Delta Air Lines to No Longer Accept Pets as Checked Baggage
E ffective as of Tuesday, March 1, 2016, Delta Air Lines will no longer accept pets as checked baggage; but in the meantime, you will still be able to travel with a pet as checked baggage through Monday, February 29, 2016. Also, representatives of Delta Air Lines will contact customers with bookings after March 1, 2016 which are known to include pets as checked bags.
Allowable pets will continue to be transported in all cabins of service on aircraft operated by Delta Air Lines — except Delta One
Pets may also be shipped as freight through Delta Cargo for travel within the United States
Members of the military with active transfer orders will be allowed to transport a pet as checked baggage
Delta will continue to accept service and emotional support animals which comply with federal regulations and include proper documentation
Pets which are transported via Delta Cargo are supposedly 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.
Possible Reasons for No Pets as Checked Baggage
Although the exact reasons were not officially publicly disclosed by Delta Air Lines, the change in policy may be an effort to reduce liability on the part of Delta Air Lines — as pets have been lost in the past — and possibly to also increase revenue…
Could this policy be to keep the airplane clean and not cause an emergency landing due to unexpected and excessive dog excrement, as reportedly occurred on an aircraft operating as US Airways flight 598 from Los Angeles to Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 28, 2014? Flight attendants supposedly ran out of paper towels while attempting to clean up a second mess left in the aisle by the large dog, which reportedly defecated three times during the flight — resulting in some passengers becoming ill, causing the diversion of the flight to Kansas City.
Let us concentrate on the first two reasons…
Loss of Pets
Although it has not been a rampant problem with Delta Air Lines, the implementation of this new policy could be to mitigate — or even eliminate — the loss of pets before, during or after flights. After all, even losing one pet is one pet too many to lose — especially if you happen to be the owner of that pet.
Here are four examples over the years of when pets were reportedly lost by Delta Air Lines:
Crew members of Delta Air Lines reportedly lost a cat back in January of 2011 when they were loading it onto an airplane in Egypt back in when it reportedly escaped its enclosure, causing its owner to be outraged.
A dog was lost in May of 2010 when it was supposed to be on a flight from Atlanta to Puerto Vallarta but it reportedly escaped, causing its owner to vow to never fly as a passenger on flights operated by Delta Air Lines ever again.
After having reported extensively on service animals and emotional support animals — there are distinct differences between the two designations; and links to the articles are listed below — I predict that this policy will only cause more people to attempt to register their pets as “emotional support animals” in order to avoid paying the increased costs of transporting a pet.
Airlines have as much right to profit from transporting animals as they do from transporting humans; but I believe that the airlines should work with governments to resolve the issue of emotional support animals — whose designation virtually has no governance or oversight — versus bonafide service animals, as current regulations from the federal government of the United States leave a gaping loophole seemingly fraught with abuse by passengers who defraud airlines by “registering” their pets as “emotional support animals” for the sole purpose of transporting their pets free of charge.
For additional information and details, please refer to the aforementioned list of linked articles.