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Which seat works best with an in-cabin dog? [Delta A319]

Delta’s A319 planes are divided into two classes, First and Economy. We were traveling in Economy, which has three seats on each side of the aisle. Row 9 is an exit row, so you will not be able to sit there with your dog. Row 5 has a bulkhead in front of it, but even though the bulkhead has large cut-outs that let you stick your purse, etc. under the last row of First Class, you cannot have an in-cabin dog in that row. [I just spent — and I am not exaggerating — an hour on the phone with Delta finding out about Row 5. I was disconnected four times. Argh!!]

In this plane, your best choice is a middle seat. The under-seat space is 11.5 inches tall, and about 17 inches deep (that is, measured from front to back). Measuring from left to right, the middle seat space is 19.5 inches wide. The window seat space is 17 inches wide and the aisle seat space is 17.5 inches wide.

First Class has two seats on each side of the aisle, and although I didn’t have the chance to throw myself under a seat and measure the available spaces, it looked like there might be sufficient space for an in-cabin dog under the window and middle under-seat areas (there are three, even though there are only two seats above them). The space next to the aisle is too narrow for a pet carrier.

This post is part of an ongoing series recording under-seat measurements of the various planes we fly on. Keep in mind that most domestic and international airlines have rules about the maximum size of in-cabin pet carriers they allow on board (see Dog Jaunt’s handy charts under the “Taking your pet on a plane” tab above).


  • Marcy

    I’m trying to plan a trip with my 18 pound Westie. Delta is the only airline I can fly direct with her, which is the only way I am willing to do it for her sake. She is 16 inches long from base of neck to base of tail, 13 inches tall from shoulders to floor and 9 inches wide shoulder to shoulder.

    The medium Sherpa bag is too small for her but she fits well in the large, which has a long measurement of 20 inches with the remaining parameters close to the medium size. On Delta’s A 319 the width of the space under the seat is 19.5 inches just 1/2 an inch less than the large Sherpa carrier ( I figure I can lay it on its side under the seat to give her more room.
    I know I am probably pushing the limit here, but what do you think?

    Being that the cost of flying with her would be $250 round trip I almost wonder if I couldn’t pay for a ticket and have her in a carrier in a regular seat. Has anyone thought of doing that? No doubt this would not “fly” with the airlines but I am not sure why not.

  • Hi, Marcy! That’s a tough one. Usually I try to steer people away from the large Sherpa bag, because it’s really darned large — but your pup is, too, and you have the option of choosing a seat that has a really big under-seat space. I think it might just work — you’ll have to struggle a little bit to get it to fit left-to-right, but surely you can make a bag fit into a space that’s just a half-inch smaller. The trick will be to get your bag past the ticketing and gate agents, since it is eye-catchingly big. Buy it in black, keep it low and discreet, and don’t make a big fuss over your dog being inside it.
    It sounds so sensible (particularly given how steep pet fees are) to just get a second ticket and plop her carrier on the seat next to you, but for some reason that is not allowed. Dogs and other in-cabin pets have to be stowed in the under-seat space, alas.
    Do you live/travel anywhere near where Pet Airways flies? That’s a very nice alternative for dogs that are too big to fit under a seat, but whose owners don’t want them to travel under the plane — the cost isn’t that extravagant, really, when you start adding up the fees the passenger airlines charge….

  • Jenny

    I’m interested to see how this went. Did the large Sherpa fit ok on the flight? I am planning to do this over the holiday. When I measured the length of ours, it wasn’t truly 20″

  • Michele Lovestad

    Delta no longer allows pet carriers in First or Business Class. I am an employee of Delta and this new rule was established in 2011 and so far looks like it will stay.

  • It looks to me very much like Jenn is correct on this one, but as always, confirm and reconfirm with several Delta customer reps (and take notes about your conversations).

  • Frustrated travel planner

    Delta no longer permits pets on A319 A320,A321’s and says the height clearance is only 8 inches on all planes not 11 or 15. And pet must be able to stand up in 8 inches. Stand up in 8 inches height max is the song of Delta, American, Jet lBlue l, United and I think Southwest too. What happened to the 11 inch height clearance? Everyone tells me I can take my cat at 11 in height at her back, and 7 lbs. But airpine websites say 8 inches and reservation agent say 8 inches, although soft carriers can be taller. And now all these old reports on dogjaunt report much higher clearances. And dogjaunt reports experiemce on planes that no longer take pets. Has somethingbeen installed tomreduce the under seat storage? What gives. This taking forever to figure out. Please date this advice and update!

  • Hello, Sarah — You do indeed sound frustrated. I think you may be getting bad information somewhere; while Delta has changed its rules about carrying pets in the bellies of their planes, their rules about in-cabin pets have not changed. I just called Delta myself, and repeatedly confirmed that in-cabin pets are accepted on A-319, A-320, and A-321 aircraft. The available under-seat height is a complicated story on all airlines, and Delta is no different. Each type of aircraft has a different configuration, and Delta chooses to deal with the issue by conferring with its travelers-with-pets and discussing their aircraft with them (rather than issuing a general maximum pet carrier size). As with other airlines, Delta will often give you the minimum space available, not taking into account that a life jacket holder, for example, that reduces the height of an airplane’s under-seat space to 8″ is a fairly small box, and the space around that box is higher. If your pet is small enough (and a 7 lb. cat is petite), s/he can fit happily in the available space. There’s a FAQ on the blog that will add a bit more info and comfort (I hope):

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