Delta Air Lines ESA Travel Policies
Delta Air Lines welcomes passengers and their Emotional Support Animal (ESA). There are a number of important policies and things to know before you begin your trip on Delta Air Lines.
Delta Air Lines does not have any stated limit on the number of ESAs it can accommodate per airplane. A customer with more than one ESA can even be permitted on a case-by-case basis.
ESA Animal Restrictions
Before purchasing your ticket and flying with your ESA, the first thing you need to do is to ensure your ESA is trained to follow basic commands. Any ESA that behaves inappropriately can be denied boarding or removed from the plane, so this is very important. Secondly, make sure that your ESA is an animal species allowed in the cabin, such as dog, cat, or household bird. The following is a list of animals prohibited from the cabin of the aircraft:
- Reptiles (including snakes) and amphibians
- Insects and spiders
- Sugar gliders
- Non-household birds (including farm poultry, waterfowl, game bird, and birds of prey)
- Animals with tusks, horns or hooves
- Animals improperly cleaned and/or with a foul odor (this can affect even species that would otherwise be allowed to travel in the cabin)
Knowing this information well ahead of time will help prevent last minute issues with boarding and documentation.
ESA Stowage Policies
When booking your flight, you must consider your ESA when you select your seat. ESAs are not permitted on the seat. You may not purchase a seat for your ESA to sit on. You may, however, keep your ESA on your lap, at your feet, or in an airline-approved carrier under the seat in front of you. Note that for safety reasons, only ESAs the size of a 2-year-old child or smaller may ride on your lap. Your ESA may not interfere with any airline passengers next to you, so be considerate when purchasing your seat. Consider allowing your ESA to ride on your lap. If your ESA interferes with the accessibility of the aisle, or any other passengers, other accommodations may need to be made. If your ESA is very large or you have multiple ESAs, you may be required to purchase additional seats for your ESA. Although the ESA may not sit on the seat itself, this will allow you the extra floor space and under-seat storage for your ESA to occupy. It may be helpful to know that your ESA's carrier does not incur any fees, nor is it counted towards your baggage limit.
As you get closer to booking your flight, you need to prepare your documentation. Delta has three forms that must be completed no later than 48 hours before your flight. The first form will have important health and vaccine information for your ESA and must be completed by your veterinarian and submitted more than 48 hours before your flight. Another form is filled out by your mental health professional and certifies that you have a mental health related disability. A third form is filled out by you and confirms that your ESA is trained to behave in a public setting and responds to your commands, and that if it acts inappropriately, your ESA will be denied boarding or removed from the aircraft.
Airport Pet Relief Areas
Once at the airport, it is important to know the available animal accommodations. All airlines have designated "pet relief areas" where you can take your ESA to relieve himself or herself. While these areas are not under Delta's direct control, the helpful Delta Air Lines staff can provide the location of the nearest pet relief area along with directions to get there.
ESA Behavior Requirements
When it is time to board your plane, you may ask for pre-boarding privileges. If this is something you are interested in, be sure to arrive at the gate early so you have time to request pre-boarding assistance.
Now you have made it onto the plane with your ESA. Congratulations! Here is what you need to know. Remember, keep your ESA in your seat footprint. If he or she is in the aisle or interfering with another passenger, your ESA may be removed. Keep your ESA's head off the tray table. Your ESA is not allowed to eat or drink from the tray table. Your ESA could be removed for this behavior. Here is a list of other behaviors that could cause Delta Air Lines to remove your ESA from the cabin: growling, jumping on passengers, relieving themselves in the gate area or cabin, or excessive vocalization (not in response to a handler's need or distress). Keep your ESA with you at all times. Your ESA should be leashed and with you. Don't let your ESA wander without you, and if you must stand up, take your ESA with you.
There are a few destinations where there are specific things you need to know. Several US-based airports have additional rules, such as John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport, in New York City. All ESAs arriving from an international pre-cleared station are required to clear TSA. Greenville Spartanburg Airport (GSP) and Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) requires all ESAs to be crated. The state of Hawaii has specific rules for arriving animals as well. ESAs traveling to or through Honolulu International Airport must meet the requirements and be approved by the 5-Day-Or-Less Quarantine program. This program includes proof of rabies vaccine, microchipping, and other requirements. For travel to other Hawaiian Islands, your ESA must be approved by the Neighbor Island Program. These are just the basics – for more information, please contact Delta Air Lines and the state of Hawaii for all the information you need.
Additionally, if you fly internationally, your ESA will need to be approved to enter the destination country. Please check the laws and requirements for your destination while you plan your trip. Don't wait until after plane tickets are already purchased!
We hope this helps provide you with the information you need to plan your trip with your ESA and Delta Air Lines. Be sure to contact Delta to get all forms filled out and submitted, as well as to check for any updates to their policy.