Airline Travel for Pets Guide

Flying with your dog is usually a little more complicated than what’s pictured here. In fact, Fido doesn’t always get to travel in the cabin with you.­ See more pet pictures.
Brian Finke/Stone/Getty Images

­Your best friend has invited you to come visit her for two weeks and you haven't seen her in years. Sh­e even offered to pay for the plane ticket, so what's holding you back? Your cat ­Webster. Even after your best friend invites Webster you wonder, "How will I get him there?"

Sure, we­'ve all heard the news stories about a kitten that somehow snuck into the baggage compartment of a 747, but how does it work when Fluffy wants to be right there with you -- on your lap?

And what if Fluffy­ is an African Grey parrot? Or a bunny? Or a monkey? Or a guide dog? Or maybe, just maybe, a tropical fish? Surely, this will not work out? Wrong.

Even under such unique circumstances, you can travel with Fluffy if you follow certain regula­tions. Pet airline travel can work prett­y well, and more and more airlines are realizing how important it is to offer services for doting owners.

­Every year, thousands of air travelers fly to locations all across the globe with a variety of animals in tow. Some airline companies are even catering to the pet industry, which is a booming $43.4 billion business [source: APPA]. Even in a rou­gh economy, we still love our pets. And we want to take them on vacation.

In this article, we'll explore how to ensure a safe flight for your pet. We'll take a look at the required documentation, airline rules, the difference between flying with service or comfort animals and specific airline rules for different dog breeds.