The Complete Guide to Air Travel With Pets, Broken Down by Airline

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So you want to travel somewhere by plane, but you can't fathom leaving your pet behind at home? If you're looking to take a pet on an airplane, it's important to educate yourself on the policies and guides of the specific airline you're traveling with—because, sadly, the rules of pet travel are not one size fits all.

Overwhelmed? Don't be. We have you covered. Here's a handy guide to the pet policies of the major U.S. airlines.

American Airlines Pet Policy

American Airlines pet policy
Image Credit: Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/GettyImages

The official American Airlines pet policy:

As of April 2021, due to flight changes, pets are no longer being checked except for active duty U.S. military personnel traveling on assignments. but under normal conditions: "Depending on the animals' breed, size and requirements, they can travel as a carry-on, be checked or transported with American Airlines Cargo. With the exception of a few breed restrictions, you can only travel with cats and dogs." You can travel with a pet on most flights up to 11 hours and 30 minutes or flights to / from North America, Central America, and Puerto Rico, St. Croix, and St. Thomas.

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Cost:

The cost of traveling with a pet on American Airlines depends on how you want to transport the animal.

  • Checked pets within and between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean:​ Check with the airline once they resume accepting checked pets.
  • Carry-on pets within and between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean (based on specific country's entry policy):​ $125 per kennel
  • Service animals to and from all destinations:​ No charge.

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Rules for traveling with carry-on pets on American Airlines:

  • How many carry-on pets can passengers bring on American Airlines?​ 1 per customer. You can travel with your pet carrier and one personal item, but you won't be permitted to bring a carry-on bag in addition to a pet carrier and personal item. Instead, the kennel will replace your carry-on bag.
  • How can pets ride in-cabin on American Airlines?​ Pets riding in the cabin must stay in a kennel, under the seat in front of their owner throughout the entire flight.
  • How much does it cost to bring a carry-on pet on American Airlines?​ $125 per kennel.
  • How big can a carry-on pet be on American Airlines?​ The animal must fit inside of a kennel that fits under the seat in front of the passenger with whom they're traveling. The animal must also be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down in a natural position in their kennel, without touching any side or the top of the kennel.
  • What kinds of kennels are allowed on American Airlines?​ AA doesn't require a specific kind or brand of kennel, but does require that non-collapsible kennels not exceed the under seat dimensions of any aircraft included in the passenger's journey and that soft-sided collapsible kennels "fit under the seat without having to excessively collapse the kennel" and soft kennels must also "be secure, padded, made of water-repellant material and have nylon mesh ventilation on 2 or more sides." American Airlines recommends that passengers contact reservations to verify maximum dimensions for their trips.
  • How many pets can ride in-cabin on a given flight?​ AA limits carry-on pet travel to seven kennels per flight on American flights (excluding service animals) and five kennels on American Eagle flights (with a max of one carry-on pet in First Class).
  • Can pets fly carry-on in First and Business Class on American Airlines?​ Yes, but there are additional restrictions involved. "Pets need to remain in their kennel during your flight and will need to be placed in a dedicated animal friendly compartment at the front of the plane during taxi, take-off, landing and turbulence," AA explains of its First/Business Class policy. Additionally, the combined weight of the carrier and your pet can't exceed 20 pounds, and the pet and kennel will be weighed at check-in.

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Rules for traveling with checked pets on American Airlines:

  • How many checked pets can passengers bring on American Airlines?​ 2 per customer, as long as the animals meet the airline's other age, health, and size requirements.
  • How many checked pets does American Airlines allow on a given flight?​ While there aren't strict maximums on the number of checked pets per flight, like there are on carry-on pets, AA does note that capacity is limited and that checked pets are accepted on a first-come basis, so it's important to make arrangements early. Passengers wishing to check pets must notify reservations at least 48 hours prior to travel.
  • What documentation is required to check a pet with American Airlines?​ AA requires passengers traveling checked animals to provide health certificates for each animal. The certificate must be issued by a vet within 10 days of your travel date and within 60 days of your return for travel on the same ticket—the 10 day rule applies if your return travel is booked on a separate ticket). Passengers traveling with checked pets must also provide written certification that their pet has been fed and offered water within four hours of the time they're dropped off with the airline and that the animal is "securely and visibly attached to the outside of the kennel."
  • What kinds of instructions should you prepare if you're checking a pet on American Airlines?​ Anyone checking a pet with AA will also be required to provide feeding and watering instructions for a 24-hour period—and the airline won't accept "no food or water" as instructions unless that note comes directly from a vet.
  • What size requirements does American Airlines have regarding kennels for checked pets?​ Any kennel for a checked pet must be large enough for the animal to stand, turn, sit and lie down in a natural position (without touching any side or the top of the container) and must not exceed maximum size requirements of the aircraft the passenger is traveling on.
  • What kinds of kennels are allowed for checked pets on American Airlines?​ AA requires that kennels for checked animals be made of wood, metal, plastic, or similar materials and have a door made of welded or cast metal that is secured and fastened. The kennel must also be secured at the top and bottom with bolts or screws and "rigid and secure enough so the animal cannot escape through gaps or poke any body part through the container." The airline also requires that passengers traveling with checked animals personally secure all four corners of their animal's kennel with release cables (which the airline provides). The kennel must also have ventilation on at least three sides for domestic U.S. travel and on four sides for international travel. On a practical note, AA also requires that kennels be leak-proof, clean, and lined with some kind of absorbent material.
  • What else will I need to "pack" for a checked pet on American Airlines?​ AA requires passengers checking a pet to include separate dishes for food and water securely attached inside the kennel and that they attach a small bag of food (enough for a 24-hour period) to the top of the kennel.
  • Can multiple animals travel in the same kennel when checked on American Airlines?​ AA allows passengers to travel with up to two pets in the same kennel when transporting young animals (between 8 weeks and 6 months old) as long as they are of the same species, are similar in size, and weigh less than 20 pounds each.
  • Should you sedate your pet before checking it for travel with American Airlines?​ AA will not accept household dogs and cats that have been sedated or tranquilized.

