How to Fly With Your Dog

Are you planning a trip soon? Did you want to bring your dog with you to meet the family or relax alongside you on a beach chair? It’s important to know what you need to do or how much it will cost to fly with a dog before you do anything. I was wondering the same thing and did some research.

Here are some estimates on how much that may cost!

Pet fee pricing varies from airline to airline. It ranges from $75 up to $225 dollars. The pet fee is per way so make sure to keep that in mind. I will cover the pricing per airline later on.

You then need to include items like a carrier (varying in size and price from airline to airline). Then some of them will charge you extra if you have too long of a layover somewhere. Of course, once you buy some of the products you need you won’t need to buy them for your next flight.

Airline Pricing and Rules

1. Alaska Air

When flying with Alaska Air there is a $100 pet fee. The fee covers pets in the cabin and in baggage. The carrier size for Alaska Air is 17 in x 11 in x 7.5 in if it is a hard-sided carrier. For a soft-sided carrier, it’s required to be smaller than 17 in x 11 in x 9.5 in.

2. American Airlines

American Airlines has a pet carry-on fee of $125. If you wanted to check your pup or kitty into baggage it will cost you $200. Plus if your dog is a full-service dog there is no charge at all. AA has the same size and weight restrictions as Alaska Air.

3. Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines costs $125 when traveling within the USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico. If you are traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands or internationally, the pet fee goes up to $200 one way. Size of the carriers will depend on the flight you take with delta. You will need to call customer service to find out the exact size you need for your plane ticket.

4. JetBlue

JetBlue comes in at $125 each way when flying with a pet. The pet carrier you have needs to be no larger than 17 in x 12.5 in x 8.5 in.

Side note, JetBlue has their own pet program called JetPaws. If you fly with them often you can buy their custom pet travel products that are designed for their airline. This includes their pet carrier, so you don’t need to worry about the size.

5. Southwest Airlines

Southwest is one of the cheaper pet fees out of all airlines coming in at $95 each way. This fee is refundable if you cancel your reservation for them.

Like JetBlue, Southwest has their own custom carriers available for purchase. If you want to get a different one, their maximum dimensions are 18.5 in x 8.5 in x 13.5 in. Keep in mind if you are traveling internationally with your dog they are not allowed to be in-cabin.

6. Spirit Airlines

Lots of people on a budget, travel with Spirit. Spirit charges a pet fee $110 each way. The maximum size your carrier can be is 18 in x 14 in x 9 in. A plus side to Spirit is they allow up to a 40 lbs dog. Most airlines limit the carry on to 20 pounds. This is great if you have a small but a heavier size dog. I think they do this to not have pets travel in baggage.

7. United Airlines

United Airlines is up there in pet fees with Delta and American at $125. If your itinerary has a stopover of more than 4 hours within the U.S. or 24 hours outside the U.S. you will need to pay another $125. This can add up so keep this in mind if you fly with United.

The maximum size carrier United allows is 17.5 in x 12 in x 7.5 in if hard-sided. Soft-sided maximum dimensions are 18 in x 11 in x 11 in. One of the pluses of United is your dog carrier can be brought on board with a carry-on bag for you.

8. Hawaiian Airlines

With Hawaiian Airlines there are 2 pet fee prices. The first one is the inter-island pet fee which is $35 in-cabin and $60 for baggage. The second pet fee is for all other flights which are $175 in-cabin and $225 for baggage. These fees are one way so it will add up.

It’s essential to note that flights coming into Hawaii don’t allow pets in-cabin so they need to go into baggage. This is a deal breaker for some since they can’t exactly see how their pet is doing. They do make exceptions to trained service dogs. That doesn’t include emotional support animals.

9. Frontier Airlines

Frontier seems to want to keep families and pets together. For pets, they have a fee of $75 each way which is one of the cheapest options. Plus you can decide if you want your carrier to count as your personal item or carry-on bag.

For personal items, the maximum size is 8 in x 14 in x 18 in. Carry-on bag maximum size is 10 in x 16 in x 24 in. If you do have a larger size dog, they don’t allow pets to be checked as baggage so you may need to find another airline.

10. Allegiant Air

Allegiant isn’t the largest airline, but they do allow pets in-cabin. The pet fee for Allegiant is $100. This is around the average for all of these airlines. The carrier has a maximum size of 9 in x 16 in x 19 in. As with Frontier they only allow pets to fly in-cabin. So no checking your dog into baggage.

Other Costs You May Encounter

There are tons of variables that come with flying with a dog. One of them is your dog being in good health and having all of their shots. Airlines will need the paperwork from a vet clearing all of this. So if your dog is overdue for certain shots you will need to include that into your cost.

Since you know your dog, you should know if they will be good flyers or not. If they aren’t you may need to buy some items to keep them calm and comfortable in their carrier. This can be a thunder vest that gives them a feeling of coziness. Or some medications to calm them down if they really have too much anxiety to keep still in the carrier.

Before you start looking for a carrier to use make sure to check out this article for some tips on things to look for in kennels/carriers. Here are some great options for pet carries from EntirelyPets. First is the Pet Flys Carrier and second is the EVA Backpack Pet Carrier.

If you fly to Hawaii your dog needs to meet some very strict requirements to bring your dog. This is due to Hawaii being rabies-free. If they do not meet those requirements they will be placed in quarantine. Quarantine price will vary depending on the qualifications of your dog. The 120-day program cost $1,080 per pet, 5 days or less program cost $244, and the direct release program cost $185. Each program has its requirements that you need to meet.

Flying to Hawaii seems just as hard as moving to another country with your dog. If you are planning a move make sure to check out this article on 7 tips for moving overseas with your pet.

Tips for Flying with a Dog

  1. Make sure to visit your vet before you leave. You don’t want something to happen while you are on your vacation so consult your vet before you leave.
  2. Put your pet in the carrier beforehand. Let them get accustomed to the carrier especially if you will be flying for more than 3 hours. This will help them stay calm if they aren’t already used to a carrier/cage.
  3. When booking your flight make sure to fly direct. This will make sure you don’t have to pay a fee twice if you are flying with United. Plus less moving around for your dog so they can stay comfortable.

If you want some great tips on how to have an amazing vacation with your dog check out this article.

My Personal Experience and Cost of Flying with a Dog

I have traveled with my dogs before and we flew with Southwest airlines. They did a great job with helping me through the process and it went very smooth. I don’t exactly remember how much of a pet fee I paid then but it was probably similar. It was my first time flying with my dog so I had to go out and buy a carrier that fit in their dimensions. I believe it cost me about $30 for a nice dog carrier that fit those rules. Seems like it varies from $25 – $60 depending on size and quality. The total I spent including the carrier was around $150 since I picked up some trazodone after speaking to my vet.

The second time I flew with a dog was for work. My boss asked me if I want to fly to Georgia to pick up a puppy for her friend. I flew with Southwest since she bought the plane ticket and it worked out great. She had a carrier already so all that was paid for was a one-way pet fee which was $95.

Hopefully, this article helps you get a rough estimate on how much it will cost to fly with a dog. It’s hard giving an exact cost since there are so variables involved. Feel free to email me questions at alldogtips@gmail.com if you need some help finding information. There are tons of tips and helpful articles on my site All Dog Tips. Thanks for reading the article and have a great vacation!

About the Author
Orlando H. -One of my passions is helping as many people as I can. Since I grew up with 2 chihuahuas , named Paco and Lucky, I thought I’d share my knowledge. Now I work full-time at a doggie daycare and part-time on my blog.

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