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13 Best Pet-Friendly Airlines for Dog Travel [2023 Reviews]


Flying with your dog can be as daunting as it is exciting. From veterinary health clearances to carrier requirements, your to-do list may feel endless, especially given the differences between the rules of different airlines.

But don’t worry – we’re here to help! 

We’ve fetched the basic requirements for traveling with your dog on all of the major U.S. airlines, and highlighted our favorite features. Check out the best pet-friendly airlines and some tips for flying with your pup below.

Quick Picks: Best Pet-Friendly Airlines

  • JSX Airlines [Best for Traveling In-Cabin] JSX airlines offer public charter flights that come with a hefiter price tag, but even 60lb dogs can fly in the cabin right at your feet.
  • American Airlines [Best Pet-Friendly Major Airline] This airline’s vast coverage area and reasonable fees make it a top-tier pick for those traveling with pooch passengers.
  • Allegiant [Most Affordable Pet-Friendly Airline] Protect your travel budget by booking with this low-cost canine-friendly carrier offering cabin fees as low as $50.
  • Lufthansa [Best for International Travel] Jet off to your next worldwide woofin’ adventure with this German-based carrier allowing cabin travel for small canines.

Pet-Friendly Airline Info: The Basics We’ve Covered

flying with your dog

Every airline has its own set of rules for canine travel, but we’ve tackled the basics to give a snapshot of each. Hopefully, this makes narrowing your options a tad easier.

Some of the things we cover below include:

  • Flying with your dog in the cabin. Not every airline allows dogs to travel with passengers in the plane’s cabin. Some limit canines to the cargo area only, while others allow for cabin travel if canines meet specific size, behavior, or containment requirements. Typically, well-behaved, small dogs that can be stowed in an airline-approved pet carrier under an airline seat are allowed, though there are also a very few airlines that allow large breeds to travel via cabin too.
  • Flying with your dog in the cargo hold. Some airlines allow dogs to travel in the cargo hold. Housed in a carrier that meets strict safety standards, cargo-held canines generally have less strict size requirements than cabin-dwelling doggos, allowing larger breeds to fly. However, current travel trends have made cargo travel hard to come by for dogs.
  • Banned breeds. Many airlines ban certain breeds from flying in the cabin or cargo area. This typically includes brachycephalic (short-headed) dogs, though some providers may prohibit other breeds from flying.
  • Rules for emotional support animals and service dogs. Previously many airlines allow ESAs to travel differently than everyday pet dogs, but the vast majority of airlines have done away with ESAs on flights. However, per federal law, service dogs are granted access to planes with their handler, regardless of the airlines’ pet policy. Not sure about the difference between service dogs vs ESA dogs – let us explain!
  • Pet flying fees. The cost of traveling with your dog varies significantly from airline to airline, with some pet passes costing little more than a checked-bag fee while others can be a few hundred dollars or more. These fees may change according to your dog’s size and travel method too.
  • Weight restrictions for flying dogs. Weight restrictions can be a real bite, particularly if you plan to have your pooch travel in the cabin. Cabin weight limits tend to be much lower than cargo limits, but it’s important in both scenarios to weigh your pup and factor in the weight of his travel crate. This eliminates potential airport surprises, as your pooch is weighed in his carrier before boarding. Generally speaking, flying in the cabin won’t be a viable option unless your dog is under 20 lbs.
  • Dog crate size for riding in the cabin. Most airlines require kenneled canines to be stowed under an airline if traveling in the cabin, meaning your dog’s crate needs to meet specific size criteria. These sizing guidelines vary from airline to airline, so always double-check the rules, especially if you have connecting flights with different airlines. In addition, your dog should be able to stand, sit, and turn around in his carrier.
  • Dog crate size for flying in the cargo hold. Cargo crates must meet International Air Transport Association (IATA) requirements, which include strict size, locking, and ventilation standards. As with cabin carriers, your dog must be able to stand, sit, and turn around comfortably in the kennel.
  • Maximum number of pets per person. Most airlines allow one pet per passenger, but some allow two. Sometimes, this means two pets in the same carrier or two pets housed in separate carriers. But just because you can fit two dogs in a carrier, that doesn’t mean you should. Not every dog likes being crammed with a friend while already enduring the stress of travel.
  • Maximum number of pets per airplane. Airlines typically limit the number of animals on a flight, which can lead to travel nightmares if you don’t book early. A six-pet limit is most commonly seen, but some have limits as low as two. Yikes!
  • Dog age requirements for flying. Like destinations, each airline sets its own rules regarding how old a dog must be to travel. Most of the time, this pertains to puppies, but senior dogs may also face scrutiny, particularly those in poor health.
  • Special notes and miscellaneous four-footed flying facts. We’ll note if an airline has any special rules or pet perks. This might include things like special document requirements, restrictions, and more.
Pet Care Pro-Tip:

While we’re covering the basics in this article, you should still discuss your travel plans with an airline representative to ensure you and your pooch fly without issue. Rules are ever-changing, so it’s best to err on the side of caution.

