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Flying with Fido? Don’t Take Delta!

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Over half of all airline-related pet deaths last year occurred on Delta Airlines, according to a report from the Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement Agency, a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Of the 35 pets that died in-flight in 2011, 19 were on Delta flights. A spokesman for Delta said, “The loss of any pet is unacceptable to us. We are working to improve the process and procedures to ensure that every pet arrives safely at its destination.” According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution report, Delta’s spokesman went on to explain that the reason deaths on their airline are so high is because of Delta’s vast route network, that the number of deaths or injuries to dogs on their flights is less than 0.2% of all of those that fly on their planes.

The most recent procedure change by Delta happened last December when the airline banned “short-faced” or brachycephalic dogs, like Boston Terriers or French Bulldogs from traveling in the cargo hold (the checked luggage section) of their planes. Since dogs use breathing to regulate their body temperatures, the shorter faced dogs were the most common type dying in-flight, unable to regulate their body temperatures and prone to respiratory distress.

Letting your dog fly in the cargo hold of ANY plane, not just Delta’s, is a decision you shouldn’t take lightly. Many dogs do just fine in-flight and arrive safely at their destination, but is this a chance you’re willing to take? If not, maybe a pets-only airline is the better choice. At PetAirways, dogs are transported in the cabin, never in the cargo hold, where a flight attendant gives them personal attention and care, checking on them every 15 minutes through the flight.

I would never put my dog in any situation that I, personally, wouldn’t be comfortable with – well, with the exception of walking on a leash – and the thought of packing him up with my luggage to spend several hours in misery, whether he arrived safely or not, is not an option for me.

Have you ever flown your dog in a plane’s cargo hold? Please, share your experience with us.

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  1. Avatar Of Nina



    My new puppy came on United in July 2012. Continental and United merged and they have had problems getting their pet program together I guess. I was told he would arrive at the bag claim at Dulles. They had no record of that when I showed up at bag claim with the paperwork that said where he’d be. Needless to say I freaked out. I had to drive around to 3 different areas before I finally found him. I was appalled. When I tried to leave a complaint on their website, there was a system error of course. It was too much trouble to go through that again.

  2. Avatar Of Becky



    I ave found Delta, over the years, to not be awful with just pets, but with people, too. So, overall, perhaps if all pet parents refused to fly Delta anywhere (with or without) their furbabies, we could get them to listen.

  3. Avatar Of Pegi Dahl

    Pegi Dahl


    There’s more danger with overheating than with cold. Dogs have the ability to withstand frigid temperatures. Most of the deaths on airlines happen on hot days while the plane sits on the tarmack. No circulating air, no water and temperatures in the luggage compartment that could cook an egg.

  4. Avatar Of Britt Malka Britt Malka says:

    Yes, our dog was in the plane’s cargo hold, when we flew from France to Israel. We had not other choice. Only small animals were allowed to be in the cabine with us. I had our cat in his cage under my feet.

    Had we been aware that there were an actual danger about having our dog there, I don’t know what we would have done.

    The staff on ElAl were very nice and gentle. They had turned on the heat for the dog. She was the only animal in the cargo on that flight.

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