Flying With a Dog: Choosing the Best Airline

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Transporting a dog on an airplane can be a stressful and trying experience. Unlike regular luggage, a misplaced animal may go without food and water or escape and never be seen again. If things go wrong, they can go very wrong very quickly. So, choosing who to entrust your beloved companion with is the first, and most important, decision a traveler should make. Below are the major North American airlines and their policies toward pet passengers.

Alaska Airlines


Pets in Cabin: Maximum carrier size of 9.5" x 12" x 17".

Pets in Baggage: Combined weight of dog and kennel must not exceed 150 lbs, may be restricted based on availability and conditions.

Pets in Cargo: Offered for animals over 150 lbs.

Flight Requirements: Vet-certified health certificate signed within 30 days of flying.

Fees: $100 per pet, in both cabin and baggage.


American Airlines


Pets in Cabin: Maximum carrier size of 19" x 13" x 9".

Pets in Baggage: Combined weight of dog and kennel cannot exceed 100 lbs, or 40" x 27" x 30".

Flight Requirements: Vet-certified health certificate signed within 10 days of flying.

Fees: $175 to fly as baggage, $125 to fly in the cabin.


Continental Airlines & United Airlines


Pets in Cabin: Maximum carrier size of 18” x 11” x 11”.

Pets in Baggage: Maximum kennel size 48" x 32" x 35". May be restricted based on availability and conditions. Temperature and pressure-controlled area for pets.

Flight Requirements: Health certificate signed ten days prior to flying.

Fees: $125 for in-cabin pets, prices vary for baggage but expect about $300 for a mid - large sized dog. These rates are higher than most due to the extra services offered.


Delta Airlines


Pets in Cabin: Pet must fit under seat in carrier, although max dimensions change per flight.

Pets in Baggage: Temperature and pressure-controlled area for pets. Two dogs may ship in the same crate.

Pets in Cargo: Used when the owner is not on the flight.

Flight Requirements: May need health certificate, depending on the state.

Fees: $125 for in-cabin, $200 as checked baggage.


JetBlue Airways


Pets in Cabin: Dog and carrier have a maximum weight of 20 lbs, and a maximum carrier size of 17" x 12.5" x 8.5".

Flight Requirements: No certificate needed.

Fees: $100.


Southwest Airlines


Pets in Cabin: Maximum carrier size is 19" x 19" x 8.25".

Flight Requirements: No certificate needed.

Fees: $75


US Airways


Pets in Cabin: Maximum carrier size is 17" x 16" x 8".

Flight Requirements: No certificate required.

Fees: $125


As you can see, some airways are more dog-friendly than others. For owners of small dogs, this isn't a big deal, but owners of larger breeds will need to do careful homework before booking. Personally, I believe Continental is the way to go when flying a dog.

Please feel free to post any corrections or experiences with an airline in the comments below!

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TheEpicJourney 4 years ago from Fairfield, Ohio

Man I wish I would have found this hub about 2 hours ago! Just before I signed into hubpages I was going over all this exact info trying to start planning fora trip to Alaska with Zoe. Lesson learned...check hubpages first! lol. Thanks for consolidating all the info into a convenient single page. Most of your info is up to date fyi I should know....i just reviewed it all before this haha! Thanks

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