Has Delta Just Innovated Traveling With Pets?

Filed Under: Delta

Yesterday the US Department of Transportation opened a 60 day public commenting period regarding new restrictions that would allow airlines to stop accepting emotional support animals onboard.

On the same day, Delta announced what they’re calling an industry first, claiming that they’re launching “an innovative solution for pet travel,” which they claim is a “best-in-class travel experience for pets and their owners.”

I’m sure the timing of this announcement wasn’t a coincidence, so what exactly are they introducing?

Delta’s new CarePod partnership

The way I see it, unfortunately Delta isn’t really innovating pet travel. Rather they’re just trying to make the cruel process of transporting pets in the cargo hold a bit less cruel, and a bit safer.

This is part of an exclusive partnership between Delta and CarePod, where they’re introducing a new pet travel carrier that provides many new features.

Delta claims that it took five years of research, development, and testing, to get to this point. Furthermore, the airline has successfully tested this for a two month period.

CarePod will initially be offered on flights from eight US locations — Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York (JFK and LaGuardia), San Francisco, and West Palm Beach. On top of that there will be a phased approach to rolling this out across Delta’s entire US network.

What makes the Delta CarePod pet travel carrier so different? It has several safety features, which Delta describes as follows:

  • Stronger, industrial strength walls that are insulated to protect your pet against potential temperature fluctuations when moving between different climates and travel conditions
  • Multi-layered windows and doors with specially angled blinds to help create a calming environment for pets by blocking out visual stress from unfamiliar environments
  • The world’s first built-in hydration system for pet travel carriers, holding up to a liter of water that will auto replenish the spill-proof water bowl to ensure pets always have easy access to fresh water
  • A powerful, enterprise level GPS tracking and monitoring system that connects your pet’s journey directly to the specialized Delta Cargo Control Center; the Center is managed 24/7/365 by trained experts who supervise and digitally monitor every CarePod pet journey from beginning to end, with the expertise and authority to send out the right staff on the ground to check on the pet if needed
  • Seamless connectivity that enables you to use your mobile phone to view your pet’s key travel updates throughout their entire journey via deltacargo.com
  • CarePod pet travel carriers are made to the highest quality and standard, with human grade materials that are non-toxic, UV and antibacterial treated for longer lasting strength and protection

How about some real pet travel innovation?

As I said yesterday, I’d love to see an airline actually innovate when it comes to pet travel. I totally understand people don’t want a 100 pound slobbering dog right next to them in an economy seat that already has no room. But there has to be a better option than what airlines are currently offering.

I fully acknowledge that:

  • The current emotional support animal system is widely abused, and that it’s not practical to have animals just walked onto planes and squeezed into the foot area of tight seats when they’re way too big
  • Some people get emotional support animal certifications for their pets so they can get out of paying the pet fee for flying with their dogs
  • Some people are allergic to pets, and that needs to be addressed

But I think others also need to acknowledge that:

  • Putting pets in a cargo hold is incredibly cruel, and carries a non-insignificant risk
  • There are situations where air transport is the only practical way to travel with pets (driving cross country, or crossing the Atlantic on a ship, simply isn’t practical sometimes)
  • Two thirds of American families have pets, and most consider them part of the family

While I don’t think airlines are wrong for wanting to crack down, I wish we’d see them introduce some other option rather than just putting your pet over 20 pounds in the cargo hold. Airlines love generating ancillary revenue, so where is the innovation?!

How about authorizing certain pet carriers in the cabin, in conjunction with buying a seat (or two) for that dog? Airlines would limit the total number of pets allowed on a flight, and could mark the seatmap to indicate where pets are “assigned,” so that people can choose to avoid that area if they’d like.

That’s just one small idea, though I’m sure there are much better potential systems out there.

While I totally get some people are in favor of the DOT changing the rules here, I also think some compassion would go a long way. Many simply argue “well you’re an idiot for being emotionally attached to your pet.” We’ve gotta be able to do better than that…

Bottom line

I commend Delta for working to make flying safer for pets. The casualty rate for pets in cargo holds is still too high, and this is a step in the right direction, both in terms of safety features, and in terms of keeping humans in the loop about the whereabouts of their four-legged family members.

However, it’s also really sad that this is considered best-in-class, and is the best concept that an airline can come up with for traveling with pets.

  1. Amen, Lucky. The reason the ESA program in place is so abused is that there are no other options for people wanting to travel with pets. I don’t understand why they don’t make this an option that is available for a fee. Heck, make me buy out the full row to travel with my dog… I might not do it every time but having the option available would be fantastic.