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See American Airlines' pet policy website for aircraft and connection restrictions for checked pets.

Rules for traveling with Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals on American Airlines:

  • American Airlines no longer accepts Emotional Support animals or Psychiatric Service Animals. Any ESAs must travel as pets and follow the pet restrictions.

Rules for traveling with trained service animals on American Airlines:

  • How does American Airlines define trained service animals?​ According to AA, "Trained service animals have been specifically trained to perform life functions for individuals with disabilities, including but not limited to visual impairments, deafness, seizures, mobility impairments, and post-traumatic stress disorder."
  • Do you need to notify American Airlines in advance if traveling with a trained service animal?​ To travel with a service animal, you must submit the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Service Animal Air Transportation Form attesting to the animal's health, training, and behavior to the Special Assistance Desk at least 48 hours before your flight.
  • What species are allowed as trained service animals on American Airlines?​ Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
  • Are there size restrictions for trained service animals on American Airlines?​ The animal must be able to fit at the passenger's feet, under their seat, or in their lap (but lap animals can't be larger than a two-year-old child). If they do not, the passenger may be asked to rebook on a flight with more open seats, buy a ticket for the animal, or transport the animal as a checked pet.

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Other restrictions and considerations:

Destination restrictions:​ If you're planning to travel with a pet on American Airlines, make sure that your destination is eligible for pet travel. In general, the airline accepts pets most flights up to 11 hours and 30 minutes or flights to/from:

  • The U.S. and Canada
  • Alaska
  • Central America
  • Mexico
  • Puerto Rico
  • St. Croix
  • St. Thomas

For a more detailed list of destination restrictions, see American Airlines' full pet policy.

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Dog breed restrictions:​ AA doesn't allow passengers to check brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs of any "mix." This includes boxers, pit bulls, pugs, and mastiffs, among other breeds. A full list is available here.

Dog age restrictions:​ American Airlines requires that dogs traveling within the U.S. and Puerto Rico to be at least 8 weeks old. Dogs entering the U.S. on the airline from elsewhere must be at least 16 weeks old.

Cat breed restrictions:​ AA also prohibits checking brachycephalic cats of any "mix," a category that includes Burmese, Persian, Himalayan, and exotic shorthair cats.

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Cat age restrictions:​ Cats must be at least 8 weeks old when traveling within the U.S. and Puerto Rico on American Airlines.

Delta Airlines Pet Policy

Delta Airlines pet policy
Image Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/GettyImages

The official Delta Airlines pet policy:

"Take off with your favorite friend, even if they've got fur. Some pets can travel with Delta as a carry on or shipped as (very special) cargo, depending on their size. Review the requirements, then call us in advance at 800-221-1212 to arrange to bring your pet."

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Cost:

  • Carry-on pets to and from the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico:​ $125
  • Carry-on pets to and from the U.S. Virgin Islands:​ $200
  • Carry-on pets on international flights:​ $200
  • Carry-on pets to and from Brazil:​ $75
  • Checked pets to any destination:​ "Additional fees may apply"
  • Service animals:​ No charge. Effective Jan. 11, 2021, Delta will no longer accept emotional support animal (ESAN) bookings on any Delta flight.

Rules for traveling with carry-on pets on Delta Airlines:

  • How can pets ride in-cabin on Delta Airlines?​ Pets riding in the cabin must stay in a kennel, under the seat in front of their owner throughout the entire flight. Delta also requires pet owners to keep their animals in kennels while in the boarding area and Sky Lounge at the airport.
  • How much does it cost to bring a carry-on pet on Delta Airlines?​ It varies, depending on your destination. See "cost" above.
  • How big can a carry-on pet be on Delta Airlines?​ A carry-on pet must be small enough to fit comfortably and move around in a kennel without touching or protruding from the sides of the enclosure.
  • What kinds of kennels are allowed on Delta Airlines?​ Delta requires that carry-on kennels fit under the seat directly in front of the passenger and that soft- or hard-size kennels be leak-proof and ventilated on at least two sides. Maximum carry-on kennel dimensions are determined by a passenger's flight and Delta encourages passengers to check with reservations for specific size requirements.
  • Can more than one animal share a carry-on kennel on Delta Airlines?​ In general, Delta allows only one animal per kennel, with two exceptions: One female cat/dog may travel with her un-weaned litter if the litter is between 10 weeks and 6 months old and two pets of the same breed and size who are between 10 weeks and 6 months old can share a kennel if they are compatible and small enough to comfortably share the space. Animals permitted to share a kennel will be charged as one pet.
  • Does a pet kennel count as your carry-on luggage on Delta Airlines?​ Yes. A passenger traveling with a carry-on pet must count their animal's kennel as their carry-on item. They will still be allowed to bring one small personal item (like a purse or briefcase) in addition to the kennel.
  • How many pets can ride in-cabin on a given Delta flight?​ Delta flights limit pets to a maximum of two pets in First/Business Class and four in in main cabin on domestic and international flights. Pets are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Call Delta in advance at 800-221-1212 to arrange to bring your pet on board.
  • Can pets fly carry-on in First and Business Class on Delta Airlines?​ On domestic flights, yes—but no more than two per flight and not in cabins with flatbed seats. Pets aren't allowed in First or Business Class on international flights.
  • How old does an animal have to be to fly carry-on on a Delta flight?​ Pets traveling carry-on must be at least 10 weeks old for domestic flights and at least 16 weeks old for international travel from the United States.

