Soon you won’t be able to check your dog with your suitcase on Delta flights.
Delta Air Lines, stated on its website that it will no longer allow customers to check their pets with their baggage after March 1, 2016, unless passengers are a member of the military with active transfer orders or require service animals. Certain pets can still travel in the cabin for a fee, and a Delta spokesperson says they can travel in the cargo hold of an aircraft after the policy takes effect when shipped as freight via its Delta Cargo service. Prices for Delta Cargo shipping range from $193 to $1,481.
The move may have been prompted by Delta’s history of pet incidents. The airline has recorded the highest number of pet deaths between May 2005 and September 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. On Delta flights alone, 74 pets have died in the 10-year time period, accounting for about 25% of all recorded airline pet deaths in the U.S., and 14 pets have gone missing. However, these numbers are just a small percentage of the thousands of pets that travel on airlines each year.
Delta imposed restrictions on pet travel in the cargo compartment in 2011, banning snub-nosed dogs and cats from being checked after a number of incidents with breeds with respiratory problems, according to The Atlanta Constitution-Journal. However, 24 pet deaths on Delta flights were recorded by the Department of Transportation after December 2011.
Once the new policy goes into effect, American Airlines AAL, -1.08% will be the only U.S.-based airline to allow pets to travel in the checked-baggage compartment of its airplanes, according to data from travel review website BringFido.com. Other airlines, like JetBlue JBLU, -1.60% United Airlines UAL, -0.05% and Southwest LUV, +0.37% don’t allow animals to travel in the cargo compartment. The Humane Society of the United States doesn’t support pets traveling in cargo: “We strongly discourage having your pet travel by air in the cargo hold of a plane,” its policy states. “It can be dangerous and stressful.”
Delta didn’t respond to a request for comment, but in 2013 it required travelers provide a health certificate for pets that are traveling on the same flight as the owner, which must be issued within 10 days of transport. The company advises on its website that customers take extra care when traveling with animals: “Your pet is an important member of your family. Review the health, kennel and weather requirements listed below to help keep your pets safe and secure during travel.”
Republished from MarketWatch.com