It’s been a bad year for airlines when it comes to traveling pets. Delta Airlines has announced that it plans to ban all animals under four months of age from flying on its planes. The airline will also tighten restrictions on emotional support animals. In the past, emotional support animals have raised issues because of the loose restrictions surrounding the qualifications for the position. The airline has run into issues in the past with animals urinating, defecating, or even biting other passengers. Often this happens because they’re either poorly trained or not trained at all.

As it stands, passengers who wish to bring pets on board commercial flights must present the right documents to do so. The documents, among other things, must show that their animal will not have to relieve themselves during flights that are eight or more hours. The ban on animals under the age of four months applies to all flights, but the other restrictions specifically refers to animals on flights longer than eight hours. Good luck getting your dog anywhere in Asia from the US.

Other Airline Problems

United Airlines made headlines earlier this year for its pet policies. When a passenger was forced to put their French bulldog puppy into the upper cargo hold of the plane, the puppy died. It happened because the baggage holds of the plane are not oxygen regulated. The story made headlines around the world, and even angered many animal rights activists in the process. The airline has since come to a resolution with the family that owned the dog.

United Airlines has since been forced to take a step back in their pet transportation program. Before the incident, United had one of the biggest pet transportation programs in the country. The new program has banned at least 20 different breeds of dogs, including most breeds with shorter snouts. Many airlines, such as Delta, are following suit in creating tighter regulations on pets that travel.

How Soon Does This Impact Travel

Delta’s changes to their emotional support animal policies may have been a direct response to a man that was attacked on one of their flights by a 50 lb dog last summer. The man was mauled by a dog that was on the flight as an emotional support dog. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported that the incident happened during boarding. The man could not escape the dog because he was in a window seat.

Delta’s greater restrictions on pets on their flights goes into effect immediately. If you purchased a ticket for an emotional support animal before December 18, you’ll still be fine. However, all restrictions go into effect as early as February 1st. So if you’re planning on flying after that you may want to reconsider your options. You can read the official statement released by Delta Airlines on the company’s website here.