  2. this is gimmicky af. you can over-engineer a box all you want but people still won’t trust airlines with their pets, especially not in the cargo.

  3. “The most significant amendments here are that:

    Emotional support animals would be limited to dogs”

    = Service dogs

  4. Delta was actually great when I took my small dog from Boston to London (we’ve relocated here for a couple years), though they were also the only option available, as no other direct flights would allow a dog in the cabin.

    I agree that it is pretty shocking that they haven’t made it easier to pay extra for bringing a pet with you. It’s easily something we would have paid a great deal for to ensure we could travel with him comfortably and safely.

  5. Airlines can’t expect us to check our animals as cargo and then trust them when several times a year you read stories about an animal dying in cargo because the airline forgot they were there and didn’t pressurize/climate control the cargo hold, so the dog suffocated/froze to death. Um, no, I am not trusting you with my kid when you regularly kill them.

  6. What ever happened to the neighbors taking care of Sparky while you’re away on vacation for a couple weeks? Pets need to go everywhere with us now?

  7. A Pet – a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility.

    First off – I have been a pet owner for over 17 yrs – including a 14 yr old lab whom was my first baby and having to put him down still tears me apart. So I am appreciative of our furry friends and companionship they provide.

    That being said – I am tired of seeing people treat their ‘pets’ like humans. I am all too often around people who won’t even leash their pets because it is “cruel”. Nobody is forcing anyone to fly on a plane. You choose to fly – you choose to either kennel your animals, or you choose to put them in the cargo – plain and simple. You chose to get an animal, you chose to move somewhere away from your family – man, I am just sick of hearing people belly ache about this stuff. When we got a dog – we chose to have that inconvenience at times. So why should I look to an airline (whose sole creation was to move human people, as well as cargo) to make special accommodation to pets? So because of a pet owner – the other 150+ people on a plane DON’T HAVE A CHOICE to not sit with that animal on a plane? C’mon…

    This reminds me of back in the day when smoking was allowed on planes…

  8. I agree Lucky. People who are snow birds and live half a year one place and half a year the other place, people who are moving cross country or to Hawaii or overseas, I can think of tons of people who really want a better, more humane, safer way to transport their pet.

  9. Leave your pets at home with family or a friend. Pets don’t belong on planes. Its really as simple as that

  10. My little boy Jango, a Manchester Terrier, is sitting right here beside me now, and he is truly the light of my life. After the horror of Virgin Australia leaving him on the tarmac in 30° celsius (about 85 fahrenheit+) heat for around 20-30 minutes when we moved permanently from Melbourne to Brisbane in April, I would drive for 48 hours cross country rather than have this re-occur.

    The odd thing is that I would have paid probably AU$1000 to have him travel instead with us in the cabin, were it allowed. Buy him a seat? Sure. Buy him two seats? No problem. Take my godamned money!

  11. @Chas Dumb comment. This isn’t about people who bring their pets with them on 2 week trips, there are people who need to move across the country, or sometimes to other continents, and want their pets with them.

  12. I’d buy a seat in F for my dog before checking into the cargo hold. Granted they would stay in the crate the whole time.

    Most dogs are better behaved than a majority of the general public…

  13. Of course in my dog loving world. I wish airlines would designate even just one flight a week East coast to west coast and New England to Florida that would be dog planes: ) Us dog lovers would pay whatever and I bet it would be sold out each flight. To be able to take my goldens on a plane instead of driving would be worth it.

  14. A pet, however the owner puts it, is a piece of property. It is not a human being.
    There is no reason pets cannot be put in cargo hold. If you are worried about a pet being damaged or destroyed, then you might try getting an insurance for it. It is what other people with valuable cargo (many of them worth much more than a pet, with emotional attachment sometimes – think of a Stradivarius for a violinist) do. If the risk of carrying your property is not worth it, then leave at home, and hire a caretaker. Plain and simple.

  15. I have to disagree with the carrying pets in the passenger compartment of the plane. I have a few friends who would be sneezing constantly if a pet was in the plane with them (allergic).

    Also in terms of customs (internationally) requirements you would then just drop your pet off for the quarantine period. Yet having the pet in the passenger compartment could result in things entering the country that shouldn’t

  16. I love pets, but if you want to travel, do not have pets…leave them with friends or family, or board them. If you are moving then drive with them. Airplanes are not where they belong. I cannot believe cats are even allowed considering how many people are allergic to them. People who put the well being of pets in front of humans are inhumane.

