With over five million pets and other live animals transported by air every year around the world, is your favorite airline on our list of the 10 most pet friendly airlines?
Most pet parents need to travel with their pets by air. With so many commercial airlines out there, what are the most pet friendly airlines?
In a moment, we will unpack the phrase “pet friendly”.
But first, pet travel is huge!
Over 2 million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year in the United States. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. And with an estimated 53% of travelers taking holidays with their pets, we can safely guesstimate that well over 5 million pets travel by air around the world every year. A humongous number, whichever way you look at it!
Although governments impose restrictions on transporting live animals, every airline has a responsibility to ensure the safety and well being of any animal they ship. Because of this, each airline has policies for the safety and well being of any animals they transport.
Now back to what we mean by “pet friendly” airlines.
Pet friendly airlines are airlines that make the airplane travel process easy on pet parents. Such airlines should –
- Meet all the regulatory compliance issues.
- Have a pet travel policy that takes the worries of pet parents into consideration
- Allow pets to fly on board (in the cabin, not in the cargo hold of the plane). Experts say that travel in the cabin is safer for pets than travel in the cargo hold of an airplane.
- Provide pet excellent amenities.
- Make provision for pet check-in.
- Have competitive pet travel fees.
- Have pet friendly employees.
Is It Safe For Pets To Travel By Air?
Air travel is perfectly safe for pets.
Only a very small minority of animals die while in transit. In fact one study says only 0.0048% of pets died while airborne in 2018.
However, there are certain breeds of dogs and cats that should not fly in the cargo hold of an airplane.
What Breeds of Dogs and Cats should not Fly in the Cargo hold?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association certain brachycephalic or short-nosed breeds of dogs and cats should not fly in the cargo hold of airplanes. Their short-snouts mean they are more likely to die in transit in the cargo hold of an airplane than dogs and cats with normal-length muzzles.
The AVMA says these dog and cat breeds experience respiratory challenges that may make it difficult for them to breathe under normal circumstances, not just during air travel.
Examples of short-nosed dog breeds include:
|American Pit Bull||American Staffordshire Terrier||Boston Terrier|
|Bull Terrier||Chow Chow||Dutch Pug|
|English Bulldog||English Toy Spaniel||French Bulldog|
|Japanese Boxer||Japanese Pug||Japanese Spaniel|
|Mastiff (All Breeds)||Pekingese||Pug|
|Shih Tzu||Staffordshire Bull Terrier|
Examples of short-nosed cat breeds include:
- Exotic Shorthair
Brachycephalic Dogs and Cats can Travel in the Passenger Cabin
It is important to note that brachycephalic or short-nosed dogs and cats can fly in the passenger cabin of an airplane.
The American Veterinary Medical Association says, “If your dog is small enough to fit in a pet carrier that fits under the airline seat, and many popular brachycephalic breeds are, you can ask the airline to allow you to bring your pet into the passenger area of the plane with you. Do this when you make your reservation, not when you show up at the airport for your flight. Some airlines will allow this, but you should always ask about the airline’s policy about pets in the passenger cabin.”
Understanding The Animal Welfare Act and Airline Travel Policies
Let’s take a quick look at how this U.S. federal law and airline policies affect air travel.
First the law.
I’m sure most countries would have similar laws.
The Animal Welfare Act
The Animal Welfare Act became law in 1966, and is the only Federal law in the U.S. that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. The Act is enforced by USDA, Animal Care, and by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
Here are some of the most relevant requirements of the Animal Welfare Act relating to pet travel:
- Dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old and must have been weaned for at least five days before they can travel by air.
- Cages and other shipping containers must meet the minimum standard for size, ventilation, strength, sanitation and design for safe handling.
- Dogs and cats must not be brought to the airline for shipping more than 4 hours before departure. 6 hours is permitted where prior shipping arrangements are made.
- Food and water must be provided where puppies or kittens less than 16 weeks of age are in transit for more than 12 hours.
- Older animals must have food at least every 24 hours and water at least every 12 hours. Written instructions for food and water must accompany all animals shipped regardless of the scheduled time in transit.
- Animals may not be exposed to temperatures less than 45°F (7.22 °C) unless they are accompanied by a certificate signed by a veterinarian stating that they are acclimated to lower temperatures.
