Many travelers consider their pets to be part of the family. We may not take Fido on vacation but we do want him to be with us for extended stays or when moving.
Both pets and humans can be anxious about checking a pet in the cargo section of an airplane. Many pet owners may wonder: can I get my dog to fly with me?
The answer to this question depends on the airline that you are flying. We’ll look at the policies of airlines on purchasing a seat for your pet. There’s also a solution if they won’t allow you to buy a dog a plane seat.
Maximum size for pets in carry-on luggage
We need to start with the most important limitation when flying with pets before we get into airline policies. Most airlines limit carry-on pet carriers to those that fit under the seat directly in front.
In addition, most airlines require your pet’s carrier to have enough space for them to turn and stand. Most airlines also restrict the species that can be transported as pets.
These policies limit the number of small pets and cats that travelers can bring with them.
One notable exception exists. JSX allows you to bring medium-to large dogs with you up until 79 lbs as long as an additional seat is purchased. If you have a small cat or dog that fits in a carrier underneath the seat, JSX will allow free travel.
Airline that allows you to buy a dog seat for an aircraft
Only two airlines will offer you a seat adjacent to your pet, JSX or JetBlue Airways.
JSX customers can take a dog up to 79 pounds onboard with them if they purchase an extra seat.
You can even buy an extra seat so that the dog doesn’t have to be in a carrier. All you have to do is keep your dog leashed.
Despite the fact that you purchased the seat specifically for your dog, he is not allowed to actually sit in it. They must instead sit on the floor in front of your seat.
JetBlue allows passengers to buy an additional seat for pets as long as they are small enough.
JetBlue allows you to place your pet carrier in your spare seat. Normally, your carrier is stowed underneath a seat when the plane taxis, takes off and lands.
Purchase an additional seat
Some airlines will not let you buy an additional seat for your pet. However, they may allow you to purchase one for you. These policies usually apply to passengers who want extra comfort, space or privacy.
Below is a list of the airlines who allow you to purchase an additional seat. You will also find the conditions that the airline has set for the purchase.
Alaska Airlines: Comfort Seat.
American Airlines Additional Seat
Delta Air Lines: Extra Seat.
Most airlines insist that pets remain in their carriers during the flight, even if they have purchased an additional seat. This means that your dog will not be allowed to sit on an airplane seat even if it was purchased for him.
You can still stretch out by purchasing an extra seat. The extra seat can be used to place the pet carrier or as a barrier between you and other passengers.
How to earn miles when you travel with your pet
We love to earn and redeem points and miles at NerdWallet. We must therefore answer the question, can your pet earn mileage from traveling?
No airline we know of rewards your pet with miles. Some airlines do reward people for taking their pet along. JetBlue TrueBlue Members, for example, get 300 bonus points when they book a pet.
Some overseas airlines offer more incentives for pet travelers. Japan Airlines, for example offers 500 miles bonus per flight to travelers who bring their pet along.
The Korean Air Skypets rewards customers who purchase pet travel with stamps. These stamps are redeemable for pet travel discounts, or even a free flight.
If you choose to buy an extra seat, then extra miles may be earned. Alaska Airlines customers who purchase a Comfort Seat earn both miles for the seat they purchased and any additional seats.
Delta SkyMiles Members can also earn miles by adding an extra seat. However, you will need to request a mileage credit following your travel. Note that the additional seat will not earn you elite qualifying miles.
Considerations when traveling with your dog
Ask the airline if your pet is allowed to travel with you. Many airline seats, especially in premium cabins, do not have enough space for your animal. Many airlines also limit the number of pets that can travel on the same flight. Contact your airline and make sure your pet is accommodated in your seating area.
Research before you sedate your pet to travel. In most situations, the American Veterinary Medical Association advises against sedating a pet to travel. Many airlines will not allow you to take a pet who has been tranquilized or sedated on board.
Do not arrive at the airport last-minute. Traveling with your pet is more complicated. Don’t forget that you’ll need to show or fill out paperwork during check-in and take more time for security. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to give your pet one final bathroom break before boarding. Arrive at the airport as early as possible to allow yourself enough time to complete all these tasks.
Grooming pets during travel is not recommended. Remember that many of your passengers might have allergies to pets and may not have been aware that you have brought a pet on board. Avoid grooming your dog during flights to minimize the amount of pet dander that enters the cabin.
Additional resources to help you travel with your dog on flights
There are different airline policies for traveling with pets. Take a look at the differences in pet policies between airlines.
You should consider flying with your dog
You can only bring small pets and cats on most airlines. And you will have to pay extra for that privilege.
Some airlines allow you to purchase an additional seat to put your pet carrier on. Your pet will need to remain in the carrier for the entire flight.
JSX was the only carrier we found that allows travelers to travel with a large dog up to 79 lbs. without a carrier. You only need to purchase an additional seat and ensure that your dog is always leashed.
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