  17. “Us dog lovers would pay whatever and I bet it would be sold out each flight.”
    I’ll take that bet. Companies operating in a competitive market will respond accordingly if demand is there for a particular product or service. The fact that it doesn’t exist tells me no one has determined they can make money off the venture.

  18. Most airlines have a policy that animals are not allowed on seats. They must be on the floor at all times. This is probably a safety and sanitation issue. So allowing passengers to buy a seat for their dog won’t happen

  19. It is interesting how cruel some of you are not realizing how a pet could be viewed just about like a human being to their owner, instead of say like a laptop or other property. Also some of the comments don’t address the issue of a person moving with their pet and not just going on vacation.

  20. @David – dumb comment yourself. Of course this includes people bringing their pets for vacations, weekend excursions, etc. The vast majority (shall I say 98% of people maybe) flying domestically are NOT MOVING…simply traveling someplace.

    @Boston – stating a pet is an animal, and property, and not a human is not “cruel” – it is reality! This “my pet is worth a human” mentality is exactly what is wrong. To you (pet owner) – they represent human bonding, etc. To everyone else – they are a dog, a cat, a bird!

    This “address a person is moving” mentality is crazy! Pack your stuff in a moving truck, then pack youself, your kids, your pets (whatever) in your car and drive to your new home!!! Or rent a car so that FIDO doesn’t have to ride in a cargo space. How many people simply go to a new place (domestic) via airplane only? C’mon. (Moving International is a whole different can of worms).

    People stop pushing your problems (of owning a pet) onto everyone else including the airlines!!

  21. @Jay What is wrong with you? “Get insurance and deal with it”? Its a living breathing creature that you have a relationship with, not a musical instrument or necklace. What an absolutely absurd comparison. Also, this site loves the “just pay for X” solution to every problem, as if people can afford anything. Again, this isn’t about people bringing their dog to Sarasota with them for vacation. Its relocation, extended stays, etc… The detached arrogance of this comment section continually baffles me

  22. @JWags-The detached arrogance of rhetorically placing the needs and welfare of animals over humans like you and many others are doing in this comment section continually baffles me. Yes, animals are living breathing creatures. But no, their needs and welfare should not trump that of humans on the plane, some of whom are allergic to them and are affected for days after a flight after being in close proximity to them.

  23. @JBR There are valid arguments to both sides. Ive been on a transpacific flight where an “emotional support” German Shepard sat in bulkhead, which seemed a bit extreme. I don’t think people should have free reign to bring whatever pets they want in the main cabin, however, flippantly disregarding people’s concerns for pets and their treatment in cargo and stating they are merely property or “utility” is also unnecessarily callous. I didn’t speak to forcing everyone to deal with Fido or Kitty next to them in economy, but rather people brushing aside any sort of discomfort with the current and dangerous gamble of putting animals in cargo.

  24. @RDog Try a little reading comprehension. R-Dog assumed everyone who wants to put a dog on a plane is going on vacation (aka a straw man argument), when there are legitimate concerns about whether there is a safe way for people to transport their pets for good reasons (like moving, and no you cannot drive from SFO to TYO).

  25. Congrats Delta, the only animals that should be in cabins are service dogs period!!

    I’ll hate to spent any time next to a dog, cat or what else. As there are “pet lovers “ there are “pet haters”

    The only solution that I see is to have this pet cases connected with inside cameras and the pets should go with owners until door plane like baby strollers

  26. As someone who is allergic to pet dander and will get red eyes and start sneezing just being near a dog for a few minutes, seeing more animals in the cabin would suck. But at the same time, I think forcing an animal to be in the cargo hold is both cruel and dangerous.

    Maybe airlines could designate the last row or 2 of a plane for people with animals and give passengers a notification (via email or mobile app) when a passenger with an animal is booked near them. They could also show this on the seating chart when making a booking and selecting seats.

  27. Your over-attachment to an animal should not cause grief to me and everyone else who is allergic to them or doesn’t want to listen to them while stuck in a metal tube with no recourse. Legitimate trained service dogs are the only animal that should be in the passenger cabin of an airplane period. Everything else is a pet and is your problem, not mine.

  28. I’m particularly curious about this topic because, as someone who travels with children, I know the ill will I’ve been shown by other passengers and have read on blogs against kids on planes. And the reality is that the takes are not that different from the comments I see on these kinds of stories i.e. “if you want to have them accept the fact you can’t travel”, “find someone to take care of them”, etc. I’m also someone who’s very allergic to animals.

