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The airline blames an 84-percent increase in animal-related incidents on planes since 2016.

Stacey Leasca
January 19, 2018

Those hoping to fly Delta with their furry best friends by their side will want to be extra prepared before boarding.

On Friday, the airline announced that it will be enforcing stricter rules for those wishing to fly with service or emotional support animals. Those new rules, according to CNBC, will include showing proof of vaccinations 48 hours in advance of flying, and proving that your animal is trained well enough to handle a flight.

Starting on March 1, passengers flying with Delta will have to present a document that shows their animal can behave, along with signing a document promising this to be true. This, Delta said, is all in an effort to prevent aggressive household pets from traveling in the cabin.

According to Delta, an 84-percent increase in animal-related incidents on planes since 2016 sparked the change. The airline cited urinating, defecation, aggression, and biting as examples.

"Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more," Delta said in a statement to CNBC. "Ignoring the true intent of existing rules governing the transport of service and support animals can be a disservice to customers who have real and documented needs."

Still, even with the rule change, true service and emotional support animals will be allowed to travel in the cabin free of charge thanks to the Air Carrier Access Act.

Delta isn’t alone in cracking down on traveling animals. Though almost every major airline allows animals in the cabin, some do limit the number of animals per flight. So if you’re thinking about traveling with a pet, service animal or otherwise, make sure to check ahead of time if they will be able to board with you.

If you’re thinking about traveling with an animal, you may want to think long and hard about whether or not flying with them is the ideal option. If you can drive, do that, otherwise your pet may have to be stowed in the cargo hold of a plane, which has proved deadly for some animals. Or, consider getting a pet sitter instead and letting your dog, cat, snake or whatever other species you call family stay home.

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