Which Airlines are the Safest for Traveling with Pets?
Organizing a vacation by plane may be stressful on its own, but adding a pet to the mix adds another layer of responsibility for the animal’s well-being to the mix as well.
The regulations regarding the transportation of animals differ from one airline to another, which is why it is essential to choose one with caution.
When it comes to the welfare of pets, Alaska Airlines is the most reputable airline, followed by American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, and Delta Air Lines in that order. However, the type, breed, and size of your pet might have an effect on which airline would be the best option for you.
This article will help you feel more at ease while traveling with your furry, feathery, or scaled friend by providing information on the top airlines for carry-on pets, the few airlines that take reptiles, and other pertinent details.
Best Airlines for Pets
When you fly, you probably have a preferred airline, but have you given any thought to which airlines are the most accommodating to those traveling with pets?
It’s possible that one of our top five airlines is a better option than another, depending on the dimensions and species of your animal companion’s travel companion.
According to the available information, Alaska Airlines is among the top airlines for transporting pets. According to the Air Travel Consumer Reports published by the United States Department of Transportation between the years 2015 and 2020, the state of Alaska has the lowest rate of reported animal-related incidents.
It is also said that they transport more animals in their cargo than any other domestic airline, which makes these statistics even more amazing.
In addition to its impeccable reputation for safety, Alaska is home to a diverse array of animal and plant life.
Small dogs, cats, rabbits, and domestic birds are allowed to travel in the cabins of Alaskan Airlines’ aircraft as long as they weigh less than 20 pounds and can fit comfortably in a carrier with maximum dimensions of 17 by 11 by 7.5 inches. Domestic birds are not allowed to fly in cabins.
Alaska Airlines, in contrast to the majority of other airlines, allows passengers to carry two pet carriers onto a trip. You will, however, be required to buy two tickets in order to transport both of your dogs.
In addition, Alaska Airlines will transport fish, pot-bellied pigs, domestic birds, pot-bellied pigs, dogs, cats, hamsters, ferrets, guinea pigs, and non-venomous reptiles in the climate-controlled luggage compartment.
Their weight limit is a generous 149 pounds, which includes both the weight of your pet and the weight of their kennel. This is more than what the majority of airlines permit for traveling with pets.
American Airlines (parentheses)
American Airlines is just behind Alaska Airlines when it comes to safety, with a comprehensive pet policy and a low incidence of incidents involving pets. Because of the generous size limit for pet carriers, flying with this airline is your best option if you want to bring your cat or a small dog with you as a carry-on.
You are allowed to carry your pet on American mainline flights in a kennel that is no larger than 19 inches by 13 inches by 9 inches.
Cats and small dogs are the only kind of dog that are permitted inside the cottage. There are no exceptions to this rule for any other species.
You may transport your cat or dog through American Airlines cargo as an option in the event that they cannot accompany you in the cabin of the aircraft.
Just so you are aware, they do have weight restrictions, which means that both your pet and its kennel must weigh less than one hundred pounds combined in order to qualify.
During cargo transport, America takes safety measures to ensure that no animals are put in jeopardy by being subjected to temperatures that exceed the permitted range due to temperature limits.
If the ground temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit or below 45 degrees, they will not let passengers to bring their dogs on board. If you find out that your pet is unable to travel, this may be upsetting, but remember that it is for their own protection.
Cats, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, and even certain small birds are among the domesticated animals that are welcome within the cabin of a Frontier Airlines flight. Their kennel limit for carry-on dogs is almost identical to what American Airlines allows for their huge size, measuring 18 by 14 by 8 inches.
They do not need a health certificate to be produced for dogs that are traveling inside the United States unless the state you’re traveling in (for example, Hawaii) demands particular paperwork.
In that case, however, they do require a health certificate. Unfortunately, if you own a dog that is above a certain size or if your pet cannot comfortably fit within the stipulated carrier dimensions, you will not be able to travel with Frontier with your pet. Both checked luggage and cargo are off-limits for transporting dogs on this airline.
The airline company JetBlue
JetBlue is a popular airline among humans, and for the same reason that makes it a top selection when traveling with dogs, JetBlue is also a top pick when flying with pets! Although JetBlue’s standard seats provide greater legroom than those of competing airlines, customers have the option to upgrade to a seat with even more space.
