Traveling with your Pet

Pet travel tips

Photo by Laura Cook

Planning that last minute summer vacation with your pet can be a pretty stressful experience. Below are a couple of tips and airline-specific guidelines that can help alleviate stress and focus on what’s important – your toes in the sand!

Travel Tips:

If flying –

  • Reserve a spot for your pet in advance – there is a maximum number of pets enforced per flight
  • Allow yourself extra time to check-in – you will go through a brief checklist with an agent
  • Ticket counter check-in only
  • Some breeds, “snub-nosed” dogs and cats, are not permitted to fly as a safety precaution
  • Checked pets typically aren’t accepted more than three hours prior to your flight time
  • All carriers have to be well-ventilated
  • Each airline has different requirements, including a health certificate policy, carrier restrictions, and if able to fly with your pet to Hawaii

Airline Requirements:

American Airlines 

-Requires a health certificate for checked pets: Yes, must be issued within 10 days prior to travel

-Requires a health certificate for in-cabin pets: No

– Age restriction: 8 weeks +

-Carrier restrictions:

•Hard & Soft-sided pet carriers: 19″ long x 13″ wide x 9″ high

•Can be slightly larger if collapsible & made out of padded, ventilated (at least two-sided) nylon. Pet must be able to stand up and turn around comfortably

-Allowed Travel Destinations: Carry-on pets are NOT ALLOWED to/from Hawaii or transatlantic/transpacific destinations or to/from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela

-Exotic Animals: No

-Price (one-way): Checked pets $175 per kennel (exception $150 for checked pets to Brazil), cabin pet $125 (not allowed to Hawaii), service pet no charge

Read more about American Airlines’ Pet Policy here

Delta

-Requires a health certificate for checked pets: Yes, must be issued within 10 days prior to travel

-Requires a health certificate for in-cabin pets: No

– Age restriction: 10 weeks +

-Carrier restrictions: Read about carrier restrictions and prices here

-Allowed Travel Destinations: Carry-on pets are NOT ALLOWED to/from Hawaii, have to be cargo & must have a rabies inoculation (with signed certificate) ten days prior to travel

-Exotic Animals: Yes

-Price (one-way):

•U.S./Canada: $125 USD/CAD

•Virgin Islands: $125 USD/CAD

•Puerto Rico: $125 USD/CAD

•Outside the U.S.: $200 USD/CAD/EUR

•Brazil: $75 USD

•The one-way fee for checking your pet on all flights is $200 USD/CAD/EUR

Read more about Delta Airlines’ Pet Policy here

Southwest

-Requires a health certificate for checked pets: No option for checked pets, only allows in-cabin reservations

-Requires a health certificate for in-cabin pets: No

-Age restriction:  8 weeks +

-Carrier restrictions:

•Hard & Soft-sided carriers: 8.5” high x 18.5” long x 13.5” wide

-Allowed Travel Destinations: Pets are not allowed for international travel

-Exotic Animals: No

-Price (one-way):

•Pets traveling prior to January 15, 2014 are subject to a $75 Pet Fare per pet carrier.

•Pets traveling January 15, 2014 and beyond are subject to a $95 Pet Fare each way per pet carrier.

Read more about Southwest’s Pet Policy here

US Airways

-Requires a health certificate for checked pets:  No option for checked pets, only allows in-cabin reservations

-Requires a health certificate for in-cabin pets: No

– Age restriction: 8 weeks +

-Carrier restrictions:

•Hard-sided carriers: 17 inches long x 16 inches wide x 8 inches tall (43 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm)

•Soft-sided carriers: 17 inches long x 16 inches wide x 10 inches tall (43 cm x 40 cm x 25 cm)

-Allowed Travel Destinations:

•Permits only service animals, emotional support animals and psychiatric service animals in the cabin for travel to and from Hawaii

•Carry-on pets are not allowed on flights to and from Europe; South America; the Middle East; Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and St. Lucia.

•Only dogs and cats are allowed on flights to and from Costa Rica. Contact the embassy or consulate at least 4 weeks before you travel. Call 800-428-4322 for more information.

-Exotic Animals: Birds only

-Price (one-way): $125 per pet carrier, only allowed to bring a second pet if you purchase a second seat

Read more about US Airways’ Pet Policy here

United

-Requires a health certificate for checked pets: Yes

-Requires a health certificate for in-cabin pets: No

-Age restriction: 8 weeks +

-Carrier restrictions:

•Hard-sided carriers: 17.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm)

•Soft-sided carriers: 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high (46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm)

•View information on checked pet carrier restrictions here

-Allowed Travel Destinations: Rules for international in-cabin pets vary, find out more information here

-Exotic Animals: Yes (rabbits and birds only)

-Price (one-way): $125 per pet carrier, information on checked pets here

Read more about United’s Pet Policy here

**Regarding international travel – Please contact your animal hospital a couple of days before your scheduled health certificate appointment to allow time to prepare paperwork**

If driving –

-Products like Feliway (felines) & Adaptil spray (canine) replicate a nurturing hormone that can ease anxiety and cause comfort

-Sedatives are available for both driving and flying if needed to reduce stress

-Remember to bring a portable water bowel & food depending on the length of the trip

-Do not leave your pet in the car unattended! Learn more summer tips here

 

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment for a health certificate give a care coordinator a call at 773-327-4446!

Written by Laura Cook for Blum Animal Hospital