What to Know Before Flying Delta Air Lines With Pet Cargo

Your pet traveling in cargo needs its own reservation, and the fee will vary based on the size of its crate.
Sam Kemmis
Jennifer Calonia
By Jennifer Calonia and  Sam Kemmis 
Edited by June Casagrande
delta pet cargo

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Delta Air Lines passengers who plan on flying with pets have a few options, depending on their animal’s size and species and their destination. If your furry companion requires a pet carrier size that won’t fit under the plane seat in front of you, one alternative is Delta Air Lines pet cargo.

Before shipping your pet, here are the Delta pet policies to be aware of.

The Delta Air Lines’ pet policy

If you’re planning a trip with your pet, be familiar with Delta’s pet policy ahead of time to be prepared when the embargo is lifted. Only small dogs, cats and household birds can be brought into the cabin as a carry-on. Delta pet cargo allows a wide range of species, with a few exceptions. That means you’ll need to use Delta’s pet cargo if you intend on traveling with your pet chinchilla.

The Delta pet policy also has other requirements. For example, your pet must meet age requirements, and the use of certain items on your pet is restricted during transport (for example, choke collars or radio-controlled collars).

Your pet must meet all of Delta’s pet policy rules for a safe and comfortable journey.

Pet carrier size matters

Your pet’s carrier has to meet Delta’s guidelines, too. An appropriately sized carrier will not only keep them physically secure during the flight, but can also reduce stress.

To fly Delta, your pet’s carrier must be big enough so that your pet can sit and stand without having to crouch. Its ears must not be able to touch the roof of the carrier in these positions. Additionally, the carrier must be large enough to let your pet turn around without effort, as well as lie down comfortably and naturally.

International pet travel rules differ

Flying with pets overseas on Delta has another set of rules and regulations. Notably, the airline's cargo doesn’t offer shipping of warm-bodied pets for flights longer than 12 hours.

Also, research the international pet travel guidelines of your destination country. For example, Australia doesn’t allow animals transported in the cargo hold into the country, and Delta permits only dogs, cats, ferrets, insects and fish between the U.S. and U.K.

Upon arrival at your destination, pets might also be required to quarantine. Pets arriving in Hawaii, for example, need to quarantine for 120 days in Honolulu, where the only quarantine facility in the state is located.

Before finalizing your travel arrangements, read up on the most current regulations for your destination.

Delta Air Lines pet cargo requires its own booking

Unlike a piece of luggage you can check without notice, animals flying in Delta's pet cargo need a reservation. If you’re flying domestically, you can book a reservation up to 14 days ahead of your departure. Contact Delta at 800-221-1212 to make arrangements.

Passengers with an international itinerary must arrange a Delta pet cargo reservation through a third-party pet shipper. Shippers must be approved by the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association.

Delta pet cargo cost

So, how much does it cost to fly dogs on Delta? What about other animals?

The Delta pet cargo cost varies depending on factors like the size of your pet’s kennel, the origin and destination and the size and weight of your pet. Contact the airline or pet shipping service directly to get an exact rate.

Compare that with bringing your pet on board as a carry-on (if possible), which has fees of $95 each way if you’re flying to or from the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Most pet-friendly airlines

In our most recent analysis on flying with pets, we ranked the major U.S. airlines on various factors including fees, types of animals allowed, whether you can bring pets in cargo and number of pets allowed per passenger, among other facrtors.

Here's how they stacked up:

Delta pet cargo, recapped

With Delta's pet cargo service on embargo indefinitely, you’ll need to make other arrangements if your pet doesn’t meet carry-on requirements. This might include flying on another airline that offers pet cargo service. At this time, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines offer limited pet cargo service to their passengers.

If Delta’s dog policy and rules for other pets don’t work for you, consider an alternative travel method, like driving, or leave your pet under the care of a friend, relative or pet-boarding facility for the duration of your trip.

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