Traveling with a pet can be complicated if you don’t understand the rules and regulations of the airlines and the countries you are traveling to. In this guide, I will not only take you through all that you need to know about Delta Airlines’ pet policy, but I’ll share the requirements, restrictions, and limitations of traveling to some popular countries as well.
What is the Delta Airlines pet policy?
Passengers can travel with their pets as a carry-on or ship them via Delta Cargo as long as they provide all the necessary carriers for the pet(s), supply any needed documents, and pay the fees. I’ll take you through all of these requirements in detail below.
Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!
What are the fees for traveling with your pets as a carry-on with Delta Airlines?
Small dogs, cats, and household birds can all travel with you in the cabin for a one-way fee, collected each time you board a Delta Airlines flight. As per Delta Airlines policy, household birds are allowed on domestic U.S. flights only, excluding Hawaii, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
All animals must fit in a small, well-ventilated pet carrier that fits under the set in front of you. If your pet is too large to fit then you need to consider shipping through Delta Cargo which I have explained in a separate section later below.
Note: Pets in kennels brought in the cabin count as your one carry-on item. In addition to the kennel, Delta allows you to bring one personal item onboard the aircraft.
The following fees apply to/from the following destinations.
|To/ From Destination||Fee each time you check-in*|
|The U.S./ Canada/ Peurto Rico||USD 125|
|U.S. Virgin Islands/ International||USD 200/CAD/EUR**|
* These fees are for each way of travel, meaning if your itinerary includes multiple stops, you will be charged the relevant fee every time you board to a destination.
** CAD amount will be charged to exit Canada, while EUR amount will be charged to exit Europe. These fees are established by the contract of carriage in effect at the time of ticket issuance.
How to avoid Delta Airline pet fees
One of the simplest ways to avoid pet fees at Delta is to use the right travel rewards credit card. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a great card for general travel expenses and since these expenses will often code as travel points, it can be used to offset airline pet fees. Other cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve have a $300 travel credit that could be used on virtually any type of travel purchase, including pet fees.
Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!
Carry-On Pet Exceptions and Embargos
When traveling to or from the following destinations on Delta, pets are only permitted to travel as cargo. There is, however, an exception for service animals. When traveling to Hawaii, pets are strictly not permitted in the cabin and other restrictions may also apply.
A good idea is to go through the current Delta pet travel restrictions based on your destination and/or connecting flights before you book your seats.
As of the date of publishing this post, there is a temporary suspension for dogs traveling within a 6 month period from countries that the CDC considers high risk for dog rabies. The only way around this is to obtain advance written approval from the CDC. This CDC Dog Import Permit applies to all carry-on pets, those traveling via cargo, and even service animals.
The following countries are on the exception list.
- Brazil – Exit Brazil
- Colombia – Exit Colombia
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Republic of Ireland
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United Arab Emirates (including Dubai)
If you have a ticket that was purchased for travel from Brazil or Colombia to the U.S. on or after June 7th, 2021, carry-on pets will no longer be allowed with you. Tickets purchased before this date will be honored, however. This embargo does not apply to trained service animals.
Delta Airlines carry-on pet rules
If your furry friend is going to be accompanying you on a Delta flight then here are the rules you need to keep in mind
For the safety and comfort of all passengers, Delta Airlines allows a fixed number of pets on their aircraft. This means that acceptance is on a first-come, first-serve basis. You should call Delta in advance at 800-221-1212 to arrange to bring your pet on board.
Also, keep in mind that those traveling with a service animal or an emotional support animal will not be allowed to carry an additional pet in the cabin. For your reference, here is the total fixed number of pets Delta allows on their flights depending on the ticket class and destination .
|Ticket Class||Total number of pets per flight||Observations|
|Domestic flights including First Class, Business Class, and Delta One||2||Carry on pets are not allowed in any cabin with flat-bed seats|
|International flights including First Class, Business Class, Delta One, and Delta Premium||0||Not permitted regardless of aircraft or destination. The only exception is service animals and emotional support animals|
|Domestic and International including the main cabin||4||Restrictions may apply|
Additionally, carry-on pets are not permitted in the following areas:
- Bulkhead, emergency exit rows
- Seats designated as “no stowage”
- Flat-bed seats
- Rows 30-35 on the A330-200 aircraft
- Rows 30-43 on the A330 -300 aircraft
- Center seats on the B757-200 aircraft
Emotional support animals and Service Animals
Starting January 11, 2021, Delta Airlines no longer recognizes emotional support animals as service animals. You can of course still carry them as a regular carry-on pet as per the rules and regulations.
Also starting January 11, 2021, Delta now only recognizes dogs as service animals. Travelers with disabilities who require a service animal must fill out the U.S. DOT Service Animal Air Travel Form. You can find Delta’s complete guide to service animals here.
