Delta partners with CarePod to improve pet travel

Delta Cargo announced on Tuesday it is partnering with a pet technology startup in an effort to innovate safety and care for pets traveling on flights.

The carrier said it signed an exclusive, long-term partnership with CarePod, which will help it carry and monitor pets throughout the network and provide customers with updates in real time. This follows Delta’s introduction of a staff veterinarian who will be tasked with reviewing policies and procedures to ensure safe and comfortable travel for pets.

“Demand for pet shipments is strong and we are always looking for ways to create a best-in-class travel experience for pets and their owners,” Shawn Cole, vice president of Delta Cargo, said in a statement. “Working with a start-up like CarePod allows Delta the flexibility to enhance our service in new and innovative ways. We are able to think big, start small and learn fast to solve specific customer needs.”

Delta came under fire earlier this year after multiple mishaps involving pets traveling with the airline. An 8-year-old Pomeranian named Alejandro died in June during a trip from Phoenix to Newark, New Jersey. In March, the airline flew an 8-week-old puppy to the wrong city. Delta reported two deaths out of the approximately 57,500 pets it transported in 2017.

The Atlanta-based air carrier has temperature-controlled holding areas and vehicles and overnight kenneling services, as well as a real-time GPS tracking for pet transports. Its new cargo control center at its Atlanta hub gives the airline “24/7/365 visibility into all shipments, including pets.”

CarePod offers German-engineered “smart” travel pods and uses cloud-based software and real-time tracking, which allows its customers (airlines) to keep closer tabs on pets. It says the biggest risks for pets traveling by air are heat, stress and inconsistent care.