Guide to Delta Air Lines’ Pet Policy

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated February 7, 2024

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Comprehensive guide to Delta Airlines' pet policy for flying with dogs.

Traveling with a pet can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing the rules and regulations associated with pet travel can help make the journey smoother and more enjoyable. This article provides a comprehensive guide to Delta Airlines’ pet policy for dogs so that you can make your trip stress-free.

While you’re researching, be sure to check out our articles on United Airlines’ pet policy and American Airlines’ pet policy. Learn more about airline-approved pet carriers too!

What is the cheapest way to transport a pet?

Typically, ground transport is the cheapest way to transport a pet.  Longer trips using a transportation service, like CitizenShipper, typically average around $1.00 per mile.  Using a pet transportation service ensures your pet arrives in your new location safely, while minimizing stress and overall cost.

How much does it cost to ship a pet internationally? 

While shipping your pet domestically is a relatively straightforward process, international shipping can be more complicated.  Hiring a pet transport service to help with international logistics can save a tremendous amount of stress and time. Each country of arrival will have specific regulations regarding pet health checks, necessary vaccination, and possible quarantine requirements.  The cost to ship a pet internationally can vary, especially if you need to board your pet for an extended quarantine.

How much does it cost to transport cats?

The cost to transport cats will vary depending on the transport method.  Cats can be transported via ground or air transit, and are often small enough to be considered a “carry on” item.  Transporting a cat can cost as little as $25 on Amtrak, or as much as $125 to fly in the main cabin of an airplane.

How much does it cost to travel with a small pet?

Traveling with a small pet, compared to a large pet, is much cheaper.  Smaller pets can fit under the seat in front of you and can often qualify as a “carry on” item.  Traveling with small pets on Amtrak can cost $25, while airlines can charge around $125.  Keep in mind certain companies will only allow cats and dogs to travel.

What does it cost to ship a puppy?

While puppies are small enough to fly in most airline cabins, they can incur additional costs.  Puppies generally require more attention, and therefore can be more expensive than shipping an adult dog or cat. Many breeders will utilize an air nanny service to accompany your puppy.  If the air nanny is experienced, or a regular, certain airlines may provide discounted rates or waive certain fees.  Breeders regularly ship puppies to their new homes and are well-versed in arranging transportation.

Understanding Delta Air Lines’ Pet Policy for Traveling with Pets

Carry-On Pets

Small dogs, cats, and household birds are able to travel in the main cabin. You can pay for the one-way fee at the special services check-in counter. Your pet should be in a soft-sided carrier that is ventilated. There is a first-come, first service policy on pets in the main cabin, so you should call well in advance to secure that coveted spot.


  • Your pet should be 8 weeks old or older for domestic travel.
  • Your pet should be 16 weeks old if traveling from another country to the US. Furthermore, your pet has to be 15 weeks old when traveling to the European Union.
  • Only 1 pet is permitted per carrier.

Kennel Requirements

  • Your pet needs to be small enough to fit comfortably in the carrier and should be able to move without touching or sticking out from the sides.
  • Your  carrier must fit underneath the seat in front of you.
  • Your carrier must be leak proof and  have ventilated openings on three sides for domestic travel and four sides for international travel.
  • Your carrier must have the following maximum dimensions: 18” x 11” x 11”.
  • Your pet must be inside of the carrier at all times. 


One-way ticket prices are $95 for domestic travel, $200 for international travel, and $75 if you are traveling to Brazil.

Cargo Pets

If you have a large pet, then it will have to go in the cargo hold. Your pet will have to go in a hard sided kennel. You need to call the Delta Cargo customer service center no more than 14 days before departure. Unfortunately your pet is not guaranteed to be flying on the same flight AS you. When you are about to check in, you need to drop off your pet at the Delta Cargo location and you should arrive 4 to 6 hours before your flight is scheduled to take off. Delta Airlines also states that the cutoff time for pet check in is 2.5 hours for domestic travel and 4 hours for international travel.

Restrictions and Requirements

  • Your carrier must allow your pet to stand up and move around at all times.
  • Your pet should also be used to being in the carrier.
  • Your pet must have a health certificate that states that it is medically fit to travel via air within 10 days of travel.
  • If traveling internationally, an international health certificate is required, filled out by a USDA-registered veterinarian within 10 days of travel.
  • The use of tranquilizers or sedatives is not allowed.
  • Your pet will not be allowed to travel if the temperature is above 80 degrees Fahrenheit or below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

In conclusion, Delta Air Lines has a clear and comprehensive pet policy that allows certain types of pets to travel with their owners. The airline requires pet carriers to meet specific size and dimension requirements, and international travel with pets must adhere to strict guidelines. Military personnel traveling with pets can also take advantage of special considerations provided by Delta. Bringing a pet on a Delta flight incurs additional fees, which vary based on the destination and type of pet. To ensure a smooth experience when traveling with your furry friend, make sure to review Delta’s pet policy in advance and follow all guidelines accordingly.

Traveling with a dog can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing the rules and regulations associated with pet travel can help make the journey smoother and more enjoyable. This article provided a comprehensive guide to Delta Airlines’ pet policy for dogs so that you can make your trip stress-free.