[Nfbnet-members-list] Delta Airlines Revises Service Animal Policy

NAGDU President blind411 at verizon.net
Sat Feb 24 02:09:38 UTC 2018

Dear All,

                 I am sending this message to 
keep everyone abreast of the work the National 
Federation of the Blind and the National 
Association of Guide Dog Users is doing to ensure 
our rights as guide dog users are protected. On 
February 2, Anil Lewis and I met with officials 
from Delta Airlines at their Atlanta headquarters 
to discuss their policy. The below release is the result of this meeting.

Fraternally yours,
Marion Gwizdala, President
National Association of Guide Dog Users Inc. (NAGDU)
National Federation of the Blind
(813) 626-2789
President at NAGDU.ORG

The National Federation of the Blind knows that 
blindness is not the characteristic that defines 
you or your future. Every day we raise 
expectations because low expectations create 
barriers between blind  people and our dreams. 
You can live the life you want! Blindness is not what holds you back.

Delta service and support animal policy effective March 1, enhancements added

By Staff Writer • posted Feb. 22, 2018 1:00 pm


Updated on Feb. 22, 2018

In January, Delta announced 
changes for those traveling with service and 
support animals to support the airline's top 
priority of safety, after an 84 percent increase 
in reported service and support animal incidents 
since 2016. Based on conversations with key 
stakeholders in the disability community, the 
airline is further enhancing its policy effective March 1.
"We are implementing these changes for the safety 
of all customers, employees and trained service 
and support animals flying Delta, while 
supporting the rights of customers with 
legitimate needs, such as veterans with 
disabilities," said John Laughter, Delta's Senior 
Vice President ­ Corporate Safety, Security and 
Compliance. "While we will require that all 
animals not confined to kennels in the cabin have 
up-to-date vaccinations, we enhanced our policy 
to make online submission optional for those 
individuals who are blind or have reduced vision 
or other disabilities and have trained service animals."
In developing the updated requirements, Delta 
solicited the feedback and input of its 15-member 
Board on Disability, a group of advocates 
established more than a decade ago and made up of 
Delta frequent flyers with a range of 
disabilities. Following the announcement, Delta 
and its Advisory Board on Disability continued 
conversations with a diverse mix of advocacy 
groups that represent people who rely on trained 
service animals, such as the National Federation of the Blind.
"We are pleased that Delta has responded in a 
timely way to the concerns we raised about their 
policy for guide dogs and other service animals, 
including making enhancements," said Mark 
Riccobono, President of the National Federation 
of the Blind. "We also note Delta's expressed 
commitment to listening to its passengers. In 
light of that commitment, we look forward to 
sharing our expertise with Delta so that it can 
provide equal service to blind passengers in all of its operations."
A closer look at service and support animal policies
Since Delta's announcement, other airlines have 
implemented changes and media outlets continue to 
highlight the lack of regulation and the 
increased availability of fraudulent certification.
Post: "It's been abetted by loopholes in 
well-meaning legislation
that were intended to 
make sure that people who have disabilities and 
their trained service animals would be able to 
get around without hassles. But many pet owners, 
not to mention a bunch of online registration 
companies, have taken advantage of the law."
Tribune: "This policy (in the U.S.) has spawned a 
host of websites offering quick, easy 
certification. One offers 24-hour service, 
including a five-minute questionnaire and chat 
with a licensed therapist. Says the site, 
'Getting an ESA Qualification Has Never Been 
 The dual policy is an invitation to 
people willing to scam the system without regard for their cabin mates."
Outside of the aviation industry, a dramatic 
increase in fraudulent service animals has led 
states to introduce laws that make it a crime to 
fraudulently represent a service animal.
Delta's updated policy effective March 1
Any customer traveling with a service or support 
animal on or after March 1 will need to meet the 
new requirements as outlined below:
Traveling with a trained service animal
    * In some cases, customers with a trained 
service animal may be asked to show the animal's 
Veterinary Health Form and/or an immunization 
record or other proof that the animal's 
vaccinations are up to date. Customers are 
encouraged, but not required, to submit this form 
to Delta's Service Animal Support Desk via Delta.com before traveling.
    * These customers can check-in via Delta.com, 
the Fly Delta mobile app, airport kiosks or with an airport agent.
Traveling with an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal
    * Customers traveling with an emotional 
support animal or psychiatric service animal will 
be required to submit a signed Veterinary Health 
Form and/or an immunization record (current 
within one year of the travel date), an Emotional 
Support/Psychiatric Service Animal Request form 
that requires a letter prepared and signed by a 
doctor or licensed mental health professional, 
and a signed Confirmation of Animal Training 
form. These forms are required and must be 
submitted to Delta's Service Animal Support Desk 
via Delta.com at least 48 hours before travel.
    * These customers must use the full-service 
check-in process with an airport agent.
Delta established the Service Animal Support Desk 
to improve the travel experience for customers 
traveling with service and support animals. This 
desk will verify that the above documentation is 
received and confirm the customer's reservation 
to travel with an emotional support or 
psychiatric service animal before arrival at the 
airport. If a form is not completed, a 
representative will communicate with the customer 
via e-mail to request the missing or incomplete items.
Delta carries more than 250,000 service and 
support animals annually, an increase of nearly 
150 percent since 2015. The airline does not 
accept exotic or unusual service or support 
animals. Additional information on types of 
accepted animals and other questions related to 
traveling with service and suppo

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