Delta changing pet travel policy in March

Big pets no longer accepted as checked baggage starting next year


JACKSONVILLE, Fla – Pets that don't fit under a seat won't be allowed on most Delta flights starting next year.

The company said pets that don't fit in a carrier that can go under a seat will have to be transported as freight through Delta Cargo, starting in March.

The changes will not apply to Delta One flights.

"Many of us at Delta are pet lovers and we know that they are important members of the family," said Bill Lentsch, Delta's senior vice president of Airport Customer Service and Cargo Operations. "This change will ultimately ensure that we have a high-quality, consistent service for pets when their owners choose to ship them with Delta Cargo."

Delta Cargo provides a more closely monitored customer service experience, with professional kenneling available for pets needing overnight stay, officials said. Airports, on the other hand, handle pets in temperature-controlled areas and vans.

Notably, the new policy will not apply to military personnel with active transfer orders. Also, the airline will still permit service and emotional support animals that comply with federal regulations with proper documentation.

Pets will be allowed to travel as checked baggage through Feb. 1, but Delta will contact passengers traveling after March 1, with itineraries known to include pets.  

Customers choosing to use Delta Cargo services for shipping a pet should note the following guidelines:

  • A separate booking from their flight itinerary is required.  Additional fees and charges may apply.
  • A pet shipped domestically via Delta Cargo cannot be booked until 14 days prior to departure.
  • Pets are not guaranteed to be shipped on a customer's same flight or flight schedule.
  • Shipping a pet requires dropping it off at a Delta Cargo location at least three hours before departure time at a location separate from passenger check-in.
  • Picking up a pet will also occur at a Delta Cargo location.
  • Delta Cargo will only accept international pet shipments from International Pet and Animal Transportation Association members. International customers should visit ipata.org to find an approved member to assist with their transportation requirements.