Planning on taking your puppies on planes anytime in the future? We’ve scoured the airline’s fees and safety records as they related to pets to give you the added information you need before you book that next flight.
Carry-On or Checked?
The first question you need to ask yourself is whether you’ll be carrying your dog on the plane with you or checking him and putting him in the hands of the airline to be carried in the plane’s cargo compartment. This decision usually comes down to size, with there being no option but to check larger dogs on planes.
Carrying your Dog on with You
Owners with dogs small enough (each air carrier has varying rules regarding this) have the option to carry their dog on the plane with them in the cabin. The main factor we considered was simply cost. In that regard, Southwest Airlines was the major carried with the lowest charge ($75 each way) to carry-on your dog. The airline also offers the P.A.W.S. (Pets are Welcome on Southwest) guide. This is a welcome step for an airline that didn’t even allow dogs (or any other pets) just a short time ago.
Also, deserving mention is JetBlue. While they currently charge more than Southwest ($100 each way), their Jetpaws program is specifically designed for passengers traveling with dogs on planes. The program includes a pet bag tag, a welcome email with important information and their “Pettiquette” guide explaining etiquette for pet travel. As an added bonus, members of JetBlue’s frequent flier program, TrueBlue, receive 300 points each way when traveling with their pet.
Checking your Dog
As mentioned above, doggie lovers whose pets are too large to fit under the seat in front of them must check them at the airline’s check-in counter. In determining which air service we favored, we considered cost as well as statistics for mortality, injury, and loss.
Based on those criteria, we feel Alaska Airlines comes out on top. Not only is Alaska the cheapest for checking pets ($100 each way as compared to as much as $250 each way on other airlines), they also have had an impressive safety record.
Special note on the Weather!
When checking your dog, keep in mind that hot or cold temperatures be a severe risk to the health of your dog. Airline’s regulations vary, but generally, if the weather is forecasted to be either below 45F or above 85F, you will need a note from your vet stating that your doggie is acclimated to such temperatures.
Additionally, if you have a snub-nosed dog, the restrictions on hot temperatures is usually 75F. Some carriers will not allow snub-nosed dogs at all in their cargo areas during warmer months. Choose early morning flights when possible during warm weather. Finally, check with your airline to see if the cargo hold is air-conditioned at any airport the plane is scheduled to visit.
Safe travels for you and your dog(s)!