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Delta (DAL) to Forbid Emotional Support Animals on Board

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Delta Air Lines (DAL - Free Report) has decided not to accept bookings pertaining to emotional support animals on its flights from Jan 11. However, the carrier will allow passengers, who already booked tickets prior to the specified date, to travel with their emotional support animal(s) as scheduled. The move comes after the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) stiffened the rule regarding passengers travelling with service animals on flights.

The ruling, announced last month, states that only dogs will qualify as service animals. In a major change, animals brought in by passengers for emotional support will no longer fall under service animals. Per the new regulation, a service animal is defined as a “dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability”. The more stringent directive may have been put into effect due to concerns raised by airlines, flight attendants, airports and individuals with disabilities among others, regarding service animals ferried on aircraft.

Coming back to Delta’s new rule, the carrier stated that passengers traveling with trained service dogs will have to fill out a DOT form confirming that the dog meets the stipulated training and health requirements. Moreover, the airline announced that it would lift its ban on pit bull dogs which satisfy the obligation of being trained service animals.

Earlier, two other U.S. carriers, namely American Airlines (AAL - Free Report) and Alaska Airlines, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Alaska Air Group (ALK - Free Report) , had also announced prohibition of emotional support animals in their cabins following the DOT’s rigid ruling.

Zacks Rank & Key Pick

Delta currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the Zacks Transportation sector is FedEx Corporation (FDX - Free Report) , presently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of FedEx have jumped more than 57% over the past six months

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