Rules for traveling with checked pets on Delta Airlines:

  • What is Delta Airlines' policy regarding checked pets?​ Delta does not transport pets as checked luggage and instead transports them via the Delta Cargo shipping service. "Our specialized shipping service Delta Cargo provides safe, reliable, year-round transportation, with service to address the needs of all pets that are shipped without their owners." In response to COVID-19, Delta Cargo is not accepting any pet shipments. Check with Delta to see when rules may have changed.
  • Does Delta Airlines recommend transporting pets via cargo?​ The decision is ultimately up to the pet owner, but Delta outlines some of the risks cargo travel poses for animals and encourages customers to consult a vet before booking travel. "Transport via cargo can be stressful for animals," the company writes. "Exposure to unfamiliar environments, people and movements impacts each animal differently and poses risks that could lead to illness, injury, escape, or death. While obtaining a health certificate, please discuss the risks of air travel with your veterinarian. Consider your animal's age, medical history of pre-existing conditions, and/or whether it has anxiety disorders that may be exacerbated during travel."
  • Are there exceptions to Delta's policy of shipping animals through Delta Cargo?​ Yes. Military members and U.S. State Department Foreign Service Officers are able to check their pets as baggage for a fee when traveling on active transfer orders, but must book the animal as checked baggage at least 48 hours prior to travel and pets checked as baggage must comply with federal regulations. This service costs $200 on both domestic and international flights ($150 for travel to and from Brazil). More details about Delta's pet policy for active duty military and State Department Foreign Service Officers are available here.
  • Can passengers book pet shipping on their travel ticket?​ No. Delta requires separate booking for pets shipped as cargo—it's not included as part of a passenger's flight itinerary—and additional fees and charges may apply.
  • When can passengers book pet transport on Delta Cargo?​ Domestic pet shipping on Delta Cargo can't be booked until 14 days prior to departure.
  • Are pets flown on the same plane as their owner when they're shipped through Delta Cargo?​ It's not guaranteed. Pets traveling through Delta Cargo have to be dropped off at a Delta Cargo location (which is separate from passenger check-in) at least three hours before departure time and then picked up at a Delta Cargo location on arrival in the passenger's destination.
  • Can you ship pets internationally through Delta Airlines?​ Per Delta's website, "Delta Cargo only accepts international pet shipments from known shipping companies. Delta requires international customers use a pet shipper, approved by the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association. Customers would then need to follow acceptance procedures set by the shipper."
  • What documentation is required to ship a pet with Delta Airlines?​ Delta requires customers shipping pets at cargo to provide a health certificate for the animal. The dated certificate has to be be issued by a licensed veterinarian within 10 days of transport and must include the shipper's name and address, tag numbers or tattoos assigned to the animal, the age of the animal being shipped (animals must be at least 8 weeks old and fully weaned for domestic shipping travel), a statement that the animal is in good health, a list of administered inoculations, when applicable, the signature of the veterinarian.
  • What kinds of instructions should you prepare if you're shipping a pet on Delta Airlines?​ Customers hoping to ship their pet through Delta Cargo must complete a live animal checklist and confirm that their animal has been offered food and water within 4 hours of check-in. Customers shipping animals must also provide Delta with feeding and watering instructions for a 24-hour period and food for in-transit feeding, if necessary.
  • Should you sedate your pet before shipping it for travel with Delta Airlines?​Because the use of pet tranquilizers at high altitudes is unpredictable, Delta requires written consent from a vet to sedate any animal shipped through Delta Cargo. What's more, the airline doesn't allow the sedation of shipped household dogs and cats at all.

Rules for traveling with Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals on Delta Airlines:

  • Delta no longer recognizes emotional support or animals as service animals beginning Jan. 11, 2021. Any ESAs must travel as pets and follow the pet restrictions.

Rules for traveling with Trained Service Animals on Delta Airlines:

  • Do you need to notify Delta Airlines in advance if traveling with a trained service animal?​ Customers must submit the U.S. DOT Service Animal Air Travel Form for validation prior to their flight attesting to the animal's health, training, and behavior.
  • What species and breeds are allowed as trained service animals on Delta Airlines?​ As of Jan. 11, 2021, Delta will only accept trained service animals that are dogs.
  • Are there size restrictions for trained service animals on Delta Airlines?​ The size of the animal must not exceed the "footprint" of the passenger's seat.
  • What documentation is required to fly with a trained service animal on Delta Airlines?​ Customers must submit the U.S. DOT Service Animal Air Travel Form for validation prior to their flight attesting to the animal's health, training and behavior.