13 Most Pet-Friendly Airlines 

Ready to take off with your terrier? Check out these pet-friendly airlines and see which works best for your woofin’ wanderlust.

1. American Airlines

Best Overall Pet-Friendly Airline

American Airlines

About: American Airlines is a canine-friendly carrier for most people looking to travel with a dog. Not only do they offer service around the U.S and abroad, but they also clearly spell-out their requirements for pets, making flying with your pup easier.

  • Dogs in Cabin: Yes, with limitations: 
    • Cabin-traveling dogs must remain in stowed beneath a seat in a carrier at all times
    • Carry-on pets are not allowed for most international travel or when flying to Hawaii
    • American Airlines does not allow dogs that are sedated or tranquilized to fly
    • Carry-on pets aren’t allowed in first class or business class if traveling in specific aircraft, including Boeing’s 777-200, 777-300, 787-8, and 787-9
  • Dogs in Cargo: Only for active-duty U.S. military and U.S. State Department Foreign Service personnel traveling on official orders.
  • Checked-in pets must have health certificates dated within 10 days of travel
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly: Brachycephalic and brachycephalic mixes cannot fly with American Airlines.
  • Are ESAs Allowed?: Yes, but they must travel as pets and pay the required fees.
  • Fee: Cabin fee is $125 per carrier. For active service members or U.S. State Department personnel, the cargo fee is $200 per kennel regardless of destination, except for Brazil, where the cost is $150 per kennel.
  • Weight Limits: Cargo travelers cannot have a weight that exceeds 100 pounds for both the pet and crate. For carry-on canines, the carrier cannot exceed 20 pounds if traveling in first class.
  • Cabin Crate Size Limits: Maximum dimensions for a hard-sided carrier are 19” x 13” x 9”, while a soft-side carrier can be 18” x 11” x 11”. 
  • Cargo Crate Size Limits: Maximum dimensions vary by aircraft.
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Passenger: Up to 2 check-in pets (cargo), Up to 1 carrier per passenger (May contain 1 or  2 pets.) Pets traveling in the same carrier must be of the same species, under 6 months old, and of similar size.
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Flight: For carry-on, the limit is 7 on American flights and 5 on American Eagle flights.
  • Age Requirements
    • 8 weeks or older to fly domestically. 
    • Age varies for international locations. 
  • Special Notes:
    • If you’re traveling with connecting flights, checked pets (cargo) can only connect in limited cities.
    • Weather extreme restrictions are in place that may bar pet travel in cargo if destinations are over 85℉ or below 45℉.

2. JSX

Best Low-Stress Pet-Friendly Airline

JSX

About: JSX provides the comfort of private flights at an affordable rate to travelers across a limited portion of the United States. With its relatively relaxed pet policy, it’s a top-notch pick for low-stress flying with your dog.

@titatots #travelhacks #jsx ♬ Beach Vibes – The Chemist

Keep in mind that JSX functions as a public charter operator — it basically shared private air travel. On top of being able to bring your larger-sized pet into the cabin with you, that also means you get a host of other perks that come with private flights, such as:

  • Private terminals and separate security
  • Business class legroom with roomy seats
  • Intimate 30-seat jets
  • Plane-side baggage retrieval immediately after unloading passengers

Sounds amazing, right?

The downside is that tickets are pricier than your normal flight — expect to pay 2-3x what you’d pay with a standard airline. Plus, JSX has a very limited number of flight paths, primarily in the southwest region of the United States.

Still, if you’re going where JSX flies, it can’t get much better for you and your pooch.

jsx flight map
  • Dogs in Cabin: Yes, with limitations: 
    • Small dogs must be kenneled at all times, while medium and large-sized dogs must be leashed and stowed in the footwell of the seat beside you 
    • Pets and carriers aren’t allowed on airline seats
    • Only well-mannered dogs are permitted to fly
  • Dogs in Cargo: No.
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly: No listed breed restrictions.
  • Are ESAs Allowed?: Yes, with limitations. ESAs must have the required documentation and demonstrate safe and appropriate behavior in a flight setting (no lunging, barking, growling, jumping, pottying accidents, etc.) ESAs must be reported to the airline in advance to ensure proper seating arrangements and documentation.
  • Fee: Free for small dogs riding in a carrier stowed beneath a seat; large dogs incur a fee equal to the advertised rate of your adjoining seat. 
  • Weight Limits: 65 pounds or less
  • Cabin Crate Size Limits: 13″ wide x 11″ tall x 17″ long
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Passenger: 1 pet per passenger
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Flight: 5 pets maximum per flight.
  • Age Limits: None listed.
  • Special Notes
    • JSX has a limited service map across the U.S.
    • JSX Pet Acceptance Liability Form must be completed before boarding.
    • Only 1 pet per carrier is permitted.

