The Most Affordable Airlines For Flying With Your Pets
Traveling and especially flying with pets can be costly, but leaving your pets at home can be expensive, too. There are different fees and unexpected costs to consider, from pet insurance to vet bills resulting from your dog or cat catching something at a kennel. So, if you’ve decided to start bringing your pet along with you for your travels, here are some of the most affordable airlines and the perks they offer.
1. American Airlines
American Airlines is relatively affordable when it comes to traveling with your pet if that pet can travel in the cabin with you. Pets that can travel in the cabin include dogs and cats no more than 20 pounds in size and older than eight weeks. For those pets, the cost is $125 per pet for service through the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
If you decide to check your pet in the baggage hold (which is permitted for pets up to 100 pounds in size), you’ll have to pay $200 per pet. You’ll also want to check that your carrier meets size restrictions. Note that pets in the cabin do have to stay in their carrier during the entire flight.
Out of the big legacy carriers in the United States, American Airlines gets a nod for being pretty transparent with its fees and regulations and also because it transports pets to more destinations in the Western Hemisphere than some of its competitors.
Additionally, American Airlines offers a special Cuddle Class for travelers flying between LA and San Francisco and NYC, giving pets extra room on flights next to their owners (so they’re not shoved under the seat in front of you).
2. Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines does offer an in-cabin pet transportation option, though it doesn’t allow for large pets to travel in the cargo hold. You can bring small, vaccinated dogs and cats on your flight, in carriers that are no larger than 18.5 inches x 8.5 inches x 13.5 inches.
The fee is more affordable than American Airlines’ pet fees, at $95 each way per pet carrier. However, the one thing you have to watch out for with Southwest is the airline’s restrictions on the number of pet carriers allowed on each flight total. The airline only allows six pet carriers per flight, and the service is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you think you’ll want or need the service, you need to book it quickly.
While JetBlue is pricier than Southwest Airlines at $125 per carrier, just like American Airlines it provides a few complimentary services for travelers with pets. JetBlue provides pet travel for small dogs and cats, in the cabin only. But, the airline goes above and beyond by providing its complimentary JetPaws service, which helps pet owners more seamlessly plan their pet’s travel. JetBlue TrueBlue members also receive 300 TrueBlue points for every segment they fly with a pet.
Similarly to Southwest Airlines, JetBlue limits the number of pets that can be on its flights, to four pets per flight. Pet carriers must be able to fit under the seat in front of you. Only one pet per passenger is permitted.
4. Allegiant Air
Regional, low-cost provider Allegiant Air is a bit more affordable than JetBlue and American, with pets flying $100 each way. Allegiant provides service to pets in the aircraft cabin, in carriers with a maximum size of 9 inches x 16 inches x 19 inches. Pet service is only provided on flights within the contiguous United States and to Puerto Rico.
Some travelers prefer Allegiant because the airline is pretty lax in its pet restrictions. Plus, you don’t have to provide the airline with any health certificates for your pet before your flight. Just book your pet’s fare at the same time that you book your own ticket and you’re good to go. Many other airlines require you to call to reserve your pet’s spot, versus booking online.
Allegiant Air also gets a nod because it allows you to bring two animals in one carrier if they can comfortably fit. This can be a good option if you’re bringing puppies or kittens.
5. Frontier Airlines
Frontier Airlines offers the most affordable pet airfare out of the airlines on this list, with animals flying for $75 per segment. They can fly in the cabin in carriers no larger than 18 inches x 14 inches x 8 inches. Frontier is notable because it allows for travelers to bring more than just dogs and cats in the cabin.
Pets that are eligible for flights include guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits and household birds. Additionally, Frontier doesn’t require you to present your pet’s health certificate before flying.
6. Alaska Airlines
Similarly, Alaska Airlines provides pet airfare for $100 each way. It sets itself apart by allowing a range of interesting animals to fly in the cargo hold, including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, reptiles (including poisonous reptiles), pigs, rabbits, fish and ferrets. Like JetBlue, Alaska Airlines offers its own pet-friendly program called Fur-st Class Care, so you get a little bit of extra help from the airline when arranging your pet’s travel.