More information about Delta Airlines' service animal policies and FAQs are available here.

Other restrictions and considerations:

Destination restrictions:​ Pets aren't allowed to travel in cabin on Delta Airlines flights to (this does not include trained service animals):

  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Dakar
  • Dubai
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Ireland
  • South Africa
  • United Kingdom
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Hawaii

See a full list of destination and connection restrictions on Delta Airlines here.

Species restrictions:​ Delta allows household birds on domestic U.S. flights only excluding Hawaii, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam. They must be able to fit in a small, ventilated pet carrier that fits under the seat in front of you.

Age restrictions:​ Delta doesn't impose a maximum age limit for animals traveling by air, but notes that impaired vision or hearing, heart, liver or kidney disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, senility, and weakness can often impact older animals and strongly encourages passengers traveling with older animals to consult a vet.

Breed restrictions:​ Delta does not permit brachycephalic (snub-nosed) dogs and cats and their mixes on Delta or Delta Connection flights. See Delta Cargo for a full list of restricted dog and cat breeds.

Weather restrictions:​ Delta imposes seasonal restrictions on pet travel for the animals' safety and doesn't ship animals during extreme weather, including temperatures that exceeds 80˚F (27˚C) or fall below 20˚F (-7˚C). Delta also requires a Certificate of Acclimation for animals traveling when temperatures fall between 20˚F (-7˚C) and 45˚F (7˚C).

United Airlines Pet Policy

United Airlines pet policy
Image Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GettyImages

Cost:

  • Carry-on pets:​ $125
  • Checked pets to any destination:​ United has suspended all pet shipping and military pet transportation until further notice.
  • Service animals:​ No charge

Rules for traveling with carry-on pets on United Airlines:

  • What animals are eligible to ride in-cabin on United Airlines?​ Per United's website, "In-cabin pets are domesticated cats and dogs that travel in the aircraft cabin with a customer." Birds and rabbits are no longer allowed.
  • How can pets ride in-cabin on United Airlines?​ Pets riding in the cabin must stay in a kennel, under the seat in front of their owner throughout the entire flight.
  • How much does it cost to bring a carry-on pet on United Airlines?​ $125
  • Can a passenger fly with more than one pet on United Airlines?​ Yes, technically—but they would have to buy an extra seat ​and​ pay the additional $125 pet fee. Even then, the second pet would have to stay under the extra seat, not in the seat next to its owner.
  • How big can a carry-on pet be on United Airlines?​ A carry-on pet must be small enough to fit comfortably and move around in a kennel without touching or protruding from the sides of the enclosure.
  • What kinds of kennels are allowed on United Airlines?​ United allows both hard-sided and soft-sided kennels, but either way, the kennel must fit completely under the seat in front of the customer and remain there at all times. The maximum dimensions for hard-sided kennels are 17.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm). The recommended maximum dimensions for soft-sided kennels are 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high (46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm). Soft-sided pet carriers may exceed these dimensions slightly, as they are collapsible and able to conform to under-seat space without blocking the aisle (on Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft, soft-sided kennels must be no higher than 10 inches).
  • Can more than one animal share a carry-on kennel on United Airlines?​ Only one pet is allowed in a kennel.
  • How many pets can ride in-cabin on a given United flight?​ United only notes that pet travel is booked on an "as available" basis.

More details about United Airlines' in-cabin pet policies are available here.

Rules for traveling with checked pets on United Airlines:

  • What is United Airlines' policy regarding checked pets?​ United, as a general rule, does not transport pets as checked luggage and instead transports them via its PetSafe service. As of April 2021, PetSafe has been suspended.
  • Are there exceptions to United's policy of shipping animals through its PetSafe program?​ As of April 2021, military pet transport through PetSafe has been suspended.
  • Are there any health restrictions for pets flying through United's PetSafe program?​ United requires original health certificates for all cats and dogs, and they need to be issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian. Unites says "older pets and very young pets are more sensitive to stress from traveling. We recommend talking with your vet about additional health screenings your pet might need and to learn about their health risks during their trip."
  • Are there breed restrictions for pets flying through United's PetSafe program?​ Yes. There are many breeds that United and PetSafe will not accept. See the full list here.
  • Is every travel booking eligible for PetSafe?​ United will not accept PetSafe itineraries with more than three segments (or two connections). Moreover, to comply with the Animal Welfare Act, dogs and cats are required to have a comfort stop if the total length of their journey is more than 24 hours.
  • What kind of crate is required when shipping pets through United's PetSafe problem?​ United requires animals traveling through PetSafe to use an approved crate that meets United Airlines, USDA, and International Air Transport Association (IATA) requirements and recommends purchasing one directly through Petmate. United requires PetSafe users to submit photos of their kennel for pre-approval after booking. Crates cannot be larger that 34 inches high and must be large enough for the animal inside to stand, turn around normally while standing, sit up and lie down in a natural position.
  • Can more than one animal share a crate using United's PetSafe program?​ Generally, no. The only exception is that two kittens or puppies younger than six months can travel in a crate together as long as they're similar in size and weigh less than 20 pounds each, but the crate must be large enough for the animals to move around freely.
  • What documentation is required to ship a pet with United Airlines?​ United requires several documents for animals traveling via PetSafe, including:
    • A scanned copy of their completed, signed and dated Customer Acknowledgement Form
    • A scanned copy of their pet's original health certificate issued and signed by a licensed veterinarian who examined their pet within 10 days of travel (or a shorter timeframe if required by the destination country)
    • A digital photo of their pet's travel crate so United can give the customer guidance on how to make sure it meets PetSafe's crate requirements.
    • A digital photo of their pet clearly showing their face to verify the breed.
  • What kinds of instructions should you prepare if you're shipping a pet on United Airlines?​ United requires customers to attach certification stating the last time the animal was offered food and water to the outside of the crate. Owners are also required to attach any special feeding or watering instructions needed for their animal's care. More information about what's allowed and not allowed in the crate of an animal using PetSafe if available here.
  • Should you sedate your pet before shipping it for travel with United Airlines?​ According to United's website, "United supports the American Veterinarian Medical Association's (AVMA) recommendation to not transport pets that have been sedated. We will not accept cats or dogs that have been sedated or that appear to be sedated."

