Major Airline Pet Policies: What You Need To Know

This post contains affiliate links, meaning we may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. All opinions on products and services are our own.  |  Written by Ashley Ferraro

If you’re planning to bring your furry friend along with you while you travel, there are some important things to keep in mind. First of all, not every airline has the same pet policy. Some airlines have different requirements as to where your pet must be stowed. Not to mention, fees associated with bringing your pets along can vary as well.

Believe it or not, some airlines even have age and breed restrictions. It’s important to ensure your pet can travel with you much before you arrive at the airport on the day of your flight. Some airlines are more lenient with certain restrictions than others. The last thing you want is to be blindsided upon check-in! Let’s take a closer look at the pet policies of these major airlines.


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Allegiant Airlines

Allegiant Airlines allows dogs and cats aboard all domestic flights and most international flights. Before being allowed on board, all pet carriers must be inspected to ensure they meet guidelines. The airline suggests utilizing a soft-sided, leak-proof carrier like this one that fits under the seat, with no more than two pets in a single carrier.

Each traveler may have no more than one pet carrier, and a $100 fee will apply to each segment. The carrier will not be counted toward your carry-on baggage limitation. Additional information regarding flying Allegiant with pets can be found on their website.

American Airlines

With some breed restrictions, you can travel with dogs and cats through the U.S. and most of North America. The airline restricts 7 kennels per American flight, and 5 kennels per American Eagle flights with 1 in first class. Hard-sided and soft-sided kennels are permitted aboard the aircraft as long as they fit underneath the seat in front of you. The carrier will count as your carry-on bag, so you will be allowed to bring a personal item as well. The fee will be $125 per kennel.

For pets that can’t fit in the cabin, American Airlines allows passengers to check up to two pets meeting age and health requirements. Pets are accepted on a first-come basis, and reservations must be notified at least 48 hours prior to travel. It will cost you $200 to check your pet on all flights except to/from Brazil, which costs $150. You can view detailed restrictions on American Airline’s website.

Delta Airlines

Delta limits the amount of pets allowed on board to 2 in first class, 2 in business class, and 4 in the main cabin on most flights. Therefore, those planning to fly Delta with their pet must reserve a spot in advance. Small pets including dogs, cats, and household birds are permitted aboard most flights as long as they meet specific requirements than can be found on their website. They will count as your one carry-on item.

Your pet must be at least 10 weeks old for domestic travel. If traveling to the U.S. from other countries, your pet must be at least 16 weeks old and 15 weeks old for European travel.

Delta Cargo may be utilized to ship pets that are too large to fit in the plane’s cabin. However, they do not guarantee that your pet will be on the same plane as you. As far as fees go, you’ll have to pay $125 to transport your pet within the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. For international flights including the U.S. Virgin Islands, the fee is $200. If flying to Brazil, the fee is only $75. This rolling pet carrier is great to transport your pet as cargo.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier permits small pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and small household birds to travel in the cabin on domestic flights only. Transport your tiny critters in a carrier like this one for animals up to 8 pounds. However, dogs and cats are the only animals permitted to travel on international flights. No animals are allowed to travel as cargo, so they must be able to fit safely in a carrier suited for the cabin. The airline requests that you call their customer service team as soon as you confirm your travel plans in order to guarantee your pet a spot on the flight.

In addition to the pet carrier, you’ll be allowed one personal item or a carry-on bag. Frontier charges a $99 fee for your pet to travel one-way. Check their website for more details on their policy!

JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue’s policy limits only 4 pets to each flight, so if you’re planning to bring your pet along you’ll want to notify the airline early on. It’s advised to call JetBlue before booking your own ticket to ensure pet availability. From there, you can continue to make your reservation on the phone with an agent.

You can bring along your small dog or cat on both domestic and international flights, as long as the carrier does not exceed 20 pounds. However, pets are prohibited to fly to certain destinations in the Caribbean. The fee for pets is $125 each way. If your carrier doesn’t meet the airline’s expectations upon arrival, you will be prompted to purchase a carrier from JetBlue for $50. However, you can get a high-quality carrier like this at a lower price for just under $30 on Amazon. JetBlue does not check cargo containing pets.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest operates by a first come first serve basis for pets, capping it at 6 pets per flight. Permitted pets are limited to cats and dogs only. Although each traveler is limited to one carrier, two two pets of the same species are permitted to travel in a single carrier which will count as either your personal item or carry-on bag. For convenience, Southwest even sells a carrier for $58. However, again we’d recommend purchasing this one from Amazon for only $30.

Traveling with pets is only permitted on domestic flights. Absolutely no pets are permitted to travel internationally with you, so keep that in mind when making reservations. The fee to travel with your pet is $95 per carrier each way, and no pets are allowed to travel in the cargo area. More details on Southwest’s pet policy can be found on their website.

Spirit Airlines

The amount of pet carriers allowed per cabin is limited to 4 on all Spirit flights within the U.S. including San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas. Definitely call ahead to reserve your pet a spot on your future flight. Small pets including dogs, cats, and household birds are permitted onboard, as long as the weight of the carrier does not exceed 40 pounds. So, in the case of young animals, you’d be allowed to bring 2 puppies or two kittens in a single carrier for one fee. That fee is $110 each way.

It’s worth noting that no pets are allowed to fly internationally and birds aren’t allowed to travel to and from Puerto Rico, St. Thomas or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Keep in mind, Spirit does not transport pets as checked baggage. Check out their website for full details.

United Airlines

Small dogs and cats are permitted to travel on most flights within the U.S. with advance notice. However, restrictions state that puppies and kittens must be at least 16 weeks old, pets may not be a Pitt Bull breed, and pets must have proper health certifications, to name a few. Pet carriers may be either hard-sided or soft-sided, and are permitted in addition to your normal carry-on allowance, as long as it fits underneath the seat in front of you. The fee each way is $125 per pet, and only one animal is allowed in the carrier. See details and restrictions on Untied’s in-cabin pet policy via their website.

United also provides a service called PetSafe, which is specially designed to safely and comfortably transport pets that are too big to fit in the cabin. Learn more about PetSafe here.


Check out our guide more recommendations on approved pet carriers.

For more information regarding traveling with your pets, visit the USDA’s website.

This post contains affiliate links, meaning we may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. All opinions on products and services are our own.  |  Written by Ashley Ferraro

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