Flying with Your Pet: Delta Pet Policy

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: December 21, 2023


  • This article covers everything you need to know to fly with your pet, emotional support animal, or service animal on Delta Airlines.
  • Psychiatric service animals and service animals fly for free.
  • Do you qualify for an emotional support animal? Find out by taking the free screening test here.
  • There is no breed restriction for dogs flying on Delta.
  • Check out the free, downloadable Delta Airlines ESA Policy Guide published by CertaPet.

Traveling with your pet is not easy. And it’s hard to come by accurate information regarding airline policies and fees for your chosen airlines. This article should answer most of your concerns regarding flying with your pet on Delta Airlines. If there is something you can’t find in this article about the Delta Pet Policy, feel free to post a comment.

If you own an emotional support animal, check out this article: Delta ESA Policy. We also have a downloadable PDF guide for Delta Airlines ESA Policy – check it out below.

Looking for an ESA Travel Letter?

Take our free screening test and find out in as little as 5 minutes. 

Free Ebook: Delta Airlines ESA Policy Guide

Downloadable ebook.

Extremely handy at an airport.

Step-by-step checklist to make sure your emotional support animal is 100% prepared on flight day.

Delta Airlines Pet Shipping: In-Cabin

In-cabin travel will cost:

  • $125 USD each way for U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico
  • $200 USD/CA/EUR for Virgin Islands and International
  • $75 USD to Brazil

This is per pet carrier and is not paid at the time of reservation, but rather at the time of check-in.

Additionally, although pets are allowed on almost every flight within the United States, Canada, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, they are not allowed on flights to Hawaii.

The pets that are allowed to enjoy Delta in cabin travel are dogs, cats, and household birds, excluding of course snub nosed breeds, which are not accepted by Delta Pet Policy. Any pets in cabin must be small enough to fit naturally and comfortably in a pet carrier that will stow under the seat in front of you. The pet carrier will count as one piece of carry on luggage.

Anyone bringing a pet as a carry on will have to check in at the airline ticket counter. This will be where you pay, and therefore no passengers traveling with in cabin pets will be permitted to use either curbside or self service check in. It is advisable to leave yourself extra time before departure to ensure you get through the check in process with plenty of time before departure.

This applies to emotional support animals and Delta Airlines ESA Policy as of 1/11/2021. Psychiatric service animals and service animals can travel with you at no cost due to the Air Carrier Access Act.

Delta Pet Shipping: Checked Baggage

*Important note for cargo hold: “Due to changing flight schedules in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delta Cargo will temporarily embargo all PET shipments effective April 1, 2020, until further notice” - Delta Airlines website.

With limited restrictions for military personnel and service animals, Delta Pet Policy states that certain pets will not be accepted as checked baggage after 2016, and instead those pets have to travel through Delta Pet Cargo.

Based upon your destination and what type of pet, it may be limited on how they can travel on the plane.

Delta Pet Cargo

Delta Pet Cargo is the only way for you to travel with a pet that does not fit within Delta Pet Carry On standards. Delta also does not accept any snub-nosed breeds of either dogs or cats for travel. However, they do accept non-snub-nosed breeds, as well as household birds, guinea pigs rabbits, hamsters, and marmots.

There are also temperature restrictions for pet safety, and pets cannot be shipped in cargo if there are extreme temperatures.

Delta Pet Cargo reservations cannot be made more than 14 days prior to the departure of your flight, and Delta Pet Policy does not guarantee that pets will be shipped on the same flight as their owners.

When shipping a pet through Delta Pet Cargo, the owner must drop off the pet at a Delta Cargo locations no later than three hours before the departure time of the flight. This is separate from regular check-in.

Additionally, you will need to pick up your pet at a Delta Cargo Location, and not at baggage claim or any other Delta run area.

For the following destinations, it is restricted for you to bring your pet onboard, so they can only travel in cargo. Note: Call and double check to see if your destination permits your pet.

  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Dakar
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Jamaica  
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Ireland
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Hawaii (restrictions may apply)

Delta Emotional Support Animal Rights

Do you Qualify?

Find out if you qualify for an emotional support animal. Take our free screening test and receive an answer in 5 minutes.. 

Delta pet policy acknowledges passengers’ need for assistance animals and has policies in place for their travel. There will be no additional fee for service animals or psychiatric service animals; however, Delta would like advanced notice of needed accommodations for the services dog and their owners.

Emotional Support Animals traveling in cabin will need to fit in a carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you. Animals will not be permitted to occupy seats reserved for human passengers.

Additionally, any and all service animals will have to be extremely well behaved, and not serve as either a disturbance, and distraction, or a danger to any other passengers on the flight.

Before 1/11/2021, proof will be required of the emotional need of passengers traveling with Emotional Support Animals in the form of a doctor’s, or mental health professional’s letter, on professional letterhead not more than a year old. The passenger’s mental health condition, or need, must also be recognized within the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

Digital letters that are either signed or stamped will be accepted by Delta, however, the information needs to be verifiable through either an email address, a phone number, or both. This is also why licensing information of the mental health professional or doctor is required.

