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The most economical
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Designed to address
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is handled properly.

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VARIATION PHARMA®

Safe and reliable shipping for
temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals.

VARIATION PHARMA®

SHIPPING TEMPERATURE-SENSITIVE PHARMACEUTICALS


With Variation Pharma, Delta Cargo offers safe and reliable shipping of your temperature-controlled pharmaceuticals. This customizable service is ideal for shipping vaccines, plasma, biotechnology products, raw materials, bulk drugs and laboratory reagents.

Our services are tailored to meet the specific temperature requirements of your shipment. Variation Pharma offers a large quantity of coolers and can accept specialized containers. Plus, the quality service you'll receive from Variation Pharma includes exceptional handling and constant monitoring of your shipment. Additionally, we offer:

  • Priority boarding and quick connection times to minimize exposure to outside temperatures
  • Multiple unique cool chain services (4 tiers based on the temperature needs of your product)
  • 49 globally certified pharma stations, making the transportation of your product as convenient as possible

Variation Pharma is available on the entire Delta mainline and SkyTeam® networks. For more information or to book your Variation Pharma shipment, please contact our desk at 1-800-DL-CARGO (1-800-352-2746). Advanced booking is required.

View our rates.


Specialty Shipping Services

Variation Pharma 1

Variation Pharma 1 offers strict temperature control for products requiring an active container. This solution is ideal for vaccines, prescription drugs, raw materials for drug manufacturing, laboratory reagents, serum, plasma and biotechnology products. Frozen shipments are prohibited on Delta. The following container types are accepted for transport:

  • CSafe AcuTemp® RKN
  • Envirotainer RKN e1
  • Envirotainer RKN t2
  • Envirotainer RAP t2
  • PharmaPort 360

Delta Cargo will consistently monitor battery voltages and container temperatures for Variation Pharma 1 shipments while in transit.

Variation Pharma 2

Variation Pharma 2 is your solution for products requiring a temperature-controlled environment between +2°C and +8°C (+35°F and +46°F). This is a solution for medicines in tablet or aerosol form, raw materials for drug manufacturing and biotechnology products. Designed for shipments packaged in insulated boxes with dry ice, Variation Pharma 2 shipments are stored in our advanced cooler facilities throughout the world when not in flight. Our industry-leading cool chain facilities provide even greater visibility and care for shipments being transported through our largest hubs.

Variation Pharma 3

Variation Pharma 3 protects products that are sensitive to extreme temperatures but may not require the strict temperature control of our other Pharma products. When not in flight, products are kept away from extremes at temperatures between +2°C and +25°C (+35°F and +77°F). This is a solution designed for some generic prescription drugs, some biotechnology products and other pharmaceutical shipments requiring general temperature protection.

Variation Pharma 4

Variation Pharma 4 is for shipments that need to be kept between +15°C to +25°C (+59°F to +77°F). This solution is for commodities that need to be shipped at room temperature, which are often prescription drugs, some biotechnology products and other pharmaceutical shipments requiring general temperature protection.


Pharma-Approved Stations

  • Below is a list of Pharma-approved stations around the globe:
  • All stations listed are approved for Variation Pharma 1, 2, & 3
  • Variation Pharma 4 is approved at stations indicated by †

U.S. EMEIA Asia Pacific Latin
Atlanta (ATL)† Amsterdam (AMS)† Bangkok (BKK) Bogota (BOG)
Boston (BOS) Barcelona (BCN)† Beijing (PEK) Brasilia (BSB)
Chicago (ORD) Brussels (BRU)† Hong Kong (HKG) Buenos Aires (EZE)
Cincinnati (CVG) Dublin (DUB) Incheon (ICN) Guatemala (GUA)
Detroit (DTW) Frankfurt (FRA) Osaka (KIX) Lima (LIM)
Los Angeles (LAX) Johannesburg (JNB) Nagoya (NGO) Santiago (SCL)
Memphis (MEM) London Heathrow (LHR) Shanghai (PVG) San Jose (SJO)
Minneapolis (MSP)† Madrid (MAD)† Singapore (SIN) Sao Paulo (GRU)
New York City (JFK)† Manchester (MAN) Sydney (SYD) Rio de Janeiro (GIG)
Portland (PDX) Milan (MXP) Taipei(TPE)
San Francisco (SFO) Paris (CDG)† Tokyo (NRT)
San Juan (SJU) Prague (PRG)
Seattle (SEA) Rome (FCO)
Stuttgart (STR)
Tel Aviv (TLV)†
Zurich (ZRH)†

Additional Information

What you need to know
  • Restrictions

    • Dimensions and weights must not exceed aircraft limitations. Individual aircraft restrictions apply.
    • Wet ice is prohibited.
  • Regulations

    • Dry ice transforms into CO2 and can displace oxygen in enclosed places; it is classified as dangerous goods for air transport and is subject to separate government regulations. The shipper is responsible for compliance with those regulations.
    • Additional government regulations may apply, and can vary based on location. Please ensure shipments and documents comply with all local regulations.
  • Drop-off, Acceptance and Recovery Time

    • Domestic:
      • Shipments must be accepted and processed at the local cargo facility by the cutoff time of 120 minutes prior to scheduled flight departure. We recommend arriving at least 60 minutes before this cutoff time to ensure all inspections and acceptance procedures are completed.
    • International:
      • Shipments must be accepted and processed at the local cargo facility by the cutoff times below prior to scheduled flight departure. We recommend arriving at least 120 minutes before this cutoff time to ensure all inspections and acceptance procedures are completed.
        • Pharma 1 = 180 minutes
        • Pharma 2 = 180 minutes
        • Pharma 3 = 240 minutes
        • Pharma 4 = 180 minutes
      • Acceptance starts after the air waybill and all Delta and government mandated inspections have been completed.
      • Variation Pharma shipments will be available for pick up within 180-240 minutes of actual flight arrival. Recovery time does not include the time required for customs clearance.
  • Special Handling

    • Shipper is responsible for packing to withstand a total transit time of at least 72 hours internationally, out of refrigeration.
    • Transit time begins at normal acceptance time at the originating city and ends at the time of consignee notification of the shipments arrival.
    • Dangerous goods must comply with all dangerous goods regulations.
    • Shipments must be packed to ensure safe carriage with ordinary care in handling and to not injure or damage any persons or property.
    • A 24 hour contact must be provided on the air waybill.
  • Documentation

    • The IATA Time and Temperature Sensitive Label may be used to identify Pharma shipments. The temperature indicated on the label must correspond with the transport temperature of the Pharma product code indicated on the air waybill. Old labels and markings must be completely removed.