Rules for traveling with Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals on United Airlines:

Rules for traveling with trained service animals on United Airlines:

  • How does United Airlines define a trained service animal?​ "A service animal is a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is over the age of 4 months and individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability."
  • Do you need to notify United Airlines in advance if traveling with a trained service animal?​ No, but it's always helpful when possible.
  • What species and breeds are allowed as trained service animals on United Airlines?​ Service animals are dogs only.
  • Are there size restrictions for trained service animals on United Airlines?​ United's website doesn't specifically list size restrictions for trained service animals, but it's safe to assume that, as on other airlines, the animal must be able to fit at the passenger's feet, under their seat, or in their lap (but lap animals can't be larger than a two-year-old child). United's website says the service dog is required to be seated in the floor space directly in front of the ticketed passenger's seat seat or within the ticketed personal space.

Other restrictions and considerations:

Destination restrictions:​ United only allows in-cabin pets on select flights and notes that they aren't permitted on "flights to, from or through Hawaii and some international cities."

United also reminds customers that they are responsible for complying with all applicable state and country entry requirements when traveling with a pet.

Passenger restrictions:​ United doesn't allow pets to travel with unaccompanied minors.

Age restrictions:​ United requires puppies and kittens traveling in-cabin as pets to be at least four months old at the time of travel.

Breed restrictions:​ United does not allow many dog and cat breeds to fly as a part of its PetSafe program, citing health and behavioral issues as the reason for restrictions. See the full list here.

Weather restrictions:​ United's PetSafe program monitors the weather conditions and assess each location's ability to handle pets during extreme weather. They may change your pet's planned travel date or their route if temperatures aren't safe. They won't accept reservations to and from the following airports between May 1 and September 30, due to high temperatures:

  • Las Vegas (LAS)
  • Palm Springs (PSP)
  • Phoenix (PHX)
  • Tucson (TUS)

Southwest Airlines Pet Policy

Southwest Airlines pet policy
Image Credit: Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/GettyImages

The official Southwest Airlines pet policy:

"Southwest Airlines allows small vaccinated domestic cats and dogs to travel with you in-cabin under the seat in front of you. All pets must be carried in an appropriate carrier."

Cost:

  • Carry-on pets:​ $95
  • Service animals:​ No charge

Rules for traveling with carry-on pets on Southwest Airlines:

  • How can pets ride in-cabin on Southwest Airlines?​ Pets riding in the cabin must stay in a carrier, under the seat in front of their owner throughout the entire flight.
  • How much does it cost to bring a carry-on pet on Southwest Airlines?​ $95
  • How big can a carry-on pet be on Southwest Airlines?​ A carry-on pet must be small enough to fit comfortably and move around in a kennel without touching or protruding from the sides of the enclosure.
  • What kinds of kennels are allowed on Southwest Airlines?​ Southwest limits pet carriers to maximum dimensions of 18.5 inches long x 8.5 inches high x 13.5 inches wide. Both soft-sided and hard-sided carriers are allowed, but must be leak-proof and well-ventilated and small enough to fit under the seat in front of the passenger. The airline recommends its custom Southwest Airlines Pet Carrier.
  • Can more than one animal share a carry-on kennel on Southwest Airlines?​ Yes. Southwest permits customers to transport two cats or dogs, as long as the animals sharing the carrier are the same species. Customers are limited to one carrier per passenger.
  • Does a pet kennel count as your carry-on luggage on Southwest Airlines?​ Southwest allows customers to count their kennel as either their carry-on luggage ​or​ their "small personal item." Per the Southwest website: "Pet carriers are considered either a personal item or a carryon item. A Customer may board the aircraft with either a pet carrier and a personal item or a pet carrier and a regular size carryon bag. A Customer may not board the aircraft with a pet carrier, a regular size carryon bag, and a personal item. The pet carrier must conform to all carryon baggage regulations."
  • How many pets can ride in-cabin on a given Southwest flight?​ Southwest's policy is not to book more than six scheduled pet carriers per flight.
  • Can pets travel in-cabin on international flights on Southwest?​ Southwest doesn't allow in-cabin pets to travel on any international flights.
  • How old does an animal have to be to fly carry-on on a Southwest flight?​ Dogs and cats traveling as carry-ons must be at least 8 weeks old to fly Southwest.
  • What are the health requirements for pets flying carry-on via Southwest?​ Southwest does not currently require any documentation or health records for animals flying as pets.

Rules for traveling with checked pets on Southwest Airlines:

  • What is Southwest Airlines' policy regarding checked pets?​ Southwest does not permit pets to travel as cargo.

