Flying with Emotional Support Animals, Service Animals and Pets

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Flight Travel with Pets, Service Animals & Emotional Support Animals

Airports and airlines will offer help to all passengers travelling with pets, service animals and what to do when taking an emotional support animal on a flight. Read on for information on taking animals on flights.

Air Travel with Pets

 

cat

 

Flying with pets is a lot more common than people think. It can, however be quite a complicated and pricey affair. Every airline has different pet policies, which can leave a lot of unknowns. Will your pet be able to stay in the cabin with you? What if your flight has a stopover? Will your pet need to travel in the cargo hold? Is the cargo hold safe? To help, we've put together a guide, that so you know exactly what airlines to fly with and exactly what to expect when you fly with your pet.

 

What are the rules for bringing pets onto planes?

 

Travelling to or within the US

All pets crossing state borders, with the exception of guide dogs, are required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to have a rabies immunisation and valid health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian within 30 days of travel. If your pet is travelling via cargo, or if you are a breeder, dealer, or research facility transporting a dog, the health certificate should be issued no more than 10 days before departure.

The USDA requires that your pet must be: at least eight weeks old and fully weaned before travelling and in good health. Airlines will not transport animals that are violent, ill, or in physical distress.

 

Travelling to the UK

If your planning to bring your pet, emotional support animal or service animal to the United Kingdom from an EU or non-EU listed country, you’ll need to ensure your animal companion is:

1. Micro-chipped for ID purposes

2. Vaccinated against rabies

3. An EU pet passport of official veterinary certificate

4. If your animal companion is a dog, need to be treated for Tapeworm (excluding those coming from Finland, Ireland, Norway or Malta)

 

If your pet, emotional support animal or service animal is planning to fly to the United Kingdom from an unlisted country, you’ll need to ensure your animal companion is:

1. Micro-chipped for ID purposes

2. Vaccinated against rabies

3. Blood tested (at least 30 days after the vaccination)

4. An official veterinary certificate

If your animal companion is a dog, need to be treated for Tapeworm (excluding those coming from Finland, Ireland, Norway or Malta). You must wait 3 calendar months from the date the blood sample was taken before you travel

If your pet, emotional support animal or service animal from an unlisted country enters the United Kingdom via an EU or non-EU listed country, it may enter the UK without quarantine as long as they meet EU entry requirements, listed above.

 

Air Travel with Special Service or Emotional Support Animals

 

service dog

 

What are the rules for bringing Special Service or Emotional Support Animals onto planes?

 

In order to travel with an emotional support animal without any additional fee or costs you must have an ESA letter. As well as this, Airlines will require that your ESA should be well-behaved in public and calm on the plane (this may mean training your ESA yourself). This will not only save money but also ensure you have a pleasant experience flying with your dog.

If you think you may require an emotional support animal, you must fill out a particular ESA questionnaire. The result of this questionnaire will determine whether or not you are eligible for an emotional support animal (and cost you a fee if you are). If you have any questions please contact Alternative Airlines and we can assist you with your enquiries.

 

The Best Airlines for Flying with Pets

 

This table lists the best airlines from around the world for flying with pets:

 

There are many restrictions that airlines place on flying with pets, including breeds, destinations and carriers/storage. These restrictions often comply with government regulations and aviation safety procedures. Policies can also be subject to change at any time.

 