3. United Airlines

Runner Up for Best Overall Pet-Friendly Airline

United Airlines

About: United Airlines’ pet policy makes things easy on pet parents by spelling everything out without much fluff. The coverage area is impressive, too, with tons of domestic and international destinations to choose from.

  • Dogs in Cabin: Yes, with restrictions:
    • Seating options for passengers with pets can vary by aircraft
    • Pets must stay in a carrier stowed beneath a seat at all times
    • Passengers with pets cannot sit in an emergency exit row, a United Premium Plus seat, or in the front row of any cabin
  • Dogs in Cargo: United has discontinued other pet cargo shipments via PetSafe except for U.S. military members on current Permanent Change of Station orders and State Department Foreign Service Personnel on current reassignment. In these cases, you can fly with your pets as checked baggage, but only on flights between Guam and Honolulu and under specific conditions. 
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly: Brachycephalic breeds are not permitted to fly via United.
  • Are ESAs Allowed?: Yes, but they must travel in accordance with United’s pet guidelines and pay the required fees.
  • Fee: $125 carry-on fee, with a $125 charge for each stopover of 4 hours in the U.S. or 24 hours internationally.
  • Weight Limits: No weight limits for carry-on pets. Your dog just has to fit comfortably in his carrier.
  • Cabin Crate Size Limits: Hard-sided kennels are permitted and must be 17.5” long x 12” tall x 7.5” wide or smaller, while soft-sided kennels are allowed to be 18” long x 11” wide x 11” tall or smaller. Your dog must fit comfortably inside the kennel with enough space to stand and turn around without crouching. If flying on a Boeing 737 MAX 9, your pet carrier cannot be taller than 10 inches and if traveling in Economy with a pet on this type of plane, you must sit in a window seat.
  • Cargo Crate Size Limits: Crates cannot exceed 34 inches in height when traviling in the cargo hold. Your dog must be able to stand, lie down, and turn around naturally.
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Passenger: 1
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Flight: Varies by aircraft. Some allow a max of 2 pets in premium cabins and 4 pets in economy seating, while others allow up to 6 pets in economy seating.
  • Age Limits: Older than 8 weeks to travel domestically and at least 16 weeks or older to travel internationally
  • Special Notes:
    • United only allows one pet per carrier.
    • A health certificate for your pet dated within 30 days of your trip is required when traveling domestically. This should include your name, phone number, and address, along with your pet’s breed, sex, age, and markings. The certificate should also include your dog’s vaccination information, including the name of the vaccines, the dates administered, and the expiration dates. 

4. Delta

Best East Coast Pet-Friendly Airline

Delta Air Lines

About: Delta makes flying up and down the eastern seaboard with your pooch easy with heaps of destinations. Delta’s rules surrounding pet travel are convenient to navigate, too, making your flying Fido expeditions all the more tail-wagging.

  • Dogs in Cabin: Yes, with limitations:
    • Pets must remain in a carrier at all times
    • Carry-on pets cannot travel in any cabin with flat-bed seats
    • Carry-on pets are not permitted for international travel for passengers in Business Class, Delta Premium Select, or Delta One due to insufficient space. This may also be limited for domestic travel, depending on the flight.
    • Carry-on pets cannot be seated in bulkhead seats, emergency exit rows, and no-stowage seats
  • Dogs in Cargo: Delta Cargo has temporarily suspended all pet shipments due to the pandemic, except for those belonging to active U.S Military or active U.S State Department Foreign Service Officers with active transfer orders. 
    • All animals traveling via cargo must have a health certificate issued within 10 days of flight from a licensed veterinarian. 
    • Delta does not accept animals as checked baggage during periods of extreme weather. This is defined as temperatures exceeding 80˚F below 20˚F.
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly: Brachycephalic breeds and mixes cannot fly with Delta.
  • Are ESAs Allowed?: ESAs must travel as pets, follow applicable rules, and pay necessary fees.
  • Fee: $95 carry-on fee each way domestically, $200 carry-on fee each way internationally, and $75 carry-on fee each way for Brazil. For military mutts traveling with their families, the fees are $200 for traveling to the U.S. or internationally and $150 for flying to Brazil.
  • Weight Limits: No weight limits are listed.
  • Cabin Crate Size Limits: Varies by flight. For most flights, Delta recommends a soft-sided carrier that is ​​18” x 11” x 11”. 
  • Cargo Crate Size Limits: Varies significantly by aircraft.
  • Maximum Number Of Pets Per Passenger: Only 1 unless a mother dog is traveling with puppies less than 6 months old or if 2 puppies less than 6 months old can comfortably fit in a kennel.
  • Maximum Number Of Pets Per Flight: 2 in Business Class, 4 in the Main Cabin.
  • Age Limits: Dogs must be at least 10 weeks old for domestic air travel.
  • Special Notes:
    • Sedation of household dogs is forbidden for travel with Delta.
    • Delta asks passengers to have kennel dimensions available at booking.
    • Pet parents must check-in at the Special Service Counter.