    I think there are also straw man arguments on both sides, of the “what if people are allergic”-variety and the”people aren’t just going on vacation, they might be relocating”-variety.

    While some may get upset at the idea of having to pay for animals on planes the easiest change to be made would be to treat them like children.

    I always buy seats for my kids, even though one of them is is currently under 2 years old. I’ve never had to but I always have. No one views the rule of having to purchase a seat once children hit two as regressive or out of line, so why don’t they just make it that certain sized animals (cats and dogs) can come on for a smaller flat fee (as JetBlue does) and anything larger has to have a full-fare seat?

    People are right, I don’t have to travel with my children, I choose to. I also pay for that privilege. I think it’s fair for pet owners to be required to do the same.

  29. @Nathan – the “Horror” of a dog bearing 20-30min of 85f.. Are you for real??

    .. what do you think dogs and wolves do in the wild.. turn on their air-conditioning?

    And 85f in Australia.. Get a grip that it wasn’t 120f. Do you really think that 20min is unreasonable. Some of us humans take longer waiting to disembark! Lol

    As someone who does have serious allergies (to cats) I’ve always been concerned that I’ll have a serious case of hives and my airways and breathung closing up over the recycled air – yet there is never any announcements or care..

    Luckily I’ve never been in that situation with cats specifically in an aircraft but to all those who seem to have a ocean of empthay towards their pets: how about a few thoughts for your fellow human beings.

  30. How does limiting which section of the plane is allowed dogs help those who are allergic? When are we going to put people before animals? This is nuts. Leave your pet at home.

  31. @Jay you are out of your mind. You can’t buy insurance for a sentient creature. People worried about their dogs travelling in cargo are not worried about the financial hit.

  32. Did add a DOT comment that the number of dogs should be limited to ONE, not two as per the given write up.
    Should also be a flight limit for number of dogs, but they appear to leave that up to the pilot.
    I’m also allergic, but would have to contact the dog for it to bother me.

  33. @TravelinDandy – You clearly made the contrast in your statement about the difference between having an issue with children next to you in a plane and having animals next to you in a plane. While both children and animals can both be loud and obnoxious, no one is allergic to children in contrast to animals (which you asserted you are allergic to). Animals can therefore be a health hazard to people who are allergic to them, while children clearly are not.

  34. The rates of death for animals transported in cargo is around 1 out of 10,000. It varies by time of year, type of animal and length of flight, but in any case it’s not a large risk. If you drive around with your unrestrained pet in the car that’s going to be far more dangerous.

  35. @Jay 1.It’s cruelty to treat an animal without regard for its physical and mental health. 2. If you actually want to compare (despite the absurd logic), nobody puts a Stradavarius in the cargo hold. You buy an extra seat for it, which is exactly what people want to be able to do for their pets.

  36. I’d be happier if they put the actual children in the cargo hold (along with some adult passengers). I had to put my cats in the pressurized cargo hold for a cross-country move and was on edge the entire time.

  37. There is a true epidemic of having pets onboard..and they are not contained they just walk on with their owners///Also seeing them in Sky clubs sitting on the furniture and eating off plates is over the TOP.. and should not be allowed…

  38. I’d be in favor of having a “pet area” on the flight, most practically at the rear of the aircraft, with extra space for people to put larger pet carriers, or even have their pets out of a carrier. If all pets were aft of all the other passengers on board, this would minimize the allergy issue and it would also allow people who don’t want to be around pets to stay away. Airlines, of course, won’t want to do this because that space can be used for humans and for revenue, BUT what if the pet space could be converted into a last row in the event that there were no large pets on the flight, something like a row of seats that could be added. Then the airline would either get revenue from the pets occupying the space, or it could sell the last row of seats to humans.

  39. Personally I think the emotional support animal thing is abused, but some of us need to bring our pets on planes when we relocate internationally. When I move to Japan and then HK my chocolate lab flew cargo. We paid for a service that minimized time at the airport and whisked her through customs as we had all the paperwork in order. Not cheap but she was a part of the family. She was clearly impacted for the first few days but got over it.

    We are moving back to the US in the fall and I just booked tickets using mikes on United. Our dog is a miniature dachshund and weighs less than 8 pounds. He will be over 17 years old then. Flying cargo would likely kill him as he is a nervous dog to begin with. United only allows pets in economy so we have booked 3 seats for 105k miles plus $48/seat in fees). That way no one will be in our row and we have a little more space, especially for his little carrier. We pay an extra $125, which I am fine with. It is the only way we can return to the US with a member of the family who has been with my husband since he was born. It is great that United allows this, as neither JAL nor ANA allow pets on board. So if you are allergic to dogs, fly on an airline that doesn’t allow pets on board. But I plan to give my business to airlines that are flexible- but no peacocks.

