Will I Be Able to Fly With My Pet?

If you are thinking of traveling with your pet by air, it is important that you check with your chosen airline. It is preferable, if you have a small pet, to have the pet with you in the cabin. Airlines do not all have the same policies regarding pet travel. Some will allow many different small pets, others only allow small dogs and cats, and some may not allow any pets in the cabin with you.

Most airlines that allow you to have a pet in the cabin have a set number of pets that are allowed in the entire cabin. Be sure to book your flight, and the pet, as early as possible so that you will get one of the allotted spaces. Some airlines will allow you to have two small pets in your pet carrier, but the pet carrier must fit under the seat, just as your carry-on baggage would. Approximate size would be no larger than 19 inches long, 13 inches wide and 9 inches high, but be sure to check with your chosen airline as this size could vary. There is likely also a weight restriction somewhere around 20 pounds.

You are not allowed to take your pet out of the pet carrier while it is on the flight. All passengers may not like cats, dogs, or other small pets and your pet must stay in the pet carrier and not disturb other travelers. Be sure to water and exercise your pet immediately before placing your pet in the carrier at the airport. If you have to transfer flights you will find that some airports do not have anywhere for you to exercise your pet. This would also necessitate you leaving security and you may not have time to do this and still get your connecting flight. If your pet is not a puppy, you should refrain from feeding him/her prior to the flight but take food with you and as soon as you arrive at your destination, you can then allow a meal. This will help prevent your pet from feeling sick or needing to be exercised during the flight.

Depending on the weight of your pet, and whether you have to make connecting flights, you may want to purchase a wheeled pet carrier, or a back-pack pet carrier for the convenience it offers. Whatever you choose, be sure to accustom your pet to the carrier before you fly.

If your pet has never been in a pet carrier, buy one at least a week before your flight and put your pet in the carrier for short periods of time and reassure him/her while in the carrier. Putting a treat that is especially liked in the pet carrier, and then putting the pet in without closing the top for the first few times will help him/her adjust. You can even take short trips with your pet in his/her carrier in your car to get her used to traveling in it. Most pets adjust very quickly as pet carriers are cozy little places that most cats or dogs love to curl up in.

Carefully check the pet policies of each airline before booking your flight, so that you, and your pet, can have a safe, enjoyable experience.

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