That means that even if you tuck the carrier for your pet below the seat in front of you, you’ll still have plenty of space to stretch out and move about.
People who travel while accompanied by their assistance dogs are also eligible to benefit from this additional room. The airline only permits cats and dogs of a certain size to travel with passengers in the cabin; they do not transport animals as luggage or cargo.
You are permitted to bring a cat, a small dog, or a domestic bird inside the cabin with you while flying with Delta Airlines. They make it possible for pets to live inside of a capacious soft carrier that measures 18 by 11 by 11 inches.
The carry-on pet cost for Delta is one of the more affordable options, coming in at only $95 per pet each trip.
It is necessary to carry larger animals as cargo. They will not transport dogs when the temperature on the ground is over 80 degrees Fahrenheit or below 20 degrees, since this violates the temperature regulations they put in place to ensure the safety of cargo pets.
Flying with Dogs that Have Short Noses
It may come as a source of aggravation to the owner of a brachycephalic dog to learn that the vast majority of airlines do not allow “snub-nosed” dog breeds on their flights. Because of their abnormal anatomy, short-nosed dogs have a much higher risk of developing breathing problems.
This can make flying very dangerous for them, which is why most airlines have banned these dogs from traveling in cargo. Short-nosed dogs have a much higher risk of developing breathing problems. These types of dogs are included:
- Boston Terrier
- Dog breed known as the American Staffordshire Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- Chin of Japanese origin
- The Chow Chow
- Bull Terrier
- Brussels Griffon
- Cane Corso canine
- Shar Pei
- Lhasa Apso
If you have a smaller dog with a shorter muzzle that is able to fit in a carry-on kennel of a suitable size, the vast majority of airlines, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Frontier, will let you bring them on board with you in the cabin.
You may help ensure the well-being of your pet by reducing the amount of stress they experience, maintaining a healthy weight for them, and avoiding travel on very hot days. It’s unfortunate, but if you have a big dog, you may have to plan your trip so that you can take the car, the train, or the boat.
Carriers of Reptiles Kept as Pets
There are strict policies in place prohibiting passengers from bringing any form of reptile inside the cabin with them. However, there are many that will let reptiles travel with them as either checked luggage or cargo.
Our top selection, Alaska Airlines, is one of the few airlines that will let passengers to transport non-venomous reptiles in the climate-controlled luggage section of their aircraft. Be careful to choose a carrier that fits their measurements while yet providing enough protection and insulation.
The Best Carriers That Allow Guide Dogs
Dogs that are trained to assist people with disabilities are not considered to be pets but are instead referred to as working dogs.
As a result, they are not constrained by the restrictions that airlines have regarding pets. Because of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), no airline that operates inside or outside of the United States is allowed to discriminate against a service animal.
This means that your support dog may travel in the cabin with you at no additional cost, regardless of the breed or size of the dog.
When you travel with a service dog, the dog will need to either sit on the floor inside the footprint of your seat or, if it is small enough, on your lap. If the dog is too large, it will need to sit on the floor outside of the footprint.
On the basis of these criteria, the airline that provides the maximum legroom would be the one that is most suited for service dogs. In this particular category, JetBlue Airways is at the top of the heap.
It is possible that you will not be able to travel with your emotional support animal (ESA) if that is something you are hoping for. As of December 2020, the United States Department of Transportation will no longer allow emotional support animals to travel in the same capacity as service animals.
This means that you will need to take your ESA with you as a pet instead. Because “dogs” are also included in the definition of “service animals,” tiny service horses are not covered by the regulations that protect these animals.
Fly Through the Air With Your Pet
You want to make sure that your pet gets to their destination without any problems, whether you’re taking them on a vacation or transporting them across the country. When it comes to transporting pets safely and comfortably, Alaska Airlines is currently in the lead among other airlines.
However, it is essential to keep in mind that traveling with an animal in any capacity always involves some degree of danger.
After you have confirmed with your pet’s primary care veterinarian that it is in fact safe for them to travel, you can go ahead and book a ticket with the airline of your choosing.