Is this dog not famous enough to fly on a 1st class Delta ticket?

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Delta has more rules than the IRS it seems. I know the frequent flyer rules VERY well because I eat, breathe and sleep points each and every day. Plus Delta often changes things on a whim and does not tell anyone about the changes until we find them (often not telling Delta people either).

no puppy you can not fly delta 1st class

This new report from CBS Minnesota just makes my head hurt. Delta does, on a case by case basis, allow “famous” dogs to fly on-board. In this case, this puppy was not famous enough even though the owner had purchased a 1st class Delta ticket for it.

Now we are not talking about a SkyMiles issue. It is not like the cello incident where the puppy was trying to earn SkyMiles for travel, just trying to travel. Again, on a paid 1st class ticket. Nope!

I respect the flyer did not want to try to just “call” the puppy an emotional support or service dog to get around this. Florida is working to pass a law that would crack down on those abusing this certification of an animal. I agree it is needed as I know of a few instances of folks getting the certification for their pet to circumvent the fee to include a dog as your carry-on (I disagree with the fee, but that is another post).

At the same time airlines need to be VERY careful. One twitter follower has such a support dog. It is very much needed. Due to a hearing issue, the person can not hear very high and very low tones. Take for example a knock at a hotel door – they can not hear it – but the dog can and alerts them. But a Delta gate agent got all in her face in Atlanta and told the flyer that they did not look very disabled to need the dog. Not good. Delta, in the end, sincerely apologized and sent the employee off for sensitivity training.

So what do you think of these crazy rules. Should a “famous” dog get to fly Delta? What about the rules certifying a support dog – are they too lax? Let me know – René

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  1. A dog should never ever go on the seat, no matter how much their owners love them or even need them. On the floor? Ok but only if they really are service animals. Planes are dirty enough already.

    I think it’s silly to allow dogs to fly if they’re “famous”. That makes no sense to me.

  2. no animals ever. If you can’t “deal” with life you shouldn’t be flying anyway. Put animals in their cages below deck where they belong. End of discussion.

  3. Support animal rules are too lax. I have seen them on planes when they have obviously not undergone special training. I have also seen flight attendants racing down the aisle chasing a pet which has gotten loose. Plane quarters are tight enough without introducing animals into them. What about the allergic person who is forced to sit next to a dog?

  4. I was on a Delta flight from NY to FLL in 1st class. A dog was in front of me and another dog was across the aisle one row back. Due to severe asthma, I left 1st class and sat in coach, voluntarily. The FA came back to me and we had a long talk about the abuse of the system. There are Service Animals and there are Special Needs Animals. Service animals, such as a seeing-eye dog are wonderful. Special Needs animals are a flagrant attempt by people to avoid paying the airline fee and avoid the quota limiting the number of animals on a flight. The FAA is looking into this and there will be changes.
    If someone is emotionally unable to fly without their pet, then require them to take their pet on every flight they ever take, and take away their passport.
    Now, a day before I board a flight to Florida, I call Delta and ask if there are any animals registered to fly near my seat. This way I can challenge the ‘special needs’ owners for not registering their animal with the airline.
    Amazingly, it seems that passengers with special needs mostly fly between their summer home in NY and their winter home in Florida. Must be something in the air.

  5. i was on a recent flight from JFK to FLL in 1st class. the man across the aisle from me kept his “service animal” in his lap during the entire flight and COMBED THE DOG’S HAIR EVEN DURING MEAL SERVICE.

    even worse, the FAs made no attempt to discourage this behaviour, so dog hair was flying about the cabin while we were being served our meal.

    no words.

  6. Glad to see I’m not the only one that thinks animals do not belong in the passenger cabin.

  7. The rules say that small animals have to be kept under the seat in front of you and in a carrier during the entire flight. If this is enforced by Delta (which it often is) there SHOULD be no problems during the flight.
    As far as allergies, flying is already so uncomfortable, with sick people all around you ( too expensive to change a flight if you are unwell,) airline food full of allergy-type ingredients (peanuts anyone?) – a small pet tucked away at someone’s (cramped) feet usually passes unnoticed. I know mine does.

  8. Most dogs that fly have less germs and dirt than kids. Mine has a bath before a flight and stays in her carrier not making a sound no matter how long the flight. People who object to dogs in the cabin need to read up and get educated. They must not like Europe where dogs are allowed in restaurants and everywhere else.

  9. I’ll take dogs in the cabin way before I take babies. Also, why are kids free, but dogs cost $150? In this particular case, I fault Delta for letting the guy buy a ticket for the dog if he disclosed that it would be a dog upfront.

  10. The DOT should standardize support dog qualifications. It’s important for us to remember that many people who need comfort dogs, for example, suffer from combat-induced PTSD. Given that Delta has implemented recent enhancements for active-duty military, it would be entirely consistent if they also provided proper training for flight attendants so that they could serve these heroes who need special assistance.

  11. An “emotional support” dog was in my EC row a few months ago. Its second time on plane. A pit mix and nervous on take off. On the landing it was standing on my lap. Love it. Told the lady it was just like being at home. Love the dogs on the plane. Can sit next to me anytime. E

  12. All too often I have seen pets masquerading as service, therapy, and hearing dogs in Delta’s Sky Club, on Delta aircraft, and at airports across the country. They are easy to spot.

    Common signs on the part of a handler include a lack of attunement/attention between the handler and dog and a lack of awareness and/or consideration on the part of the handler as to someone else’s personal space.

    Common signs for the dog include eating scraps of food off the floor, obesity, and failure to follow a command even after being given a correction by the handler.

    It’s all too easy to gain public access with a pet. Under Federal Law, when questioned, a pet owner merely has to explain what the dog does for him/her. No credentials or proof of training for the dog/handler team are required.

    Thankfully, Federal Law protects legitimate dog/handler teams giving them the right to public access. These teams are certified. They carry proof of it. And most of them carry liability insurance with millions of dollars of coverage.

    A Federal Law requiring dog/handler teams to produce their credentials before entering areas where pets are not allowed would quickly put an end to the fraud.

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