How to Fly on Delta With a Service Dog

On Delta, service dogs must be able to fit underneath the seat or in the floor space in front of you.
Ramsey Qubein
By Ramsey Qubein 
Edited by Giselle M. Cancio

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If you travel with a service dog, it is important to understand the rules of every airline before arriving at the airport.

When you bring a service dog on Delta Air Lines, you’ll want to review the service dog policy to ensure you and your four-legged companion are ready to fly.

Here’s what you need to know about bringing a service dog on Delta.

Does Delta allow service dogs?

Yes, Delta allows service dogs, and federal laws protect the use of service dogs when flying, provided that you meet certain requirements. This is part of the Air Carrier Access Act, which permits bringing a dog specially trained to perform tasks for a particular disability (whether physical, psychiatric or other mental type) on board.

Those needing service dogs can travel with up to two per trip. It does not cover emotional support animals or other pets.

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What is the Delta service dog policy?

Service dogs must fit underneath the seat or in the floor space in front of you. They cannot exceed this space. Small dogs may be able to sit in the customer’s lap, but they are not permitted to occupy a seat or block the passageway (like an emergency exit) for safety reasons.

They cannot impede other passengers’ foot space either, and service dogs cannot wander independently. If seated in Delta One, they must remain in the foot area when the seat is not reclined.

If a service dog cannot fit within the foot area of any seat, the customer may purchase an additional seat — at the same price as the original seat — if space is available. The dog may not sit in the seat, but can occupy the floor space of that seat.

A service dog in training is not permitted.

Four requirements for service dogs on Delta

1. At the airport, a check-in agent will ask to see the mandatory U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form. For flights booked more than 48 hours before departure, the form must be submitted through the Accessibility Service Request Form within the My Trips section of a Delta reservation. For those booked under 48 hours before departure, it can be provided at the ticket counter or departure gate. The same documentation is required even if the dog is part of the National Service Animal Registry.

2. Double check that you have completed the required vaccinations (like rabies) before travel.

3. If you have access to the Delta Sky Club, you can bring an approved service dog into the lounge as long as they follow the same behavior policy as onboard the aircraft.

4. It’s always wise to let the dog use the bathroom before boarding any flight. U.S. airports have designated animal relief areas. You will want to allow extra time to check in and board the aircraft since airport staff and cabin crew may need to review documentation.

For flights that last longer than eight hours, passengers must complete a Department of Transportation Service Animal Relief Attestation Form, indicating that the dog will not relieve itself onboard the aircraft — or at least do so in a sanitary way.

Do service dogs fly free on Delta?

Yes, service dogs fly free on Delta, but you’ll want to make sure you have the proper documentation. In addition to the service dog, their accessories fly free, including blankets, kennels and food.

Can service dogs be denied?

Airlines have the right to request documentation and ask a consumer to describe the function the service dog performs. They can also check for the appropriate vest or harness and observe if the dog's behavior is that of a service dog (or just a rambunctious pet).

If the animal is too large or rowdy (barking, biting, snarling, jumping or even eating off tray tables on the aircraft), airlines have the right to deny travel as to not disrupt the travel experience for other passengers.

They can also deny travel if the dog makes other passengers or the flight crew uncomfortable. Service dogs can be checked in the cargo section without charge.

Airlines will also check for health and entry documentation or requirements if the animal is flying to another country.

Flying with a service dog on Delta recapped

If you bring the appropriate documentation, which requires advance completion in most circumstances, and are traveling with a service dog that performs a function necessary for someone with a disability, the process is straightforward.

Be sure to allow extra time in case an agent has additional questions and to allow the service dog to relieve itself before takeoff.

Following the appropriate (and simple) steps means you and your service dog can be comfortably above the clouds and on your way in no time.

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