5. Southwest

Best Southern Pet-Friendly Airline

Southwest Airlines

About: Flying around the southern United States with your dog is easy with Southwest. Southwest’s pet policy is pretty easy to digest too, allowing you to focus on the more enjoyable parts of your four-footed excursion.

  • Dogs in Cabin: Yes, domestic only, with limitations:
    • Pets that are aggressive, excessively whining or barking, or soiling the cabin or gate area may be denied boarding
    • Pets must remain in carriers at all times
    • Passengers with pets can’t sit in exit rows or seats without stowage
    • Vaccinations are required, but Southwest doesn’t require proof of vaccination
  • Dogs in Cargo: No.
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly: No restrictions given.
  • Are ESAs Allowed?: ESAs must travel under the pet policy rules.
  • Fee: $95 per pet carrier, $35 for carriers flying with passengers between Hawaiian islands between September 6 and December 31.
  • Weight Limits: None noted besides “small dogs only”
  • Cabin Crate Size Limits: Maximum of 18.5” long x 13.5” wide x 9.5” tall
  • Maximum Number Of Pets Per Passenger: 1 carrier per passenger which may contain up to 2 small dogs as long as they fit comfortably together
  • Maximum Number Of Pets Per Flight: 6 pet carriers per flight
  • Age limits: 8 weeks or older.
  • Special notes:
    • Pets cannot fly to and from Hawaii and other destinations but can fly between the Hawaiian islands.
    • Southwest doesn’t allow pets to fly internationally.
    • Pet crates and strollers are accepted as checked luggage.

6. JetBlue

Best Pet-Friendly Airline for Caribbean Travel

JetBlue

About: JetBlue has destinations across the Caribbean from multiple points across the U.S, making it an excellent choice for those looking to soak up the sun with a pup. JetBlue’s pet policy is similar to most major airlines, though it does have its differences.

  • Dogs in Cabin: Yes, with limitations:
    • Pets must remain in a carrier at all times in the airport and on the plane
    • Carriers must remain stowed beneath a seat during takeoff, landing, and taxi
    • Passengers with pets can’t sit in emergency exit rows, bulkhead seats, Mint seats or any seat without under-seat stowage
    • Pets can’t fly to Trinidad and Tobago or London
    • Pets aren’t allowed on interline or codeshare bookings
    • Vaccination requirements vary by destination 
  • Dogs in Cargo: No.
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly: None listed.
  • Are ESAs Allowed?: ESAs must fly under the airline’s pet policy rules.
  • Fee: $125 each way for cabin travel.
  • Weight limits: 20 pounds total for your dog and carrier combined
  • Cabin crate size limits: 17″ length x 12.5″ width x 8.5″ height
  • Maximum number of pets per passenger: 1 (A second pet can travel if an additional seat is purchased along with paying another pet travel fee.)
  • Maximum pets per flight: 6
  • Special notes:
    • Only one pet per carrier is permitted.
    • Compliant pet carriers can be purchased at the ticket counter.

7. Alaska Airlines

Best Airline for Flying With Large Dogs

Alaska Airlines

About: Jetting with a giant breed is possible with Alaska Airlines, with their 150-pound weight limit for pets and carriers combined leaving room for many breeds barred from other carriers. The airline is one of the most popular with pet owners, with Alaska Airlines pet policy allowing most sniffers to take to the skies.