    Flying with pets is hard on them even in the cabin, and people who bring emotional support animals are being cruel to their pets. It should be limited to necessity, not short-term pleasure trips.

  40. I checked this out and the problem with this carrier is it is one-size fits all. My dog is a medium-sized dog and I think he’s too tall to fit in the CarePod. They’ve got to innovate and carry different sizes.

  41. I hate being on flights when people have children let alone animals. I love our but can’t imagine taking her on a plane and subjecting others to that. (Even though she is tiny and we’ll behaved/adorable) It’s so selfish when the animal isn’t a legitimate care dog. People have got options to move there animals about in comfort they just cost lots and normally you don’t travel together. I see a guy above is talking about specific area of the plane for animals. Rather than the current airline classes can we just get routes that have SLA in place to ensure that it’s pleasant people with checked bags only traveling in silence?

  42. with my kids grown up and living on the opposite coast, my little Scottish terrier is my baby…he is 23 pounds, so doesn’t quite fit the “only 20 pounds and below are allowed in the cabin”, but I would never put him in cargo…so off he goes to boarding when I fly to visit my kids, and the whole “family” cannot be together…he is sweet, well-behaved, not a barker…he would be happy to just spend the flight in my lap, and I would happily buy an extra seat to remain empty between us and the next passenger…why or why can’t it be an option???

  43. They should limit the pet to a hypoallergenic dog only, which are small dogs (Yorkie, Maltese). To be certified as an emotional pet, you should have a doctor’s certificate of such and a certificate that the dog has gone through training so they won’t bark. They should travel in a small canvas type carrier that can easily sit on the floor. They should carry proof that vaccinations are up to date. It should also be obvious that the dog has been bathed prior to the trip. They can’t sit on a seat For sanitary reasons unless a travel cover is used. They slip over the headrest and cover the front and seat area. With these compliance’s in place, the emotional support animal should not be a bother at all to other passengers.

  44. I don’t get why people hate dogs in the cabin. I once had a passenger with a dog sit next to me and I was so excited. He’d pop out once in a while from his carrying case and would be wagging his tail and affectionate. It was one of my favorite trips on a plane.

  45. As a single person with no kids my dog is like my child. However I don’t care how sturdy the crate is supposed to be. After an airline broke an anodized aluminum wheelchair that was checked at the plane door I would NEVER put him in the cargo hold!! So when I fly it’s off to the kennel!!

  46. Same stupid logic for people saying they are willing to pay extra or buy a seat for their pets.

    Let me ask you this.

    If I buy a few rows of seats does that allow me to smoke on the plane?

    Stupid logic people.

  47. I work for Delta cargo and the majority of people that are shipping dogs/cats are breeders. They sell to people all over the world. It’s a business. Delta also have to put weather regulations due to the heat/cold because unfortunately some people don’t care about the well being of their animal and it can be a liability.

  48. @JBR –

    You’re right (though I would add some people sure act like they’re allergic to children). However, what you’re saying is why I stated that the anti-pet allergy argument is a straw-man argument, akin to the relocation argument that is pro-pet.

    While there are certainly reported cases of people having an allergic reaction to an animal on plane, what really is the percentage of these instances when taking into account all flights with pets and all passengers flying them, in total? I’d say the same to those arguing they are relocating…what percentage of pets on planes are actually flying because the passenger is relocating their residence on that flight? The answer to both is that its probably a very small percentage overall.

    Now, I’m not a “smell a peanut and I die” allergy sufferer, but if I’m around pet dander for too long I’ll have a major asthma attack. I’ve had them and they are incredibly scary. But I know I have to take precautions, as do parents who have kids with peanut allergies, etc. Personal responsibility is usually practiced by those of us with genuine, acute allergies.

    A useful solution, one that doesn’t infringe on anyone’s “freedom to”, is to have the government mandate that airlines must compensate those who can’t be around animals on flights beyond seat/flight changes. If it cost the airlines real money for them to be allowing illegitimate animals on planes (true service dogs are a different issue) they would quickly become much more strict and thorough in their screening of the animals they do allow on.

    One could hope, anyway.

  49. How about this: Airlines could allow pet owners to travel in the cargo hold alongside their pets. Problem solved. You got the pet, no one forced you to. Why should the other passengers be inconvenienced (if not worse in case of allergies, bites…) for your decision?

