Delta OKs Emotional Support Animals on Long Flights, but Still Bans 1 Dog Breed

My parents used to take me to animal shelters to pet the cats and dogs. They were like, "Here's a cat. Pet it. Here's a dog, Pet it. No, not that pit bull." The anti-pit bull stigma was around then and it’s certainly still around now. People are still overly cautious around the animals, even though they’re probably harmless.

Delta Air Lines announced on Monday that it’s sticking with a high level of caution by continuing its ban on the dog breed, despite lifting its ban on other service animals on flights over eight hours. And pit bull lovers are understandably pissed.

Delta first banned the breed a year ago, and the CEO of the Humane Society called the rule discriminatory. That was before the company put an eight-hour limit on support animals on the whole. Now, it's reversing a bit, but erring on the side of extreme caution. 

Delta says it initially restricted animals because, since 2016, there was an 84% increase in reported incidents, according to a report by the Atlanta Business Chronicle

“The safety of our people is paramount. In 2018 alone, more than 40 instances of aggressive animal behavior occurred aboard a Delta aircraft,” said Delta's senior vice president of in-flight service Allison Ausband, in a statement. “Our 25,000 flight attendants are my greatest responsibility, and I will do everything I can to keep them safe and send them home to their families in the same condition they came to work.”

It's been a tough ride for pit bulls. Today's pit bulls are descendants of the original English bull-baiting dog, which was bred to attack animals twice their size. The dogs who could fight the best were bred more often. In response to history, pit bull advocates make the nature versus nurture argument, saying genetics play a veeeery small part in a dog that is raised well. And anyone who has known a Good Boy pit bull would say, yeah, this dog should be let on a plane. 

So for now, you need to leave Sergeant Stubby at home. Also, FYI, while all of this dog drama is going on, people are arguing to get their miniature horses on planes. And they are winning

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Ruby Anderson is an unbiased journalist with the utmost respect for and trust in the pit bull species. In an unbiased way.