Delta Air Lines says it no longer allows passengers to fly with "pit bull" dogs as service or companion animals, a policy that is criticized by groups who train service dogs and the people who use them.
The Atlanta-based airline describes its ban as "improving" its pet policy in passenger areas. Delta will also limit travelers to a single emotional support animal per flight. The changes announced this week will come into effect on July 10th.
"It's a bit crazy because Delta is my preferred airline flying with my service dog," said Fiona Gilbert of San Francisco, who said she flew about 300,000 miles with Delta last year with her pitit dog Type, coda.
Gilbert has a degenerative neurological disorder, and Koda can sense when she might get a seizure, and then get help if needed, she said.
"He's basically my alarm system," she said. "He's my emergency system, I trust him more than I trust when it comes to not feeling good, he's trained to get help when I need it, Koda and I are a team ̵
Delta said the ban on pit bull-type dogs responds to "growing safety concerns" after several employees were bitten, Airline said in a statement.
"We have to be wrong on the side of security," Delta said in a statement on Friday. "Last week, two Delta employees were bitten by a pit bull as a supportive animal, and we made an effort to decide to expand the animal service ban, knowing that some customers had legitimate needs for bull-like dogs, posing as both a service animal and a surrogate animal poses a potential security risk. "
The bite occurred during the boarding process for Delta Flight 295 from Atlanta to Narita, Japan, the airline said.
But the ban is you are being criticized by many groups of animals.
Delta "should oppose unjustified breeding prejudice and lift its racial ban," said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty To Animals, said in a statement Thursday.
Finding out which dogs fall into politics could be a challenge.
"Pitbull is an arbitrary term – there is no standard definition of what makes a dog a pit bull," said R egina Lizik, Animal Farm Foundation communications and fundraising manager in Bangall, New York, the humanitarian service dogs offers various disabilities. Gilbert's Pit Bull was trained there.
"It's about this individual dog and her ability to do that job," said Lizik. "All dogs are individuals."
Delta's statement states that "pit bull type" dogs are banned, but lists "bull type dogs" on its online list of banned animals, including reptiles, spiders and goats.  Gilbert said she understands Deltas desire to protect his employees. She said she supported the airline in March when it announced new guidelines for livestock. Representatives of Delta and United said back then that they had noticed a sharp increase in the number of companion animals and that some passengers had brought all kinds of animals on board.
"The irony is that I switched the airlines to Delta I have a service dog because they have the nicest flight attendants and they are a wonderful company to fly with," Gilbert said.
Gilbert said she did not have any complaints about Koda, who has lured on her Delta flights past. Service dogs like Koda are "much polite and less disturbing than some passengers I've been on planes with," she said.
"Most people do not even know there's a 75-pound dog sitting there until we come." Last month, American Airlines announced it was banning passengers from bringing animals with "emotional support" aboard their aircraft Amphibians, goats, hedgehogs, insects, birds and animals with tusks and horns prohibit or hooves. The airline will make an exception for miniature horses trained as service animals.
Also in May, United Airlines restricted the types of animals transported as cargo to nearly 50 species of dogs and cats.