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Flying with a Dog?

I have a friend who wants to bring her dog on an upcoming flight. I know each airline has their own rules when it comes to traveling with a pet, but has anyone on Trippy done this? Any step-by-step processes or tips you can share?


3 Answers

top answer by
Regan from Brooklyn

Yep, I've flown with my small-ish dog to Telluride, Baja California Sur, Montana, name it.  Is it big or small?  Because that changes it dramatically.  I'm going to assume small as flying a large dog can be dangerous and should only be done because it's absolutely necessary.  Here are some tips for flying with a little guy:

  1. Exercise the heck out of him the morning of.  Really, wear his ass out.
  2. Don't feed within 4-6 hours of the flight and make sure he's pooped before the flight.
  3. You have to make a reservation and pay for both ways.
  4. Then you have to walk up to the counter to check in.  Passengers with pets can't use the kiosks or SkyCab.
  5. They make you take the little guy out and walk through security with him, but then you're kind of done.  
  6. The right bag is essential and I HIGHLY recommend the the SturdiBag in a size Large.  I've had it for 10 years and it fits on all planes due to its unique tent-like construction and it's light as a feather.  It's also made in the USA by a small family owned company in Oregon who have FedExed me new pieces for free when I've needed them.
  7. If it's a nervous dog, I've had luck with Rescue Remedy drops beforehand.  They make some specifically for dogs.

Good luck!

4 thanks

answered first by
Tiffany from Corvallis

The answer to this depends on two things: Small dog or big dog and domestic or international - then you consult your vet and your airline.

Some small dogs are allowed as carry-on luggage under the seat in front of you, but don't book tickets until you've looked into the policy of that particular airline. When you book, you need to make sure that the airline knows that there will be a pet on board. Especially for cabin pets, there is a limit to how many pets an airline will carry at one time. If your pet isn't registered ahead of time with the airline and others have pets on board, it is possible that your pet may be refused.

Weather is a huge factor for larger dogs and animals that are carried in the cargo part of the plane. This is where you need to talk to your vet about the health of your animal and advise on any precautions you should take. The cargo area isn't pressurized and can be stressful. They must be crated. The airlines generally will NOT permit animals as cargo during the hot summer months. Sometimes getting a direct red-eye flight can circumvent this problem. Ask the airline about your rights as owner for layovers and seeing your pet between flights. There are too many horror stories of animals not getting proper water/care during long layovers.

For international flights, your pet will need a "pet passport" and vaccination records at a minimum. Rabies shots need to be current and are often needed within a certain window near the arrival time in country - usually within 10 days. This, of course, all depends on the country, so check into country requirements for bringing pets in. Some require quarantines as well which are expensive and not fabulous for the animal.

I flew from Spain to the United States with a dog and a cat. We took a direct red-eye flight in August, so while it was hot, it's cold at 10,000 feet and we landed early in Virginia. The cat did ok under our seat. Our dog wasn't happy in the crate, but was only on the tarmac an hour before the flight and we picked her up in baggage claim.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Spain (country)
  2. United States (attraction)
  3. Virginia (attraction)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Jillian from Los Angeles

Hi Jake! You got some great tips already. I fly with my small dog a lot, so if your friend has a small pup, these are going to be the best airlines to fly:

Virgin America is best for last minute trips. They are the only airline I know of that doesn’t limit the total amount of carry on dogs in cabin. So you can show up and your dog is good to go. The fee is $100 one way to fly (yeah, it's expensive, right!?).

Jet Blue may be my favorite because they have a loyalty points system for bringing your dog - the JetPaws program. You can also book online and definitely do because they will charge you $25 if you call to book. They only allow four dogs that can fly in cabin per flight, but I’ve never had an issue getting Addie on. 

Southwest is the cheapest option at $95 one way. The only downside is they don’t have online booking, so you need to call to book your dogs seat. They allow six dogs in cabin per flight so book in advance here too.

Oh, and I love the Sleepypod carrier. Hope this helps!

2 thanks

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