Many airlines allow pet travel but they all have their own set of rules and instructions to ensure a safe and efficient travel experience. Below we have put together a chart answering 5 main questions when traveling with your pet. The five questions include the following:

1.) Are pets allowed to travel on this airline? (Within the US)

Most airlines allow domestic travel within the US but prohibit travel to other countries.

2.) Does this airline allow pets to travel underneath the plane in cargo?

This has become a hot topic among airlines, travelers, and news reports. Less and less airlines are allowing pets to fly under the plane in the cargo area. Incidents of pets dying due to stress, heat, improper pressurization, and other health issues have been reported. If we answered “NO” in this column this means that this airline has not flown pets in cargo for the past 12 months or currently state on their website that they do not allow any cargo travel.

3.) Is documentation required to travel with this pet?

Documentation may include a dog license, vaccinations, ID tags, health certificates, and documentation from a doctor stating the need to travel with your pet if necessary.

4.) Is there a fee incurred when traveling with this pet on this airline? If so, what is it?

All airlines charge a fee and the price varies. Refer to the chart below.

5.) Does this airline require you to keep your pet in a carrier during travel?

Many of these carriers/kennels have size restrictions which require them to be able to fit on the floor in front of your seat but also require them to not be too small to cause your pet discomfort.

Airline Pets & Dogs Travel Policies

Airline JetBlue United Airlines American Airlines SouthWest Delta Virgin America Spirit
Travel Allowed? (USA) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cargo Travel? No Yes Yes No Yes Hold Only No
Documentation Required? Yes International Only Yes No Cargo Only No No
Carry on Fee? (USA) Yes $125 Yes $125 Yes $125 Yes $95 Yes $125 N/A Hold Only Yes $110
Carrier Required? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

As of August 2019. Virgin Airlines does not allow any pets to travel in the cabin unless they are assistance animals. Approved pets are allowed to travel in a carrier but they are held in the hold area of the plane, which is separate from the cabin. This area is heated and air conditioned.
The information on this chart has been gathered from each airline’s website based on the information available to us and our interpretation of the information laid out on their website. This information was current as of August 2019.

Below we have gathered a few tips that seem to be common guidelines from the 7 airlines covered on our chart. These tips do not apply to all 7 airlines, but instead, seem to be stated on the majority of the 7 airline’s websites.

  • Most commonly, travelers are only allowed to travel with 1 pet. Pets must be booked separately from your own plane ticket.
  • Each flight only allows a certain number of pets to fly so make sure your flight has not reached the limit.
  • Just like you, your pet will have to go through the security line and your pet’s carrier will have to go through the x-ray machines.
  • Just because you are allowed to travel to a certain country, does not mean your pet will be allowed. Check with your airline to make sure there are no countries prohibited.
  • Many airlines do not allow pets to travel on international flights, but some do, like United Airlines. Some airlines restrict the length of flight, for example, to a maximum of 12 hours.
  • Many airlines that allow cargo travel, like United Airlines, Delta, and American Airlines, have pre-approved cargo kennels, restricted travel temperatures, and special pressurized cargo areas. These requirements are supposed to ensure the health and safety of your pet while traveling. For example, the kennels must be a certain size and allow your pet to freely move around, lie comfortably, and stand fully while traveling.
  • Weight limitations may be put on your pet. Most commonly, pets cannot exceed 20 pounds.
  • It is recommended to bring whatever it is that makes your pet feel comfortable. Treats, favorite toys, blankets, and chews are great items to distract and keep your dog calm. Exercising your pet before the flight will help to exude extra energy and get them sleepy for the flight.
  • Allowed travel companions include, but is not limited to, cats, birds, dogs, monkeys, pigs. But Southwest and American Airlines, for example, only allows cats and dogs.

As you can see, from our pet policy airline chart and our list of airline pet travel tips, airlines vary greatly on their policies. If you are traveling with a pet, be sure to check with your airline before traveling or booking your flight.

Dog Lover Store
August 8th, 2017
Updated August 7th, 2019