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Plane Travel with Dogs: 
7 Tips to Make Your Trip Safe and Fun

Is plane travel with dogs on your horizon?  Maybe your bucket list?  This guest post by    Provides a comprehensive guide for your next plane trip.

Small dog parents are lucky because they are able to fly with their pets anywhere. Probably one of the best things about owning a small dog is that they can comfortably travel in a crate that fits under the plane seat in front of you.

If you’ve never flown with your dog before, there are a few things to keep in mind that range from reserving his spot months in advance to bringing the right things with you to soothe him in case he gets anxious.

We’ve made a list of important aspects to consider before your trip that will help you anticipate unexpected situations. 

Plane Travel With Dogs:  Seven Must Know Tips

Here are sic essential things you must know about plane travel with dogs.

Plane Travel With Dogs:
Check to See Your Dog Is Small Enough to Travel Under the Seat

All airlines companies have very strict rules when it comes to the size of your pooch. Unless your dog is a service or therapy dog, he will have to fit in a crate that abides by the airline’s guidelines.

Generally, dogs that weigh less than 15 pounds are accepted as cabin passengers on all airlines because they can be comfortable in a carrier that will fit under a seat.

Never try to put your pet in a crate that is too small for him. Not only will he be uncomfortable for the whole flight but the airline might not let you on board.  

Age for adult dogs should not be a factor to those airlines that accept pets in the cabin.  Most require puppies to be at least 8 weeks old with the exception of Delta that does not accept puppies younger than 10 weeks.

Plane Travel With Dogs:
Buy the Appropriate Plane Pet Carrier

Dog carriers have to be comfortable and tick all of the airline’s requirements. 

Most of the time, the crate has to be 10 inches tall and between 16-19 inches long. Make sure to check the airline’s website for the exact measurements and take them into account when buying the carrier.

Also, keep in mind that the pet carrier will count as your cabin carrier. As a result, you will only be able to bring a personal item with you (a handbag or shoulder bag for your laptop).

Look for a pet carrier that has extra pockets, handles and is comfortable. Don’t choose a crate with wheels since these might make the carrier move around during the flight. 

Here are a few examples of pet carriers that airlines like.  Always make sure to check your airline before purchasing a carrier.

Pet Carrier for Dogs & Cats - Airline Approved Premium Expandable Soft Animal Carriers

This carrier is good for up to 20 pounds, 18 inches long X 12 inches wide X 12 inches high  Approved by most major airlines.

2PET Cabin Travel, Under Seat Kennel Approved by Major American Airlines

Comes in 3 sizes, but the small or medium carrier is great for most small dogs.

Fits pets up to 13" in length x 7.5" in height and up to 8 pounds.

Both top and side entrance;  Includes a shoulder strap.

WPS Airline Approved Removable Wheeled Pet Carrier for Small Pets

This soft sided carrier comes with 6 removable wheels for easy transport through busy airports. 

Once wheels are removed, the dimensions are 9" x 11" x 22" and can fit under the seat in front of you.  It also comes with handheld and shoulder straps.

2PET Cabin Travel, Under Seat Kennel Approved by Major American Airlines

Less expensive than most, this carrier is 18” L x 10.5" W x 11."  It is made with cushioned non-slip hand and shoulder straps and mesh side windows so you can see in and your dog can see out.

Natuvalle 6-in-1 Pet Carrier Backpack

This rather cleverly designed carrier can be worn as a backpack or front pack.  It can also double as a shoulder bag or a hand-held carrier.  This company even donates a portion of sales to various pet shelters & charities.  Sounds like a win-win to me. 

Plane Travel With Dogs:
Know What to Pack for the Trip

If you know your pet’s temperament, you should know what to pack for the plane journey.

Whether your dog is anxious or not, you should bring some treats, his favorite toys and a blanket with you.

Pack a couple of wee-wee pads just in case along with plastic bags, paper towels and moist towelettes for cleanup if necessary. You will also need a water and food bowl.

Your pooch might get stressed during the flight or simply for being in an airport surrounded by dozens of unfamiliar faces. To help him stay calm, encourage him with a calm voice and distract him with a bone.

Collapsible food and water bowls are perfect for plane travel with dogs.  They collapse and fit nicely in your pet carrier pouch. You probably won't need more than two, but you might want to take three, just in case.

Get your dog accustomed to drinking and eating from the bowls before departure.

Safety First.  This first aid kit can be used both on the plane and in the car.  Take out what you think you might need and place in a ziplock bag which will fit nicely in a pocket of your carrier.

Smaller version of a pet first aid kit that is perfect for plane travel or a walk in the park.

Plane Travel With Dogs:
Make the Reservation for Your Dog Months in Advance

Small dogs are privileged because they get to fly in the cabin but you are in charge of making the reservation, and you should make it ahead of time. The vast majority of airlines only allow a specific number of pets to fly in the cabin at the same time.

To be sure your dog can accompany you on the flight, call the airline in advance. When travelling with your pet, you will get to board first. If you have to relocate with your dog you can reach out to a professional pet moving company that makes sure your dog travels safely and that relocation goes as smooth as possible.  

When booking, if at all possible, book a direct, non-stop flight.  Holiday or weekend travel is always heavy and should be avoided.  When timing your plane travel with dogs, consider schedules that minimize temperature extremes.

Pane Travel With Dogs:
Get Your Dog a Health Certificate (Passport) Before Flying

Dog health certificates are not always mandatory, but it’s good to have them just in case. Getting the passport is not costly or time-consuming.

Your veterinarian can take care of it and give you one on the spot. The role of a health certificate is to prove that your dog has been vaccinated and can travel in the cabin together with the other passengers without posing a health threat.

