Information for Airline Travel with Your Dog In-Cabin

Information for Airline Travel with Your Dog In-Cabin

Leaving on a Jet Plane with Your Dog Carrier in Hand

Since the Holidays are upon us with the chance to travel by air with your beloved dog carrier in hand, it is nice to know what to expect from airlines and their rules! The Doggie Diva Dog Boutique family has done the research on the latest rules for taking your dog in-cabin on the major airlines.Here are summary do’s and don’ts for taking your dog in a carrier on the plane. We looked up American Airlines), Delta, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Jet Blue.

DO: Call to make a reservation for your pet. There will be a fee each way and some airlines charge for excessive layovers. This is why the call to speak to a reservations agent is most helpful, so you can get the specific requirements for your pet plus book them on your flight with you as an in-cabin pet.

DON’T: Take a chance on first-come, first-served status, because if you are the one with the 8th pet, you will not be able to take them. Also, the airlines reserve the right to refuse passage for reasons such as improper carrier bag, aggressive or ANXIOUS pets and lack of proper ID and vaccination records.

CHECK-INN DO: Go straight to the ticket counter for check-in. Curbside or gate check-in is not allowed with the pet carrier. Many airlines allow your dog carrier plus one carry-on bag. Your carrier will be measured and weighed to fit your airline’s requirements.

DON’T: Do not assume your existing dog purse carrier will be accepted. Pet carrier sizes are well published by each airline, so be sure to use the dimensions given by the specific airline for an airline approved dog carrier.

GENERAL CHECK-IN PROCEDURES Although you may get a curbside or online boarding pass for yourself, the pet check-in will still have to be at the Ticket Counter. Only one pet carrier per paying passenger will be allowed. Your pet must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably within their carrier. There are different size requirements for hard-sided vs. soft-sided carriers. Generally, soft-sided carriers can be larger because they are flexible when put under the seat in front of you.

SECURITY CLEARANCE DO: You will be asked to hold your pet in the carrier while you both go through security clearance for x-ray.

DON’T: Each airline reserves the right to inspect the pet carrier as with any other carry-on luggage.

BOARDING AREA DO: Pets must stay zipped or closed in pet carrier while waiting to board.

DON’T: Airlines will NOT hold a flight for any passenger that needs to take the pet to an outside relief area for initial flight or connecting flight! Time your connecting flights accordingly if you think your pet will need a potty break.

ON-BOARD DO: The pet carrier must stay under the seat in front of you at all times.

DON’T: You may not take the carrier out from under the seat in front to hold it on your lap during flight for any reason, including turbulence, emergency or pet anxiety.


  • Pet minimum age requirements will apply…8 weeks was the minimum we saw; others may be more.
  • You will not be given a bulkhead or exit row with a pet carrier.
Use the links we provide to get the most information possible before you take your small
pet on air travel. Domestic pet travel is fairly consistent in the rules, but each airline may have a few differences that you will need to know in advance, like whether health records are required.

Unless you are hopping on your private plane, Gulfstream, wheels UP or NetJet, you will need to follow the rules for in cabin air travel with your dog!

Here are the links for each airline, plus other websites that love our pets as much as we do!

American Airlines

Delta Airlines

Southwest Airlines

United Airlines

Jet Blue

Other helpful pet travel sites:

Marriott Hotels

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  • Margaret Mobly
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