If the idea of leaving Fido at home while you’re traveling racks you with grief, consider booking with pet-friendly airlines that offer extra cabin space and amenities for man’s best friend.
Any concerned owner can read up on the potential horror stories of pet travel, so you need to do some research and choose the right carrier to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort. At the same time, you might not want to pay first-class rates to bring your furry friend on board. Luckily, many leading airlines provide affordable pet travel services so your dog or cat can fly with you right in the cabin.
Click through to find the best airlines to book when you’re traveling with pets.
If you’re flying with dogs or domestic cats on Allegiant, you can bring them along in the cabin provided they fit in a leakproof, soft-sided carrier underneath the seat in front of you. However, pets are not allowed on flights to and from Alaska or Hawaii.
You’ll pay a $100 fee per carrier for each flight, and you can only bring two pets per carrier. Service animals and emotional support animals are excluded from the standard pet policy, which can help you save money on airline fees. However, you still need to make a reservation for these animals by selecting the “travel with pets” option under your name when booking a flight.
Dogs, cats and household birds can travel as checked baggage or in the passenger cabin aboard Hawaiian Airlines flights. If your pet is flying as checked baggage, expect to pay $60 for travel within the state of Hawaii or $225 for travel between Hawaii and North America. The airline does not recommend transporting snub-nosed dog and cat breeds as checked baggage due to potential respiratory difficulties, but other breeds can travel in a kennel.
If you want your pet to fly in the cabin, there are certain restrictions: Pets are not accepted in first-class cabins on all North American flights, on any flight to and from New York or on international routes. The animal must fit in a pet carrier to be stowed underneath the seat in front of you. Airline fees for pets traveling in the cabin run $35 within the state of Hawaii and $175 for flights between Hawaii and North America.
Service animals and emotional support animals are allowed on board as long as you have the required documentation. You even have the option to purchase a second seat for your support animal.
In addition to being a pet-friendly airline, Hawaiian is also one of the cheapest airlines to upgrade your flight.
If you’re traveling with pets and looking for airline perks, JetBlue offers some incentives with its JetPaws program. The free program includes a special bag tag that will be attached to your pet carrier at check-in, a “Petiquette” list of tips on how to manage pet travel with JetBlue as well as 300 TrueBlue points.
You can book your pet online or by phone, and the fee is $100 each way. The pet carrier counts as one carry-on bag on the flight, and you’ll need to check in at the full-service counter at the airport. Service animals or emotional support animals are allowed, but they’re limited to dogs, cats and miniature horses.
American Airlines is one of the most pet-friendly airlines, offering several travel options depending on the breed and size of your furry friend. You can travel with pets as carry-on luggage or transport them via American Airlines Cargo. There are some dog and cat breed restrictions to keep in mind, but you can confirm whether your pet can travel by calling in advance. Carry-on pets must fit in a small kennel underneath the seat in front of you for the duration of the flight.
Fees are $200 per kennel for checked pets traveling between the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean; $150 per kennel for checked pets traveling to and from Brazil; and $125 per kennel for carry-on pets traveling between the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, Colombia and the Caribbean.
There is no charge for service animals, and they can travel to all destinations. If a service animal doesn’t fit on your lap, at your feet or under your seat, you might have to book an additional seat or transport the service animal as a checked pet. Emotional support animals are allowed on board with proper documentation.
Delta Air Lines
Delta is another pet-friendly airline that offers several options for your pet. Dogs, cats and household birds can travel in the cabin with you for a fee ranging from $75 to $200 each way, depending on the route. Household birds are only allowed on domestic flights. Your pet needs to fit in a kennel underneath your seat and must be at least 10 weeks old for domestic travel.
Pets are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, and the total number of pets per flight is limited, so it’s best to call ahead. Some animals aren’t accepted in the cabin but can be flown via the Delta Cargo program instead.
Alaska Airlines welcomes most small, domesticated pets. But short-nosed dogs and cats are not permitted to travel as cargo because flight stress can exacerbate breathing issues commonly associated with those breeds. They can, however, travel with you in a pet carrier underneath the seat. The fee for pets traveling in the cabin or in baggage is the same: $100 each way.
Service and emotional support animals are allowed on board and can sit at your feet if there is enough room. If you’re traveling with an emotional or psychiatric support animal, you will need to provide documentation from a licensed mental health professional.
Feel free to bring your cat or dog in a pet carrier on your Southwest domestic flight — but make sure your pet is vaccinated. Only small pets that can be stowed under the seat are allowed to travel on Southwest, and you’ll pay $95 each way for one pet carrier. Unfortunately, no animals are allowed on international flights.
Trained assistance animals and emotional support animals are allowed on board to and from all domestic and international destinations, but be mindful of country-specific regulations. Since only six animals are permitted per flight, pets are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
United offers pet travel service for domesticated cats, dogs, rabbits and household birds, excluding cockatoos. Your pet must travel in a kennel small enough to fit underneath the seat in front of you. There is a $125 service charge each way as well as an additional $125 service charge for layovers of more than four hours.
United Airlines also accommodates service animals, which can sit without a kennel at your feet. Smaller service animals can travel in an approved in-cabin kennel. Therapy animals are not considered service animals by this airline, so standard pet restrictions and regulations apply.
Grace Lin contributed to the reporting for this article.
More on Airlines
- 7 Travel Expenses You Can Easily Afford
- 40 Airport Secrets Only Insiders Know
- Why You Could Be Your Own Biggest Financial Obstacle