Military and Foreign Service Officer’s Pets
As a special policy, pets traveling with active U.S. Military or Active U.S State Department Foreign Service Officers (FSO) or their spouses with active transfer orders are transported as checked baggage. For detailed information on the rules and regulations for this category, you can visit here.
All animals must be small enough to comfortably fit in their kennel and they must not touch or protrude from the sides of the kennel. Pets must also be able to move around comfortably in their container.
Please also note that the hard or soft-sided kennels must be leak-proof and have ventilation on 3 sides (4 sides if you are traveling to an international destination)
Sedating your animals is not recommended as the effects of pressurized cabins can be unpredictable. Sedation sometimes causes breathing issues with animals as well. In case you have sedated your pet please inform Delta Airlines crew before you board your flight.
Space and Size
All kennels must fit under the seat directly in front of you. Since the space under the seat in front varies from aircraft to aircraft, Delta recommends a soft-sided Kennel with maximum dimensions of 18” x 11” x 11” that will fit most aircraft.
Pet must always be in the container
Your pet must never leave the container whether you are at the airport, the Delta boarding area, a Delta airport lounge including Delta Sky Club, or onboard the aircraft. The doors to the kennel must always be secured properly.
Your pet’s age
For domestic travel, the pet must be at least 10 weeks. For travel to and from European countries, the pet must be 15 weeks or older. For all other international destinations, your pet must be at least 16 weeks old.
While there is no maximum age for your animal as it varies greatly from pet to pet, it is advised that aging pets should not be subjected to the stresses of air travel.
Animal breed restrictions
Brachycephalic (snub-nosed) dogs and cats and their mixes are not permitted on Delta or Delta Connection flights. See Delta Cargo, for a full list of embargoed dog and cat breeds.
Counts as a carry-on item
Your pet’s kennel will count as one carry-on item, meaning you will be allowed to bring only one additional personal item onboard the aircraft. Everything else must be checked in.
Exceptions to the single pet per kennel rule
- Exception 1: A female dog or cat is allowed per kennel with her un-weaned litter. The litter must be a minimum of 10 weeks old to 6 months of age. There is no restriction on the number of animals in the litter.
- Exception 2: You are allowed 2 pets of the same breed and size between the age of 10 weeks and 6 months in a kennel, provided that they are small enough to comfortably fit into the kennel and are compatible. In this case, they will be charged as 1 pet.
Delta Sky Club
All the above rules that apply to pets onboard aircraft also apply to any Delta Sky Club. Pets may never leave the container and if required a Delta representative can help you find a pet relief area that is available at most airports.
Delta Airlines cargo policy
Transporting your animal through cargo can be stressful for them. When you are bringing them along as a carry-on, at least you are there to comfort them. With cargo, they no longer have that comfort.
However, if you are in a situation where you cannot accompany your pet for some reason or if your pet is too large to be carried in the cabin then you will have to use cargo. Please note that the Animal Breed Restriction and tips on Sedation/ Tranquilizers mentioned above in carry-on rules, also apply to sending animals through cargo.
Do visit Delta’s International & Connections Pet Travel Guide for the latest rules and restrictions for all key international and long-haul destinations.
A current health certificate by a licensed veterinarian is required within 10 days of the travel date for your pet. It must have the following details.
- Name and address of the shipper.
- Tag numbers or tattoos assigned to the animal.
- Age of the animal being shipped: USDA regulations require animals to be at least 8 weeks old and fully weaned before traveling by cargo domestically, at least 16 weeks old before traveling to the U.S. from other countries, and at least 15 weeks old for European travel.
- A statement declaring the animal to be in good health (all animals that are pregnant must be declared in the statement).
- List of administered inoculations when applicable.
- Your veterinarian’s signature and seal (if applicable).
- Date of issue of the certificate.
Live Animal Checklist/Confirmation of Feeding
You must complete a live animal checklist when you bring your pet in for cargo at Delta Airlines. In it, you must confirm that the animal has been given food and water within four hours of check-in. Additionally, you have to provide feeding instructions and if your pet needs to be fed again during transit, you must provide the food as well.
Delta Airlines has a policy of not transporting pets during extreme temperatures for the safety of the animals themselves. This includes temperatures exceeding 80˚F (27˚C) or temperatures falling below 20˚F (-7˚C), at any point during the route. A Certificate of Acclimation is required when temperatures fall between 20˚F (-7˚C) and 45˚F (7˚C).
The Delta Airlines pet travel policies are simple enough to understand. You will be paying between $75 and $200 depending on your destination. You must ensure to follow all the rules and observe the restrictions that we have listed above and you will be set to go.
UponArriving has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. UponArriving and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.