The policy change will last through Sept. 15, the airline said Monday.
Atlanta-based Delta, the nation's third-largest carrier, said the high temperatures in many cities, coupled with aircraft taxi delays can subject animals to heat stress, which could lead to sickness or death.
|News About Animals|
Passengers who had planned to fly with Fido or Fluffy between now and Sept. 15 will be able to cancel their reservations without penalty, the airline said.
The only exception to the new policy will be in the case of pet owners who are now in the middle of a trip. They will be allowed to return home with their pets as checked baggage if the temperature when they fly does not exceed 85 degrees. If the flight-time temperature is higher than that, they can reschedule without penalty for an early morning or evening flight, when the weather is cooler.
Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines halted the practice in May because temperatures were so varied at airports across the country.
"We have this policy year-round that if the ground temperature reaches 80 degrees we stop checking animals as bags," American spokesman Tim Smith said. "It's not worth the agony of hurting an animal."
American's policy change also lasts through Sept. 15.
©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed