Air Travel with Pets

pet carrierI love to travel with my cat. He is very small so it is not much of an inconvenience and then I do not have to leave him home alone for several days in a row.

To travel with my cat does require that I find hotels that are pet-friendly. I also have to research each airline for their policies for airplane travel for pets.

There are four ways an airline will allow your pet to travel:


Smaller pets are allowed to travel in the cabin for some airlines if you place your pet in an airline compliant carry-on carrier. You will need to place the carrier under the seat in front of you and the carrier will count as one piece of carry-on luggage for you.

This is my favorite option if the airline allows it but it is only applicable for smaller pets.


If the airline won’t allow pets in the cabin or if your pet is too large for the cabin, you will need to put your pet in a carrier and check your pet. Your pet will then travel in the cargo bay of the airplane. This is 100% safe for your pet but it might scare your pet to be alone in the cargo bay for several hours.


If you are not traveling but your pet is, you will need to register your pet and the carrier as manifest cargo. Your pet will not be allowed to travel in the cabin and will need to travel as cargo for the duration of the flight.


If you suffer from a condition that requires you to have a service animal by your side at all times, most airlines will accommodate this need. Your service pet will be allowed to travel in the cabin with you and your pet will not count towards your carry-on items either.

I recommend you research each airline and call their customer service for information on their policies for traveling with pets. You might have to pay more for your airline travel to find an airline that accommodates your pet best but it might be worth it to you in order to comfortably bring your pet along for the journey.

Learn air travel policies and airplane rules for liquids here.