Airlines are a common way to travel with pets, and many pet owners have found that certain airlines offer better service than others. Here is a list of the best US airlines for flying with your furry friends.
American Airlines has a pet policy that is flexible and allows pets to fly for free.
Many of us consider our dogs to be members of our family, and leaving them behind when we need to travel is a difficult experience. Trying to travel with dogs in tow, on the other hand, may be a nightmare, particularly since some of the regulations have recently altered.
The US Transportation Department imposed new restrictions on the kinds of animals that may be used as service animals in December of last year, stating that certified emotional support animals are no longer considered service animals.
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This summer, NerdWallet combed through the fine print on flying with pets on each of the nine major U.S. airlines, grading them on a five-point scale based on 11 different factors such as pet fees, whether they transport pets in cargo, whether they impose species limitations, their pet transportation safety record, and more. These are the airlines that placed first and second, respectively.
Alaska Airlines is an airline based in Anchorage,
Alaska Airlines was found to be the best airline for traveling with pets in general, having the lowest costs and the most flexible pet policy in terms of the animals they would carry.
Inside the Main Cabin:
—Alaska’s price for carrying a pet in the main cabin inside a cage or carrier was the best, at $100 each trip. You may even carry two dogs of the same breed and size in the same carrier for a total of $50.
—In the main cabin, passengers may bring up to two carriers and travel with up to four dogs, but you must reserve at least two seats to allow two distinct carriers.
—Alaska’s policy is more comprehensive than other airlines’, allowing bunnies and domestic birds to travel in the main cabin as well.
—Pet carriers, like other airlines, count against your carry-on baggage allowance, so you’ll definitely need to check some luggage.
—Alaska will carry ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, non-poisonous reptiles, pot-bellied pigs, and tropical fish in checked luggage or cargo, in addition to dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits.
—The cost of carrying pets in cargo begins at $250 and varies depending on the route and the size of your pet.
Assembly of Alaska Airlines’ tail. (Alaska Airlines provided this image.)
American Airlines is an airline based in the United States
With excellent overall pet-friendliness ratings, American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines is a low-cost carrier based tied for second place.
Inside the Main Cabin:
—For dogs traveling in the main cabin inside North America, American charges $125.
—Its pet policy allows customers to bring one kennel that fits beneath the seat in front of them instead of one of their carry-on bags, but dogs must remain kenneled for the duration of the trip.
—Passengers who have dogs that are too big to fit in the main cabin may check them as checked baggage for a charge beginning at $200. This is the only option accessible to owners of animals that are too large to fit in the main cabin.
(Photo courtesy of Boarding1Now/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus) American Airlines Airbus A319
Inside the Main Cabin:
—On flights inside North America, Hawaiian Airlines charges $125 for dogs in the main cabin.
—Pets are allowed on nearly all Hawaiian North American flights, with the exception of New York-JFK, Boston, Orlando, and Austin.
—With the animal inside, the pet carrier must fit beneath the seat and weigh less than 25 pounds.
—Please note that owing to capacity constraints, dogs are not allowed to travel first class on Hawaiian’s North American flights.
—It’s also worth noting that bringing pets to Hawaii is difficult by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s requirement that all pets be quarantined, which comes at a fee of $185 per pet.
—First-class passengers and those with dogs too big to fit in the main cabin may have their pets transported in cargo for a charge of $225 for travel between North America and Hawaii.
Airbus A330-200 of Hawaiian Airlines. (picture courtesy of Boarding1Now/Getty Images Plus/iStock Editorial)
According to NerdWallet’s research, the remainder of the nine major U.S. airlines were ranked as follows: Frontier and Southwest were fourth and fifth, respectively; Spirit ranked sixth, JetBlue ranked seventh, Delta ranked eighth, and United ranked last as the least pet-friendly airline.
The pet airways are a list of airlines that have been approved by the United States Department of Transportation to transport pets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which airline is most pet friendly?
Delta Airlines is most likely the airline with the most pet friendly policies.
Which airlines are flying pets cargo?
The following airlines are currently flying pets cargo. Air France, Air Transat, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Finnair, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Lufthansa Cargo, Qatar Airways
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