  50. @R-Dog – I might make the same argument for kids. I get not treating a dog as a child. However, I would be fine with paying for seats for my dog in order to fly safely with them. In the current environment, I wouldn’t fly with them on an airline. If I relocated overseas, I don’t know what I would do but I imagine some sort of boat voyage would be my solution.

    However, and I know I’ll be crucified for this, I do have to fly and deal with other peoples kids on a plane and can’t opt out of it. Seriously, I can’t give an airline money to put my dog in a seat but I have to sit next to a lap baby who came on for free and is in my space? Given that I just flew from SYD to LAX a few weeks ago on a 15 hour flight next to two adults, a toddler and a lap baby, this is a topic near and dear to me right now. And yeah, I’m not going to be over that for awhile (the airline owes me money for that flight).

  51. @ Theresa: The difference is that children are a necessary part of our existence as the human race. Moreover, when you get old you probably want to have some younger folks around who care for you or simply run the economy that sustains your life. So yes, you need to tolerate the children, even on a plane.

  52. This is a great first step actually. I had a large golden retriever that I flew quite a bit for a period when I lived in both Chicago and LA and pet fees were only $75 each way. The worst part is having to bring your own carrier which for a large dog is big and heavy and awkward. So being able to just show up with a dog on leash is huge from a convenience standpoint.

  53. Everyone in the comments saying you should just “leave your dog at home” or that your dog is “just property to insure” is a simple-minded, dimwit that can’t think of the many scenarios where you need to transport your dog by plane. I moved from Phoenix to Amsterdam back in July and I can tell you that it was very stressful on me as an owner and for my dog to have her in the cargo hold on the LAX-AMS flight. And no, there is no “leaving your dog behind” or “just insure them because they are property”. Also, it was about $5,000 to transport her. I would have happily paid for an entire row in economy or even a business class seat for my dog if that was an option. I’ve never seen my dog so freaked out as when I finally picked her up at the airport in Amsterdam. She looked like she had gone through war. Unless you are a complete sociopath, it’s understandable that pet owner’s would not want to put their dog through that. I know I don’t and will look into all other options, including registering her as a support animal, whenever I repatriate to the US.

  54. @Dave – I think the people you call “dimwits” have the same issue as I do. Please explain why other people should suffer or be inconvenienced by life decisions that you have made. You made the decision to move from Phoenix to Amsterdam. You made a decision to get a pet…

  55. @John – I’m sorry, I don’t understand. How would me sitting in a business class seat with my dog next to me in a separate business class seat inconvenience you?

  56. @Dave – Because the airplane cabin is for human (not always humane) passengers! I like dogs, but I also don’t trust other peoples dogs. Dogs develop protective tendencies to the owners (which is a plus in some cases). Sure Dave – what is the inconvenience to that family with little children whose kids are now sitting a few feet from some strangers dog – for 8 hrs!! Maybe you have had kids – maybe you haven’t – but I had two – and I trusted nobody’s dog around my babies! Pets carry fleas (amongst other issues) – so thanks for putting your dog (assume it has fleas and you didn’t know it) in that seat for 8+ hrs… I then get on that plane and sit in your “dog’s” seat, guess what I am now carrying with me! Thanks for that inconvenience…

    Your argument is exactly what is the core issue here – life choices are everyone else’s problem but my own! Everybody else should just deal with it… heck with it – lets all light up some smokes on the next flight! Sorry folks – you have no leg to stand on here – let alone “four” of them!!!

  57. Wow, so much venom and hate here. Protip: many of us flying with pets aren’t exactly enjoying it either, but might have to due to relocation, etc. Not all of us have the luxury to walk away from a well-paying job just because we don’t want to go through the hassle of moving. And quite frankly, pets in cabin are not that common – I fly all the time and can count the number I’ve seen in the last year on one hand. If you don’t want the “inconvenience” of being on a plane with pets, then take another flight. I don’t complain about your screaming kids, do I (who are far louder than my cat could ever be)? No I don’t, because I know we are all just trying to get from Point A to Point B, so I suck it up for a few hours and deal. It’s part of travel, it sucks, get used to it.

    To the original post, I agree 100%. I would be happy to buy an extra seat for my cat (would prefer it rather than lose my under-seat space), which could then be marked on the seatmap. It could even show up for others on the seatmap, kind of like what ANA (or JAL, can’t remember for sure) did with small kids – to allow people to avoid those seats if they really want to. Win-Win.

