Delta to Stop Accepting Pets as Checked Baggage With One Notable Exception (Not the Foreign Service)

Posted: 12:59 am EDT
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On November 16, Delta announced that it 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. Customers may also ship pets for travel within the United States as freight through Delta Cargo. There is only one notable exception to this new policy: Members of the military with active transfer orders will be allowed to transport a pet as checked baggage. Delta says it will continue to accept service and emotional support animals that comply with federal regulations including proper documentation.  Below is part of the announcement:

“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 – 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.”

Pets that are transported via Delta Cargo are monitored closely by customer service teams during their travel. 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.

With the change effective March 1, customers will be able to travel with a pet as checked baggage through Feb. 29. Also, Delta will contact customers with bookings after March 1 that are known to include pets as checked bags.

Guidance for customers traveling with pets can be found at, but customers choosing to ship a pet with Delta Cargo should note that:

— 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 to find an approved member to assist with their transportation requirements.

A member of the Foreign Service who spoke with Delta multiple times including a supervisor was told the airline will NOT extend the exception to Foreign Service or any other USG employees, only to active duty military members on orders. We’ve verified with Delta, see below:


The Fly America Act, 49 U.S.C. App. 1517, as implemented in the Comptroller General’s guidelines, Decision B-138942, March 31, 1981, requires Federal employees and their dependents, consultants, contractors, grantees, and others performing United States Government financed foreign air travel to travel by U.S. flag air carriers.

As of this writing United and American Airlines still allow travel with pet as checked baggage. Plan ahead!

UnitedU.S. military and State Department pet exceptions | Select military and government personnel and their dependents may transport their pet dog or cat as checked baggage when they are traveling on official orders.

American Airlines: Traveling With Pets


One response

  1. Won’t be surprised when Delta becomes the next major airline to go under, joining suchg esteemed names in commercial aviation as Eastern, Braniff, Pan Am, and TWA.