Who wouldn’t want to travel with their dog? Nobody likes leaving them at kennels or with a house sitter, but do you really want to fly with them underneath the plane? It is bad enough when the airline loses your luggage, let alone your best friend.
Well, for Delta passengers, that concern is now a thing of the past. As of March 2016, Delta will no longer make passengers stow their pets as cargo, instead allowing them to bring their pet into the main cabin. This is a huge deal.
In the past 10 years, 14 stowed pets have gone “missing” on Delta flights, and a whopping 74 have turned up deceased. And that makes up only 25% of all airline canine fatalities.
Much of this is due to the fact that the cargo hold is not pressurized the same way as the passenger area of the plane. The air pressure drops substantially at such high altitudes, making it difficult for anything to breath down there. That is why brachycephalic (or snub-nosed like a boxer) dogs are not allowed to fly with most commercial airlines, as they are at greater risk for suffocation.
That said, Delta will still have certain restrictions on large dogs in the cabin. They will still be able to travel via Delta Cargo, which the airline assures is a safer alternative for both the dog and other passengers.
“Pets that are transported via Delta Cargo are monitored closely by customer service teams during their travel,” a representative at Delta said. “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.”
Since the program has not started yet, any assessment of its effectiveness is purely speculation. However, one can rightly assume that this program will lead to a drop in canine fatalities on Delta flights, as well as an increase in dogs traveling with their families.
We hope that this program works as well in practice as we believe it will in theory, and becomes a general practice for airlines around the globe.
If you have an opinion on flying with dogs, please let us know in the comments below.