- Animals cannot be shipped collect on delivery (COD) unless the shipper guarantees the return freight should the animals be refused at destination.
In addition to the laws and rules set by various countries, each airline must also have in place its own policies regulating their shipping of animals. It is therefore essential and very important to first check with the airline you intend to use before you make any reservations.
The following are some provisions which are common to most airlines:
- Airlines generally require health certificates from all shippers. So it’s a good idea to have a licensed Vet examine your pet no more than 10 days prior to shipment and issue a certificate stating that your animal is in good health. Airlines would not usually require health certificates for service animals used by passengers with disabilities.
- A pet may be transported as baggage if accompanied on the same flight to the same destination. Note that some air carriers may impose an “excess baggage” charge or special fee for this service.
- Pets may be shipped as cargo if unaccompanied, with many airlines employing specialists in the movement of animals to work in their cargo departments. Animals must always be shipped in pressurized holds.
- Some airlines (pet friendly airlines) allow you to carry the kennel in the cabin as carry-on luggage as long as it fits under the seat.
Airlines that Transport Pets in the Cargo Hold
The UK Government has a list of commercial airlines who transport “pets in the hold of the plane”. The list is reproduced in full below.
However, pet parents and animal lovers have moved from ‘merely’ transporting pets in the cargo hold of the plane to actually transporting pets in the passenger cabin. That’s because, as stated earlier, experts say that travel in the passenger cabin is safer for pets than travel in the cargo hold of a plane.
To be recommended by us as one of our pet friendly airlines, an airline must also allow pets to travel in its passenger cabins.
Here then is the list of commercial airlines that transport pets into the United Kingdom:
|Adria Airway||Air Baltic||Air Canada|
|Air Europa||Air France/KLM||Air Malta|
|Air Mauritius||Air New Zealand||Air Transat|
|All Nippon Airways||American||Atlantic Airways|
|Austrian Airlines||Avianca||Azerbaijan Airlines|
|British Airways||Brussels Airlines||Cathay Pacific|
|China Southern||Czech Airlines||Delta|
|Egyptair||El Al Israel Airlines||Emirates SkyCargo|
|Ethiopian Airlines||Etihad Airways||Etihad Cargo|
|Finnair London||Gulf Air||Iberia Express|
|JSC Rossiya Airlines||Kenya Airways||Korean Air|
|Kuwait Airways||LOT Polish Airlines||Lufthansa|
|Malaysia Airlines||Middle East Airlines||Oman Air|
|Philippine Airlines||Qantas||Qatar Airways|
|Royal Brunnei Airlines||Royal Jordanian Airlines||Rwandair|
|Scandinavian Air System Cargo||Singapore Airlines||South African Airways|
|SriLankan Airlines||Swiss International Air Lines||Swiss World Cargo|
|Tarom Romanian |
|Thai Airways||Travel Service – SmartWings|
|Tui Airways||Turkish Airlines||United|
|Uzbekistan Airways||Vietnam Airlines||Virgin Atlantic|
|West Atlantic Aviation UK|
Special Feature: Gayle Martz – No Pet Left Behind
No discussion of pet friendly airlines can be complete without an input from the amazing and remarkable, Gayle Martz. We therefore caught up with Gayle to seek her expertise and insight on everything related to pet travel.
In a moment, we will go into the interview.
But first, let’s meet the amazing Gayle.
Gayle is a former flight attendant, turned pet owner turned businesswoman, turned pet activist who worked tirelessly to change airlines’ policy to allow pets to travel in the passenger cabin. In 1992 her hard work and perseverance paid off when American Airlines was the first to allow pets onboard.
Pets were required to be in a SHERPA bag, the first soft-sided pet carrier that Gayle created (and led to a multi-million dollar business she started in NYC!) and has been a staple for pet travel ever since. Putting pets on planes was the start of what became Gayle’s mantra (and title of her first book): No Pet Left Behind!
Now to the Q&A.
Question #1. Going back to the period before 1992, how did pets travel and what did you do to change this?
In 1988 I wanted to fly from New York to California with my Lhasa Apso, SHERPA, but I was told this was not an option and had to drive cross-country. At that time, traveling with pets was not commonplace and if they did travel with you, they had to go in a car. Since I considered SHERPA a member of my family, I could not fathom leaving her behind, and I knew that other pet owners felt this way too. Yet I also loved to travel. So, I began working on ways to safely allow pets onboard major airlines by meeting with airlines individually.