AIRLINE OVERVIEW ANIMALS ALLOWED? PRICE? CABIN OR HOLD?
American Airlines American Airlines is known as being one of the most pet-friendly airlines and has loads of positive reviews. On shorter flights, small pets are allowed to fly in the cabin with their owners, as long as they are kept in a small carrier under the seat. On long-haul flights, pets need to be checked as cargo to ensure they’re properly cared for while flying long distances Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs
$125 – $200 Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
JetBlue The airline offer pets their own pet perks program, provides pet-parent travellers with a carrier bag, a list of tips for managing your pet while travelling, and 300 TrueBlue points. If you’re touring the north or south of the USA with your furry friend, Jetblue is the purrrfect option. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs
$100 upwards Cabin: Yes
Cargo: No
Air Canada Air Canada flies to almost every major city across the world and are extremely accommodating when it comes to traveling with animals, so offers a worldwide option! Small pets in a carrier are allowed to travel with you in the cabin. Prices vary depending on the route and animal; bigger animals will need to travel in the cargo hold (there’s a dedicated and safe animal transportation area). Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs
$50 to $118 Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Delta Airlines Delta flies to 60 countries across the world. If you’re traveling domestically, household birds are also welcome! As with most other pet-friendly airlines, small pets (cats and small dogs) are welcome to fly with their owners in the cabin, while larger dogs will need to ride in the cargo hold. Service Pets: Yes
Cats, dogs, household birds
$75 and up Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Air India Pets are required to have their own documents, as well as valid vaccinations, but are welcome to fly with Air India. There are a few restrictions, however: pets cannot be taken as carry-on luggage, and must be taken in the hold. An additional fee will need to be paid, which varies depending on the country you are flying to. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs, household birds
Varies Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Air France Pets are allowed on both international and domestic flights. Approved (flexible) pet containers are required and for safety reasons containers are not allowed in the cabin and will need to travel in the hold, along with larger pets (dogs). Price depends on animal and destination. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs
€30 to €200 Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Swiss International Airlines Pets are allowed on any route and passengers can travel with up to two pets. Pets must be in approved travel containers. Rabbits are also allowed to travel, as long as they are in the hold. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs, hares, rabbits
$60 Upwards Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Turkish Airlines Traveling with pets is easy with Turkish Airlines. It is important to have the right documentations and ensure vaccines are up to date. Small dogs, cats and even house birds are allowed in the cabin, as long as they remain in their container. Fees depend on pet, route and container. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs, hares, rabbits
70-170 TRY and up Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Frontier Airlines Frontier are dedicated to going the extra mile to ensure pets travel comfortably, and in the cabin with their owners. On domestic flights most household pets are allowed to travel, including hamsters and rabbits. On international flights, dogs and cats are welcome. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds
$75 (fixed) Cabin: Yes
Cargo: No
Lufthansa Airlines Lufthansa flies across the globe and is dedicated to accommodating you and your pet. As long as they are comfortable with each other two pets are welcome to travel in the same carrier without any additional fee. For safety, dogs will need to be tucked into the cargo hold. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs, rabbits, hares
€55 Upwards Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Aeroflot The list is extensive, and depends on the route and destination It could be argued that Aeroflot has the most inclusive policy for flying with pets. Depending on their size, cats, dogs, and birds are allowed to fly both in either the cabin and cargo. The list of additional animals include: polecats, ferrets, meerkats, lorises, pygmy hedgehogs, and marmosets, as long as they are tame and contained. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs, rabbits, hares
$87 upwards, depending on the size of the carrier Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
TAP Air Portugal If you plan on visiting Lisbon with your pet, TAP is the best option! Dogs can fly in either the cabin or hold, as long as they have the right documentation and carrier. The fee is 35 Euros for domestic flights, upwards for international destinations. Passengers will also need to arrive earlier at the airport for check-in. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs
€35 - €150 Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Scandinavian Airlines Small dogs and cats are welcome to travel in the cabin; larger dogs will need to travel in the hold. Airline staff have the right to reject pets if they are deemed too uncomfortable in their carrier, so ensure you pet has plenty of space. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs
$60 – $140 Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
British Airways Unlike other airlines, the airline’s pet policy is dependent on your furry friend’s weight. To travel in the cabin, your cat or small dog must be under 13.2 pounds; if they are heavier, they will need to travel in the hold. Medical and travel certificates that deem your pet safe to fly will also need to be provided. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs
$196 in cabin and cargo Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
KLM KLM offers a range of travel options to accommodate pets; details will need to be sorted prior to take-off, and KLM recommends that this be done over the phone. Typically, if your pet weighs more than 18 pounds they will need to travel in cargo. Prices vary depending on route and pet; KLM offers a calculator on their website. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs
Varies Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Air Lingus Air Lingus might be a smaller airline, but they have a great pet policy. Accommodations can be made no matter whether you are flying domestically or internationally; they will need to travel in the hold, in a dedicated and comfortable pet transportation area. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs, and (on domestic flights) rabbits
€40 for regional flights, €160 international Cabin: No
Cargo: Yes
Japan Airlines Pets are not allowed to travel in the cabin, but put great care into ensuring the cargo hold offers a comfortable and safe environment. You will need to arrive earlier and with the correct paperwork. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Dogs, cats, small household birds, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, marmots, squirrels, chinchillas
Unspecified Cabin: No
Cargo: Yes
Alitalia Rome with your best buddy? Made possible with Alitalia! Pets are allowed on both domestic and international flights, and allowed in either the cabin or hold depending on their size. Specifications for carriers are laid out by the airline, including requiring a blanket in the carrier (clear your pet’s comfort is in mind!) Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs, ferrets, birds
$40 one way and up Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Alitalia Rome with your best buddy? Made possible with Alitalia! Pets are allowed on both domestic and international flights, and allowed in either the cabin or hold depending on their size. Specifications for carriers are laid out by the airline, including requiring a blanket in the carrier (clear your pet’s comfort is in mind!) Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs
$40 one way and up Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Copa Airlines Like many of the above airlines, cats and small dogs are welcome in either the cabin and cargo hold, as long as they have the proper documentation and an approved pet carrier. A health certificate is required on international flights Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs
Unspecified Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Copa Airlines Like many of the above airlines, cats and small dogs are welcome in either the cabin and cargo hold, as long as they have the proper documentation and an approved pet carrier. A health certificate is required on international flights Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs
Unspecified Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes
Iberia Iberia will fly you and your pet to a number of destinations both inside and outside of Europe. Tortoises are also welcome! When booking your flight, you will need to contact the booking office to pre-book your pet. Container requirements are set by the airline. Service Pets: Yes
Other Pets: Cats, dogs
Starting at €120 Cabin: Yes
Cargo: Yes

 

 

Top Tips for flying with animals

 

 

Fly direct

If you can fly direct, it’s probably best for your pet to not have to many disturbances. If there are no direct flights between your point of departure and destination, keep layovers quite short and avoid going through the UK or Japan to cut costs. If you change airlines when travelling with a pet you will have to claim and re-check your pet.

