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Delta will stop allowing passengers to check their pets as baggage

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If you fly Delta, enjoy taking Fido (or Rex, or Rover) to the Twin Cities airport with you while you can.

The airline, which has a major midwestern hub at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), has announced it will stop allowing pets to be checked along with baggage, according to the Business Journal.

The precise reason for the change isn't clear, though the carrier has had more animal deaths than any other airline over the last five years, Bloomberg reported.

However, if you must travel with your pet, there are still options, though they do come at a price.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, travelers will still be allowed to take their animals into the cabin as "carry on," but that carries a fee of over $100 and there are tight restrictions on it (including keeping the pet in an approved kennel). You can view the rules and regulations here.

Another option is shipping the animal using Delta Cargo, the airline's shipping service, but as the Journal-Constitution notes, rates go from $193 to over $1,400 and it's less convenient, as the pet must be delivered to Delta Cargo drop-offs (which are not located at passenger terminals) and may not even end up on the same flight as its owner.

The paper says the new rules will take effect on March 1, 2016.

Delta certainly isn't alone in its restriction on checking pets as baggage – The Associated Press says United Airlines also prohibits shipping the animals in this manner.

According to a USA Today piece on the safety of air travel for pets, the luggage compartment of an airliner can be a dangerous place for dogs, cats and other animals – but not in a way you might think.

The paper says the flight itself is actually the least dangerous part of the journey, as long as the airplane's climate control system is functioning normally. However, since it usually doesn't kick in until the plane is off the ground, animals can be exposed to dangerous and even fatal weather conditions if forced to wait long enough for takeoff.

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