There were so many departments that had to be consulted to make the changes: policy and procedure managers, in-flight cargo officers, the head of reservations, people from Health and Safety. Every day I worked endlessly making calls, opening letters, sending back replies and meeting with people to discuss all aspects of traveling with a pet on board in a SHERPA (named after my beloved dog!) soft sided pet carrier bag that I designed to be safe, comfortable, and stylish.
Each airline had their own policy in their computer systems, so this was a full-time job! I knew if I could get large airlines like Delta, Continental, and American Airlines to allow pets to travel in the passenger cabin, others would follow. In 1992, American Airlines was the first to approve the SHERPA Bag for carry on onboard.
Question #2. How did the SHERPA Bag come about? Please tell us what’s amazing about the SHERPA bag. Where can our readers find it to buy?
I found that there was a void in the global marketplace as a soft sided pet carrier did not exist. I tell every aspiring entrepreneur that a key to success is finding a void in the marketplace, whether it be a service or a product, that is underserved or neglected.
People could not take their pets with them on airlines and I knew that if I could change this policy, it would improve customer service and loyalty, and also increase revenue for an airline that was striving to differentiate itself in the competitive world of air travel at that time. The fee to take a pet on board was $45.00. It has greatly increased over the last 33 years.
I created a category, the soft sided pet carrier. I was responsible for getting the policy changed on every major airline so the SHERPA Bag was the first officially approved soft sided pet carrier. My work with the airlines gave people the confidence to travel with a SHERPA Bag because they knew they could get on board with their pet inside it.
Every SHERPA Bag came with Travel Tips that listed every airline that was “SHERPA approved.” People would carry the Travel Tips with them to show the airlines and it would pull up in their computer systems as approved. More details about my journey with SHERPA and how it became a household name are in my soon-to-be-released book, IT’s IN THE BAG: A Revolution in Pet Travel.
Readers can purchase the carrier on the SHERPA website and other sites, and with a quick search of “SHERPA pet carrier” you will find a large variety for sale.
Question #3. Kindly tell us about your “No Pet Left Behind” mantra – its origins, and what it means to you today.
Pets are part of the family and there should be No Pet Left Behind. We have come a long way but we have much further to go to be able to take our pets wherever we go. When I couldn’t take SHERPA on that flight from New York to California in 1988, I knew we would have to take a road trip because there was no way I would leave behind my pet – and I know many feel the same way.
I wanted to make sure nobody had to make the decision to fly or leave behind a pet, which is essentially leaving behind family. Wherever I go, my dogs go without any thought because of the SHERPA Bag. And given the success of SHERPA, I know many people are taking their pets along with them on all their adventures as well!
“Happy Travels, Stay Safe, Stay Healthy!
– Gayle Martz
Question #4. Please tell us about “Guaranteed On Board” including the airlines who have signed up.
In order for the policy to be successful everyone involved in the airline had to know about the new policy titled Pets on Board. To ensure this, the SHERPA Bag was entered into the computer system for each individual airline when the policy was first changed and read: The SHERPA Bag is the only soft sided pet carrier allowed on board. It is identified by the SHERPA logo zipper pulls that are on the front and top opening of the SHERPA pet carrier.
Question #5. We would like to know your top 10 most pet friendly airlines.
Domestically, every airline is good as long as all the regulatory compliance issues are met. American, Alaska, Delta, United, Southwest, Frontier and JetBlue are all pet friendly. When traveling, I always recommend the airlines that have a non-stop to a destination. When traveling to Paris I use Air Tahiti. Lufthansa and Air France are excellent airlines to and within Europe.
Question #6. Given your expertise and experience, of the 10 airlines, which airline will you say is the most pet friendly?
Prior to Covid-19, I would travel often from the US to Paris, my European home, on Air Tahiti which is the BEST airline because it allows pets in the business class. No pets are allowed in business class on overseas flights on American, Delta, Air France, etc. For domestic, I would say American Airlines. They were the first airline to change their policy to allow pets onboard in my SHERPA Bag and have remained very pet-friendly throughout the years.
