Most of us don’t have our own personal planes, in which case, flying can be a very stressful time for both you and your pooch. With all of the rules and regulations, you may contemplate turning that 3-hour plane ride into a 3-day car ride. Luckily, we’re on your side, and we’re here to make your trip to the terminal a success. The last thing you want is an anxious pup in the middle of an airport and no idea how to get your furry friend on the plane with you. We’re in the process of reviewing everything you’ll need to make your next flight a success. From regulation dog bags, to flying regulations and more!
table of contents
When it comes to airlines, never assume anything. They can change their policies at anytime, and all airlines have their own unique pet policy. Fortunately, we’re help you find the right airline for your doggy needs. Check out our information below, and of course, check with the airline before flying with Fido. Our information is posted based off of airline requirements in February 2018.
Keep in mind, if you have a service animal, many restrictions don’t apply. Additionally, there are restrictions on where animals can fly. For instance, most airlines don’t allow dogs to fly to and from Hawaii or Australia.
American Airlines Carry-on Requirements
American Airlines allows small dogs and cats to ride on the plane with their owners for $125 per flight (round trip cost is $250). Your pooch must be able to stand up and completely turn around inside their carrier in order to get on the plane with you. The maximum size for any dog carrier is 19″ long x 13″ wide x 9″ high. Soft side carriers can be larger as long as they’re water repellent and padded. Keep in mind that your carrier should also be considered “escape proof”.
Additionally, all pets must be at least 8 weeks old, and be able to stay in the crate and under the seat in front of you for the duration of the flight. Keep in mind that your pooch will count as your 1 carry-on bag.
Breed Restrictions: Unfortunately, there are some breed restrictions on your furry friends. American Airlines doesn’t accept snub-nosed dogs or any mix such as boston terrier, shih tzu, pugs, and boxers.
We recommend checking with the airline to ensure your pup will be good to go on your flight. Certain destinations have stricter requirements. Additionally, make sure to notify the airline of your furry friends arrival at least 48 hours in advance!
United Carry-On Requirements
United Airlines’ pet restrictions are very similar to those at American Airlines. Your furry friend will count as your one carry-on, and you’ll receive a $125 fee each way for them. There is an additional $125 fee for each stopover that exceeds 4 hours, and stops that exceed 24 hours outside of the U.S.
All carriers must be able to completely fit under the seat in front of you. This means that the maximum dimensions for a hard-sided kennel is 17.5″ long x 12″ wide, x 7.5″ high. If you have a soft-sided crate the maximum is 18″ long x 11″ wide x 11″ high.
All dogs must be at least 8 weeks old, and must remain in the carrier under the seat at all times. Pets are not however permitted in United’s premium cabins on the Boeing 747, 757, 767, 777, and 787.
Before traveling with your pooch make sure to call the airline to reserve your dog a spot; only 4 pets are allowed on most flights.
Southwest Carry-On Requirements
Southwest’s pet policy is very similar to other airlines; however, their pet fee is a bit less expensive. They charge $95 each way for your pooch (rather than $125). Additionally. you don’t have to call the airline 48 hours in advance, just make sure you notify them of your pet the day of your flight. Of course, if you wait until the last minute, there is a chance they’ll have their limit of pets. Unfortunately, pets aren’t allowed on any international flights.
If you’re going to be taking Fido on the flight with you, their are some regulations and requirements to be aware of. First of all, Southwest actually allows you to put your pooch in an official SouthWest Airlines Pet Carrier. This ensures that your carrier meets all requirements every time. If you choose to use your own; the dimensions have to be 18.5″ long x 8.5″ high x 13.5″ wide, or smaller. As always, they must be leak-proof and well ventilated.
Additionally, if two dogs can comfortably fit in a carrier that small, it’s OK to have them share a carrier. As long as they can fit completely inside the carrier and be able to stand up and move around easily.
Just like many airlines, dogs cannot travel internationally. Additionally, Southwest only allows for 6 pets per flight, so be sure to reserve Fido’s spot! Also, your pups must be at least 8 weeks old to fly with you.
Overland travel bag
Whether you’re going to the dog park for the day or taking a lengthy vacation, the Overland Dog Gear bag will help you stay organized. The bag is lightweight yet durable and able to hold just about anything your pup needs during a trip. It includes two collapsible dishwasher safe water and food dishes, as well as a mat to keep the area clean.
