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What You Need To Know About Shipping Requirements

OPA’s David Garcia and Steve Duncan have been receiving complaints from OPA members whose bird shipments have been refused by Delta Cargo. The reasons given by Delta Cargo personnel were that there are new regulations from USDA that Delta must comply with. However, the specific reasons given were not consistent with USDA Animal Welfare Act requirements. To get to the bottom of the issue, David Garcia and Steve Duncan recently held a phone conference with Dr. Cody Yager from USDA, Dr. Nelva Bryant (Delta Airlines Consulting Veterinarian), and Juan Devarez (Delta Airlines Cargo) regarding Delta Airlines’ new shipping requirements.

It quickly became clear that Delta’s new policy is to comply with International Air Transport Association, Live Animal Regulations (IATA-LAR) which is stricter than USDA AWA bird transportation regulations. The decision was based upon unifying procedures at Delta Cargo offices worldwide. International live animal shipments via Delta must already comply with IATA-LAR, so Delta is extending this level of requirements to domestic flights too. Delta is also implementing some of their own restrictions in addition to IATA LAR. Delta provided us with the following and is what every bird shipper needs to know:

For questions regarding our live animal policies, please contact:


For questions regarding booking, reservations, fees, and capacity, please contact:

Within the US, call: 1-800-352-2746

Outside the US, call: 1-612-266-3900

Bird shipments accepted via Delta Cargo MUST abide by the following policies:

  • Compliance with the current edition of the International Air Transportation Association Live Animal Regulations (IATA-LAR)

    • Abide by the Shippers’ Responsibilities, which include:

      • Ship bird(s) in containers that conform to the IATA-LAR.

      • The container requirements are determined by the bird species and is defined in Chapter 8 of IATA-LAR.

      • All containers must specific minimum container requirements for the species being shipped.

  • Completion of Shippers’ Certification and Journey Declaration Form

    • Provide the common and scientific names of the type of bird.

    • Provide the quantity of birds per shipping container.

    • Provide the IATA-LAR Shipping Container Requirement # for the bird.

  • Direct flights and flights with 1 connection are allowed, however a connection with an overnight stay in the cargo warehouse is NOT allowed.

  • Shipping of unweaned/unfledged birds is NOT allowed.

    • According to IATA LAR: Unfledged birds must not be shipped.  A fledging, for the purpose of these Regulations, is considered to be a young bird that can feed independently from its parents.

  • The shipper must provide a 24-hour phone number from where the operator can obtain instructions from the shipper or their agent, in the event of an emergency and this number is written on the air waybill.

  • Health Certificate and additional permits are required for transport to Hawaii or Puerto Rico.

  • International Health Certificate and additional documents required for international transport.

  • Prepayment of Live Animal Shipments (effective 9/15/2022)

    • All live animal shipments must be prepaid.

  • Embargo: Live Animals at Ticket Counters (effective 9/15/2022)

    • Live animals being transported via Delta Cargo are no longer accepted at ticket counter locations.

    • Delta Cargo locations can be found at:  Worldwide Locations : Delta Cargo


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