Question #7. What more can society in general and particularly the travel industry do to make pet travel better?
I think Richard Branson should start an airline for people and their pets! In the meantime, I think the industry needs to focus on education and awareness. Many people do not know the difference between a direct flight and a non-stop flight. For someone traveling with a pet, the difference in the two will have a major impact on planning for your trip.
Travelers also need to adhere to all the rules and regulations when traveling with a pet. It is important to keep a low profile. Do not let your pet out of the bag at the airport or on the plane. Some people do not like pets, especially on a plane, so the best pet onboard is the one no one knows is there! Of course, this is after the reservation has been made and the fee has been paid and you are onboard keeping a very low profile.
I have a major issue with all of the fake and fraudulent emotional support animals which is what has caused many airlines to ban emotional support animals in the cabin. People took advantage of what was once regulated to dogs and cats and it has greatly affected those who travel with pets and made a negative impact on pet travel in general. One of the effects it has had is it is much harder to fly with a pet due to the limited amount of pets allowed onboard. You must make a reservation well in advance, when you make your own reservation.
Air Travel Tips for Pet Parents
It is not just enough to comply with government regulations and airline pet travel policies if your pet is travelling by air. There are many precautions you can take as a pet mom or dad to ensure the well being of your pet.
Here are some tips.
- Before traveling, get your pet accustomed to the kennel in which it will travel. Make sure the door latches securely.
- Most airlines require that pets must be able to stand and sit erect, turn around normally and lie down in a natural position in the kennel, without touching any side or the top of the container.
- It is advisable not give your pet solid food in the 6 hours before the flight. However, a moderate amount of water and a walk before and after the flight are advised.
- Do not administer sedation to your pet without the approval of a Vet. It might be a good idea to provide a test dose before the trip to gauge how the pet will react.
- It is a great idea to always reserve a space for your pet in advance. Where you’re not travelling with your pet, always inquire about time and location for drop-off and pick-up.
- As much as possible, try to schedule a non-stop flight. And if at all possible, do your best to avoid connections and the heavy traffic of a holiday or weekend flight.
More Travel Tips for Pet Owners
- When you board, try to tell a pilot and a flight attendant that there is a pet in the cargo hold. The airlines have a system for providing such notification, but it doesn’t hurt to mention it yourself.
- For overseas air travel (including travel to the EU), inquire about any special health requirements such as vaccinations and quarantine.
- It is always a great idea to write your name, address and phone number on the kennel. Your pet should also wear a tag with the same information. Take along a photo of your pet, in case it is lost.
- Air travel for pets is all about planning, preparation and more preparation. With adequate planning and proper preparation, your beloved pet will arrive safely at its destination.
Name the Most Pet Friendly Airlines You Know. What Informed Your Choice?
We caught up with Vets and pet parents who have had AMAzing experiences when they travelled with their pets on an airplane.
We asked them to name the airline and what was wonderful about the flight.
#1. Air Tahiti is the best airline – Gayle Martz
“Prior to Covid-19, I would travel often from the US to Paris, my European home, on Air Tahiti which is the best airline because it allows pets in the business class.” – Gayle Martz, Former Flight Attendant, Pet Owner, Businesswoman, Pet Activist.
#2. KLM is awesome. So are Delta, United and American – Dr. Michelle Burch, DVM
“The most pet friendly airline that I have traveled on is KLM. This is a Dutch carrier, and most flights are in Europe. In the United States, my recommendations for the most pet friendly airlines are Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines.
My preference for airlines is based on personal experience in flights and ease of working with them from a veterinarian stand point for my clients.” – Dr. Michelle Burch, DVM @ Safe Hounds Pet Insurance.
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#3. Alaska were amazing – Tammilee Tillison
“I flew Alaska Airline from Nashville to Seattle and onto Spokane with a 10 week old kitten. The entire process of traveling with a pet on Alaska Airlines was seamless and easily managed. Their website and customer service representatives made it easy to update my reservation and helped me understand everything that I needed to bring with me for the flight.
We found our new kitten outside of a hotel in the snow and couldn’t imagine leaving him. I wasn’t sure what it was going to take to bring a kitten home from a business trip but Alaska Airlines made it easy and enjoyable. The flight attendants checked to make sure the kitten was safely in his carrier under the seat in front of me and made sure I was comfortable.
I wouldn’t hesitate to travel with a pet again on Alaska Airlines.” – Tammilee Tillison, Tammilee Tips.
#4. JetBlue gave me best 3 hours on an airplane – Aviva Pinto
“I was vacationing in Turks and Caicos and they have a few rescue organizations that ask for volunteers to courier pets back to the U.S. I always volunteer when I go there. This past November, the planes were empty. Very few people were travelling. I had a kitten and a puppy in two separate pet carriers that I had volunteered to bring to a family meeting me at JFK.
I flew JetBlue directly from PLS to JFK. The rescue organization had given me all the paperwork for the pets and the crew, upon seeing me in the waiting room, came up to me and escorted me to the plane before everyone else. I was given a row by myself (the plane was pretty empty anyway).
The crew helped me put my bag in the overhead and the two pet carriers on the seat on either side of me. They told me that when the plane was airborne I could feel free to take the pets out of the carriers one at a time to pet them and make them feel comfortable. They had done this many times and were very familiar with the rescue organization and people being couriers.
Once airborne I took out the puppy first while the kitten slept. The crew kept coming around to pet the puppy and see if there was anything I needed. When the puppy grew tired, I put him back in the carrier and the kitten had woken up. I took the kitten out and petted her and the crew came around to pet the kitten and inquire if I needed anything.
It was the BEST three hours I have ever spent on a plane and the crew could not have been nicer. When we landed they helped me get my bag from the overhead and I wheeled my bag and had a pet carrier under each arm. JFK immigrations and customs asked for the forms and it was a smooth process to get out. The family adopting the two were waiting in baggage claim and although it was tough to give them up, it was great to see they were going to excited kids in a good home.
I highly recommend JetBlue and will volunteer to do it again. – Aviva Pinto CDFA(r), CDS(tm), Managing Director, Wealthspire Advisors.
#5. Lufthansa does an amazing job – Victoria Heinz
“I’m originally from Germany although we moved around a lot and always took our three cats with us. We’ve been flying with them for over 12 years now and have had nothing but good experiences. We fly at least twice a year with them and it’s become a routine for us.
We primarily fly Lufthansa and the cats are always pet in cabin and never in the cargo hold. Lufthansa does an amazing job at caring for animals and the staff is always helpful and friendly both on the ground as well as in the air. Because we have three cats it can be a challenge to get everybody settled in but the crew is always very friendly and always make sure to go the extra mile to seat us in an empty row or assist with our hand luggage.
Pets in cabins need to sit by your feet so there isn’t much space for your personal belongings but Lufthansa’s flexible hand luggage rules make this no problem. Even when one of our cats had issues mid-flight, the crew was very helpful and let us spend time with her in the bathroom until she calmed down.” – Victoria Heinz, travel blogger and freelance writer, Guide Your Travel.
#6. The flight attendant on Alaska was awesome – Alex Tran
“My dog is a chihuahua minpin mix! Her name is Bebot and she is 14 years old. She’s been to 12 states! We traveled earlier this year to visit family in SoCal. We’re in Seattle.
We traveled with Bebot in a carrier. She got on the plane and was very distressed. She kept whimpering. The flight attendant gave her water and even had treats for our dog. It was an amazing experience! She also offered us perks and to switch seats if we needed to. She was also very friendly and said hi to our dog without it being too distracting.
This experience made me feel like she could sense our dog was like our family. It made us feel like we were being taken care of. We are MVP members, so that made our experience even better and we will continue to fly with Alaska!” – Alex Tran, wellness and lifestyle blogger at Schimiggy.com.
#7. The flight attendant on American made me feel wonderful – Jennifer Lobo
“I usually say that I don’t have a pet, I have a multi-species family. Cindy is of the yorkshire breed, has only 2.7kg and arrived in the family more than 10 years ago, and because she came from another state, she made her first plane trip when she was only 4 months old and since then, she has “hit paws” in 17 countries! Cindy is polite, has no habit of barking. She is very used to traveling and even participates in business trips.
It was no different when in February 2020 I traveled on vacation to Riviera Maya with a friend and took Cindy with me. The airline chosen was American Airlines, as I had already been well received on other occasions with Cindy. The flight was made in Rio de Janeiro with a stopover in Miami. It was on that flight (GIG x MIA) that the flight attendant team made me feel wonderful with Cindy on such a long flight. They were small gestures, but they made me feel very welcomed and comfortable like any other mother who values the well-being of her child.
I was asked her name, age, praised how well she was dressed, how beautiful, cute and polite she was. I was asked if I would need a pot so she could drink water, and at dinner time, the stewards remembered I had previously mentioned that she ate human food and not feed. They kindly asked me if there was anything on the menu that I would like to be brought to her. I thanked her for the offer and explained that although she has a natural diet, food with spices would not do her any good, and besides, I had brought her food. And it was then, that in another gesture of kindness, I was told that if I wanted, they could heat her food.
At the end of the flight, the flight attendants came to say goodbye to her and I landed too satisfied with the excellent experience that the team provided me and the certainty that whenever American Airlines operates my destination flight, it will be the right choice.” – Jennifer Lobo, Tribe Strategy Group.
The 10 Most Pet Friendly Airlines
Now to the all important list of the most pet friendly airlines. Here is a list of the 10 most pet friendly airlines, chosen by our community, going by our earlier criteria.
For the avoidance of doubt, to be on this list, the airline must:
- Meet all the regulatory compliance issues for the countries where they operate.
- Have a pet travel policy that takes the worries of pet parents into consideration.
- Allow pets to fly on board (in the passenger cabin, not in the cargo hold of the airplane). That’s because experts say that travel in the passenger cabin is safer for pets than travel in the cargo hold of an airplane.
- Provide pet excellent amenities.
- Make provision for pet check-in.
- Have competitive pet travel fees.
- Have pet-friendly employees.
Now to the airlines that made it to our list of the most pet friendly airlines. The list is in alphabetical order.
The 10 Most Pet Friendly Airlines
Q&A on the Most Pet Friendly Airlines
The American Veterinary Medical Association provides the following Q&A in their “Traveling with your pet FAQ” on their website. It’s such a useful document, we’ve decided to reproduce it here.
What can I do to prepare my pet for air travel?
The following preparations will help both you and your pet:
• Check with airlines because they may have restrictions on breed and size. Most airlines also require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (health certificate) issued within 10 days of travel. Federal regulations require pets to be at least 8 weeks old and they should be weaned at least 5 days before flying.
• Talk to your veterinarian about feeding schedules. It is usually recommended that pets fly on an empty or nearly empty stomach. The pet’s age, dietary needs and size, and the time and distance of the flight should all be taken into consideration.
What is the best way to choose flights appropriate for my pet?
The following will help you choose flights that are appropriate:
• Reservations should be made for you and your pet at the same time because airlines often limit how many pets are allowed on each flight.
• Try to book a non-stop flight and avoid plane changes when possible.
• When possible, avoid flying during busy holidays.
• In warm weather, choose early morning or late evening flights. In colder weather, choose mid-day flights.
• Reconfirm flight arrangements the day before you leave to minimize the chance of unexpected changes.
What should I do on the day of the flight?
On the day of your flight:
• Arrive to the airport early so you have time to exercise your pet. If your pet will be in the cabin, check in as late as possible to reduce the time your pet will have to wait in the terminal.
• Place your pet in its crate and pick it up as soon as you arrive at your destination.
• Notify the flight attendant that your pet is in cargo hold.
What is an acclimation certificate?
This is a form your veterinarian may consider signing that will waive the low-temperature federal regulation for animals traveling in the cargo hold, as stated in the Animal Welfare Act. If the airline cannot guarantee that the animal will not be in temperatures lower than 45°F (7.2°C) for more than 45 minutes when the animal is moved between the terminal and the plane, or for more than 4 hours when the pet is in a holding facility, and you don’t have an acclimation certificate, the airline will not let your pet fly.
Airlines cannot ship animals if they will be exposed to temperatures higher than 85° F (29.5° C) for more than four consecutive hours while in animal holding areas of airport terminals, or for more than 45 minutes while being transferred between the aircraft and the animal holding area.
Do I need to get an acclimation certificate?