  58. @john you wou rather have the pet die the shelters are full and most rescue groups pull from shelters only my dog is shy and would panic if flown in cargo and die of heart attack probably and there’s short nosed breeds that can’t stand certain conditions i have a 14yr old but my dog is not property to me he’s family i wouldn’t want to fly him cargo

  59. Let’s keep in mind the real issue here. The airlines have not yet created a safe environment for pets to be transported when it seems like there certainly is a market for doing so. And hey, I’m no expert on what that solution could or should look like, but at least give us pet owners some other options that don’t lead to death or unneeded stress on the animals. Before I made my move to Amsterdam, I had to come to terms with news articles like the below two where pets died on the EXACT flight that I was putting my dog onto. When we turned her over to KLM at LAX, we weren’t sure if we would ever see her again. Put yourself in my shoes-why do we want pet owners to go through that, especially the ones that actually never get to see their dogs again. And sure, I made a choice to have a dog and I made a choice (at the direction of my employer) to move to Amsterdam, but why should that mean that I have to risk my dog dying because of it?! This isn’t rocket science – it’s transporting an animal in a safe, humane way. Just give us more options airlines – there clearly is a market for it.



  60. Delta has and Is doing their best to make sure that all animals not just pets are in good hands. That is why they are offering the pod kennel. Some customers dont understand kennel requirements and so they go to Walmart and get a cheap “airline approved” kennel that is different in sizes. Dogs/cats have to have enough room to stand, turn around without touching the sides or top.

    Delta has done everything short of stopping live animal shipments like Southwest. They have embargoed large to giant sized kennels because larger dogs can be powerful enough to break out. Last year they made a more restricted temperature range.

    Don’t know about the other carriers, but Delta has become more restrictive that it has caused them to lose some of their customers due to kennel size, cost and types of animals such as the snub nose cats/dogs.

  61. We have 2 cats who have lived in Germany & New Zealand…and are now back in the states. First, I never advocate for a pet flying in any part of the aircraft! In our case, we unexpectedly got into a career that required these moves, so we sucked it up and spent probably 15 grand in total for their travel. Despite this amount of money they still traveled in shitty little carriers, in the cargo hold, and were most definitely traumatized from it. When we last picked them up at SFO after their final trip from New Zealand, the $6k trip culminated with the pos cargo handler driving them across the warehouse, with their crates bouncing up and down on a pallet!

    They are done traveling and are living out their lives napping around the house. People who fly with their pets just “because” are selfish and inconsiderate. They should pay no less than $1000 and the animals should be given an amazing crate with a personal handler. There should be strictly enforced rules making sure that the pet is handled carefully and not left on the tarmac as the aircraft is loaded. Delta’s crate is one step in the right direction.

    In conclusion: Decrease pet travel by making it expensive. When pets do travel there needs to be attention given to ensuring that they are not traumatized.

  62. @Dave – Now that you’ve admitted that it was your decision to buy a pet and your decision to move to another country, then why is it the airlines responsibility for your pet. No, I don’t want your pet to die. Neither does anyone else. However, you should have considered those factors before you bought a pet.

  63. Has anyone heard of Ground Travel for pets? It’s an entire industry now. Over the last 18 months, I drove 250,000 miles transporting “Fur Babies”, so all these problems could be avoided.

  64. @Ben

    I tend to either agree with you or accept that you have the right to your own opinion. But on this topic you are just plain wrong to insist (selfishly in my opinion) that your personal happiness outweighs everyone else’s comfort and welfare.

    One of your supporters complained about a pet on the tarmac for 23 minutes in +30C. Duh. That’s cool for Melbourne. If you lived there your pet would live in higher temperatures half a year! Get real – fluffy was just fine. Or there would be no dingos in Oz.

    To impose your, of course wonderfully behaved pooping machine – er pet, into my living space is your god-given right because YOU ARE SPECIAL AND SO IS YOUR DEAR (insert pookie or whatever). NO NO. NO!

    The majority of people do not have pets with them on the plane! Respect the rights of the MAJORITY.

    When smoking was banned did you support it? It was as filthy as pets in a plane but cigarettes don’t poop, pee or bite. Will of the majority.

    When they removed peanuts from airplanes that was because .1% of the population or less have severe allergies. Did you support that? Do you support NO PETS IN THE CABIN based on 10 – 20% of the population having pet allergies? Obviously not, but explain your reasoning please?

