For many pet owners, it’s inconceivable to leave their furry companions behind when traveling. Even so, every airline has its rules and regulations regarding pet travel. Some airlines will allow you to travel with your pet in the cabin, while others only transport pets in the cargo hold. If you’re planning to fly with your pet, here are the airlines that allow pet travel and the rules they have in place.
1. American Airlines
The airline allows you to travel with your pet in the cabin or shipped in the cargo hold. Each American Airlines flight accepts a maximum of 7 kennels. On the other hand, American Eagle flights allow up to 5 kennels on board. Likewise, the airline often restricts pet travel if weather conditions are below 45 degrees Fahrenheit and above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Having your pet on board will set you back $125 while shipping it in the cargo hold will cost you $175. Here are other key points to keep in mind if you plan to travel with your pet on an American Airlines flight. You can find American Airlines’ fully-detailed pet policy here.
- You must make a reservation to travel with a pet on board. Pets traveling in the cargo hold don’t require a reservation.
- You don’t need a health certificate to have your pet onboard an American Airlines flight.
- Pets shipped in the cargo hold should have a health certificate issued within ten days of originating flight and 60 days of the return flight on the same ticket.
- Your furry companion must be older than eight weeks old for travel.
- When flying on board, pets must be kept in their carriers under the seat in front of you.
- You can only have a maximum of two pets in the cargo hold.
- Snub-nosed cats and dogs cannot be shipped in the cargo hold.
- Pet carriers must be non-collapsible and shouldn’t exceed 19″ x 13″ x 9″. They should be large enough to allow the pets to turn around, stand up, and lie down.
- Checked pets can’t travel on A319, A320, A321, A321H, and A321S aircraft.
2. Delta Airlines
Delta has one of the friendliest American airline pet travel policies. For starters, there’s no maximum weight limit for your pet. You can bring along Simba as long as he comfortably fits under the seat in front of you. Besides, you can travel with your pet to international destinations at $200. On the other hand, North American destinations cost $125. The maximum carrier size is subject to the flight you book since Delta aircraft have different under-seat dimensions. Here are some additional key points to keep in mind:
- You can only fly with one pet carrier.
- The pet carrier should be leak-proof and adequately ventilated on at least two sides.
- Your pet should remain inside its carrier while at a Delta Airlines airport lounge, boarding area, and onboard the aircraft.
- Delta only allows you to fly with dogs, cats, or domesticated birds.
- For domestic travel, your pet should be at least eight weeks old. For international travel, it should be at least 16 weeks old.
- In compliance with the Service and Emotional Support Animal Policy, Delta doesn’t allow pit bull-type dogs on its flights.
- One pet is allowed per carrier. Nevertheless, one female dog/cat may fly with her un-weaned litter if it is between ten weeks to six months old.
- Delta Airlines has a first-come, first-served policy. A maximum of four pets are allowed on each flight.
JetBlue has a pet travel program called JetPaws, which allows you to fly with your four-legged buddy if it meets certain requirements. It would be best to keep the pet in an approved carrier with a waterproof bottom and adequate space for the animal to stand, sit, and lie down. During the flight, the pet carrier should stay fastened under the seat in front of you. The airline allows you to only fly on board with small cats and dogs. However, checked baggage services for live animals are not offered. When booking flights with JetBlue and you want to take your pet with you, here are important points to consider:
- The pet should be over eight weeks old to travel on domestic flights.
- JetBlue doesn’t accept pets traveling to Trinidad and Tobago, the Cayman Islands, St. Lucia, Jamaica, and Barbados.
- When traveling with a pet on board, you should notify the airline early and reserve your space.
- Maximum carrier size is 17″ x 12.5″ x 8.5″ (hard-sided carriers). A soft-sided carrier should compress to 8.5’’.
- The pet carrier counts as your carry-on item.
- The combined weight of your pet and its carrier shouldn’t exceed 20 pounds.
- You can only fly with one pet.
- There can only be a maximum of four pets on a JetBlue flight.
- Vaccination and health certificates are mandatory when traveling to international destinations but not required when traveling domestically.
- It costs $125 per flight to travel with your pet.
The airline accepts pet travel, but on a first-come, first-served basis. The maximum number of pets allowed per flight is 6, thus the need for you to make your pet reservation as soon as you confirm your travel plans. Southwest Airlines doesn’t allow pets to travel without a human companion, and neither are pets permitted to fly with unaccompanied minors.
When flying domestically with Southwest, you can bring small pets (dogs and cats only) in the cabin. However, the airline doesn’t allow pets on its international flights. Each traveler is limited to one pet carrier, but the carrier can hold up to two cats or two dogs of the same species.
The pet carrier will count as your carry-on luggage and should fit under the seat in front of you. Vaccination or health certificates aren’t required when flying with your pet. It costs $95 to travel with a pet each way. The pets should be secured in the carrier throughout the flight.
5. United Airlines
The airline accepts two dogs in the cabin for its flights. It costs $125 to travel with your pet each way. Pet travel reservations should be made at least five days before travel. Passengers with small pets can travel with them in the cabin. Larger pets should be transported in the cargo hold.
Only one pet is allowed in a pet carrier on United Airlines flights. Pet carriers can either be soft-sided or hard-sided. The soft-sided carriers need to have a maximum size of 18″ x 11″ x 11″, while hard-sided carriers should measure 17.5″ x 12″ x 7.5″. Here are some key points to consider:
- Kittens and puppies should be at least 16 weeks old to be permitted on board
- To bring an additional pet on board, you must purchase an extra ticket for it. The extra pet will only be allowed on the flight if the maximum number of pets on board hasn’t been attained.
- Larger pets that don’t fit inside a carrier should be transported with the Airlines PetSafe program.
- You must travel with your pet on the same flight.
Thanks to the pet travel programs that most airlines offer, you have no reason to leave your four-legged buddy at home when going on a trip. Before booking your flights, check out each American airline pet travel policy to find an airline that suits you best.