Search Menu

Government Relations Blogs

Flying with Your Pet? Check Your Airline’s Policies

Whether you are competing in a show or taking a vacation with your pet, sometimes flying is the most efficient option. But did you know that depending on which airline you take, the policies you must follow could differ drastically? Don’t get caught unprepared. If you are flying with a pet it is important that you plan ahead and familiarize yourself with your airline’s rules and regulations.

Requirements for pet travel vary widely across domestic airlines and may change with no prior notice.  Check with the specific airline for their pet travel requirements, restrictions, health certificate information, quarantine requirements (if any), fees, and other information.  Here is some information for common U.S. domestic airlines pet travel policies as they are currently posted.

 

Carrier
Allow pets as carry on?
Service & Emotional Support animals
Pets as cargo
American Airlines Yes. $125 per kennel.
Restrictions:– pet must be at least 8 weeks– weigh no more than 20 pounds

– does not allow pets to fly to/from Hawaii, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, Venezuela, or on transatlantic flights.

Emotional / psychiatric support and fully-trained service animals can fly in the cabin at no charge if they meet certain requirements.
Requirements:– On flights over 8 hours, documentation is required for service animals stating your animal won’t need to relieve itself or can do so in a way that doesn’t create a health or sanitation issue.– Emotional Service animals must have completed a 3-form packet prior to flight.

Restrictions:

– Some animals can’t be permitted as service or emotional support animals due to safety and/or public health risk

Yes. $200 per kennel
Restrictions:

Breed restrictions (AA will not accept brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs of any “mix” as checked luggage)

– You cannot travel with a pet if the current or forecasted temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit

– You cannot travel with a pet if the ground temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit

– Checked pets cannot travel to/through/from Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, or Palm Springs May 1 – September 30

Delta Airlines Yes. $125 to/from the destination.
Restrictions:– Your pet must be at least 10 weeks old for Domestic travel.
Delta welcomes service and support animals in the aircraft cabin.
Requirements:– Passengers traveling with emotional support or psychiatric service animals must complete the required paperwork.– Customers traveling with a trained service animal are encouraged to submit vaccination records prior to travel.
No. But you can ship your pet through Delta Cargo.
Restrictions:

Snub nose dogs

JetBlue Airways Yes. $100 fee each way.
Restrictions:– Pets are not accepted for travel to Jamaica, Barbados, St Lucia, the Cayman Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Yes. JetBlue welcomes service and emotional support/psychiatric service animals in the cabin at no additional charge.

Requirements:

– You will be asked at the airport to verify the service the animal provides.
Restrictions:

– Limits on types of animals for ESA

– In order to travel with an emotional support/psychiatric service animal, you must provide current documentation on letterhead or prescription pad from a licensed mental health professional or physician.

No. JetBlue does not allow pets to travel in the cargo hold.
Southwest Airlines Yes. $95 pet fare each way.
Restrictions:-Not allowed in cabin on International flights
Yes. Trained assistance animals and emotional support animals will be allowed to travel on flights to/from all domestic and international destinations.
Trained assistance and emotional support animals may be subject to additional governmental laws and regulations at the destination, including but not limited to, health certificates, permits and vaccinations required by the country, state or territory from and/or to which the animal is being transported.
No. Pets are not allowed to travel in the cargo area.
United Airlines Yes. $125 each way.
United allows domesticated cats, dogs, rabbits and household birds (excluding cockatoos) to travel accompanied in the aircraft cabin on most flights within the U.S.
United will require additional documentation for customers traveling with emotional support animal or a psychiatric service animal. In addition to providing a letter from a licensed medical/mental health professional, customers will need to provide a veterinary health form documenting the health and vaccination records for the animal as well as confirming that the animal has been trained to behave properly in a public setting. Yes. The PetSafe® is a specially designed program for transporting cats and dogs that are not eligible to travel in the aircraft cabin.
Restrictions:

– Accept cats and dogs ONLY. NO other household pets or animals will be accepted as PetSafe.

– Will not accept reservations for brachycephalic (or short- or snub-nosed) dogs and cats and strong-jawed dog breeds*, out of concern for higher adverse health risks.

– No longer accept reservations to/from Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Phoenix, and Tucson between May 1 and Sept. 30, due to high temperature restrictions.

Service animals

The AKC has always been a strong supporter of service dogs and strongly condemns the misrepresentation of pets as service dogs. Service animals are trained for specific purposes and provide an essential role to their owners. As some airlines only allow a certain number of animals per flight, it is imperative that those with service animals be allowed access on the plane.
Other Options

Of course, air travel isn’t the only way for your pet to travel. Learn about other options through the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA).

View AKC Resources for traveling safely with your pet.

Government Requirements for importing a pet

Please view the following resources if you are planning to bring a pet into the U.S. from outside the country.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Requirements for Importing a Pet

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Requirements for Importing a Pet

CDC Changes Application Process to Import Dogs Considered Inadequately Immunized Against Rabies

New CDC Flyers Illustrate Requirements for Entering the U.S. With a Dog

Foreign Rescue Imports Breed Health Concerns, Undermine Responsible Rescues and Adoptions

*These links are current as of the posting of this article. Always check with the airlines prior to arriving at the airport to ensure the most up to date policies on traveling with your pets.