In response to the increasing number of people wanting to take their pets on flights, airlines have started accommodating dogs. But, flying with a dog comes with a lot of questions.
It’s usually a bit more complicated to bring a dog with you on board than just flying solo. However, it’s also possible to do it in advance.
It can be very stressful to fly alone. Many people think that adding a pet to the mix can make the experience even worse.
Luckily, there are many airlines that can make the process of bringing your pet along with you as easy as possible. Some of these airlines can even reimburse pet fees if you use a travel credit card.
If you’re planning on taking your pet on a flight for the first time, it’s important to remember that recent changes in the travel industry have affected both you and your pet.
To find the best airlines for pets, we looked at the policies and fees of the nine biggest US airlines. We also looked at how well they handle pets.
To Begin, Assess The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Flying
Before you fly, think about whether your pet is absolutely necessary. Generally, pets should not be flown unless an owner is moving or taking a long trip.
Flying can be a distressing experience for a dog. It removes them from their familiar environment and places them in a situation that’s not designed for them.
If you have a good reason to take your dog with you, then it may be a good idea to leave them home. You can also ask a trusted friend or family member to take care of their dog while you’re away.
Although airlines have their own rules, most of them allow pets to fly in the cabin if they’re small enough. Larger pets are usually sent to the cargo hold.
While airlines try to make your pet comfortable in the cargo hold, it can be a frightening experience for them.
Sure, there are plenty of animals that fly in cargo every year. However, there are also a lot of unknown factors that you can’t control when you hand your pet over to the airline personnel.
Since airlines are not always trained to look after pets in their kennel, many people have reported experiencing horrific experiences with their pets.
Three Ways Dogs Fly On Planes
- Many smaller dog breeds and puppies are permitted to travel in carry-on luggage. You’ll have to make alternate arrangements if you have a large adult dog breed! To fly with you inside the plane, your dog should weigh no more than 20 pounds.
- As Checked Bags: Most airlines will accept crated dogs as checked baggage. This means you’ll check your dog’s cage with your other belongings during check-in, and he or she will be weighed and transported with the rest of the plane’s luggage.
- As Cargo: Depending on the size of your dog and the airline you’re flying with, huge dogs may be required to fly as cargo. This isn’t something you should be concerned about because you and your dog will still wind up in the same location.
How Much Does It Set You Back?
It costs about $125 to fly with a small dog. However, flying with a large dog can cost up to $1,000. This is why it is important to research and book tickets before you travel.
There are a few elements that influence the cost of flying with a large dog. These are some of them:
- Flying your dog through luggage check is normally more expensive than flying him as a carry-on, and cargo is more expensive than the other two options.
- Flying your pet internationally, as with ticket prices, is more expensive than flying your pet domestically.
- It should come as no surprise that certain airlines are more expensive than others.
- Flying with a pet may be more expensive if you are heading to a rural location or somewhere where only smaller planes fly.
- Dog Size: There is a distinction to be made between large dogs, such as Golden Retrievers, and really large dogs, such as Great Danes. If you have a very large dog, he or she will almost certainly need to fly cargo and may require additional accommodations. This may incur additional costs.
Which Airlines Allow You To Take Your Large Dog On A Flight?
Most airlines accommodate pets in various ways. Some of these include Air Canada, Lufthansa, Sun Country, and Delta.
It’s common to hear about the horrific stories of pets getting injured while flying. However, this often paints a negative image of flying with a pet.
It’s actually very safe to fly with your pets. According to the Chicago Tribune, out of the 5037,000 animals that flew on US airlines in 2017, only 24 died. United Airlines has the highest number of pet deaths.
Air Canada allows dogs to fly with their owners on domestic and international flights. The rules are similar for both international and domestic flights.
Air Canada allows pets to travel in the cabin or in the cargo. There are no rules regarding the size of the animals allowed to travel.
Codeshare flights are those that Air Canada offers but which are actually operated by one of its partners. If the flights are not operated by Air Canada, then you will not be able to take your pet with you.
Air France has a strict K9 travel policy. Non-snub-nose dogs are only allowed to travel in the hold if they weigh less than 30 pounds.
Dogs and cats are also allowed on Air France flights as long as the animal’s carrier and the combined weight of the two is under 17 pounds.
Small pets must be at least 8 weeks old and their total weight must not exceed 20 pounds.
American Airlines has a variety of policies when it comes to transporting large dogs. Most of the time, these rules apply to dogs that weigh less than 100 pounds and are accompanied by an owner. Also, make sure to arrive early as there are limited spaces on the plane.
