The Pet Travel Policies for North America’s Top Airlines: Which Pets Are Allowed to Fly and How

Airlines have found themselves knee-deep in drama recently due to misunderstandings over their pet travel policies.

Between the peacocks, the dog deaths and the hamsters, we are here to set the record straight. While some airlines in North America are more welcoming to animals than others, all of them have clear pet policies.

To make sure your furry friend encounters no trouble in the friendly skies, we have rounded up the pet travel policies of North America’s eight largest airlines. This includes the rules for service animals, emotional support animals and beloved pets.

The next time you are preparing to travel with your loyal companion, make sure to study up, so you can choose the airline that suits the needs of you and your cuddly co-traveler.

American Airlines

Service animals are allowed on all flights at no charge. They need to be able to fit on your lap, at your feet, or under the seat, and cannot block the aisle. Service animals are also not allowed in exit rows. The same rules apply for emotional support animals. Emotional support animals and psychiatric service animals will need to submit a doctor’s letter, less than a year old that meets several requirements, to the airline 48 hours before the flight.

For those flying with pets, only small cats and dogs are allowed in the cabin at a $125 fee and they must stay in a carrier, that fits under the seat in front of you, at all times. Travelers can also fly their cats and dogs in the plane’s cargo hold for $175 fee with some capacity and weather restrictions.

Delta Airlines

Delta recently changed their policy on service and emotional support animals. Owners need to submit the airline’s required documentation 48 hours prior to the flight to be able to board with their service or emotional support animal. The animal should be able to fit on the passenger’s lap or in the space under the seat in front of the passenger. Delta reserves the right to refuse service to owner’s of animals with disruptive behavior.

For passengers traveling with a pet, small cats, dogs and household birds are allowed to travel in the cabin for a fee that varies based on the traveler’s destination. The pet must remain in a carrier at all times and the carrier must fit comfortably in the space under the seat in front of the passenger. Delta can also ship animals via Delta cargo, prices vary. This service is only open to warm-blooded pets.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest allows service and emotional support animals to fly on flights. The animal can be no larger than a child the age of two, and has to be able to be placed on the passenger’s lap or on the floor in front of their seat. Service and emotional support animals cannot be placed in an airplane seat. Those flying with emotional support animals will need to bring a letter from a medical health professional that meets the requirements …read more



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