Airline Travel for Pets Guide

Pet Travel Airline Rules

While some companies will allow ­ ­passengers to bring pets into the cabin as carry-on items, others will only allow pets in the cargo storage area. Here are some of the rules you can expect in either case:

  • Reservations: Fees usually range from $50 to $150 one-way (rates vary based on carry-on or cargo passage), with additional fees for international travel or shipping of heavy animals.
  • Pet Carriers: Most airlines require a hard-bodie­d carrier that is small enough to stow under the seat in front of you, yet large enough for the animal to turn around, lie down and stand all the way up in a natural way. What is "natural" is probably up to the person checking you in, so it's a good idea to get the largest possible carrier that can still fit under a standard airplane seat (size measurements vary from airline to airline). Pet carriers are also required to have food and water sources, usually ones that attach firmly to the side of the container.
  • Age Limits: Young puppies and kittens are not going to get access. Most airlines will require that pets are eight weeks old at minimum [sources: American Airlines, Frontier].
  • Movement: You may be able to take off your seat belt and move freely about the cabin, but your pet is going to have to stay in its carrier. Most airlines require that the pet stays in its carrier at all times during the flight, as well as when the plane is parked, taxiing and even while passengers are sitting around in the terminal waiting to be boarded.