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Cat Travel Northwest Airlines

Updated on February 29, 2008

Cat Travel - Northwest Airlines 800-225-2525

Northwest Airlines is one of the largest domestic and international carriers and because of their size carry a very large number of live animals every year. The information contained here only addresses domestic travel. If you plan to travel internationally please contact Northwest Airlines directly.

Domestically, Northwest offers the three travel options: carry-on, checked luggage and air freight or cargo.


- Advance arrangements to carry your pet on board with you are required. These arrangements should be made at least four weeks ahead of planned travel date.

- If your destination is the State of Hawaii contact Northwest directly for the latest information, or click on the link below to connect to the State’s site.

- While on board the aircraft your pet must remain inside the carry-on kennel. This kennel should be large enough for your pet to fit comfortable inside with no part of the pet extending outside. The maximum size on Northwest is 17” x 12” x 8”. The maximum weight of your pet plus the kennel cannot exceed 15 pounds.

- Carry-on kennels must be leak proof and be ventilated on two sides.

- The cost to transport a carry-on kennel is $80.00 each way. Northwest does allow you to save time at the airport by pre-paying this fee over the phone before you travel. Northwest reserves the right to charge an additional $20.00 if advance arrangements for your pet were not made.

- Northwest does not require a health certificate for carry-on pets. However, it is the passenger’s responsibility to comply with all local, state and national entry requirements. See the links below for additional information.

Checked Luggage

- At the time you make your reservations advise the reservation agent your pet will be traveling with you as checked luggage.

- Your pet must travel in an approved kennel. The total weight of kennel and pet cannot exceed 100 lbs.

- If your enroute travel plans call for a change of airlines you must allow enough time at the connecting city to claim your pet and re-check it with the connecting airline.

- Difference acceptance rules may apply so be sure to check those rules with each airline.

- Claim your pet in the luggage claim area 1-2 hours after arrival.

- Restrictions:

i. Northwest flight series numbers 2000-9699 may not accept animals as luggage. Call Northwest to make sure the flight you are scheduled on does accept animal.

ii. No animal travel when outside air temperature at any point on the planned routing is, or forecasted, to be below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, or higher than 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

- The cost of checking you pet is based on the weight of your pet plus the kennel weight and apply in each direction.

Small Kennel Size – total dimensions of 56 inches – maximum weight of 25 lbs - $139.00

Medium Kennel Size – total dimensions of 73 inches – maximum weight of 34 lbs - $169.00

Intermediate Kennel Size – total dimensions of 80 inches – maximum weight of 53 lbs -$199.00

Large Kennel Size – total dimensions of 89 inches – maximum weight of 94 lbs - $229.00

Cargo or Air Freight

The same general rules that apply to checked luggage also apply to shipping your pet as cargo or air freight. The only differences are you are not traveling with your pet and the charges are different. Best advice is to call Northwest between 24 hours and 10 days prior to the date you want to ship your pet and they will be able to give you the most current information. Northwest Cargo: 800-692-2746

General Conditions:

1. Curbside check-in of a kennel is not permitted. Kennel must be taken to the ticket counter.

2. Outside labels are required by Federal regulations on all kennels being checked as luggage or shipped as cargo.

a. A “Live Animallabel with letters at least 1 inch high needs to be on the top and on at least one side of the kennel.

b. Indicate the top of the kennel either with arrows pointing “up” or with letters stating “This End Up” – these markings need to be on at least two sides of the kennel.

c. If the length of trip will necessitate feeding your pet you must supply the food by putting it in a container and attaching it to the outside of the kennel. Write out your feeding instructions and include them in the container. Be sure the kennel is equipped with, or you supply, two empty dishes – one for food and one for water, that are assessable from the outside of the kennel.

d. The airline requires you attach certification to the outside of the kennel stating that your pet has been offered food and water within four hours of scheduled departure. It is not a good idea to feed your pet in the two hours just prior to departure as a full stomach can cause discomfort.

e. Be sure to put contact information on the outside of the kennel. This contact information needs to include your full name, address and phone number at both the origin and destination. Include your pet’s name and it’s a good idea to mention your final destination.

Helpful Links:

Hawaii requirements

Service Animals

Sherpa soft sided carry-on kennel

State entry requirements

Any information contained herein is subject to change with or without notice. The airline makes the final determination as to whether or not it will accept the animal for transportation. For the latest information and requirements contact the carrier directly at least four weeks before your intended travel date.

Tom Kartes


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