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Flying with your pet or service animal

flying airlines with pet

UPDATED 11/14/21

As we head into the busiest travel season of the year, and the grip of the COVID pandemic finally beginning to ease, more people are expected to be traveling by air in the coming weeks. We’ve checked with all of the major carriers with departures from Tampa- and we’ve updated our information to keep you up to date.

 

Beginning in 2020, all major carriers have stopped recognizing Emotional Support Animals. While these pets may still travel in the cabin of the aircraft, they are no longer given special protection and must abide by and follow the same rules as any other household pet in order to fly. Trained service animals remain protected, and are given much greater latitude.

Each airline is a little different when it comes to health certificate requirements. If your pet is flying in the cargo hold, a health certificate will be required. In the cabin, requirements will vary from airline to airline.

 

Airline Requirements and Links to Required Forms

Alaska Airlines:

Beginning on March 1, 2021 Emotional Support Animals will no longer be allowed in the cabin on Alaska Airlines.

If you are traveling with a trained service animal, you are not required to provide documentation. Per the Alaska Airlines website: “Documentation is not required when traveling with a trained service animal. However, our employees are trained to ask certain questions to determine the classification applicable to your animal.”

If you are planning travel with your pet a health certificate is NOT required. If they are too large to travel in the cabin, they can go in the cargo hold on certain flights. During the holidays, pets are restricted from cargo beginning on November 15 through January 10th on flights numbered 2000-2999 and 3300-3499. A health certificate must be presented, and completed no more than 10 days of travel for all pets in cargo. The cost for carriage is $100 for both cargo and in the cabin is $100 each way. For all of Alaska Airlines policies related to Service Animals, please visit their website: https://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/accessible-services/specialservices-support-animals

For all other pets traveling via Alaska Airlines: https://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/policies/pets-traveling-with-pets

Alaska Airlines does not permit brachycephalic dogs or cats in cargo. These are typically known as ‘short-nosed’ breeds. These breeds include:

Dogs

American Pit Bull, American Staffordshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brussels Griffon, Bull Mastiff, Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Chow Chow, Dutch Pug, English Bulldog, English Toy Spaniel, French Bulldog, Japanese Boxer, Japanese Pug, Japanese Spaniel, Pekingese, Pug, Shih Tzu, Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Cats

Burmese, Exotic Shorthair, Himalayan, Persian

Allegiant Airlines (Flies out of St. Petersburg, Not Tampa)

Allegiant no longer recognized Emotional Support Animals.

Please note- Pit Bulls or Pit-Bull type breeds cannot or will not be accommodated on Allegiant Airlines.

If you are traveling with a Trained Service Animal, you will be required to fill out forms prior to arriving at the airport. These forms for Trained Service Animals may be found here:

Pets can travel in the cabin if they meet Allegiant’s requirements. The fee is $50 per segment. A health certificate is not required for pets. For all of Allegiant’s pet policies, please visit their website. https://www.allegiantair.com/traveling-with-pets

Allegiant Airlines does not transport pets in the cargo hold.

American Airlines

American Airlines does not recognize Emotional Support Animals.

Trained service animals do not require advance forms, however per AA.com states the following:  As the requirements for transporting each type of animal differ, our employees are trained to ask certain questions to determine the classification applicable to your animal”

For all details on traveling with a Trained Service animal on American airlines, visit their website here. https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/special-assistance/service-animals.jsp

For pets (not Trained service Animals) pets are allowed in the main cabin for a fee of $125. Pets are considered a ‘carry-on’ and you will be limited to one personal item along with your pet. The pet must remain in its kennel for the boarding process and the duration of the flight. The kennel’s maximum size is dependent on the aircraft- so check with the airline before travel. Some planes cannot accommodate under-seat pet carriers in certain classes of service.

According to the aa.com website, American Airlines only accepts checked pets at the ticket counter for active-duty U.S. military and U.S. State Department Foreign Service personnel traveling on official orders. From the way we understand this, your pet needs to be booked in advance to fly in cargo- and you can’t just show up at the airport with your pet if arrangements have not been made in advance.

If your pet is traveling in cargo on American, and you have a connecting flight- pets can only connect through the following cities:

Charlotte (CLT)

Chicago (ORD)

Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)

Los Angeles (LAX)

New York Kennedy (JFK)

New York Laguardia (LGA)

Miami (MIA)

Philadelphia (PHL)

Phoenix (PHX)

Washington Reagan (DCA)

For all of American’s policies on traveling with pets- please visit their website.

Delta Airlines

Like the other major carriers, Delta no longer recognizes Emotional Support Animals. If you have a trained

 

https://www.delta.com/content/dam/delta-www/pdfs/policy/TrainedServiceAnimal-RequiredForms.pdf

If you’re flying Delta with a pet, they are welcome in the cabin and in cargo to certain destinations. In the main cabin, Delta accepts dogs, cats and household birds. The fee to carry on a pet is $125, and counts towards one of your carry on bags. For more information on Delta’s in-cabin policies, see their website. Delta does limit the number of pets on board each flight- so contact them well in advance to ensure your pet has a spot on the plane. For more information on traveling with a pet- Delta’s pet policy is here.

Cargo on Delta is a little different. Pets going cargo must have a separate booking via www.deltacargo.com. There is no guarantee that your pet will have the same flight itinerary as yours, and booking cannot be done until 14 days prior to travel.  You must drop off and pick up your pet at Delta Cargo- which is in a different area from the passenger check in area. Fees will vary depending on the origin of the flight and destination. Doing some spot checking, Delta’s cargo fees are much higher than other airlines.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier requests passengers traveling with Trained Service Animals to notify the airline in advance of their desire to do so. The do not require any special paperwork, but do reserve the right to deny boarding to any animal they deem unfit based on disruptive behavior. To understand Frontier’s Trained Service Animal policies, check out their website

Pets are welcomed onboard Frontier in the cabin for a pet fee of $99 each way. These fees are subject to change, so check with the airline website for the most up-to-date information. Frontier permits dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters or small, household birds. No reptiles or arachnids are allowed.  All of their policies can be found here. https://www.flyfrontier.com/travel/travel-info/family-pets/

JetBlue

Jet Blue allows for pets to travel in the main cabin if they can fit into an airline approved carrier and fit underneath the seat. The fee is $125 each way. Jet Blue limits the number of pets in the cabin to 6, so it’s important to schedule your flight early and notify the airline of your intention to take your pet inside the cabin.

JetBlue does not offer an option for your pet to travel in Cargo.

Southwest Airlines

Pets are allowed on Southwest, but limited to dogs and cats- for a $95 fee each way. Each flight is limited to a total number of 6 pets, so secure your pet’s spot on board as early as possible. Pets cannot fly cargo on Southwest. For all of Southwest’s pet policy, go to their website.

United Airlines

United allows a limited number of pets to travel in the cabin, but that number is not published- so if you’re wanting to take your pet on United, book early and let the airline know you’re planning on bringing your pet. Their current fee is $125.oo each way. Your pet does count towards your carry on limitation.

United does allow for pets to travel to certain destinations in cargo, and they have partnered with PetSafe to handle these arrangements. Like Delta, the fares for cargo are significantly higher than some airlines and have different requirements. Fees will vary based on origin and destination- and may not be available in all destinations year round due to extreme heat or cold at the destination or layover airport.  To learn more about United’s cargo procedures- go here. https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/animals/petsafe.html

In conclusion

It’s obvious that each airline has their own unique rules for pet travel- so know before you go. Better yet, know before you book. We wish you safe travels.

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