It is not always easy to travel with your pets, especially when there are far fewer pet-friendly airlines and accommodations than you realize. However, with a little research, you will find the right fit for you and your little pet. There are pet-friendly airlines that will take you and your beloved pet to your next destination without putting you through too much hassle.
Pet-Friendly Airlines You and Your Pet Should Travel With
Not all airlines love having pets with them, so each one has a different take on your travel needs. There are airlines that allow pet travel in-cabin with higher pet fees but have better rates for flights and an even better customer service. Other airlines do not allow you to check your pet in-cabin, while others have size, weight, and breed restrictions.
Airline pet fees range from $95 to $125 for in-cabin flights, while it costs around $175 to $200 for pet-checked flights. Before you decide which airline to use, you may want to consider your pet’s needs.
Here are some of the best pet-friendly airlines to look into.
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In-Cabin and Checked-Pet Options
American Airlines and Delta Airlines are among those that offer a pet-check option for travelers, and by this, they mean your pet can travel below-cabin during your flight. The below-cabin area is usually temperature controlled and pressurized, so you won’t have to worry about your pet’s health.
However, most major airlines do allow pets to travel with you in your cabin. However, he must be well-behaved and small enough to fit comfortably in an approved pet carrier under the seat in front of you.
Checking your pet for below-cabin travel is a personal preference. While they don’t usually experience serious harm, it is likely a stressful experience for your pet, so only check him in when it is absolutely necessary.
Best Choice for Service
Delta Airlines is one of the best as far as service goes. It ranks high in on-time arrivals with few cancelled flights, and over-all good customer satisfaction. All these factors make for a better flight experience, not only for you, but for your pet too.
Unfortunately, Delta comes as high when pet fees are concerned, with a $125 fee each way for in-cabin pets and $200 for checked-in pets.
Best Choice for Pet Fees
For pet fees, Southwest Airlines offers the lowest prices at only $95 each way. However, airline fees vary widely, so you find a low fare that could offset a higher pet fee. Southwest, despite its low pet fee prices, only allows small pets in-cabin and does not offer the option to check them in below-cabin.
Safety is top priority for pets. However, there is no way to actually rate pet safety for specific airlines, especially if these pets are put below-cabin. However, there is no immediate danger, either. The U.S. Department of Transportation requires all US airlines to operate schedules flights to file monthly reports on pets that have died, has been injured, or were lost during transport, and these reports are made available to customers.
Unfortunately, the data shown is very hard to interpret.
First, the number of animals that are transported by each airline varies, so percentages have to be considered, not just the number of incidents that are reported. While an airline that has a high level of loss and injuries may seem unsafe on the surface, you also have to factor in the actual number of pets they transport on a regular basis.
The DOT relies on airline reporting in calculating its figures and does not usually fact-check or investigate inaccuracies, and some airlines are relatively new to the pet transport business, so they don’t have reports to record. Because of these reasons, there is no way to determine which airline is the safest; however, if you fly with your pet in-cabin, you may be able to look after them better.
Best Pet-Friendly Airlines
JetBlue Airways stands out from the rest. They rank high in overall customer satisfaction, with a cheap in-cabin pet fee each way at only $100. They also offer a frequent flier pet program called JetPaws, which is open for those who are already members of the airline’s TrueBlue frequent flyer program. It not only gives an additional 300 TrueBlue points for each pet fee paid, it also features an online store where pet owners can purchase travel-related products for themselves and their pets.
JetBlue’s effort for going through the trouble of developing special pet programs makes people think that they truly understand what it means to have a pet that is part of family, something that should be taken into account by the massive travel industry.
Still, in the end, you will want to go with the airline that you feel most comfortable with, whether it’s because of budget or higher fees for better customer service. Whatever airline you choose, make sure that you feel it best suits you, because your energy translates directly to your pets—the calmer you are, the more relaxed they will be.
A little research and planning goes a long way for a great vacation with your furry friend, so make sure you look into your travel plans and find the best match for your next big adventure.