  • Dogs in Cabin: Yes, small dogs only with limitations:
    • Cannot sit in emergency exit or bulkhead rows
    • Must remain in a carrier at all times
    • Carrier must remained stowed under a seat during taxi, takeoff, and landing
    • Loud or odorous pets can be refused cabin travel and moved to cargo
  • Dogs in Cargo: Yes, with limitations:
    • Doesn’t transfer pets traveling in cargo to other carriers
    • Cargo travel discontinued between November 15 and January 10 for flights 2000-2999 and flights 3300-3499
    • Extreme temperatures may lead to suspended cargo pet travel
    • Aggressive pets may be refused entry
    • Pets cannot travel via baggage on the Airbus fleet
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly: Brachycephalic breeds may not travel via cargo but are permitted to travel in the cabin if they fit into the required carrier.
  • Are ESAs Allowed?: ESAs must travel under the airline’s pet policy guidelines.
  • Fee: $100 each way for dogs traveling in cargo or cabin. $105 if departing from Canada.
  • Weight Limits: Up to 150 pounds for crates and canines combined in cargo.
  • Cabin Crate Size Limits
    • Hard-sided  17″ x 11″ x 7.5″
    • Soft-sided 17″ x 11″ x 9.5″
  • Cargo Crate Size Limits: 26″ X 24″ x 36″, Boeing 737, Horizon Air Q400 and E175, and SkyWest ERJ-175 aircraft may allow 30″ x 27″ x 40″
  • Maximum Number Of Pets Per Passenger: Maximum of 2 carriers per paid passenger, but you must purchase the seat adjacent to you. Up to 2 pets of the same species per carrier for cabin dwellers, only 1 per cargo carrier unless they’re similarly sized puppies less than 6 months old.
  • Maximum Number Of Pets Per Flight: First class can accommodate 3 carriers, while the main cabin can handle 5 carriers.
  • Age Limits: Must be older than 8 weeks.
  • Special Notes:
    • Health certificate dated within 10 days required for checked pets.
    • Aggressive pets may be denied entry.

8. Hawaiian Airlines

Best Pet-Friendly Airline for the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiian Airlines

About: Say aloha to the islands with your pup by flying Hawaiian Airlines, a carrier that jets between islands as well as to and from North America and other destinations. Their pet policy is spread around their FAQs, but tracking down answers isn’t too tricky, though the limitations require close attention.

  • Dogs in Cabin: Yes, with limits:
    • Not permitted in First Class between Hawaii and North America
    • Not allowed between Hawaii and JFK, BOS, MCO, or AUS airports
    • Not permitted internationally
    • Not permitted between Hawaii and Pago Pago
    • Passengers with pet carriers cannot sit in emergency exit rows, seats adjacent to emergency exit rows, or in the bulkhead
  • Dogs in Cargo: Yes, with limits:
    • Not permitted between Hawaii and JFK, BOS, MCO, or AUS airports
    • Not permitted during yearly embargo period due to weather (April 15 to October 15)
    • Not permitted internationally (May not apply between Hawaii and Japan for active duty personnel)
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly: Brachycephalic breeds are discouraged but not banned.
  • Are ESAs Allowed?: ESAs must travel under the pet policy guidelines.
  • Fee: Varies.
    • $125 for cabin travel if traveling from North America
    • $35 for cabin travel if flying from within the limits of Hawaii
    • $60 if traveling in cargo between Hawaiian islands.
    • $225 for cargo travel if traveling to and from North American continent
  • Weight Limits:
    • Cabin: Carrier and pet combined cannot exceed 25 pounds.
    • Cargo: Carrier and pet combined cannot exceed 70 pounds. If your pet is heavier, contact support for potential options.
  • Cabin Crate Size Limits: Carriers must be soft-sided and cannot exceed 16” length x 11” width x 9.5” height.
  • Cargo Crate Size Limits: 36″ length x 25″ width x 27″ height maximum
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Passenger: 1 pet carrier per pet. 
  • Maximum Number Of Pets Per Flight: None listed.
  • Age Limits: 8 weeks or older.
  • Special Notes:
    • Pet carriers may contain up to 2 pets if they’re less than 6 months old and of the same species.
    • Travel between Hawaiian Islands does not require a health certificate, but those traveling to and from elsewhere need a health certificate dated within 14 days of flying.
    • Hawaiian Airlines does not offer carriers if yours does not comply. Your pet will be refused flight.
    • The state of Hawaii has strict rules surrounding rabies and vaccination status.

9. Spirit

Best Pet-Friendly Airline for Small Dogs

Spirit Airlines

About: Spirit’s pet policy allows dogs up to 40 pounds to fly as long as they fit comfortably in the assigned carrier size, leaving wiggle room for pups who exceed the strict weight limits of other airlines. Pricing is reasonable, too, and there aren’t any breed-specific bans in place.

