Flying with your pet can be tricky unless you know the proper procedures. We researched the rules and regulations and dug up some to-do tips in order to make the trip less stressful for you and your furry friend.
Rules and regulations
First and foremost, check with the airline and see if pets are allowed onboard. Not every airline will accommodate your pet and rules vary considerably on those that do allow them.
For the most part, only small dogs and cats (weighing less than 10 or 20 pounds depending on the airline) are permitted on carriers that allow pets in the cabin, although some will make concessions for birds and rodents. On most airlines, passengers can travel with no more than one pet per family. A separate ticket for your pet is almost always required and costs about $80 to $125 each way. If you are traveling with more than one pet, you will likely be required to buy a seat for the second one. This rule only applies to small dogs that meet the weight limit; larger dogs must travel in the cargo hold. The cost for pets that travel as cargo is usually higher - ranging from $100 to $200 each way.
DogFriendly.com is an excellent resource, listing different airlines and their policies regarding onboard pets. Once you have confirmed that your dog can come in the cabin with you, make note that even pet-friendly airlines limit the number of animals permitted on each flight. Many airlines also prohibit pug-nosed breeds, such as bulldogs and boxers as well as Himalayan and Persian cats, in the cargo hold because they are prone to breathing problems and overheating.
In addition, airlines have strict specifications when it comes to pet containers. Rules vary by airline, so determine the exact requirements for your flight by speaking to a representative. However, the following criteria for containers is relatively standard on many airlines:
For even further details, PetTravel.com provides a more extensive list of rules regarding approved containers for pets traveling in the cabin and as cargo.
If you're worried about your pet's safety in cargo, there is an alternative: PetAirways is a pet-only airline that lets animals fly in the main cabin with trained attendants.
5 to-dos before you fly
To ensure a safe and smooth trip, do your research and get as much information as you can from the airline beforehand. Remember that the more prepared and relaxed you are, the calmer your pet will be.