 

Become a frequent flyer

Some airlines offer frequent flyer miles for travelling pets! At Alternative Airlines you can filter your flight search for certain airline alliances to make the most of your frequent flyer scheme. If you’re interested in finding out more about frequent flyer programs, read out article on the best rewards schemes 2018.

 

Know your “Pet Relief Stations”

Airports are required to have a space for service dogs to use the bathroom. Usually it is only a small patch of fake grass, but it’ll have to do. If your layover allows you enough time, make sure that your pup has the chance to go pee before hopping on the next plane.

 

Know your Airports

Despite what we just said, please be aware that not all airports have the same level of facilities, especially in terms of pet travel. Just like you may need a special airline, check the airport you are stopping/ arriving into is able to cater to any needs you may have. Call Alternative Airlines for any further information.

 

Tell Alternative Airlines about your animal air travel requirements ASAP

Most airlines will only allow a certain number of pets in the cabin. Additionally, there will be a cost to bring your pet in the cabin with you. Your pet’s ticket cannot be purchased online for any airline that we are aware of, but we can organise it for you at the same time as your plane ticket if you wish!

 

Are you hoping to take an animal on a plane?
Alternative Airlines can help

 

Do you need to take an animal on a flight? Alternative Airlines can help you arrange air travel for your trusted companion and for taking pets on planes. Organising air travel with pets or Emotional Support Animals can be a long, stressful process, so let Alternative Airlines do the hard work for you. Buy your flights with us and we will sort out the appropriate service for animals on planes. Please contact Alternative Airlines as soon as possible if you know you will be travelling with a pet.

Flying with pets FAQS

 

Is it safe to transport my pet?

Sometimes when airlines use terms such as “checked baggage” or “air cargo”, it makes it seem like your doing something inhumane to your precious pet. In actuality, both describe humane ways of transporting animals. Animals travelling in the cargo hold are transported in the same pressurised holds as those in the checked baggage system. This doesn’t mean they are treated like baggage! The areas in which your pet may be held are regulated to the same standards as the cabin you will be sat in.

Pet safe airlines are dedicated to making sure pets have a safe experience. In fact, the rate of negative incidences of pets on flights is astronomically low. Some airlines are more pet friendly than others, as airline requirements vary. See all approved flight routes for pet travel or contact Alternative Airlines. We can help you find the best airline for your pet needs.

 

Can service animals fly on planes?

Yes! And it is safe too. As long as the animal in question has gone through the necessary checklist and guidance provided by the airline that the pet and owner are flying with then you can. Make sure you read above on the rules of travlling with a pet and emotional service support animals on flights.

 

Can my pet come in the cabin with me?

As a general rule, if you are travelling with a smaller dog or cat, generally under 13 pounds and 12″ from floor to front shoulder, you should be able to bring the pet into the cabin with you. Always check with the airlines to find out the dimensions under the seat in front of you. An airline compliant carrier is a must.

What is important to know is that you may only transport your pet as checked baggage if you are a passenger travelling on the same flight as your pet and the combined weight of your pet and its crate is under about 70 pounds. Of course, this varies airline to airline. Read some of our example airline requirements below or contact Alternative Airlines for further information.

 

Can my pet come in the cabin with me?

Good question. Many airlines have different rules and regulations where emotional animals and service animals are allocated on the plane. See below of some of the airline's rules that allow for pets.

 

Pet Travel News

 

Southwest Airlines become stricter in regulations and rules on emotional support animals

23rd August 2018

Southwest Airlines become stricter in regulations and rules on emotional support animals

The American airline Southwest Airlines has enforced stricter rules on travleing with emotional support service animals on planes. The airline is now only allowing cats and dogs. This means that pigs, hedgehogs, ferrets and spiders are now on the no-fly list. The new policy will be effective from 17th September. Added to the regulations is that the emotional service animals will be allowed to 1 per flyer. The new rules come into play due to crew and airline staff complaining about allergies, soiled cabins and biting.

 

 

Delta change the number of support animals per passenger limit

21st June 2018

Delta Air Lines has changed their policy regarding support animals. From 10th July 2018, passengers flying with Delta Air Lines will only be allowed to fly with one support animal per person. In addition, Delta will no longer allow pit bull dogs on their flights either.

This comes after a number of incidents where service and support animals have attacked Delta employees, causing the airline to be stricter on their support animal policy. CEO of Delta, Gil West, stated that safety comes first for Delta regarding its passengers and employees and that Delta will continue to challenge their safety regulations to make sure it's of the absolute highest standard.