Delta Waiving Pet in Cabin Fees for the Hurricane While Passengers Waive These Fees Every Day

JT Genter points out that Delta has waived pet in cabin fees for passengers traveling in and out of Florida, the Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Virgin Islands and Cuba as part of their Hurricane Irma waivers.

It broke my heart to see pets being rescued in Houston — pets that had been left behind when their owners evacuated. I can’t imagine doing that, one person I saw interviewed on television about leaving their dog said they ‘didn’t think they’d be gone that long.’

I wonder though whether pet in cabin fees are much of a deterrent to bringing your pet with you, since you can now write your own fee waiver any time you want without Delta publishing a policy. Here’s someone who did just that on a flight to Atlanta on Tuesday.

Here’s a pet in cabin paying no fee on Delta about a week prior as well.

And here’s one waiting to board a Southwest flight last week. Being petted.

This fee-free pet was waiting for American Airlines agent assistance at New York JFK. There’s been at least one fee-free pet on better than half my flights recently.

Delta’s pet in cabin fee waiver lasts until September 12 — or until you put a cute little vest on your pup that says ‘service animal.’

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Do these people also like to park in handicapped spots? Do they like to wear a uniform and eat free at Denny’s on Veterans Day?

  2. Where do I get my “I’m allergic to animals….. can’t breath” vest? Actually had to take an antihistamine and wear a mask on flight b/c dog (service animal (NOT) without leash and being petted by many strangers) near me – and no one was willing to change seats.
    Such a travesty! Saw a REAL service animal in the pharmacy the other day – handle bar and all for the blind person he was helping. Made me realize how rare it is to see the real thing nowadays (and don’t get me started on “service” dogs in grocery stores)

  3. Stvr, does paying for a pet deprive someone else of bringing one on, or cause the airline to lose money?

    I’m not arguing fake service pets are OK, but I’m not agreeing with your analogies.

  4. Um. You realize that the airlines need to receive a letter from a healthcare professional that includes their license number, in order to waive the fees, right?

    I’m not denying that there are some folks out there scamming the system by paying for these letters from unscrupulous professionals, but I doubt it is the majority. Many disabilities are hidden from view.

    Is it possible that you’re seeing an increase in people who were not previously able to travel, rather than people who just don’t want to pay pet fees?

    One of my neighbors travels with her tiny poodle who detects her seizures. Previously, she could only travel with a chaperone because she would have to so heavily premedicate to reduce her risk of seizure on the plane that she was not functional enough to manage herself to baggage claim and a taxi on arrival.

    The poodle is cute. I’ve pet him. That doesn’t mean he’s not a service animal.

  5. Here’s an idea: if a group of people are flying out, let people sit on eachother’s lap and only pay for the number of seats instead of bodies. At this point, that would be safer than stranding somebody behind.

    This will require FAA to waive rules, and Delta to make some sort of waiver.

  6. Andrew –
    “A service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Tasks performed can include, among other things, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, or pressing an elevator button.
    Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA……..The ADA requires the animal to be under the control of the handler. This can occur using a harness, leash, or other tether. However, in cases where either the handler is unable to hold a tether because of a disability or its use would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, the service animal must be under the handler’s control by some other means, such as voice control.”
    The airlines seem unaware that “Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA”

  7. Unless the person has an apparent disability like being blind or missing limbs the animal is almost certainly fake.

  8. There were 4 dogs in the cabin on my flight the other day. None were in carriers. I only saw one with a service animal vest on.

  9. @Nick you are almost certainly an idiot and a judgmental arse. Disabilities are not always visible, and further more shouldn’t need to be to be cared about…can you tell people who suffer from seizures just by looking at them?

    @Gary so if the pet is in a carrier, you have no problem with them flying I assume? What if someone had an ESA animal lets say small enough to fit in the bag Delta recommends and even brands itself on with out one of those silly fake ESA vest do you care then? Or do you assume they are an in cabin pet, who’s owner paid $125 for them to fly? I doubt you are going to shame them in your blog with your secretly taken photo… but what if they didn’t pay the $125 and you knew it? Do they then deserve the public shaming from the secret Gary photo shoot?

  10. Lets see how you all feel about this one day after your next traumatic event and you are prescribed an ESA by a Doctor.
    Also, please tell us where one can buy a fake ESA detector, inquiring minds want to know. Amazon appears to be out of stock.

  11. Let’s quit with the asinine “fake service/ESA animal posts”. Are there legitimate service animals on airplanes? Yes. Do people abuse ADA/FAA regulations to bring otherwise unqualified pets on airplanes? Yes. Are you, your readers, or anyone else besides a medical professional charged with caring for their patient qualified to determine into which group a given animal and their owner fall? NO. There are a myriad of conditions that require animal assistance, some seen, some unseen. Until such time that the regulations change to allow an airline or its employees to determine the appropriateness or suitability of an animal to perform service, none of this will change. As the world is today, I doubt Congress, the FAA, or any other government institution will empower Delta, United, Southwest, or Nance the power-hungry GA to make such determinations. Case closed. Deal with it.

  12. Unpopular opinion here, but pets are not cargo and should be able to ride in the cabin (for a fee, of course). If airlines would realize this, people would stop the making their animals “service animals.” It’s necessary because otherwise your dog faces death underneath the plane.

  13. Aren’t Emotion Support Animals just the result of “everybody gets a trophy”! Please – everybody who thinks they need an “ESA” because they feel bad about themselves – get a real life and leave your pet at home!

    Ya, I’m being cruel – that’s just the way the world works when it’s not giving you a trophy for being special.

  14. Recent survey of pet dogs brought in to veterinarian found fully 1/3 had ticks on them. This in response to concerns about rampant spread of lyme disease in Britain. Now how does airline quick cleaning on airplanes protect passengers from spread of serious tick spread diseases on planes. Not to mention the ones that have fleas. Dogs need to be transported in crates, either in the cargo hold or maybe stacked in some other part of the plane cabin, like maybe in basic economy and pet sections. Or maybe just use a marginally profitable middle seat for this. These dedicated doggie seats could come with seat covers or free doggie diapers, so the animals don’t wipe their rear ends on the seats of carpet where the next people passengers have to sit in it or walk in it.

  15. If animal, pet or service can travel in cabin, why they only install seats? Why not cages?

    Oh well, since so many person defending the idea of bringing animal in cabin, I would like to bring a king cobra as my pet. If any of you are in the same flight as mine, please kindly pet it.

  16. Which airline is the biggest stickler with regards to checking the documentation of ESAs before boarding? None of them? That does it! I’m getting a vest for my cat because I can’t go a day without petting her. Will a vet’s note suffice?
    Phony ESAs only serve to de-legitimize real ones.

  17. Can my Boyfriend put a Emotional Support vest on me? I mean he is scared #@##$ every time we take off and land. I need to talk to him about other stuff and redirect him during that time. Then when he hears noise I LIE LIE LIE about what it is.

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