Whether you’re moving and need to take your dog with you or you’re just headed for a nice vacation and want your furry friend to tag along, it’s not always a piece of cake. Here are some things you should remember when traveling with a dog:
When you decide you want to take your dog with you on your flight, the first thing to think about is how big or small he/she is. Many airlines will allow your dog to ride in the cabin of the plane with you, as long as he/she is small enough to fit in a travel carrier (usually around 15-20″ long, 12-13″ wide, and 8-9″ high) and is within the weight limit. Each airline policy is different, however, so know the rules before you book your flight.
If your dog is medium-sized or large-sized, he/she will have to travel in the cargo area (or “belly”) of the plane. Airlines can differ in their policy for transporting pets; on some planes, the pet area is in with the luggage while on others, it’s in a separate area. Either way, you’ll have to say goodbye to your dog before you board and won’t be able to see him/her until you land.
If you want to travel with your dog, you can expect to pay a fee depending on where the dog is located during the flight. If you travel with your dog in the cabin, it’s usually cheaper and will cost anywhere between $100 and $150 each way. If he/she travels in the cargo area (also known as “checking” your dog), it will cost you anywhere from $125 to $200 each way.
In other situations, such as if you’re a disabled passenger and your dog is assisting you, you’ll likely be able to travel with your dog for free.
If you’re traveling with your dog in a carrier and are keeping him/her in the cabin with you, his/her carrier will usually count as your “carry-on” luggage (even though it requires a fee). In addition, most airlines only allow one dog carrier per person and the dog must stay in the carrier at all times.
Before you travel with your dog, check with your airline. Some require a health certificate for your canine friend (to review illnesses, shots, etc.) and many times, a dog has to be at least two months old in order to travel.