Plane Travel Guide

Have you been searching for an informative plane travel guide for flying with your pet? If so, your search ends here. You see, taking a flight with your pup from your airport to your destination airport comes with numerous guidelines. The pet travel instructions vary from one airline to another. However, this guide will walk you through the key facts you need to know before traveling.

Carry-On Dog Size

carry-on dog size - plane travel guideAnother concern that people have is carry on dog size.  With respect to size, the requirements vary from one organization to another.  However, you are only allowed to come into the cabin (this is also known as carry-on) with your pup if your furry friend’s kennel is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you. The size of the kennel should be 19 x 13 x 9 inches maximum for hard-sided kennels and 18 x 11 x 11 inches for soft sided. Most of the airlines allow their passengers to bring in animals of 20 pounds into the cabin. Your pup will have to go to the cargo hold if it is larger than that. In this case, it is said that you are shipping your pet.

To be clear, having your pup go through that experience is not pleasant at all. Many dogs find the experience very scary because they share the same space with various loud items. There are lots of factors that you do not have control over once your pup is flying in that condition. Just imagine baggage handlers manhandling your pet because you left your furry friend in the care of a total stranger, who is obviously interested in getting his or her job done.

One thing that you have to keep in mind is that flying with your pup is costlier than traveling alone. You have to consider the cost implication first before anything else. Therefore, you should only do that when it is absolutely necessary. Long story short, every carrier has a weight policy that defines how the organization flies various animals. Nevertheless, there may be a few exceptions. Other terms and conditions apply from one company to another. They would expect you to get your furry friend a kennel that provides enough space to turn around and play in it.

Airlines that Allow Pets in Cabin

airlines that allow pets in cabin - plane travel guide

Just before you start off your journey, you need to keep in mind that there are certain airlines that allow pets in cabin. Over the course of this piece, you will get to see many of them.

  • American Airlines: American Airlines stands out in this space because it is the world’s largest airline. Sure, it is pet-friendly. However, your pup or cat will be thoroughly checked before you are allowed to embark on long-distance travel. This is to ensure that they are healthy enough to go on such long hauls. Plus, your dogs and cats must be over eight weeks old before they are allowed on board. With respect to the fees, it tends to vary depending on the flight and the pet’s size. By and large, you should budget $130-200 for flying your puppy with you.
  • Air Canada: With this major Canadian airplane covering key international routes, you can be sure of having a great time flying with your small cat or dog. However, you have to arrive 30 minutes before departure for proper checking. The moment you get to the airport, the company will have your pet tucked in the carrier. Regarding the rate, you should budget $50-120. Aside from being pet-friendly, Air Canada also provides other dog services.
  • Air France: If you wish to travel to or from Paris with your dog or cat, you should consider doing so via Air France. Nevertheless, you need to have an approved pet crate (for hold in the cargo area but not in the cabin) before you are allowed to get on board with your furry buddy. Your cats and dogs can be in the cabin and cargo, but you will have to pay an additional €30 for the service. In summary, this is a company that does not have a problem with passengers flying with a dog in cabin.
  • Air India: Air India is another organization blazing the trail in championing the cause of traveling with pets. Well, if you wish to fly your pup via Air India, you must have their valid documents and vaccinations. However, the caveat here is that the organization does not consider the puppy carry-on luggage. In addition to that, you will have to pay an additional fee depending on the country you are traveling to. With regard to the rate, the fee for carrying poppies varies and unstable, so it does not have a definite range.
  • Lufthansa Airlines: Here’s a leading German carrier that covers the length and breadth of Europe and beyond. The company is pet-friendly and tucks your pet in a comfortable position during flights. With a price starting at €55, you can be certain that your pup will enjoy long-haul flights aboard the airplane. The company also allows rabbits, hares, and cats. In fact, it has carved a niche for itself in the industry for top-notch safety records and championing passenger’s satisfaction.
  • Delta: Today, Delta Airlines covers 60 countries around the world, allowing people to fly with their pets. If you are traveling through domestic routes, you can bring your dog and cat on board. The company has a straightforward policy: Small pets can stay with you in cabin while large birds must go with the cargo. It is one way they ensure that you and your pet stay safe throughout the memorable trip. While travels within North America cost $125, international travels cost $200. There are no animal weight limits.
  • United Airlines: United Airlines is one of those haulers that allows you to travel alongside your small cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds. However, the organization does not want cockatoos anywhere near its passenger aircraft. Another caveat is that the animal must be older than eight weeks. On the bright side, they have no weight limit pegged to the animals. You and your pet should be comfortable in the cabin without disturbing other passengers. Each travel costs $125 with additional service charges per stopover of more than four hours.
  • Southwest: If you have smalls cats and dogs that you need to travel with, you can always bring them aboard Southwest. Sadly, passengers are forbidden from traveling with their pet overseas. The caveat here is that you can fly over international borders with them if they are trained assistants or emotional support pets. However, you cannot fly with them to Jamaica. The company doesn’t have animal weight limits and each travel costs $95.
  • JetBlue: Here comes another company that allows you to fly with your small cats and dogs both locally and internationally. However, the company allows you to fly with them if their total weight, including the weight of the kennel, does not exceed 20 pounds. The good thing is that you are not restricted to local travels as you can go overseas with them. JetBlue ensures that you and your pet remain safe during and after the trip while it charges $100 per way.
  • Alaska Airlines: This is a pet-friendly company allowing passengers to travel with their cats and dogs. However, the condition is that the pet must be eight weeks or older. Moreover, the maximum weight should not exceed 20 pounds including the kennel. It charges $100 per travel and flies locally and internationally. But before the company issues you a boarding pass, you must have your pet’s veterinary documentation.
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines: Another pet-friendly airline that you should give a shot is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. However, you should call the company to inform them of your plan to travel with your pet so that they can help you sort everything out. Depending on the sizes, the company allows cat, dogs, and other service animals to fly in the cabin. The prices range from €30-200 depending on the destination. Interestingly, they have a webtool that allows would-be travelers determine the price of their flight.
  • Turkish Airlines: Feel free to fly with your pet whenever you fly with Turkish Airlines. However, the caveat is that you have to meet all the pet-flying documentations and updated vaccination. If you have cats, dogs, and singing birds, they are free to join you in the cabin. However, you are not allowed to let them out of their carriers. Small animals are also welcome as long as they will behave in the kennels. The price is $70 and above.

