Many of us are looking forward to traveling in the future, and what could be more fun than flying with your pet to an exciting destination?
However, traveling with our pets requires additional planning, especially when flying! Today, we’re going breaking down a few things you should know about flying with your pet, including which airlines are the most pet-friendly based on cabin options, weight limits, and customer ratings.
Flying Cargo vs. Flying Cabin
Some airlines will allow small pets, often pets that weigh 25 pounds or less, to fly in the cabin with you. Airlines that allow this will require that your pet remains in their carrier at all times. Your pet’s carrier must also fit underneath your seat.
If you have a medium to large-sized pet, you will need to find an airline that allows pets to fly in cargo, since they will be too big to fly in the cabin with you.
Some of the top-rated airlines for both cabin and cargo pet flights include:
- Hawaiin Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines*
- United Airlines
- Delta Airlines*
*Please note that these airlines temporarily have no cargo service due to COVID-19, but should resume having pets in cargo. (1)
Best Airlines for Traveling with Large Pets
- United Airlines (no maximum weight)
- Southwest Airlines (no maximum weight)
- Alaska Airlines (150 pound limit in cargo)
- Frontier (no maximum weight)
- Virgin America Airlines (no maximum weight) (2)
Restrictions on Dog Breeds that Can Fly
It should also be noted that many airlines have restrictions on the type of pets you can bring on a plane.
Many plans ban brachycephalic dogs, or “short-snouted,” dogs like Pugs, Affenpinschers, English Toy Spaniels, French Bulldogs, etc. This is due to the fact that these breeds already have compromised respiratory systems, putting them at a greater risk of respiratory distress while flying.
If you have a snort-snouted dog, you will be hard-pressed to find any airline that allows your pet to fly. Experts recommend that you travel by train instead to lower the risk to your pet’s health. (1)
Traveling with our pets can be fun with proper planning.
Many airlines will require your pet to be medically assessed before you fly with them. Your veterinarian will check your pet for health problems that could affect their ability to travel safely and may give you a health certificate to prove that your pet is vaccinated, which your airline may also require.
Before you take off, make sure your pet has the proper pet insurance coverage. Even with the best planning, accidents do happen and it’s better to be safe, rather than sorry.