Rules for traveling with Emotional Support Animals on Southwest Airlines:

  • As of March 1, 2021, Southwest Airlines no longer accepts emotional support animals. Any animal that is not a trained service animal must travel as a pet.

Rules for traveling with trained service animals on Southwest Airlines:

  • How does Southwest define a service animal?​ "A fully trained service animal is individually trained to perform a task(s) or work for a person with a physical and/or mental disability. Only dogs are accepted as trained service animals."
  • Do you need to notify Southwest Airlines in advance if traveling with a trained service animal?​ No, but a customer traveling with a trained service animal must present a complete Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation form at the ticket counter or gate on the day of travel.
  • What species and breeds are allowed as trained service animals on Southwest Airlines?​ Only dogs are accepted as trained service animals.
  • Are there size restrictions for trained service animals on Southwest Airlines?​ The animal must be able to fit at the passenger's feet, under their seat, or in their lap (but lap animals can't be larger than a two-year-old child).
  • What documentation is required to fly with a trained service animal on Southwest Airlines?​ A customer traveling with a trained service animal must present a complete Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation form at the ticket counter or gate on the day of travel.

More information about Southwest Airlines' service animal policies and FAQs are available here.

Other restrictions and considerations:

Species restrictions:​ Southwest only allows dogs and cats to travel aboard its aircrafts as pets.

JetBlue Pet Policy

JetBlue pet policy
Image Credit: AFP/AFP/GettyImages

The official Jet Blue pet policy:

"Small dogs and cats may travel in the cabin in an FAA-approved pet carrier that fits comfortably under the seat in front of you. Only one pet per customer is allowed.."

Cost:

  • Carry-on pets:​ $125
  • Service animals:​ No charge

Rules for traveling with carry-on pets on JetBlue:

  • How can pets ride in-cabin on JetBlue?​ Carriers must be placed below the seat in front of you during taxi, take-off, and landing. You may hold the carrier on your lap during the flight. If you purchase an extra seat for your pet, the carrier may be placed on the additional purchased seat during the flight.
  • How much does it cost to bring a carry-on pet on JetBlue?​ $125.
  • What species are allowed to travel as pets on JetBlue?​ JetBlue only accepts small cats and dogs for pet travel.
  • What documentation is required for a pet to fly in-cabin on JetBlue?​ Your pet will need ID tags and a pet license. Depending on your destination, you may also need your pet's vaccination and documentation records
  • How big can a carry-on pet be on JetBlue?​ A carry-on pet must be small enough to fit comfortably and move around in a kennel without touching or protruding from the sides of the enclosure.
  • What kinds of kennels are allowed on JetBlue Airlines?​Your pet and approved pet carrier count as one personal item and must fit under the seat in front of you. Your pet carrier cannot exceed 17 inches L x 12.5 inches W x 8.5 inches H and the combined weight of your pet and the carrier must not exceed 20 pounds.
  • How many pets does JetBlue allow per passenger?​ JetBlue allows only one pet per passenger. The airline notes that it does make rare exceptions to this rule and encourages guests wishing to fly with multiple pets to call 1-800-JETBLUE (1-800-538-2583) for more information.
  • Does a pet kennel count as your carry-on luggage on JetBlue?​ Yes. JetBlue counts the pet and its carrier as one carry-on bag.
  • How many pets can ride in-cabin on a given JetBlue flight?​ JetBlue allows a maximum of four pets per flight and says "the fourth and final pet must be booked at the airport at the ticket counter within 24 hours of departure and is available on a first-come, first-served basis."
  • Can pets fly carry-on in JetBlue Mint flights?​ Pets are not allowed in Mint.

Rules for traveling with checked pets on JetBlue:

  • What is JetBlue's policy regarding checked pets?​ All pets travel in the aircraft cabin on board JetBlue flights—the airline does not ship live animals as cargo or in the bellies of any aircraft.

Rules for traveling with Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals on JetBlue:

Rules for traveling with trained service animals on JetBlue:

  • How does JetBlue define a trained service animal? "​A service animal has been trained to perform a specific task to assist the customer traveling."
  • Do you need to notify JetBlue in advance if traveling with a trained service animal?​ No, but it's always helpful when possible.
  • What species and breeds are allowed as trained service animals on JetBlue?​ Under the ADA, only dogs and, in some cases, miniature horses are permitted as service animals, but JetBlue doesn't list these or other restrictions on its website regarding trained service animals.
  • Are there size restrictions for trained service animals on JetBlue?​ JetBlue doesn't outline size restrictions for ESAs and PSAs, but it's reasonable to assume that, as on other airlines, the animal must be able to fit at the passenger's feet, under their seat, or in their lap (but lap animals can't be larger than a two-year-old child) and that, if the animal is traveling in a kennel, it must fit under the seat in front of the passenger.
  • What documentation is required to fly with a trained service animal on JetBlue?​ JetBlue must be notified that you're traveling with a service animal and receive the U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form no later than 48 hours prior to departure.

More information about JetBlue's service animal policies here.

Other restrictions and considerations:

Destination restrictions:​ JetBlue does not accept pets on flights to Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago.

Interline flights:​ "Pets are not accepted on interline/codeshare bookings (a single itinerary including both JetBlue and partnership airline flights), regardless of where and how the reservation was booked."