Airlines that Ship Dogs as Cargo

airlines that ship dogs as cargo - plane travel guide

Remember, we earlier mentioned that there are some airlines that ship dogs as cargo. In this segment, we will discuss in detail some haulers that allow their customers to do that.

  • American Airlines: When it comes to companies that allow passengers to ship dogs as cargo, American Airlines is a force to reckon with. Nevertheless, the detailed information about how the airline does it will be provided later.
  • Continental: Here comes a hauler that allows its users to ship pets as part of the PetSafe program. The requirement is that the dog must be shipped in a USDA or IATA-approved cargo container. The animal must have a valid health certificate of up to ten days from the day of travel. Through the dedicated unit of the organization known as Continental’s Live Animal Desk, the owner can track the exact location of his or her pet.
  • Delta Air Lines: If you are not a fan of Continental, you should try Delta Air Lines. Headquartered in Georgia, the hauler admits pets through its Pets First program. However, there are certain requirements they must meet. First and foremost, they must be in USDA-approved kennel and are allowed to travel when the temperature averages 10-85 degrees Fahrenheit. With respect to stub-nosed pups, they can be airlifted only when the atmospheric condition is below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. There is another option of sedating a pet in advance, but not without the express consent of a vet. Lastly, customers are expected to complete the hauler’s pet-travel checklist.
  • United Airlines: Based in Illinois, United Airlines Inc. serves both domestic and international passengers. Yes, you can ship your pet through the hauler. The EXP cargo service is specially committed to ensuring that customers who need their pets shipped are satisfied. Although other dogs can travel any time of the year, the company’s policy states that stub-nosed groups can only fly between June and September. Additionally, owners are required to put them in an airline approved dog crate before they are allowed to fly. The policy statement notes that all cargo bookings must be confirmed 24 hours before flight’s departure. Poor weather conditions may lead to a change of time or outright cancelation of the flight.

Dog Breeds Small Enough to Fly in Cabin

Aside from the weight of your pup and kennel dimension, another factor you have to consider is the breed. At this juncture, you already know that you need to have a relatively small dog for haulers to allow you to travel with him. However, you need to have dog breeds small enough to fly in cabin. In this segment, we will discuss the breeds you can fly with.

