer for one low monthly price and that specifically covers both obedience training and psychiatric service animal task training.

Taught by Netflix trainer Jas Leverette, I Train Academy is meant to be consumed in 15 minute chunks every day, from the comfort of your own home. You and your dog will gain the fundamentals of obedience before moving onto task training. Once the task training portion is completed, you’ll receive a certificate, which you can carry with you as you travel.

Task training themes include notification, reminders, assistive activities, interruption or distraction, barrier or protective guarding, and deep pressure therapy.

Learn more about I Train Academy.

Get Your ESA Today

Good Behavior is a Must

Another key reason why training, like the kind offered by American Service Pets’ I Train Academy, is super important: If a Delta service animal shows bad behavior like growling, biting, jumping on people, barking too much, or going to the bathroom in the wrong places, Delta might not let them fly.

Where Service Animals Can Stay on the Plane

Delta service animals aren’t allowed to have their own seats. They need to stay on their handler’s lap (if they’re not bigger than a toddler) or on the floor under the seat. They can’t stick out into the aisle or be in an exit row. They have to be with their handlers all the time.

If Delta service dogs are too big according to Delta’s rules, the passenger can check them in as baggage without paying extra. Or, the passenger can buy another ticket for the dog if there are seats available.

Delta Airlines Service Animal Policy - Dog in carrier
Delta Airlines Service Animal Policy - Filling out the DOT form

Passengers Need to Submit a Special Form

For flights booked at least 48 hours before takeoff, passengers must fill out the Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form (DOT Form) ahead of time. This form should be uploaded on Delta’s website under “My Trips.” If you book a flight less than 48 hours before it leaves, you can show this form at the check-in counter or gate.

This form confirms a few things about your Delta Airline service dog:

  • Your service dog’s health
  • Your service dog’s training and behavior
  • Your promise to keep your dog under control and your responsibility if your dog causes any problems

For flights over 8 hours, there’s another form called the DOT Service Animal Relief Attestation Form. This is about making sure your dog won’t have health or safety issues because they can’t go to the bathroom during the flight.

Delta Air Lines also lists destinations with special restrictions for service dogs, so be sure to check those before you book your flight.

Does Delta Recognize Emotional Support Animals as Service Animals?

Delta doesn’t consider emotional support animals (ESAs) to be service animals. Rather, they’re treated as pets and therefore do not get to travel on Delta flights for free like service animals do.

To Sum it Up…

Delta Air Lines’ service animal pet policy is highly detailed, with many restrictions. Be sure to review it each time you are planning a flight, as policies may change. And most important, be sure you and your dog are in compliance, starting with obedience and task training through I Train Academy.

Note: This article summarizes Delta Air Lines’ service animal policy as of August 2023. Policies are subject to change, so please review the latest requirements on the Delta Air Lines website prior to planning a flight with your service animal.

ESA or PSA Certification?

The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!


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