  • Dogs in Cabin: Yes, small dogs only with limitations: 
    • Passengers with pets can’t sit in the first row or emergency exit seats
    • Pets are only permitted on domestic flights, not international
    • Traveling dogs cannot be odorous, disruptive, or in distress
  • Dogs in Cargo: No.
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly: No breed-specific bans.
  • Are ESAs Allowed?: ESAs must follow Spirit’s pet policy.
  • Fee: $110 each way
  • Weight Limits: Carrier weight cannot exceed 40 pounds.
  • Cabin Crate Size Limits: 18″ long x 14″ wide x 9″ tall
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Passenger: 1 carrier pet passenger, which can contain up to 2 pets if housed comfortably.
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Flight: 6
  • Age Limits: 8 weeks or older and fully weaned
  • Special Notes
    • Pets must check-in at a service counter, not a self-serve kiosk.
    • Health certificates aren’t required for boarding, but always check destination requirements to ensure compliance.
    • Proof of vaccinations isn’t required by the airline, but may be needed depending on your destination.

10. Allegiant

Most Affordable Pet-Friendly Airline

Allegiant Air

About: Low-cost airline Allegiant has a bare-bones pet travel policy compared to others, taking the squeeze off paperwork-wary pet parents and saving your treat money for fun things. That said, you still need to comply with destination document requirements.

  • Dogs in Cabin: Yes, with limitations:
    • Sick, violent, distressed, or disruptive animals aren’t permitted to travel
    • Pets can’t travel in exit rows, bulkheads, or one row before or after exit rows
    • Animals must remain in the carrier at all times
    • Carrier must remained stowed under the seat during takeoff and landing
  • Dogs in Cargo: No.
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly: No restrictions listed.
  • Are ESAs Allowed?: Emotional support animals must follow the pet guidelines.
  • Fee: $50 per carrier each way
  • Weight Limits: Only small pets that can fit into the designated crate size are permitted.
  • Cabin Crate Size Limits: 9” high x 16” wide x 19” deep
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Passenger
    • 1 carrier per passenger
    • No more than 2 pets per carrier (pets must get along and be able to fit comfortably)
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Flight: None listed.
  • Age Limits: 8 weeks or older
  • Special Notes
    • Allegiant requires no health certificate for traveling pets, but they also assume no responsibility for your dog’s health or well-being in the cabin.
    • All pet travelers must arrive one hour before their designated flight time to check for compliance.
Food for Thought

A lack of a health certificate requirement might save you time, but it also leaves your pet vulnerable to traveling around animals that may not be in tip-top shape.

11. Frontier

Runner Up for Most Affordable Pet-Friendly Airline

Frontier Airlines

About: Budgeting for your fur-flying trip is made easier with Frontier’s low-cost pet fees. They may not be the most affordable option, but they’re certainly worth considering if you’re trying to keep your travel costs low. Frontier’s pet flight policy is straightforward too, saving time on research.

  • Dogs in Cabin: Yes, with limitations: 
    • Dogs that bark or whine excessively, smell offensive, or act aggressively may be turned away
    • Passengers traveling with a pet cannot sit in row one or exit rows 
  • Dogs in Cargo: No.
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly: No restrictions.
  • Are ESAs Allowed?: ESAs must fly under Frontier’s pet guidelines.
  • Fee: $99 per pet, per flight.
  • Weight Limits: None listed.
  • Cabin Crate Size Limits: 18″ length x 14″ width x 8″ height
  • Maximum Number Of Pets Per Passenger: 1 pet per passenger.
  • Maximum Number Of Pets Per Flight: None listed.
  • Age Limits: Must be older than 8 weeks.
  • Special Notes:
    • While Frontier doesn’t require health certificates, your destination may, even domestically, so always triple-check to be sure you’re in compliance.
    • Coverage includes all U.S. domestic flights and international flights to and from the Dominican Republic and Mexico.
    • Pre-assigned seating eliminates the stress of landing the right seat.

12. Air Canada

Best Pet-Friendly Airline to Canada

Air Canada

About: Visit Canada with your canine on Air Canada, an airline whose rules for pet flight are long yet thorough. Rules vary by season for safety’s sake, so keep a close eye on dates and check with customer service to avoid any surprises.

