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Flying with a Small Dog or Other Small Pet: Airline Guidelines and Prices

Updated on March 28, 2017
Travel has come a long way for pets.
Travel has come a long way for pets. | Source

Flying with a Dog or Other Small Pet Can be Easy

Very few of us like to leave our small dogs or small pets behind when we travel. In the past, if you were flying, the usual option was for your dog or pet to fly in the cargo section of the plane, not always the most accommodating place for your pet, especially not your small pet. Things have changed and there is now the option for your small dog or pet to fly with you. After all, if it’s a vacation you’re destined for, think of how much fun it will be to watch Fido frolic in the waves on some sandy beach alongside you and the kids.

If you are moving, it may be impractical to drive to your new home meaning a flight for you and your pet. And boarding your pet for an extensive stay can be costly and it may be unsettling for you and your pet.

In fact, there can be many reasons you may prefer to fly with your pet rather than leave it behind. Here are a few of the guidelines and the approximate costs for some of the airlines that allow your pet in the passenger cabin.

Who could leave this face behind?
Who could leave this face behind? | Source

Choose the Airline for You and Your Pet

Delta Airlines can have up to four pets that fit in specified carriers on any one flight. When making a reservation, it is best to call the airline and tell them you would like your pet to travel with you. The cost will be $125.00 one way. During the trip, the pet must remain in the carrier under the seat in front of you. One airline employee mentioned that in all of the times she has traveled, she has never known when there was a pet in the passenger cabin during that flight.

Southwest Airlines also allows pets to travel in carriers under the seat in front of you. The cost is $95.00. For your convenience, Southwest Airlines has the correct size carrier available for purchase at some ticket counters or it can be purchased at Southwest Airlines’ online store. Again, it is necessary for you to call the airline to let them know you would like to travel with your pet. They will provide instructions to make that happen.

If you choose to fly Air Canada to your destination, the policies mirror those of the other airlines. The cost ranges from $50 - $100 for your pet to fly in a designated carrier placed under the seat in front of you. The pet must remain in the carrier at all times.

According to their website, United Airlines allows a variety of pets in the passenger cabin as long as they fit in an approved hard- or soft-sided carrier. The carry-on pet can include domesticated cats, dogs, rabbits and even household birds with the exception of cockatoos. Call the airlines for question when booking a reservation.

Rabbits will fit neatly in a carrier under the seat.
Rabbits will fit neatly in a carrier under the seat. | Source

Check the pet flying policies and then decide which airline is going to be a match for you and your pet. It is also a good idea to check with your vet to see if your breed of dog tolerates stress of flying. In addition to checking with your vet, also check the rules of entering another country with a pet. There may be regulations that apply.

The bottom line is that pets, like the rest of us, are mobile, too. Airlines have stepped up to accommodate that reality. There can be pets on the plane, in the passenger cabin with you, provided they fit in a proportioned, airline approved carrier. Happy flying!

Airlines and Their Pet Flying Costs

Delta Airline
Call airline ahead of time
$125.00 one way
Southwest Airlines
Correct carrier available for purchase online; call airline
$95.00 one way
Air Canada
Designated carrier under the seat
$50 - $100.00 one way
Note that airline prices and policies are subject to change.

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    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      What an adorable lead photo, Cyndi. I only discovered that pets fly onboard recently on a Southwest flight. I never knew this was permitted before. It's so nice to know that "Airlines have stepped up to accommodate that reality."

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 6 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      This is a GREAT hub! Such valuable info...thank you so much. My cousin has this tiny dog that she takes EVERYWHERE! It's really cute. In fact, she somehow got an official document through her Dr. stating the dog is a"Therapy Dog" that she needs for her severe anxiety. No kidding.

      My dog is not one I would want to take anywhere at this point....he's too old and also manners! LOL.

      However, I'm thinking of the future. Should I ever get another dog, I would choose a tiny breed so he/she could travel with me easily. The costs you have shared are much cheaper than what I have paid to board my dog while I'm away!! That's for sure!

      Thanks again! Good stuff to know! Paula

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 6 weeks ago from Georgia

      Hello Genna, I didn't know so many pets are flying with their families until I started the research for my Westie. I haven't flown with him yet, but I'm giving it serious thought. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment.

      Hi Paula, I really expected the costs to be a lot more when I started the research. It is great that it's not an arm and a leg. All the reservationists and customer service personnel at the airlines were very nice about answering the questions. They said it's very common place now. I haven't gotten past the research stage. :) Thank you for reading.

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