Delta Will No Longer Make Pets Fly as Cargo

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Following the deaths and disappearances of dozens of pets in the last 10 years, Delta has recently announced that beginning in March of 2016, they will no longer make pets fly in the cargo hold of their passenger planes.

“Delta will no longer accept pets as checked baggage, but will continue to transport allowable pets in all cabins of service except Delta One, effective March 1, 2016,” Delta said in a statement. “Customers may also ship pets for travel within the United States as freight through Delta Cargo.”

MarketWatch reported that in the past 10 years alone, 74 pets have died and another 14 have gone missing while under Delta’s care.  These deaths account for about 25 percent of all airline pet deaths.

In 2011, Delta stopped allowing brachycephalic dogs (ones with squished-in faces, like bulldogs and boxers) in the cargo bays because of their difficulty breathing in extreme situations.  In cargo, temperature and air pressure can fluctuate, allowing these dogs in particular to succumb to inauspicious circumstances.


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Unfortunately, large dogs will still not be allowed in the cabin due to their size, but pet owners will be given the option of transporting their dogs via Delta Cargo, which the company says is a safer alternative.

“Pets that are transported via Delta Cargo are monitored closely by customer service teams during their travel,” the company said. “While at airports, pets are handled in temperature-controlled holding areas and vans. Also, Delta Cargo enlists professional kenneling services if overnight stays are required.”

Members of the military with active transfer orders and people with service and therapy dogs will still be allowed to check their pets as “baggage,” which is a perplexing notion, given that these people need their pets to be with them.

“Many of us at Delta are pet lovers and we know that they are important members of the family,” said Bill Lentsch, senior vice president for 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.”

729 thoughts on “Delta Will No Longer Make Pets Fly as Cargo”

  1. I too was misled by this article, except the opposite end than the rest of you. I’m only commenting to hopefully add some clarity and possibly better understanding to the allergy issue. I will be the first to speak up that people need to wear less perfume, hairspray, and other products that cause allergic and asthmatic reactions in others. I wish we could ban them from wearing those products on planes and other tight spaces, but we can’t. Having said that, if pets of any kind are allowed, we wouldn’t be able to fly with our middle son. He is so allergic to all pets that just a few min in a room/space where one has been sends him to the hospital with a life threatening reaction. Anytime we are staying in a hotel we have to make sure our room was not a pet friendly room within the last year. There are relatives and friends we can’t visit because of this. We can help him with a reaction to beauty products. We can’t help him with his reaction to pets. That’s the big deal. Do I think pets belong in cargo? No! I wouldn’t want my pet (if I could have one) to have to spend the flight there. So what’s the solution? I don’t know. I suppose we’ll have to start asking the airlines if they allow pets in the cabin and if they do, we’ll have to choose a different airline.

  2. You need to read Delta’s announcement carefully.

    “Delta will no longer accept pets as checked baggage, but will continue to transport allowable pets in all cabins of service except Delta One, effective March 1, 2016,”

    “Allowable pets” are assistance dogs and those which can be placed under the seats in a carrier or cage. They’re not really improving your ability to bring your pets onboard. They’re shifting pets from the passenger plane cargo to a dedicated cargo only plane.

  3. This article has a lot of cobbled together info, not necessarily all true, in order to fit the narrative perhaps? The picture with the crated dogs inside an airplane is very likely a *RESCUE” operation, NOT a commercial airline. So gripe to the *retail rescue operators*, not the major airlines.

    The major airlines (Delta, United) carry a limited number of animals via cargo (and dogs that supposedly go with their owners are also in cargo, and the number per flight is very limited). When I’ve shipped parrots to new owners, most flights are limited to 2 to 4 animal crates per flight, and I was told that they have a climate-controlled compartment in cargo, which is where the animals go and why the number is limited. That makes sense, not a picture with lots of crates strapped 2-up in a cargo bay.

  4. Oh good, now my parrot can fly in the cabin with me….. Don’t mind her if she squawks really loud or accidentally poops on you…… If you hate against my bird you are not only being discriminatory, but offending me & bird bird lovers every where ?

  5. I can’t imagine any situation where I’d need my pets to fly with me. If I move within the US, I will drive them to our new home. Not in a million years would I allow my pets to go in a cargo hold!

    • I had no choice, but you are right, I advise anyone NOT TO DO IT, the airlines are full of shit about caring for the animals and it’s a nightmare process.


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