  • Dogs in Cabin: Small dogs only, with limitations: 
    • Pets cannot travel in Business class on Boeing 737 Max 8 aircrafts
    • Pets cannot travel in Premium Economy
    • Only 1 pet is permitted per carrier
    • Cannot be seated in a bulkhead or exit row
  • Dogs in Cargo: Yes, with limitations:
    • 2 pets may travel in the same carrier in cargo, but they can’t weigh more than 31 pounds each. (You’ll still have to pay 2  fees)
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly:
    • Brachycephalic breeds are not permitted to travel in the cargo hold.
    • “Strong dog” breeds and crossbreeds must be transported via special carriers in cargo. This list includes the Caucasian shepherd, kangal, pit bull-type breeds, all mastiffs, Rottweilers, and wolf hybrids. This restriction doesn’t apply to puppies between 3 and 6 months old.
    • Pit bulls are banned in Ontario and cannot fly to the province.
  • Are ESAs allowed?: ESAs must follow pet rules.
  • Fee: Varies by minimum and maximum tax that’s based on your itinerary which ranges between $50 and $59 for a one-way fee for flights within Canada, and $100 to $118 for a one-way fee for international flights. 
  • Weight Limits: 
    • Cabin weight limit is 22 pounds for your dog and carrier
    • 100 pounds for the carrier and pet if traveling in cargo (If heavier, contact support to discuss possible options)
  • Cabin Crate Size Limits: Varies by plane, including:
    • 8” H x 16” W x 17” L for Boeing 787-9 
    • 8” H x 16” W x 14.5” L for Boeing 787-8 
    • 8.25” H x 15” W x 17” L for Boeing 777-300ER and Boeing-200LR 
    • 7.75” H x 15.75” W x 17” L and soft-sided for Airbus A321, Airbus 220, Airbus A320, Airbus a319, and Boeing 737 Max 8
  • Cargo Crate Size Limits: 115” in linear dimensions max (If larger, contact support to discuss options)
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Passenger: 1 per passenger
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Flight: Between 2 and 4, depending on flight
  • Age Limits: 12 weeks or older and fully weaned
  • Special Notes:
    • Travelers with pets must arrive at least 30 minutes before their recommended check-in time and speak with an agent, as pets cannot be checked-in via kiosk.
    • Pets are allowed in Maple Leaf Lounges but must remain in a carrier.
    • Aggressive dogs may be refused for travel.
    • Winter travel restrictions bar dogs less than 10 pounds from traveling in cargo and can’t travel in certain aircraft. No pets are accepted for any travel between December 18 and January 4.
    • Pet travel to warm climates is banned during certain periods, depending on destination.

13. Lufthansa

Best Pet-Friendly International Airline

Lufthansa

About: Traveling abroad with your best fur friend is possible with Lufthansa, a German airline that flies to cities around the world. Lufthansa’s pet travel policy is comprehensive, but certain aspects vary by flight, so always double-check requirements before booking.

  • Dogs in Cabin: Yes, with limitations:
    • Must be kenneled and stowed under the airline seat at all times
    • Pet cannot be disruptive or aggressive
    • Must book no later than 72 hours before departure
  • Dogs in Cargo: New cargo bookings have been discontinued.
  • Breeds That Can’t Fly: 
    • Brachycephalic dog breeds cannot travel in cargo
    • Dogs classified as “fighting breeds” can only travel via the cargo in special crates. These breeds include the American bulldog, dogo Argentino, Kangal, Caucasian shepherd, and Rottweiler. The only exception for cabin travel is for dogs aged three to six months.
  • Are ESAs allowed?: ESAs must follow Lufthansa’s pet policy.
  • Fee: Varies by flight 
  • Weight Limits: Pup and carrier must weigh less than 8 kg (17.6 pounds) combined
  • Cabin Crate Size Limits: Soft-sided carriers must measure 22” x 16” x 9” or less
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Passenger: 2 pets per passenger (if traveling via cabin, must be in same carrier)
  • Maximum Number of Pets Per Flight: None listed, but bookings are issued on a first come, first serve basis.
  • Age Limits: 12 weeks or older
  • Special Notes:
    • Health certificate issued within 10 days of flying required.
    • Pets are allowed in Lufthansa lounges but must be contained in a carrier.
    • Pet parents must complete 2 copies of Lufthansa’s transporting an animal in the passenger cabin form.
    • All pet carriers must be lined in an absorbent material (puppy pad).
    • 2 pets must travel in separate carriers unless they’re puppies or adults of comparable size or a mother and her pup aged 6 months or younger.

General Tips for Flying with Your Pet

pet flying tips and tricks

Flying to a destination with your furry adventure buddy is loads of fun, but to keep it that way, you should follow a few rules of the skies, including: 

  • Book early. Most airlines limit the amount of pets allowed per flight. To snag one of these coveted spots for your sniffer, book your trip as soon as possible.
  • Double-check all of the details with the airline. When in doubt, ask. Airline rules are ever-changing, especially with continued complications in a post-pandemic world. It’s better to dot all of your Is and cross your Ts than to be surprised at check-in.
  • Select an airline-approved crate when flying cargo. Carriers come in all shapes and sizes, many of which aren’t airline compliant with their gadgets and gizmos. Check size requirements with your airline and other concerns, such as acceptable materials or rules about crate locks. Also, note that these can vary by dog breed.
  • Talk to your vet. Square away vaccination updates and health checks before planning any trips with your pup. It’s important to determine if your dog is fit to fly and to have your ducks in a row paperwork-wise for vaccinations.
  • Pack medications. Sometimes travel brain gets the best of us and we forget the most important everyday items like underwear or your dog’s medications. If possible, these should be among the first supplies you pack. They should be in their original containers with your vet’s information too to avoid any transparency problems.
  • Consider your pet’s needs over yours. Not every dog likes to fly or is well-suited for flight. Health issues and personality quirks can put unnecessary stress on your canine. While you may be looking forward to taking in the sights and sounds of an exotic locale, your dog may be too anxious to enjoy such a trip. Sometimes staying home with a trusted petsitter is best.
  • Can’t fly? Consider ground transportation. If your dog isn’t a good fit for flying, there are plenty of great pet ground transportation services that can drive your dog to your final destination. With shared van and private van options, you can usually find a service that won’t break your budget (although overall, pet ground transport is definitely pricier than flying, as it takes longer and requires more manual labor on the driver’s part).
Looking for more information about flying with your four-footer?