  1. Maltese

maltese - plane travel guide

If you have a Maltese, then you have absolutely nothing to worry about. The good thing about them is that they fit perfectly under the seat in front of you, making them fly-fit. With regard to their weights, they do not usually go beyond 7-8 pounds. This is against the 20 pounds benchmark. On the flip side, the breed is vulnerable to chills and sickness.

However, that only happens when they are exposed to such conditions for a long time. So, you should be wary of this if you intend to go on a long haul in the winter. To be on the safe side, you should always have absorbing pads in the kennel whenever you are on the trip.

  1. Chihuahuas

chihuahua - plane travel guide

Do you want to fly with your Chihuahua? Guess what, there is nothing stopping you from doing so. Much as these dogs are so small to be hidden in a lady’s purse, they have the attitude of large dogs.

With a weight of 3-6 pounds, you don’t have to worry that the carrier will turn down your request to travel with your furry friend. They fit into either a hard or soft sided dog crate. Because they are confident, bold, and boisterous, you do not have to worry that they will freak out when you fly with them.

  1. Pomerania

pomerania - plane travel guide

If you have a Pomeranian, you should bring it with you. Given their friendly and vivacious spirit, you can always count on them to keep you company. Feel free to put your Pomeranian in the kennel under the in-front seat. They can easily bond with their owners and can bark a lot if left unattended.

Regarding their weights, they don’t often go beyond 3-7 pounds, earning them a place on most haulers. While there is a bit of throwback, there are some that weigh between 12 and 15 pounds. So, you find out the category yours falls into.

  1. Yorkshire Terrier

yorkshire terrier - plane travel guide

This is another breed that deserves a spot on this list because it meets the requirements. There are two factors that make them unique: They have a charming personality and sweet disposition. Nonetheless, they may freak out when they are away from you for a long time. Despite that, they are fly-fit pups.

With a height of 8-9 inches, you can be certain that the breed fits into the crates. One thing you should do is to ensure that you keep them warm all through the journey because they are pretty delicate. Lastly, you should give it some good training so it does not become a pain in the neck.

  1. Shih Tzu

shih tzu - plane travel guide

If you have Shih Tzu at home, you should know by now that the breed is extremely majestic. They exhibit certain traits like outgoing personality and jovialness. It does not matter where you wish to travel to because you can always trust the breed to stick with you.

You should ensure that it does not have challenges with overheating because it can lead to breathing difficulties. Therefore, ensure that your dog’s health records have a clean slate before taking them to the airport.

  1. Bichon Frise

bichon frise - plane travel guide

Meet that boisterous pup that everyone calls white snow. With black eyes and white coats, you know that they are a pretty sight to behold. Most kids fall in love with them because they have out-of-this-world looks.

They weigh 12-18 pounds and measure 5-11.5 inches tall. The energy and love for play make it ideal for kids’ company. However, they cannot easily deal with loneliness and boredom. Hence, owners should carry them along whenever they travel.

  1. Pekingese

pekingese - plane travel guide

Although this breed is unique, many people find it uneasy to pronounce its name. You won’t grapple with it since you can put the dog on your lap while you fly. It is a good companion whenever you travel. Most airlines allow people to travel with them because they weigh less than 14 pounds and measure 6-9 inches.

  1. Japanese Chin

japanese chin - plane travel guide

Here’s another gorgeous breed that will take your breath away. When it comes to long-haired cuties, this perfectly describes the Japanese Chin. By and large, they measure 8-11 inches and weigh 7-11 pounds. While many haulers allow them to travel with you, others may ban them due to their short snouts. This breed may also experience breathing difficulties while you are in transit.

  1. Dachshund

dachshund - plane travel guide

In all sincerity, this is one of the most adorable breeds of dogs out there. Funnily enough, many people use it for hunting. Whenever it sees foxes and rabbits down the street, dachshund will definitely go hunting them. If you need some great company, you have a worthy furry friend in them.

Many breeders say that they fell in love with it upon seeing its sausage-shaped body. There’s little wonder why they are used for sporting events. Lastly, they measure 21 inches and weigh 16 to 20 pounds.  

  1. Brussels Griffon

brussels griffon - plane travel guide

Beyond question, this breed is great company. Concerning their weights, they typically weigh around 10–12 pounds with a height of 7–11 inches. Now, that is a pass mark so the personnel wouldn’t turn you down whenever you wish to travel with yours.