Before boarding a flight, make sure to contact American Airlines to reserve a space for your pet. It is important to note that pets must stay in their carriers during the duration of the flight.
On Delta flights, pets are allowed to travel in cargo for a fee of up to $200. Be sure to talk to the airline about the safety and welfare of your pet.
Delta has strict rules when it comes to allowing pets in the cabin. They limit the number of animals that can fly in coach, first class, and business class.
Emirates, on the other hand, charges around $500 to $800 for a kennel. Large dogs are also allowed to fly with checked baggage.
Hawaiian Airlines allows dogs weighing over 70 pounds to be checked in with other bags. However, heavier animals are required to fly cargo.
For pet parents, Lufthansa Airlines allows their pets to travel in the cabin or the cargo hold of its passenger planes. The sizes and weight of their pets are also taken into account when booking their flight.
Large dogs can fly for $150 to $400 in the cargo hold on Lufthansa, depending on their size and journey distance.
Sun Country Airlines
Sun Country Airlines allows pets in the cabin on select US flights if the combined weight of the pet and carrier is less than 16 pounds. Each passenger is also permitted to bring one pet and carrier on a flight.
Sun Country Airlines has one of the most straightforward procedures for large dogs: they fly as checked baggage for $200 each aircraft segment.
Swiss International Airlines
On Swiss International flights, large dog costs range from $175 to $400. Getting ready for the flight is an easy task, as long as you follow the rules and regulations of the airlines. Most of the time, traveling with your dog is a breeze, as long as you book a flight with a premium airline like Swiss.
For our trip to Europe in 2019, we booked a flight with Swiss. The reason why we decided to use the airline was due to their good reputation and their efficient service. We also wanted to avoid experiencing the same experience we had with Air Canada last year.
WestJet offers some of the most affordable dog policies, charging under $100 to fly with dogs as checked baggage most of the time.
Although there is no weight limit for a dog inside the cabin, it would most likely be too heavy to fly in the aircraft. The limits apply to the size of the carrier and not the pet.
If you’re new to flying with a pet, then you might be interested in learning about JetBlue’s JetPaws program. This is a free program that gives owners helpful tips and tools to make their trip with their pet a smooth one.
To secure a pet’s seat, book your flight as soon as possible. You can also call the company to let them know that you’re planning on taking your pet with you. Only one pet is allowed per person.
Before boarding a plane, check with the company to see if they’ll allow pets to travel with you. They also suggest preparing for the import process.
Pets allowed in the cabin include cats, dogs, and rabbits. There are also non-poisonous snakes and birds.
If you have pets that are not suitable for the main cabin, Alaska Airlines allows pets to fly in checked baggage. Their Fur-st Class Care program helps keep them safe.
The main cabin can accommodate up to five pets, while the first class can only accommodate one pet. For infants to eight weeks old, pets must be accompanied by their parents. Short-nose animals, such as cats, may not be allowed in the cabin.
How To Get Your Pet Ready For A Trip
Flying with pets is like having a family. You need to make sure that your animal is healthy and ready to go before you fly.
Your pet also needs to be in a carrier during the duration of the flight. This is also why it is important to practice with them daily.
Make sure that your pet has all of the food, water, and toys they need on the day of their flight. Also, double-check all of their documents.
Here are some helpful hints when traveling with a large dog:
- Feed your dog two to four hours before you leave.
- Before your flight, give your dog extra exercise than usual.
- Before you put your dog in their travel carrier, take them out for a potty break.
- In the kennel, place your dog’s favorite toy.
- Include a dish of ice or a kennel for your dog if the flight is more than a few hours. While your dog is in the cargo hold, this will melt and provide them with a drink.
After learning how to fly with a large dog, it’s time to plan out your next trip! Having your canine companion with you will make the entire experience more enjoyable. Most airlines require that you reach the airport at least three hours before a flight’s departure date. This is also where you’ll pick up your pet after the flight.
If your dog is small enough to carry-on, you’ll go to the passenger check-in desk. After paying the required pet carry-on fee, you’ll be taken to security. Once the bag has been cleared, remove the dog’s collar or harness and carry it through the X-ray machine.
If you’re checking the dog, make sure to bring a photo of it and a small bag of food with it. Also, make sure to keep a current photo of it in your phone so that an airline employee can easily identify it should it get lost.
After reaching the airport, check your bag and head straight to the carrier’s designated cargo location. Dogs are usually available for pick up within two hours. Regardless of whether your dog boarded the plane as a carry-on or flew in cargo, take it for a walk once you’re at the airport. Doing so will help make the trip easier.