Check out our top tips for flying with your dog. We explain everything you need to know to make your upcoming trip a blast!

Pet-Friendly Airlines: FAQ

dog flying questions

Flying with your dog can be a head scratcher sometimes. Check out these commonly asked questions to brush up on your knowledge about traveling by air with your dog.

Is it safe to travel with your pet?

In many cases, yes.

Most healthy dogs fly in an airplane’s cabin without issue, especially the most travel-friendly breeds.

Risks increase if your dog is brachycephalic (short-faced,) medically frail, or traveling in the cargo area. Most airlines do not even allow any kind of plane travel for brachycephalic breeds or breeds that are prone to issues like overheating.

Traveling by air with young puppies or seniors is also not advised and often not allowed by major airlines.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s safety during travel, contact your vet to discuss if flying is the best option or if a staycation is a better pupper plan.

What is the safest airline for pets?

According to a 2018 report by the Department of Transportation detailing incidents involving the loss, injury, or death of animals during air transportation, airlines reporting zero incidents include Horizon Air, Republic Airways, Endeavor Air, Mesa Airlines, ExpressJet Airlines, GoJet Airlines, Compass Airline, CommutAir, Envoy Air, and Sun Country Airlines.

However, it’s worth noting that these airlines transported far fewer animals than major carriers, with the majority flying less than 10,000 animals annually.

Alaska Airlines reported the least incidents among major airlines, with 1 injury per 143,634 pets flown. SkyWest Airlines and American Airlines also experienced fewer incidents. The worst-performing major airline was Hawaiian Airlines, with 3 deaths in the 9,505 pets flown.

Despite the media hyper-focusing on pet deaths while flying, these occasions are very rare. Pet travel by plan is generally quite safe.

What documents do I need for my pet to fly?

The documents needed vary by airline and destination. Some ask for nothing, while most require a health certificate.

Completed by a vet, this certificate states that your dog is healthy enough to fly and free of infectious diseases. Shot records may also be required, depending on the airline and destination. International flights generally have the strictest document requirements.

What are some of the new airline pet restrictions after the pandemic?

The pandemic greatly affected pet travel with employee shortages and an uptick in flight cancellations. In response, airlines have limited cargo shipment of animals, some have banned emotional support animals, and others increased fees for pets traveling in the cabin.

The CDC has also tightened the rules surrounding dogs coming to the United States, with new age, vaccination, microchipping, and location restrictions. This is in response to several rabies-infected dogs arriving in the U.S. during the pandemic.

Which airlines allow dogs on the plane?

Several airlines allow dogs to fly, including American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, and JetBlue. However, airline canine travel rules vary, so always call ahead to ensure your pooch can take to the skies.

Does federal law allow dogs on airplanes?

Federal law leaves it up to airlines if pets are permitted to travel via cabin with passengers or as cargo. These restrictions do not apply to service animals. Federal law states that service animals are allowed in the cabin of any airplane and aren’t subject to carrier or health certificate requirements. There’s also no limit on the number of service animals on a flight.

Can my dog sit on my lap during a flight?

Probably not. Most airlines require dogs to stay kenneled in an airline-approved pet carrier and under the seat in front of you for the flight duration. This keeps you, your pet, and other passengers safe in case of turbulence and other airtime events.

Can pets fly alone?

Maybe. Some airlines allow pets to fly alone while others do not. There are many pet transport services that can aid in canine travel if you can’t travel with them.

What is the best airline for traveling with a pet?

Our top pick for the best airline to travel with a pet is JSX. Since the flights are semi-private and you can take any sized dog onto the plane without a crate, it’s the ideal flying experience for you and your pooch. The only downside is that there aren’t many flight destinations, and the tickets can be pricey.

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Have you flown with your dog? Did you fly with any of the airlines on our list or another? Any tips for other travelers with pups? Share your experiences with us. We’d love to hear!

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