How Much Does Pet Travel by Air Cost?



In the United States, more than 2 million pets travel by air each year. Yet, pet travel by air is a bit more complicated than you may think. 

Every airline has a different pet policy, which means the requirements and prices range. Before you can plan your trip for you, it’s smart to plan how your pet will get there. 

For instance, you may be forced to take a specific airline, and the fee to bring your pet may end up being more expensive than your ticket. Having this information beforehand can help you plan your budget and itinerary to make your travel experience as seamless as possible.

We have compiled a guide to help you learn how much traveling with your furry companion by air costs, so keep reading below. 

What Airlines Accept Pets? 

Not all airlines accept pets, so this will already limit your travel options. However, most major airlines do accept pets, with significant restrictions, fees, and requirements. 

To be the most successful with your pet travel, plan your trip way ahead of time. 

American Airlines

American Airlines does accept pets on board, but only as an in-cabin pet, as they do not allow pets in the cargo hold. You can only travel with a cat or dog, and the pet combined with their pet carrier cannot exceed 20 pounds. 

You must book the pet’s flight with a travel agent beforehand. You cannot book it online. When you arrive for your flight, you must check in with the travel agent and pay the pet fee before boarding your plane.

American Airlines charges a standard $125 fee per pet carrier each way. You can have a maximum of 2 pets onboard.

Because American Airlines only allows seven pets onboard each plane at any given time, it’s wise to book your pet’s flight months in advance. 

United Airlines

United Airlines has a more flexible animal policy, allowing you to bring cats or dogs in-cabin or in the cargo hold. This is a great option if you are traveling with a pet that weighs more than 20 pounds.

For pets that will be in the cabin, they also charge the standard $125 fee per pet carrier each way. There is an additional $125 charge for each stopover of more than 4 hours in the United States or more than 24 hours outside of the United States. 

There are no specific weight restrictions, but the pet and their carrier must be able to fit under your seat. 

If you are to bring a larger dog or cat that will be transported in the cargo hold, you must call the airline for fees and requirements. 

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines is another excellent option when flying with a pet because of their flexible policies. 

They allow both in-cabin and cargo-hold pets, so if you have a larger animal, they can be shipped in the cargo hold. For prices for animals weighing more than 20 pounds, you must contact a travel agent at Delta. 

If you are traveling with animals that weigh less than 20 pounds, Delta charges the standard $125 fee per carrier each way. However, because it is per carrier, they allow you to have multiple animals in one carrier if they can move around and collectively weigh less than 20 pounds.

This could end up saving you a good amount of money, especially if you have smaller teacup-sized pets. 

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is one of the cheapest options when planning your travel with your pet. Like Delta, they allow you to have multiple animals in your carrier if they together weigh less than 20 pounds. 

Their standard fee per carrier each way is $95, so you could save $30 going with this airline. However, they only allow in-cabin pets, so if you have animals weighing more than 20 pounds, Southwest Airlines is not an option.

They also allow only one pet carrier per person, so if you have two animals that weigh 20 pounds, you’ll need to have someone else fly with them. 

JetBlue Airlines

JetBlue Airlines is another cheaper option, with their standard fee per pet each way being $100.

However, they only allow you to have one total pet that weighs less than 20 pounds when combined with their pet carrier. 

They also only allow four total pets onboard each plane at any given time, which has led to them being booked months out. If you choose JetBlue, you’ll want to make sure your trip is at least six months down the road. 

Traveling With Service Pets

Airline travel with service pets is a much different experience than with pets that are not certified. Many fees are waived, which means your travel can be a lot less expensive. 

The requirements are also loosened up a bit, depending on your situation. For instance, if you have a dog that is more than 20 pounds, you may be able to have them in the cabin with you if they are certified as a service pet. 

The laws, requirements, policies, and fees are often changing, so it’s best to check in with your airline to see exactly what they allow in regards to service animals. 

If you’d like to look into certifying your pet as a service pet, check out

Use This Guide to Plan Your Pet Travel by Air

Your pet is your best friend, so it makes sense that you want to travel with them. It may be necessary due to work, or perhaps you’re moving.

Whatever the case, knowing pet travel by air costs can help you plan your trip successfully and bring your pet along on your adventures. 

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