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Delta Ends 8-Hour Flight Limit for Emotional Support Animals, Maintains Pit Bull Ban

The company says pit bulls pose too much of a risk.

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Delta is discontinuing its eight-hour flight limit for emotional support animals.

The policy change, effective immediately, comes on the heels of U.S. Department of Transportation guidance regarding service and support animals.

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“After working with the DOT and cross-divisional business groups, Delta was able to develop a solution to protect the health and safety of those onboard while also allowing ESAs to fly on longer flights,” the company stated.

The eight-hour rule has been in place for a year.

In the same announcement, Delta said it is maintaining the ban on pit bulls that it instituted in 2018. The airline states that pit bulls account for less than 5 percent of the overall dog population but 37.5 percent of vicious dog attacks.

“Understanding this risk, Delta has not come to a solution for allowing pit bulls onboard that satisfies its own rigorous safety requirements,” the company stated.

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“We will never compromise on safety, and we will do what is right for the health and safety of our customers and employees,” said John Laughter, senior vice president for corporate safety, security and compliance. “We continue to work with the DOT to find solutions that support the rights of customers who have legitimate needs to travel with trained animals.”

In 2018, more than 40 instances of aggressive animal behavior occurred aboard a Delta aircraft, said Allison Ausband, senior vice president for in-flight service.

“Our 25,000 flight attendants are my greatest responsibility, and I will do everything I can to keep them safe and send them home to their families in the same condition they came to work,” Ausband said.

The announcement comes “even though new federal guidelines forbid service animal limitations based on types of breeds,” the Los Angeles Times notes.

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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