Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) Pet Guidelines

Pet Travel Center

Known to many as the Fort Myers Airport, the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) offers only outdoor areas for your pet to relieve themselves, although there are four of these areas located throughout the airport. This means you would have to pass through security again if you have already gone through, making a potty trip somewhat of an inconvenience.

It can take a lot of time and patience to get back out through security to access one of these areas, so try not to leave it to the last minute. Give yourself at least half an hour to accomplish leaving, relieving, and re-entering. The good news is that Southwest Florida International is a relatively calm airport, so you should not experience long delays trying to re-enter the Terminal and the security checkpoint.

Where the pet relief areas are located at RSW

All the pet relief areas are located on the lower level and there are two at each end of the Terminal. To get to the ones that are located on the same side as the Terminal,

  • go through either Door 1 and turn to the left until you get to the gazebo, or
  • go through Door 6 and head to the right until you are near the loading dock.

To get to the ones that are located across from the Terminal, exit through the Baggage Claim area and cross the street. You will find the pet relief areas located just on either side of the parking garage.

Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) Pet Relief Areas - PetTravelCenter
All pet relief areas at RSW are located outdoors at the arrival level.

What the pet relief areas at RSW look like

While they are not stocked with amenities, they have the basics, such as waste receptacles and plastic baggies to pick up dog waste. What they lack in extras they make up for in space. They look just like large lawns that have been l andscaped, and their location is basically removed from all the hustle and bustle. This makes them the perfect spot for a stressed-out pet to calm down and relieve themselves in relative privacy. One thing to remember while inside the pet relief areas is that the airport’s pet policy requires that the majority of animals need to be on a leash while on the grounds.

Pets flying as cargo from RSW

If your pet is larger than what is allowed for flying in-cabin, the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) pet guidelines give you two options: You can either fly your pet as cargo or fly them as checked baggage. It is becoming more difficult to find an airline that allows pets to fly as checked baggage, so consider yourself lucky if you can. The difference between the two is that pets flying as cargo make the journey on a separate flight from you. They also operate on different time schedules, but all of this information will be given to you when you check your pet in at the cargo area facility.

The good thing about the cargo area at RSW is that it is effortless to navigate around. Almost all of the cargo facilities for the different airlines are in a single building located on the corner of Regional Lane and Perimeter Road. Some of the airlines there are Jet Blue, Delta Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.

Since they offer no shuttle service, you will be required to drive there to pick up your pet and park in their spacious lot.  

Southwest Florida International Airport - PetTravelCenter
Get to know the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) pet guidelines before traveling, despite not being a big airport. (Image by Southwest Florida International Airport)

More RSW Pet Policies

Just like you will find with most other airports in America, the pet policy at RSW states that your pet must be kept inside their airline-approved crate or carrier while inside the Terminal.  The only exceptions to this rule exist for law enforcement or service animals. These animals must still be kept on a leash. Airport’s pet policy requires the leash to be no longer than 5 feet, and the owners must always keep control of their pet.

It is important to note that airport policies may prevent your pet from flying as either cargo or checked baggage if the temperature is too warm. If this happens, the airline will reschedule your pet’s flight, so it is always a good idea to keep an eye on the weather bulletins for the area. 

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