Delta Airlines’ New ESA Requirements

On March 1, Delta Airlines new, stricter ESA requirements for traveling with your emotional support animal in the cabin are in effect.

This is the first airline to respond to the rise in dangerous and disruptive animal behaviors during flights, and we expect more airlines may follow suit. Both American Airlines and United Airlines specify that their support animal policies are also currently under review, in this New York Times article.

Delta Airlines New Requirements for Emotional Support Animals

The new requirements are not exceptionally challenging to meet. Here is an overview of Delta Airlines’ New ESA Requirements:

  • Delta now requires either their Veterinary Health Form or vaccination records in lieu of their form.
  • They still require an ESA letter, just like before, but just like United Airlines and American Airlines, Delta now has their own ESA form.
  • Before boarding, the passenger must also certify that their emotional support animal is properly trained to behave in public places and be able to demonstrate obedience.
  • Finally, all forms must be signed and submitted 48 hours in advance, in accordance with the ACAA and CFR Part 382.

The new forms are already available for download, and requirements are updated on their service animal page.

This is good news for everyone and we support their dedication to providing a better experience for their customers while supporting the integrity of necessary service animals for the physically and emotionally disabled.

Here at Touch, we have always advised that pets be prepared for travel and properly trained for both public and private environments to protect the pet, the owner and anyone that may encounter your pet.

Pet Training Resources

We recommend the AKC Canine Good Citizen® training for all responsible pet owners, but if there is no AKC club in your area to train and test your pet to earn the accredited CGC title, there are many quality pet behavior training programs available. Here are just some additional resources:

  • The Animal Humane Society in Minnesota has several locations for Obedience training and CGC certification
  • The ASPCA has videos to perform SAFER® canine aggression test for your pet in seven steps or about ten minutes
  • WebMD has a wonderful list of resources for training methods for your dog. They also have articles for preventing undesirable behaviors and even pet mental health to help your pet maintain good physical and emotional well-being.
  • Your local petstorese, such as PetSmart Dog Training, Petco CGC certification and many others

Many of these resources focus on dog training and behavior. We’ve found that cat training is also acceptable and fun, and may be appropriate if your ESA is feline. Here are just a few cat training resources that you may find helpful:

Veterinary Health / Vaccination Record Forms

The Delta Airlines’ Emotional Support Animal Veterinary Health Form is relatively straightforward. If you cannot obtain your veterinarian’s authorization timely, you should keep vaccination records. Here are some helpful, downloadable pet vaccination and health record forms:

As you know, the Air Carrier Access Act of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Part CFR 382.27(g):

  • prohibits discrimination against disabled persons, even if they do not meet the advance notice or check-in requirements.
  • The airline must still provide service with the specified accommodation within reasonable efforts, without delaying the flight.

The federal DOT will be monitoring Delta Airline’s policy changes closely, “to ensure that it preserves and respects the rights of individuals with disabilities who travel with service animals.” They also seek public comment and strategies this summer for defining service animals and preventing abuse of that definition.

The federal department’s ACAA only applies to domestic flights. Most international flights already require additional vaccination documentation, depending on the destination country’s policy for animals. Check your airlines’ websites for more on international flights’ animal requirements.


Ready to fly with your pet? Get your emotional support animal prescription from our licensed psychiatrist when you purchase your esa travel letter from Touch. Download our 2018 PDF Guide to flying with your pet for your prep checklist at home and for each airline.

esa letter for flying