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5 Best Airlines To Travel & Fly With Pets


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Monica Horak

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There are multiple reasons why you might travel with a pet. You need to move across the country or transport your newly adopted pet to their forever home or perhaps you have a certified service animal that must accompany you while you travel. Are you pondering on the best airlines for pets? Nowadays, most airlines understand the needs of pet owners and have implemented various policies for travelling with a pet. However, not all airlines share the same policies, so it’s important to research the best airlines for travelling with a pet before booking your trip.


Deciding whether you should travel with a pet

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A survey conducted by airfarewatchdog.com assessed the main reasons why people travel with a pet. Most respondents reported that they felt they couldn’t leave their pet at home. 


It may be nice to imagine your dog with you on vacation, but remember that the stress of travel can affect our pets who are used to the comfort of their own territory. So it’s important to select the best airlines to travel with pets.


Travelling with a pet can be a complicated process and it is important to think through whether it’s really necessary. If leaving them at home is not an option, make the journey as smooth as possible by researching how to travel with a dog or other animal.


How to travel with pets on a plane

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Since many passengers may wonder how to fly with a dog or other pets, the best airlines will offer multiple options for travel.


If the pet can comfortably fit in a carrier under the seat, they can travel in the cabin area with you. Larger animals normally travel in the cargo hold, in a temperature-controlled area. This is seldom the preferred option among pet owners but maybe the only option for larger dogs. Some airlines even allow pet owners to purchase a separate seat for their pet, which is great for flying with a dog that has permission to be in the cabin with you but is too large to fit under the seat. 


When travelling with a pet, the comfort and safety of your animal should be a priority. Be sure to get the right type of carrier. You’ll need one that is leak-proof and big enough for your pet to stand up. It is also a good idea to visit the vet to ensure that your animal is fit to fly.


For especially long journeys, you may want to consider deliberately making a layover to break up the trip. Many airports offer pet relief areas, which will put you and your pet more at ease. There are so many best airlines for pets that can cater to your needs. 


Luckily for pet owners, there are several pet-friendly airlines that make travelling with a pet as smooth as possible. The following is a list of the best airlines that are going above and beyond to ensure the comfort of pet owners, pets, and other passengers.




American Airlines

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American Airlines is one of the best airlines to travel with pets. As the largest airline in the world, American Airlines is constantly striving for a great travel experience for its diverse customers. They consistently rank as one of the best airlines for pets. 


American Airlines allows animals older than 8 weeks old on their flights. Small animals which fit in a carrier under the seat can travel in the cabin for short flights. The fee is $125 each way for cabin pet. 


American Airlines even launched a “Cuddle Class” for flights between New York and LA or San Francisco. This is a special compartment next to you which is much better than under the seat. This program alone makes it clear that they are one of the most pet-friendly airlines.


Larger animals can travel in the temperature-controlled cargo hold. They are one of the best airlines that fly dogs because they allow the biggest carrier dimensions (19x13x9). It costs $175 to check a kennel and have the dog in the cargo hold. 


Flying with a dog or other pet is allowed on some international flights, except for transatlantic flights or journeys that exceed 12 hours.








JetBlue consistently ranks as one of the most pet-friendly airlines due in part to their JetPaws program. For a $100 fee, you’ll get a JetBlue pet carrier bag and tips on how to manage your pet during travel. Owners are also granted 300 TrueBlue points for flying with their pet. These pet-friendly airline policies show that JetBlue understands that pets are a part of the family. 


JetBlue allows cabin pets with a maximum weight of 20 pounds. They are not the best airlines to transport pets, but they do allow cabin pets on international flights.


You don’t have to be hesitant in choosing JetBlue because they are one of the best airlines for pets. 




Alaska Airlines

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Alaska is one of the best airlines for flying with a dog. Animals that fit in a carrier under the seat can travel in the cabin. Larger animals over 20 pounds can travel in the cargo area. It costs $100 to travel with a pet, regardless of whether the pet travels in the cabin or cargo hold. 


One special touch that makes Alaska one of the most pet-friendly airlines is that you will receive a note personally delivered by a flight attendant as soon as your pet is safely boarded in the cargo area. They also offer pre-boarding for passengers travelling with a dog in the cabin. This is one of the reasons why Alaska Airlines is one of the best airlines to travel with pets.


Alaska Airlines stands out among the best airlines for travelling with pets, because they even allow a diverse set of animals including hamsters, birds, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, and tropical fish.






Southwest is widely regarded as a pet-friendly airline. Their airline policies do not allow pets in the cargo hold but passengers can travel with small pets who can fit under the seat. If you have a larger service dog, you can purchase a separate ticket so that they have their own seat.


Travelling with a pet on Southwest costs just $95 each way, which makes them not only one of the best airlines to travel with pets, but also one of the most affordable.


Demonstrating that they are among the most pet-friendly airlines, they recently launched a 2 for 1 price policy which allows passengers to travel with 2 animals for the price of one as long as they can fit comfortably in the same carrier. There is no weight limit but the carrier must fit under the seat. 


According to their airline policies, animals are not allowed to travel internationally, with the exception of emotional support animals. 





Dog sitting on a suitcase

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If moving overseas with your pet, Lufthansa is one of the best airlines in terms of accommodation and safety for animals. Lufthansa allows small pets in the cabin for a fee of $100 as long as they fit under the seat. The airline policies state that pets must be at least 4 months old. 


Like most airlines that fly dogs, larger dogs must travel in the cargo hold. The fee is $200-$400, depending on where you’re travelling. Lufthansa has an excellent safety record and allows the most rooms for kennels on international flights. They have a reputation as one of the best airlines for long-haul flights.