Benefits of traveling with a pet on JetBlue:​ TrueBlue members can earn 300 extra points per flight segment for adding a pet to their booking.

JetBlue also offers a pet travel guide for customers, available here, that includes information about etiquette of flying with a pet as well as a guide to pet-friendly hotels and pet hospitals in many major cities.

Spirit Airlines Pet Policy

Spirit Airlines pet policy
Image Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/GettyImages

The official policy:

"We want you to be able to take your favorite furry friend with you when you travel. That's why we allow small domesticated pets to travel on all domestic flights including Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. in the guest cabin."

Cost:

  • Carry-on pets:​ $110
  • Service animals:​ No charge

Rules for traveling with carry-on pets on Spirit Airlines:

  • How can pets ride in-cabin on Spirit Airlines?​ Pets riding in the cabin must stay in a kennel, under the seat in front of their owner throughout the entire flight.
  • How much does it cost to bring a carry-on pet on Spirit Airlines?​ $110
  • What documentation does Spirit Airlines require for pets flying in-cabin?​ While Spirit Airlines does not require a health certificate for pets traveling in-cabin (except for guests traveling to USVI), it ​does​ require a rabies vaccination certificate for pets traveling to Puerto Rico.
  • What species are allowed to travel as pets on Spirit Airlines?​ Spirit allows domestic dogs domestic cats, small household birds (except to/from Puerto Rico and the U.S.V.I. ), small domestic rabbits (except to/from Puerto Rico and U.S.V.I) to fly in-cabin as pets.
  • How big can a carry-on pet be on Spirit Airlines?​ Spirit requires that animals traveling in cabin be able to stand upright and move about comfortably in their kennel or carrier.
  • What kinds of kennels are allowed on Spirit Airlines?​ Spirit Airlines requires that pet containers fit under the guest's seat and not exceed 18 x 14 x 9 inches. The airline only allows soft containers in the cabin—but not the type that allows the pet's head to remain outside.
  • How many pets does Spirit Airlines allow per customer?​ Spirit limits passengers to one pet carrier each, but allows up to two pets per carrier.
  • Can more than one animal share a carry-on kennel on Spirit Airlines?​ Yes. Spirit allows up to two animals per carrier, but the combined weight of the pet(s) and carrier may not exceed 40 pounds.
  • Does a pet kennel count as your carry-on luggage on Spirit Airlines?​ Yes. A passenger traveling with a carry-on pet must count their animal's kennel as their carry-on item.
  • How old does an animal have to be to fly carry-on on a Spirit Airlines flight?​ Pets traveling carry-on must be at least 8 weeks old and fully weaned.

Rules for traveling with checked pets on Spirit Airlines:

  • What is Spirit Airlines' policy regarding checked pets?​ Spirit Airlines does not allow pets to travel as cargo.

Rules for traveling with Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals on Spirit Airlines:

  • As of Jan. 11, 2021, emotional support animals (ESAN) will be required to travel as pets per updated Department of Transportation requirements.

Rules for traveling with trained service animals on Spirit Airlines:

  • How does Spirit Airlines define a trained service animal?​ "A dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including psychiatric service animals."
  • Do you need to notify Spirit Airlines in advance if traveling with a trained service animal?​ You will need to complete and submit the U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form 48 hours before your flight.
  • What species and breeds are allowed as trained service animals on Spirit Airlines?​ Only dogs will be accepted as trained service or psychiatric service animals.
  • Are there size restrictions for trained service animals on Spirit Airlines?​ On Spirit Airlines, service dogs can sit on their owner's lap, if they're not larger than a lap child or be placed on the aircraft floor, provided it does not block an aisle or other area that must remain clear for emergency evacuation or extend into another guest's foot space (unless that guest gives consent allowing it to do so).
  • What documentation is required to fly with a trained service animal on Spirit Airlines?​ You will need to complete and submit the U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form 48 hours before your flight.

More information about Spirit Airlines' service animal policies are available here.

Other restrictions and considerations:

Species restrictions:​ Although Spirit allows household birds to fly as pets, it does not allow farm poultry, waterfowl, game bird, birds of prey, and flightless birds aboard its aircrafts. Exotic pets such as snakes, spiders, rodents, etc. will also not be accepted.

Allegiant Air Pet Policy

Allegiant Air pet policy
Image Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images News/GettyImages

The official policy:

"Allegiant welcomes domestic dogs and cats only in-cabin."

Cost:

  • Carry-on pets:​ $50 per segment
  • Service animals:​ No charge

Rules for traveling with carry-on pets on Allegiant Airlines:

  • How can pets ride in-cabin on Allegiant Airlines?​ Pets riding in the cabin must stay in a kennel, under the seat in front of their owner throughout the entire flight and while in the airport. Passengers with pets are required to check in with an Allegiant agent at the ticket counter or gate counter at least one hour prior to scheduled departure.
  • How much does it cost to bring a carry-on pet on Allegiant Airlines?​ $50 per segment.
  • What species are allowed to travel in-cabin as pets on Allegiant Airlines?​ Allegiant only allows domestic dogs and cats to travel on board as pets.
  • How big can a carry-on pet be on Allegiant Airlines?​ A carry-on pet must fit comfortably in its carrier and may not protrude from the carrier.
  • What kinds of kennels are allowed on Allegiant Airlines?​ All pets must be transported in a soft-sided or hard-sided enclosed leak-proof carrier. Allegiant strongly suggests a soft-sided carrier. The carrier may be no larger than 9 inches H x 16 inches W x 19 inches D.
  • How many pets are allowed per passenger on Allegiant Airlines?​ Allegiant limits passengers to one pet carrier, but that carrier can contain up to two animals.
  • Can more than one animal share a carry-on kennel on Allegiant Airlines?​ Allegiant allows up to two animals per carrier.

