The Best Pet-Friendly Airlines in America in 2022

Pet Travel Center

Planning a flight with your pet is not an easy feat, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. With ever-evolving pet transportation policies and requirements, you’re bound to stumble upon a hiccup or two along the way. But don’t fret because, with proper preparation and the right airline, the whole process can be a lot less daunting.

Want to know which airline best fits you and your pet’s travel needs? Here’s a list of the best pet-friendly airlines in America in 2022.

1. Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is always on top of its game when it comes to providing “Fur-st Class™” care and service for our critter companions. With their flexible pet policy and relatively loose restrictions, you can be sure that your furry friend can be well-accommodated. 

Alaska Airlines welcomes a wide variety of pets onboard their climate-controlled baggage and cargo compartment. However, Alaska Air disallows snub-nosed dogs and cats in the cargo compartment as stressful situations may compromise their breathing. They may still be allowed to travel in the cabin with their owners, provided their carrier fits under the seat. 

The cabin can accommodate one pet carrier per flight for first-class flights, while the main cabin can accommodate up to five pet carriers per flight. The usual pet fee is $100 each way. 

2. American Airlines

American Airlines is one of the largest airlines in America, and it’s also one of the most obvious choices for travelers with animal companions. The airline allows the transport of animals through cargo or carry-on. However, only cats and dogs that meet the age, size, and destination requirements are qualified as carry-on.

American Airlines can be strict about temperature restrictions — they reserve the right to disallow travel if temperature levels are not optimal. For checked pets, you will need to present a health certificate before the flight.

American Airlines have a $125 charge for main cabin flights within North America and a $200 fee for cargo travel. 

3. Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines transports dogs, cats, and household birds that meet airline conditions. Pets are allowed in the main cabin on almost all North American flights as long as they weigh less than 25 pounds. However, pets cannot fly first class due to space limitations.  

Only dogs and cats are permitted in the passenger cabin, and they must be placed in an approved carrier that fits comfortably under the front seat. The pet and kennel’s combined weight must not exceed 70 pounds; otherwise, the airline will transport your animal via cargo.

Hawaiian air has a standard charge of $125 for main cabin flights. 

4. Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines is an easy and budget-friendly choice for domestic flights with pets. They welcome small domesticated pets like dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, or small household birds to travel in the cabin with their owners for a fee of $99 each way. 

Note: the airline does not allow pets to be checked in as baggage or in cargo, and only domesticated dogs and cats can be accommodated on international flights.  

The Best Pet-Friendly Airlines in America in 2022 - PetTravelCenter

5. Southwest Air

Small, vaccinated domestic cats and dogs are welcome on all Southwest Air flights. They can travel with you in-cabin as long as they are carried in an appropriate pet carrier. 

Be sure to reserve a space for your pet ahead of time, as Southwest can only accommodate up to six pet carriers per flight and only one pet carrier per customer. You can have up to two pets in a single carrier as long as they are of the same species. 

Similar to Frontier, Southwest air does not permit pets as checked baggage. Traveling pets are subject to a fare of $95 each way per pet carrier. 

Pre-travel Checklist and Reminders

Before you fly with your pet on one of the best airlines, make sure to go thru this handy list:

  • Prepare your pet’s quarantine permit, medical records, and health certificates; have your pet undergo a complete health checkup before your departure.
  • Get an appropriately sized pet carrier and ensure it meets your airline’s specifications and dimensions. Your pet carrier must be well-ventilated, comfortable, and spacious enough for your pet to stand, lie down, and turn. 
  • Check weather conditions on the day of your flight. Airlines may refuse pets onboard cargo or checked baggage when the temperature is too hot or cold. 
  • Every place of destination has different restrictions when it comes to accepting pets. Fulfill all entry requirements before your intended arrival. 
  • Note: Emotional support animals are no longer allowed to travel free of charge. 

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