Plane Travel With Dogs:
Walk Your Dog Before Getting on the Plane and Don’t Feed Him

It’s important to get your dog tired before embarking on your journey. This will make him less anxious and might even help him nap during the flight, especially if you are travelling during the night. You should also not feed your dog on the morning of your flight.

Take away his water bowl at least two hours before taking off in order to avoid any accidents on the plane.

To keep your dog from getting dehydrated during the flight, ask the stewardess for a few ice cubes. Your dog will be entertained playing with the cube, and he will get hydrated at the same time.

If you are worried that your small dog might have a problem going without food for lengthy periods of time, pack a tube of Tomlyn High Calorie Nutritional Gel for Puppies, (Nutri-Cal) 4.25 oz.

This can be given to your dog along the way and will add enough calories to prevent hypoglycemia.

Plane Travel With Dogs:
Research Airports on Your Route

Not all airports have relief areas, so you will want to contact each airport on your route (your departure, destination and any that you may have layovers.  Ask what facilities they have for your pet to relieve himself.  Remember, most airports do not have big facilities and some are limited to a small section of artificial grass. 

Travel Restrictions

Depending on the country, you may run into additional requirements such as additional vaccinations, microchips, Check with the embassy of your destination country for information about quarantines.

Plane Travel With Dogs:  Airlines That Accept Pets in the Cabin

This is not a comprehensive list, but does represent many major airlines that allow small dogs to travel in the cabin.  There are many airlines that may transport dogs, but for those companies, dogs are required to travel in cargo.

United Airlines

United Airlines

https://www.united.com

1-800-864-8331

Pet Carrier

Hard-sided kennels are 17.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm)

Soft-sided kennels are 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high (46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm). Soft-sided pet carriers may exceed these dimensions slightly, as they are collapsible.

Restrictions

Not permitted on flights to, from or through Australia, Hawaii or Micronesia from the US.

Cost

$125 for travel within the US, more for international and for stop overs more than 4 hours.


American Airlines

American Airlines

tel:800-433-7300

https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/special-assistance/pets.jsp

Pet Carrier

23" long x 13" wide x 9" high.

Soft sided carriers must be water-repellent, padded nylon with mesh ventilation on two or more sides.

Restrictions

You can travel with a pet on most flights not longer than 12 hours or flights to/from: within the 48 contiguous US states, Canada, Alaska, Central America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Thomas.

Cost

$125 per flight


Delta

Delta

https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/special-travel-needs/pets/pet-travel-options.html

Carrier

You must contact Delta for the exact dimensions of the crate and it depends on the flight.

Restrictions

Delta does not accept pets in the cabin to and from Australia, Barbados

Dakar, Dubai, Hong Kong, Iceland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates.


Cost

$125 one way in the US, more internationally;  To Europe, $200.

Your pet must be at least 10 weeks old. 


Air Canada

Air Canada

Res. 1-888-247-2262

https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/plan/special-assistance/pets.html

Carrier

23 cm x 40 cm x 55 cm (9" x 15.5" x 21.5")

Restrictions

Dog's Weight:  maximum 10 kg / 22 lbs

Cost

$50 to $100 per flight based on itinerary on flights to Canada or between Canada and the U.S.


Lufthansa

Lufthansa

https://www.lufthansa.com/online/portal/lh/us/infoservice/baggage?nodeid=305559505&l=en

Carrier

55 x 40 x 23 cm

Restrictions

 Transport containers must have ventilation holes on at all four sides. 

For adult dogs, a maximum of two animals of comparable size and weighing up to 14 kg each in one cage.

Cost

Within Europe EUR 50, USD/CAD 70

Intercountry: EUR 70, USD/CAD 100  for small dogs up to 8 kg.



Alaska Airways

Alaska Airways

1-800-252-7522

https://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/policies/pets-traveling-with-pets.aspx

Carrier

Hard Sided:17" x 11" x 7.5"

Soft Sided: 17" x 11" x 9.5"

Restrictions

A customer may travel with a maximum of 2 pet carriers in the main cabin, only when the adjacent seat is purchased by the same customer.

Cost

$100 each way.


British Airways

British Airways

https://www.britishairways.com/en-us/information/travel-assistance/travelling-with-pets

Carrier

 20 x 30 x 20cm (7.5 x 11.5 x 7.5in) when allowed in the cabin

Restrictions

Most pets that are not service animals will need to fly as cargo but there are some exceptions on specific flights on franchise partner airlines

Cost

Check on their website for costs associated with franchise partners.


Air France

Air France

https://www.airfrance.us/US/en/common/guidevoyageur/pratique/animal_cabine_airfrance.htm

Carrier

You can purchase a carrier from their site that is suitable for travel to many locations:

https://shopping.airfrance.com/boutique/animaux.html

Restrictions

Microchipped with all vaccinations;  some locations will require quarantine

Cost

Flights in metropolitan France- carriage in the cabin: €30

Flights within the Caribbean- carriage in the hold: €75

- carriage in the cabin: €30 (excluding flights from and to Miami €55)

Flights in Europe or between Europe and North Africa** or Israel - in the cabin: €55

Flights between metropolitan France and Cayenne, Fort-de-France,

Pointe-à-Pitre, Saint-Denis de la Réunion)- in the cabin: €55

Other flights - in the cabin: €125***

Author of Plane Travel With Dogs

Toby DeanToby Dean

Toby Dean works on behalf of petsbyplane.com in outreach and content creation.

He creates engaging content that help businesses connect with their audience and stand out from the crowd.

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