In fact, these dogs weigh a lot more than those in similar groups. The good news is that they can sit in kennels comfortably. You will also notice that this breed does not disturb anyone aboard as long as the owner is sitting close to them. But then, they might have difficulty breathing while on board.

Can I Buy an Airline Seat for My Dog?

can i buy an airline seat for my dog? - plane travel guide

You may just be asking: “Can I buy an airline seat for my dog?” People often have this concern because they want to relax and enjoy the trip with their furry friends. Well, United Airlines allows passengers to travel with more than one dog. However, the company only allows it in the premium cabins on specific aircraft.

Aside from that, it does not permit more than one pet on passenger airplanes like Boeing 757-200 and 767. Others include 777 and 788 airplanes. The reason is that those airplanes don’t have enough storage space under the passengers’ seats.

Flying with a Large Dog

flying with a large dog - plane travel guide

The chances are that you have plans of flying with a large dog from one location to another. If so, you have to look at the instructions below and stick to them. Before that, you have to keep in mind that you can fly them in three ways: as carry-ons, checked bags, and cargo.

  • Ensure that you have properly crated them before the trip. Many airlines recommend that your pup must be eight weeks old and above before you can bring them aboard. The reason is that dogs are pretty fragile.
  • Your furry friend must have no diseases. The most common diseases among them are fleas, ticks, etc. The best way to prove that your dog is healthy is to have his vet-approved health record handy.
  • While the fees vary from one company to another, you will have to pay about $125 for each trip. However, some carriers charge as much as $200-1000 depending on the destination and size of the pet.
  • The carriers that allow passengers to fly their huge dogs include Air Canada (the animal should weigh 100 pounds or less and attracts $130-320), Air France (dogs should weigh less than 30 pounds and owners pay $300), Emirate (charge as high as $500-800 per kennel), American Airlines (allows a maximum of 100 pounds while the owner pays $200), Delta Air Lines (has fees that go between $150 and $200), and the list goes on.
  • Before flying your large pet, ensure that you have a large dog traveling crate. The most airline-friendly kennels are built with rigid plastic or welded metals.

Flying with a Large Service Dog

flying with a large service dog - plane travel guide

Flying with large service dog comes with many challenges, but this part of the guide will certainly help you with that. If you do not understand what a service dog means, it simply means that the pet has been trained to assist a disabled person to perform certain tasks. According to stats, over 80 million Americans have such dogs. So, if you are one of those who own a service dog and wish to fly with it, continue reading to learn more.

  1. You must have your service dog registered to enable them to accompany you. The Americans with Disabilities Act is the legislation that allows people with disabilities to travel with their pets. However, the rules for flying with such dogs vary from one airline to another.
  2. On many occasions, the carrier will expect that you do proper documentation before boarding. Therefore, the appropriate thing to do is check with the airline to know what they expect of you. If you didn’t pay for the travel fee of your furry friend, the pet must not obstruct the aisle. You should keep it under the seat in front of you or on your lap.
  3. You are strongly advised to visit the airline’s office or contact them over the phone to get detailed information before booking the flight. This is particularly critical where the traveler wants to book an international flight. If an animal is obstructing the aisle, it is violating the Federal Aviation Authority regulations.

While the requirements for companies vary, we will capture some of the most significant information in this section.

  • Delta Air Lines: With Delta Air Lines, your pet can travel free of charge, but you have to stick to the guidelines pointed out earlier. Furthermore, the company does not require you to provide documentation before boarding. However, the carrier wants all passengers who fall into this category to get their animals to behave.
  • United Airlines: While on this plane, your furry friend will have to sit on the floor between your feet. Similarly, you wouldn’t need any documentation for your furry friend for local travels. Nonetheless, proper documentation is required for international trips. That said, exit row seating is clearly prohibited. There is a specific kennel that you have to crate your pet in before getting on board. Apart from dogs, the company also allows cats.
  • Southwest Airlines: If you wish to fly with your service dog, then they have to be healthy to get on to this flight. The owner does not have to pay for his furry friend. You can keep your pet on your lap or under the seat in front of you. Nevertheless, ensure that your animal does not obstruct the walkway and the pet must not occupy a seat. If you live in Jamaica, this company forbids you from traveling on its planes due to local restrictions.
  • American Airlines: Just like other haulers that came before it, American Airlines welcomes the idea of traveling with trained service dogs. The traveler does not have to pay to bring it along. The animal must be on your lap or under the seat in front of you or you will be violating the company’s pet travel policy. It is critical that you find out the size of your pet and inform the officials. No matter the size of your pet, your animal can still travel for free in a kennel.
  • Alaska Airlines: This popular carrier allows service animals to travel with the owner in the cabin for free. However, the traveler must inform the service agent early enough before arrival at the airport. The reason is for the staffers to make proper accommodation for the animal. If you have the kennel with you, you may have to ship it separately at no cost. The company strongly advises passengers who fall into this group to provide a harness for distinguishing paraphernalia.