You’ll immediately find that this bag will keep you organized no matter how crazy your travels get. There are a variety of secure pouches, pockets, and zippers that allow for plenty of storage, and up to thirty cups of dog food. The bag also comes with two lined pouches that easily carry food, water, or treats to keep your pup occupied. If you’re flying with your pup you’ll be happy to hear that the bag easily attaches to suitcases to make traveling easy and even meets airline carry-on requirements.
Airline Approved Carrier
If you’re constantly on the go and taking your pooch on vacations, dog backpacks are extremely handy. You don’t have to have your dog wandering around on the ground in new surroundings, and they makes traveling so much easier. Fortunately, some carriers are even airline approved. The Pet Magasin Carrier is made for airline travel, and will definitely make your trips much easier. This carrier conforms to the dimensions for most airline’s carry-on restrictions, and can either be held with the handle, or worn as a backpack.
When you’re traveling this carrier also makes a great portable kennel for your pup. Simply lay it down and unzip the two side panels allowing the floor space to double. Your pup will have plenty of room to move around, and will also be in an enclosure. This carrier is made from great materials that you can trust for either a kennel or a backpack. The fabric is Oxford 1680D, and it also has padded backpack straps, quality zippers, and breathable mesh for your dog.
We love this backpack because you can easily take it during all of your travels. It’s safe to take on airplanes, and you’ll have a handy portable kennel when you reach your destination. In carrier mode, the Pet Magasin Carrier is 17″ long, 13.5″ wide and 11″ tall. When it’s a backpack the 17″ dimension becomes the height and the base is 13.5″ x 11″. With the kennel panels opened, the carrier become 17″ long, 28″ wide and 11″ tall.
Pet Health Passport
Some airlines require proof of your dog’s vaccines before you get on the flight. A per Health Passport is a great way to keep track of this information, as well as other important information. This Passport has plenty of space for all of your dog’s information incase of any emergency that may happen on the flight. The pack is 86 pages, measuring 5″ x 8″ tall. We recommend keeping this passport in your car and of course, with your dog’s carrier. As you can see below, you can list your vet’s name, groomer, and any allergies that your dog may have.
Of course, this is all great information to give to your dog sitters as well. You can leave the passport out for them in case they need to call a vet, neighbor, or anyone else for your pooch!
Motion Sickness relief
Just like humans, some dogs get motion sick on planes and in cars. This spray helps to relieve motion sickness in pups in a natural way. Rather than running to the vet and paying for a chemical, you can try out this natural formula from Amazon.
The only ingredient in this spray is 100% pure all-natural essential oils. These oils are therapeutic for dogs, completely safe, and help to calm down their system to avoid motion sickness. To apply it, simply spray it onto your hands and then rubbing it directly on their ears, back, and belly. We recommend trying out this product a week before any flight to see how your pooch reacts to it for smaller trips (such as a ride in the car).
If your pup struggles with dizziness and nausea during car rides or on flights, this is a great, all-natural product to try out! Even better, it’s much more inexpensive than medications from your vet.
Many dogs experience anxiety during flights; they’re exposed to new sounds, smells, and of course, the motion may upset them. We highly recommend trying out an adaptil product before long flights.
Adaptil will help calm your dog down and prevent destructive behavior caused by stress or anxiety. Typically it can help reduce excessive chewing, barking, urinating indoors, or general anxiety. The pheromones used in Adaptil will comfort your dog and help them get over their anxiety issues. However; if the root of your dog’s issues is not anxiety, Adaptil won’t do much to help. Dogs with medical conditions that cause urination, excited puppies, and dogs with aggression problems won’t be phased too much by Adaptil. You should seed either trainers or medical attention for these problems.
The comfort Zone Adaptil collar is great for flights because it doesn’t require you to constantly spray near your pooch, and you don’t have to plug it in or worry about it running out of batteries. Simply place the collar on your pooch and the collar will provide constant adaptil which will calm them down and help to reduce anxiety.
Want to find out more about this collar? Read our in depth review here.
Traveling with Fido is stressful and tiring. Fortunately, if you’re well-prepared, it’ll be a breeze. Make sure you notify the airline ahead of time, check the website, and show up to the airport with plenty of time to fix any mistakes.