8 Do’s And Dont’s When Flying With Your Pet
Even though traveling with pets is a big business (hotels and trains are now accepting more pets, for extra fees of course), they must be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you. Dogs that are up to around 15-20 pounds can fit comfortably in the airline-approved pet carriers.
Emotional support animals and service dogs are an exception to this rule, though there may be variations and limitations depending on the animal. This means you may not need to pay an extra fee from the airlines. Emotional support animals do need to have an ESA letter and comply with certain requirements.
If you’re preparing to travel with your pet and want to be prepared, here are eight dos and don’ts.
1. Do Plan Ahead
Each airline has different restrictions so get familiar with the one you’re planning on taking.
For example, American Airlines has specific restrictions on which breeds may not fly for both dogs and cats. These mostly include breeds that have pushed in noses, also known as brachycephalic.
According to their site, as of 2018 they no longer accept Chow Chow breeds as checked-in pets. They also show which destinations pets are allowed to travel to.
Here are some U.S. airline pet resources:
If you’re looking to book tickets based on which airlines are pet-friendly, these airlines consistently sit at the top:
Here are some of the top large dog-friendly airlines:
2. Do Get A Health Certificate
Make sure you get a health certificate and bring it with you when you fly. The certificate shows that your dog has all of the proper shots and vaccinations.
You also have to make sure your certificate is issued within certain dates. For example, American Airlines requires it to be issued from your vet 10 days before your travel date and within 60 days of your return (for travel on the same ticket).
3. Do Know The Costs
The biggest airlines charge $125 for an in-cabin pet. Southwest Airlines charges $95 and Jetblue’s fee is $100. You most likely need to pay the fee when you arrive at the airport, not when you book your ticket online.
4. Do Book Nonstop
Booking a nonstop flight will make for an easier trip, especially if the airports are busy. Pay a little extra for a nonstop flight.
If your destination has limited nonstop flights, try looking at nearby airports to see if there are direct flights. You may need to drive a bit further to get to your final destination, but it’s probably easier to be in a car than switching planes.
5. Don’t Fly During The Holidays
Travel during the holidays without a pet is hard enough. The lines, crowds and noise can be overwhelming for humans, much less a pet. Leave the traveling to a less busy time and avoid flying with your pet when it’s a holiday.
6. Don’t Feed Your Pet Right Before The Flight
Sometimes flying can cause stomach discomfort. Make sure your pet travels on an empty or lightly fed stomach.
7. Don’t Forget Potty Time For Your Pet
Pet-friendly airports like Denver International Airport has private dog bathrooms and an outside dog relief area. However, this is definitely not the norm. Make sure your pet gets a chance to use the bathroom before you get to the airport.
8. Don’t Stress Out
While there are a lot of rules for flying with your pet, traveling with your pet doesn’t need to be stressful. Plan ahead, get a checklist ready and know what to expect. If you have questions, contact the airline directly.