    Pets in the cabin is purely selfish narcissistic behavior. The hold of an aircraft is heated, quiet and safe. Your pet will have a lovely stress-free flight especially if in the new pods. So much better for both of you (if you realize that everyone around you is muttering under ther breath “who is that jerk”).

    When I traveled in the past our pet was in the hold (on the way to Dubai). She of course arrived safely. We now travel almost half the year so do not have a replacement. Traveling with us is not an option and kenneling would be cruel for that long so we await the day when our travels lessen but until then – no pets in my cabin.

  65. Animals belong in the cargo hold and nowhere else PERIOD. If you are emotionally compromised and need a pet to fix it, your not well enough to fly.

  66. I am a huge animal lover, have 5 pets, do not have children and have been a frequent flier for most of my career. I understand the various viewpoints on this subject. I have been on overseas flights in business class with screaming children, that totally irritated me, but I had to suck it up. I flew a puppy with me in the cabin because the breeder was scared to use Cargo. The puppy started crying before takeoff and I was mortified, apologizing to my seatmates…fortunately it stopped after takeoff and he slept. A year ago, I had another puppy shipped to me via cargo and things were perfectly fine. I have done extensive research on pets traveling in cargo and and honestly, what you see in the media is totally blown out of proportion. Airlines are required to report incidents, which could be things like broken toenails or cracked teeth- a result of a pet owner not taking the time to get the pet used to a crate, injuries that could be serious, but are also self-inflicted by the pet trying to escape, and of course deaths, most of which are from pre-existing conditions that the pet parent didn’t even know about, like heart disease that stress made worse. If I recall, the percentage of all of the incidents boils down to something like 0.05% of all pets that traveled. It made me think about how that would compare to pets getting injured or killed in cars…you never hear about that, yet people have dogs hanging out windows, on their laps while driving, jumping around. People are quick to blame airlines because they are big companies, yet don’t bother to take responsibility for their own pets in ways that they can control.

    I think Delta’s new pod is a great option towards safety and pet comfort, but people still need to put the right effort into preparing their pets for travel. If they did, they could travel safely in cargo and people would be less inclined to subject their pet to the chaos of the cabin-squeezed under the seat, or as a fake emotional support animal. That could work to balance things out better for the other people onboard.

  67. @Gbgirl

    Thank you for perhaps the best written comment on this subject that I have ever read.

    Thank you, Thank you

    I do hope some honest pet owners will read this and be reassured that the cargo hold in proper containers is in the best interest of both the pet and the other passengers.

    On one flight someone tried to fit a German Shepard into and economy seat on Condor. It just doesn’t work for a 10 hour flight let alone a short hop. Poor dog!

  68. @azamaraal
    You’re welcome! I am quite passionate about this topic and active in various circles with animals. I have heard people proudly claim about using their large breed show dog as an emotional support animal-because of fear of using cargo, or not wanting to pay the cost. I choose to own 3 large dogs and two parrots, knowing that it’s expensive to care for them. Sometimes when we take a vacation, petsitting will cost more than my hotel room!

    I have been researching pet transport for some time now, since we are planning an overseas move in the future. When the time comes, I am well-aware that moving our pets will be costly not only for the shipping, but for getting all the correct crates, in-depth health exams and documentation. Because we love our pets, I will do everything necessary so they travel well.

    I chuckle every time I read comments about the need for pet-only airline and people saying they would pay whatever it cost. While I don’t remember how long ago, there was a start up pet airline and not surprisingly, people didn’t want to pay the price, they went out of business.

  69. This is only going to cause more people to show up with a dog that is not trained and acclimated to crating or traveling. Each time I fly there’s one of more well-meaning people with freaked out dogs trying to get them in a crate.

    Those of us who do fly our dogs regularly are typically already using crates like this (RoughLand, Gunner, Impact) My own 25 pound dog flies is a custom painted RoughLand that she is incredibly familiar with. I do wish United wasn’t quoting me $600 to ship her to Nationals and back this year. I also wish Alaska flew more places since their program is top notch.

    I don’t want a pile of ill behaved, non-travel savvy dogs on my flight. I don’t want your freaked out yorkie to poop while trying to take a chunk out of my dog’s face. I’d like you to assess whether your dog is a candidate to fly, train your dog, and then pay a reasonable fee for them to me safely moved from one location to the other.

  70. I wonder the company that is producing these boxes because I would think they are working on relationships with the other airlines. Also, I do think enough is enough. People take advantage of the situation with emotional animals that they have documentation for which isn’t needed for a medical purpose, as you indicated, and also the types of animals. So the airlines in this regard are right for cracking down.

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