Flying your favorite furry friend on Delta Air Lines is about to get a little less convenient, and more expensive, starting next year, as the carrier announced that it will no longer allow travelers to ferry their pets from one place to another as checked baggage.
The airline announced Tuesday that starting March 1, 2016 Delta will only allow bigger animals to be flown on its cargo service. Delta will contact customers with bookings after March 1 that are known to include pets as checked bags.
There are a few exceptions to the new policy: members of the military with active transfer orders, as well as service and emotional support animals can continue to be flown as checked baggage.
Small dogs and cats, those that fit in a pet carrier under a seat, can continue to fly in the cabin with their owners — for a fee, of course.
“Many of us at Delta are pet lovers and we know that they are important members of the family,” Bill Lentsch, Senior Vice President – Airport Customer Service and Cargo Operations, said in a statement. “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.”
Passengers planning to fly their larger pets with the cargo service should be prepared to jump through a few hoops and pay a bit more for the option.
Pets shipped via the cargo service require a separate booking, which cannot be done for domestic bookings until 14 days before departure.
Dropping off your pet for the trip can also be an issue, as the airline requires the animals to be delivered and retrieved directly from the cargo location.
Additionally, Delta can’t guarantee that pets will be placed on the same flight as their owners, which means travelers may have to return to the airport.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the cost for shipping a pet can be a bit pricey, with rates ranging from $193 to $1,481.18.
The change comes after the airline has faced several issues related to the deaths or misplacement of pets on their flights.