Delta Air Lines Bans 'Pit Bull Type' Service and Emotional Support Dogs
Delta Air Lines announced Wednesday that it will no longer allow “pit bull type” service and emotional support dogs. The ban starts July 10.
Delta claims the ban is for “growing safety concerns” after some employees were bitten. “The safety and security of Delta people and our customers is always our top priority,” Gil West, Delta’s chief operating officer, said. “We will always review and enhance our policies and procedures to ensure that Delta remains a leader in safety.”
The announcement also referred to an emotional support dog, a chocolate lab pointer mix, who attacked a passenger while boarding a Delta flight.
A service animal is a dog that is trained to perform tasks to help an individual with a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. Service animals are allowed to accompany their owners in most public places, except surgical rooms and other areas with legitimate safety concerns.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), commercial airlines do not have to comply with the ADA. Instead, airlines must follow the Air Carrier Access Act, a federal law designed to protect the rights of those with disabilities while flying.
While the ADA prevents businesses from discriminating against service animals by breed, the U.S. Department of Transportation says airlines may exclude animals that are too large, obstruct aisles or emergency exits or “pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.”
Emotional support animals (ESA) are also covered under the Air Carrier Access Act, though they are not protected by the ADA. In order to have an ESA, you need a doctor’s note stating the animal provides an emotional or mental health-related service.
Many owners of “pit bull type,” service and emotional support dogs voiced their anger with Delta on Twitter.
As a SkyMiles member and a frequent flyer, not to mention proud dad of 4 #pitbulls, I’m utterly disturbed and upset with you @delta regarding your animal breed restrictions #policy. Pit Bulls are wonderful animals and even more amazing service #dogs. pic.twitter.com/ArD49Yps2G
— Edward [Not Ordinary] (@CFKraze) June 21, 2018
Hi @Delta. Platinum medallion flyer here. Can you explain what you think a “pit bull type dog” is? That’s not actually a breed. What is the basis for your decision?
— Lizzie O'Leary (@lizzieohreally) June 21, 2018
I will no longer fly with @Delta. You banned pitbull service dogs on your flights. Not only are you discriminating a dog breed but you're discriminating humans with disabilities, who's dog of choice has a certain appearance.
— Samantha Haley (@FemaleRebel01) June 21, 2018
hey @Delta, fuck you. My support dog is a pittbull and I’ll GLADLY use a different airline with my ESA Pitbull ???? it’s bullshit that you won’t recognize her as a support animal because of her BREED. pic.twitter.com/G6WprcNuOU
— gracie morse (@graciemorsee) June 21, 2018
— Caitlin Beadles (@godsgirl8494) June 21, 2018