*Update January 2021: under new regulations passed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the allowance of Emotional Support Animals onboard flights may vary from airline to airline.

Delta Pet Travel Carrier Size and Restrictions

There is no one size of pet carrier allowed on a Delta flight, however, there are pet carrier size restrictions. The maximum size allowed however varies, and so it is important for you to contact Delta directly to find out the restrictions for your particular reservations.

Since pet carriers must fit under the seat, you should look for carriers sized similar to a carry-on luggage.

Two pets of the same species, meaning two dogs or two cats, may share a pet carrier as long as they are generally the same size, each weigh less than 20 pounds, and can fit comfortably and naturally in the carrier together. In cases such as this, they will only be charged as one pet. Delta will not accept snub-nosed breeds of either dogs or cats on their flights.

There are certain iron-clad restrictions, however. For example, for pets traveling in cabin, the pet carrier does need to be able to fit under the seat in front of you, as stated in an above section. The carrier for in cabin travel can also be soft or hard shelled, as long as it is solid enough that your pet cannot escape. For cargo travel however, the carrier needs to be made of a solid material.

Delta limits the number of animals allowed on each flight. Pets are accepted on a first come, first serve basis (2 allowed in domestic first class and 4 in the main cabin for domestic and international flights – restrictions may apply).

It’s important to call Delta in advance and let them know you would like to bring your pet. For all other questions, Delta should be contacted directly.

Pet Policies at Other Major Airlines

Southwest Pet Policy
United Airlines Pet Policy
American Airlines Pet Policy

CertaPet Free Screening Test

Learn if you qualify for an ESA Travel Letter. ESAs travel free on all flights.

Free Ebook: Delta Airlines ESA Policy Guide

Downloadable ebook.

Extremely handy at an airport.

Step-by-step checklist to make sure your emotional support animal is 100% prepared on flight day.

How to Get an ESA Letter through CertaPet?

CertaPet is the world's no. 1 emotional support animal service and the only online service offering a 100% legal and compliant process.

Start by taking our free online 5-minute pre-screening process to see if you are a good candidate for an ESA, and if you are, we’ll connect you with a licensed mental health professional quickly and easily. You can access your letter online immediately after its issued. You can also choose to receive a physical copy of the letter send to your mailing address.

An ESA Letter from CertaPet provides:

  • Recognition that you are a patient on a case-by-case basis under a licensed mental health professional’s care for mental or emotional disabilities.
  • Verification that you are significantly limited by an individual disability, such as depression or a similar condition, affecting your mental well-being.
  • Prescription for an emotional support dog (also known as a companion dog), or other support animal, as a necessary reinforcement for your mental health within 48 business hour

Once you receive the letter, you are free to use it to live with your animal.

That’s it.

What Clients Say About CertaPet

“I got my dog as a Valentine's Day gift from my abusive ex. When she was a puppy, I protected her from him, and she would lick away my tears when I cried. When I finally left him, I left with nothing: no clothes, no home, and more importantly no her. He refused to let me have her and the cops, despite text messages of him threatening her safety,  wouldn't let me take her. I fell apart. During that time I suffered from depression, PTSD and anxiety. I was scared of my own shadow. Months went by and finally after a long battle, I got her back! She put me back together piece by piece. My ESA is special because she literally saved me.”

- Kailee Biesenbach

“I love my cat -"Hope. She was named before I got her and she is my Hope!  The previous owner said "She may not come to you at first”. She had been trained by her previous owners needs and she had only been with her. I went into the room when I first met her. She came right up to me purring like crazy. It was love at first sight! She is the best PSTD animal ever!!! She calms me right down every time I get near her. She even knows when I need her and she will come to me when I am upset or facing a panic attack. It is an amazing connection!! We clicked right away.  It almost feels like she is human and yes she is my best friend. God always knows what we need!! Thank You for letting me share!”

- Tracy Huntington

“After high school, I felt like there was nothing left for me. I felt I was living everyday - day by day. I also moved to a new city so had no friends or family to go too. I felt so lost and depressed. Then I got my ESA dog Chip, and my whole life flipped. I had a reason to be happy, a reason to enjoy life and go out again! Certapet helped make this all happen and thank you guys so much for that!!”

- Lyssa Helton

Frequently Asked Questions about Emotional Support Animals

What is an Emotional Support Animal 'Certification'? Do I need to get my ESA 'certified'?

Are Emotional Support Animal Registration Sites Legitimate?

Do emotional support animals require training?

Does my dog need an emotional support animal vest to travel or live with me?

Is the ESA letter all I need to become an emotional support animal owner?

What happens when the airlines staff or landlord ask to see my proof that I’m an ESA owner? Are they just asking for my ESA letter?

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