Flying with a Dog in Cabin Southwest

flying with a dog in cabin southwest - plane travel guide

One of the leading airlines that allows in-cabin flying with pets is Southwest Airlines. In this section, you will understand the policy of this industry leader on fees, kennels, and pet limits. If you are planning to fly Southwest Airlines soon, it is critical that you understand this policy.

It will interest you to know that the Texas-based company pays attention to vaccinated domestic animals, especially cats and pups. In other words, you are free to travel with yours under the seat in front of you. However, you will have to pay $95 per fare. Keep in mind that the fee is nonrefundable, unlike the company’s regular flight fees.

More importantly, ensure that you have a qualified in-cabin pet kennel whenever you wish to fly with your animal via this carrier. The company offers pet crates for $58, including tax. Coming to the kennel specs, the requirements are 18.5 x 8.5 x 13.5 inches and the weight of your pet should be up to 25 lbs. It must be leak-proof and well-ventilated. With those dimensions, it should be small enough to slide under the seat.

Again, the company only tickets one pet kennel per ticketed passenger. However, the crate may contain more than one cat or dog, but there must be enough room for them to relax and play. With all of this information, it is high time that you stopped searching for flying with dog in cabin Southwest and give it a shot.

American Airlines Dog Cargo

american airlines dog cargo - plane travel guide

This hauler expects its passengers to follow certain outlines to successfully fly their dogs as cargo. So, if you wish to do the same, you should follow the outlines below:

  • Confirm that your dog is eligible by ensuring that it is eight weeks old and above. Afterward, you need to be sure that your furry friend is healthy.
  • Moving on, you need to confirm that you don’t have a no-fly breed. Some of the no-fly dogs include Boston Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Affenpinscher, Boxer, Bulldog, etc. In fact, there are 20 breeds that are forbidden on its passenger aircrafts.
  • When it comes to American Airlines dog cargo guidelines, the carrier does not play Russian roulette with safety. Given safety concerns, the company can only fly dogs when the temperature is 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • There are designated routes that it can fly pups as cargo. For instance, the company does not allow passengers to take puppies in the cabin to or from South America, Hawaii, or trans-Atlantic. The company does not allow pets on their flights beyond 12 hours in destinations like Chile, Peru, Venezuela, etc.
  • Ensure that you have the best dog crate, meaning that it must satisfy the IATA regulations. The sizes allowed must be between 7 and 51 pounds. The maximum dimension is 48 x 32 x 35 inches.

JetBlue Pets in Cargo

jetblue pets in cargo - plane travel guide

With the capacity to cover over 90 destinations, JetBlue remains one of the most sought-after passenger carriers. Though it is headquartered in New York, JetBlue connects to many different destinations lifting passengers and pets. Note that pets are allowed to get on board in the cabin, not as cargo. That said, outlined below are some JetBlue pets in cargo guidelines you should have in mind.

  • You are not permitted to fly animals with tusks and other service animals. Service animals include ferrets, spiders, sugar gliders, insects, snakes, etc.
  • Your pet must be fully documented before it can fly. One of the documents is an ESA (emotional support animal) letter that should not be more than a decade old. The letter gives a breakdown of your pet’s health condition. You will also need a veterinary health form in addition to the letter. The vet health form is for animals that are traveling internationally.
  • In regards to the fee, you have to pay $100 per trip to have your pet flown by the carrier.
  • Coming to measurements, the kennel’s dimension must be 17 x 12.5 x 8.5 inches. While the airplane accepts both soft and hard-sided crates, it must be properly ventilated and leakproof. However, you can opt for its custom-made crate that goes for $50 (optional). Lastly, the weight of the kennel must not be more than 20 pounds.


One thing you should take away from here is that you should only fly with your dog if it is absolutely necessary. Again, ensure that you train your pup to behave before doing so. If your furry friend is troublesome, you may want to crate it. If so, ensure that you travel with your pet because you will need some company in that new city or country.