Always check with the airline and your veterinarian well in advance. If your pet is traveling in the cargo hold and temperatures at the departure or destination airport are expected to be below 45°F (7.2°C), your pet definitely will need an acclimation certificate in order to travel. Some airlines may require acclimation certificates even when temperatures are not expected to be below 45°F (7.2°C). Note that not all animals are appropriate to have an acclimation certificate issued, so your veterinarian may not issue an acclimation certificate even if an airline requires it for your pet to travel.
Acclimation certificates are written at the discretion of the veterinarian, and are based on the veterinarian’s assessment of the pet’s health and the temperatures your pet is accustomed to. There are no acclimation certificates that allow pets to be shipped when they will be exposed to temperatures above 85°F (29.5°C) for more than four consecutive hours while in animal holding areas of terminals, or for more than 45 minutes while being transferred between the aircraft and the animal holding area.
Should I tranquilize or sedate my pet for long flights?
Tranquilization reduces anxiety and induces a sense of tranquility without drowsiness, while sedation has a more profound effect and produces drowsiness and hypnosis. In most cases, it’s not recommended that pets be sedated for air travel. However, it may benefit some animals to be tranquilized for air travel. Discuss this with your veterinarian well in advance of your expected travel date.
If your veterinarian recommends tranquilization for your pet, be sure to follow the veterinarian’s exact dosing recommendation. In many cases, the same drug used for tranquilizing can result in sedation at higher doses. Airlines may require a signed statement that your pet has not been sedated prior to flying.
Note: If you’re considering traveling with a short-nosed dog, please visit the AVMA’s FAQs about short-nosed dogs and air travel for more information.
What are crates approved for air travel?
It is best to purchase an approved crate prior to travel (at the airline or local pet store) so you have time to let your pet get used to the crate and be comfortable. If your pet is small and can fit comfortably in an airline approved carrier, your pet may be able to travel with you in the cabin.
Approved crates should:
• Be large enough for your pet to stand (without touching the top of the cage), turn around and lie down.
• Be strong and free of interior protrusions, with handles or grips.
• Have a leak-proof bottom with plenty of absorbent material. Be ventilated on opposite sides, with exterior knobs and rims that will not block airflow.
• Be clearly labeled with owners name, home address and phone number, destination contact information and a sign stating “Live Animals” with arrows showing which way is upright.
More FAQs on the Most Pet Friendly Airlines
We will now look at some more questions that are frequently asked by anxious pet parents.
#1. Which airline is the most pet friendly?
We would say the most pet friendly airlines are Air Tahiti, Frontier JetBlue and KLM. Here’s why:
• Air Tahiti allows pets in the business cabin on international flights.
• Frontier only allows pets in the cabin. They don’t allow pets to be checked in as baggage and to travel in the cargo hold.
• JetBlue allows pets in the passenger cabin. They also have JetPaws, which is their exclusive program designed to provide pets and their owners the tips and tools they need for a smooth trip from start to finish.
• KLM allows pets to travel in the Economy Class cabin of most KLM flights, and in Business Class on most flights within Europe.
#2. Which airlines allow pets in cabin?
In alphabetical order, the following airlines allow pets to fly in cabin:
• Air Tahiti
• Alaska Airlines
• Southwest Airlines
Please note that you will be required to put your pet in a pet carrier and placed under the seat in front of you.
#3. Can you buy an airline seat for a dog?
The short answer is “No”. The airlines that allow pets to travel in the passenger cabin usually require the pets to be in a pet carrier and placed under the seat in front of the pet parent or pet guardian.
#4. Is it safe for dogs to fly in cargo?
The American Veterinary Medical Association says it is not safe for certain brachycephalic or short-nosed breeds of dogs to fly in the cargo hold of airplanes. Their short-snouts mean they are more likely to die in transit in the cargo hold of an airplane than dogs with normal-length muzzles.
Experts say it is safer for all dogs to fly in the passenger cabin.
#5. Do pets die on airplanes?
Sadly, death does occur in transit on airplanes. However, only a very small minority of animals die while in transit. A recent study found only 0.0048% of pets died while airborne in 2018.
The Most Pet Friendly Airlines – Your turn
Are you a pet parent, pet guardian or animal lover?
Have you ever travelled with your pet by air? What experience did you have? Will the airline you flew with make it to our list of the most pet friendly airlines?
Why not join the conversation by leaving a comment?
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION