The airlines cite the final decision from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on the controversial travel topic in making the change. Announced in December and effective Jan. 11, the DOT’s revision to the Air Carrier Access Act declared that ESAs will no longer be considered service animals on flights, giving airlines the OK to ban them. Trained service dogs, however, are still welcome aboard, with proof of proper registration.
In “ruff” news for some animal lovers, Delta and JetBlue will no longer accept new bookings for ESAs starting Monday. The carriers join Alaska Airlines and American Airlines in banning ESAs from travel.
In a statement, Delta applauded the DOT for empowering airlines to put the safety of customers and crew first, citing a rising number of incidents involving ESAs in recent years.
“Delta’s updated policy follows a nearly 85% increase in animal incidents since 2016, including urination, defecation and biting,” David Garrison, S.V.P. Corporate Safety and Security, said in a news release. “Our top priority is the health, safety and comfort of Delta customers and our people. We strongly believe this policy change will enhance the overall travel experience for everyone.”