Delta Will No Longer Check Pets as Cargo Luggage

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Ever felt worried—or just plain weird—about checking your pet as baggage at the airport? As of March 1, Delta will no longer let you fly the friendly skies with your fluffy friend if you need for them to be stowed away with your suitcase. 

According to Time, the airline announced this week that it will continue to allow cats and dogs as carry-ons if owners pay a fee and the animals are small enough to fit in a carrier underneath a seat. However, big canines or large felines will have to find an alternate mode of transportation. (Exceptions will be made for military pets, as well as service and emotional support animals, which are allowed inside the cabin.) 

While this new mandate might make life trickier for some pet owners, animal advocates are sure to applaud the move. MarketWatch cites some scary numbers, reporting that Delta documented the highest number of pet deaths between May 2005 and 2015 of any domestic airline. A total of 74 animals died—a stat that accounts for about 25 percent of all flight-related pet deaths. And PETA warns travelers that “more than 5000 animals are killed, injured, or lost on commercial flights each year,” citing extreme temperatures, a lack of oxygen, stress, and rough handling.

Delta will soon allow pets to be shipped as fright via its Delta Cargo service, but the prices are steep, and run from $193 to $1481. Also, you’ll have to make a separate drop-off trip for your pet, as they won’t be embarking at the same time or location as you. 

Bottom line? If you're a Delta loyalist and were hoping to take your Great Dane on a cross-country adventure this spring, you might want to consider a road trip route with a lot of dog runs along the way.

[h/t Time, MarketWatch]