Rules for traveling with checked pets on Allegiant Airlines:

  • What is Allegiant Airlines' policy regarding checked pets?​ Allegiant Airlines does not transport animals in the cargo bin.

Rules for traveling with Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals on Allegiant Airlines:

  • As of Jan. 11, 2021, Allegiant Airlines no longer accepts emotional service animals. Any non-service animal must travel as a pet and meet the pet restrictions.

Rules for traveling with trained service animals on Allegiant Airlines:

  • How does Allegiant Airlines define a trained service animal?​ "A service animal is a dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform task for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability,"
  • Do you need to notify Allegiant Airlines in advance if traveling with a trained service animal?​ Allegiant requires the U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form to be emailed to ACAA@Allegiantair.com at least 48 hours prior to scheduled departure.
  • What species and breeds are allowed as trained service animals on Allegiant Airlines?​ Dogs only.
  • Are there size restrictions for trained service animals on Allegiant Airlines?​ The animal may only occupy the foot space of the disabled passenger and is prohibited from encroaching on the foot space of another passenger.
  • What documentation is required to fly with a trained service animal on Allegiant Airlines?​ Allegiant requires the U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form to be emailed to ACAA@Allegiantair.com at least 48 hours prior to scheduled departure.

More information about Allegiant Airlines' service animal policies are available here.

Frontier Airlines Pet Policy

Frontier Airlines pet policy
Image Credit: Michael Francis McElroy/Getty Images News/GettyImages

Cost:

  • Carry-on pets:​ $99
  • Service animals:​ No charge

Rules for traveling with carry-on pets on Frontier Airlines:

  • How can pets ride in-cabin on Frontier Airlines?​ Pets riding in the cabin must stay in a kennel, under the seat in front of their owner throughout the entire flight.
  • How much does it cost to bring a carry-on pet on Frontier Airlines?​ $99
  • What species of animals are allowed to fly in-cabin on Frontier Airlines?​ Domesticated dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, or small household birds may be carried on flights within the United States. The following species are never accepted: Large birds (e.g. parrots, macaws, cockatoos, birds of prey), rodents (including mice, rats, squirrels), beavers, ferrets, reptiles (including snakes), amphibians, spiders, and insects (and please, no lions, tigers, or bears). Only domesticated dogs and cats may be carried to or from international destinations.
  • How big can a carry-on pet be on Frontier Airlines?​ A pet flying in-cabin must be small enough to stand, turn around and lie down in a natural position inside the carrier.
  • What kinds of kennels are allowed on Frontier Airlines?​ Maximum dimensions for a pet container are 18 inches length x 14 inches width x 8 inches height. Frontier recommends the container be a soft-sided case.
  • Does a pet kennel count as your carry-on luggage on Frontier Airlines?​ Yes. A passenger traveling with a carry-on pet must count their animal's kennel as their carry-on item. They will still be allowed to bring one small personal item (like a purse or briefcase) in addition to the kennel or another carry-on bag for an additional fee.

Rules for traveling with checked pets on Frontier Airlines:

  • What is Frontier Airlines' policy regarding checked pets?​ Frontier Airlines doesn't allow pets to fly as cargo.

Rules for traveling with Emotional Support Animals on Frontier Airlines:

  • Frontier Airlines no longer accepts emotional support animals. Any non-trained service dog must travel as a pet and meet pet restrictions.

Rules for traveling with trained service animals on Frontier Airlines:

  • How does Frontier Airlines define a trained service animal?​ "Only dogs will be accepted as a service animal which are trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability. This includes psychiatric service animals."
  • Do you need to notify Frontier Airlines in advance if traveling with a trained service animal?​ Passengers traveling with a service dog must complete and submit the DOT's Service Animal Air Transportation Form, attesting to the dog's health, behavior, and training. For reservations booked more than 48 hours prior to travel, Passengers must submit the completed Form no later than 48 hours prior to travel. For reservations booked less than 48 hours prior to travel, passengers must submit the completed Form in person to a Customer Service Agent upon arrival at the airport.
  • What species and breeds are allowed as trained service animals on Frontier Airlines?​ Dogs only.
  • Are there size restrictions for trained service animals on Frontier Airlines?​ The animal can be placed on the customer's lap (provided the animal is no larger than a child under the age of two) or on the aircraft floor provided it does not extend into the aircraft aisle, occupy an empty aircraft seat or encroach upon a neighboring seat, or eat off seatback tray tables.
  • What documentation is required to fly with a trained service animal on Frontier Airlines?​ Passengers traveling with a service dog must complete and submit the DOT's Service Animal Air Transportation Form, attesting to the dog's health, behavior, and training. For reservations booked more than 48 hours prior to travel, Passengers must submit the completed Form no later than 48 hours prior to travel. For reservations booked less than 48 hours prior to travel, passengers must submit the completed Form in person to a Customer Service Agent upon arrival at the airport.

More information about Frontier Airlines' service animal policies are available here.

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