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The Best Airlines for Pets

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Our pets deserve vacations just as much as we do. But when you’re planning to go abroad, you might think flying with your furry friends will be unnecessarily stressful, risky and a burden on your wallet - with these pet-friendly airlines, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re planning to fly with your cat, dog, bird, fish or service animal and you’re not sure where to start, we’ve made it easy for you. Here are the best airlines for flying with pets. 

The Best Airlines for Flying with Pets

American Airlines

Being one of the most pet-friendly airlines globally and the largest airline in the world, American Airlines is a popular option if you plan on bringing your beloved companion abroad with you. 

If you have a small cat or dog and you don’t want to be separated on your journey, you’re welcome to bring them onboard into the cabin with you, as long as your furry friend can fit inside a pet carrier underneath the seat in front of you. Fully-trained service dogs may fly with you in the cabin at no charge, if they meet American Airlines requirements. You’ll be able to board flights together that last up to 12 hours, so if you’re planning on flying from New York to Europe, or London to Tokyo, you can rest assured that your pet can fly safely with you. Prices for carry-on pets range from $125-200 USD depending on your flight and pet.

But what if your pet is too big to join you onboard? With American Airlines, you won’t have to worry about the safety or care of your oversized pet, thanks to the airline’s American PetEmbark program. Your pet will be carefully tucked away in the temperature-controlled, pressurised and oxygenated cargo compartment. Fees vary for this service depending on the size of your pet and destination, but with many positive reviews, the price is worth it.

Dog on top of suitcase

JetBlue

Guess what? JetBlue offers its very own pet perks program - JetPaws. The program provides you and your pet with a suitable pet carrier for the flight, a list of tips for travelling with your pet and 300 TrueBlue points! 

Small cats and dogs are welcome into all JetBlue cabin classes excluding Mint (so you won’t be able to spoil your pet in First Class, unfortunately). At an affordable price of $125 USD each way, you’ll even have enough room to stretch your legs after your pet carrier is safely tucked underneath the seat in front of you. Service dogs are also allowed on board, and if small enough to fit on your lap, they won’t need to remain on the floor for the duration of your flight. 

Unfortunately, your larger pets will have to miss out on the vacation as JetBlue doesn’t currently allow the transportation of pets via checked baggage or cargo. 

JetBlue taking off

Air Canada

From cats and dogs to tropical fish, Air Canada is one of the most accommodating airlines when it comes to flying pets abroad. You can even bring your furry companion with you if you’re travelling on a flight operated by Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge, or an Air Canada Express flight operated by Jazz

If you’re flying your small cat or dog with you in the cabin, you’ll need to let Air Canada know in advance as spaces fill up quickly! Prices usually range from $50-100 USD each way, making Air Canada one of the more affordable airlines when travelling with pets. Larger pets, fish and insects need to be transported via checked baggage or cargo, both of which are easy, stress-free options, with fees ranging between $120-320 USD. Flying with your service dog in the cabin is free of charge on Air Canada flights, but you’ll need to make sure your service dog is properly harnessed or held on a leash at all times throughout the journey.

And if your pet happens to be flying through Canada, there’s the opportunity to take a break at Air Canada Cargo’s Pet Stop at Toronto Pearson Airport, where your pet can rest overnight, have a light meal and stretch their legs. 

Delta Air Lines

Flying to over 60 countries, Delta lets you travel long distances with your furry friends. Similarly to other pet-friendly airlines, only small cats and dogs can be brought into the cabin with you and must be tucked away safely inside a pet carrier underneath the seat in front of you. For carry-on pets, there are different fees depending on where you’re flying to. If you’re flying to the US, Canada, Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands, the price is $95 USD each way. For international flights, you’ll need to pay $200 USD each way.

Did you know you can also take your pet bird on vacation with you when flying with Delta? Of course, your chirpy friend will need to be transported with Delta Cargo, as well as larger pets, but having this as an option sets Delta apart from other pet-friendly airlines.  Need to bring a service dog onboard? That’s not a problem with Delta - there’s no fee to pay when bringing a service dog into the cabin, as long as they remain on the floor space or, if small enough, on your lap! 

Cats and dogs sitting together

lufthansa

Lufthansa makes it possible to bring your cat, dog or even your rabbit on vacation with you. Only small cats and dogs are allowed in the cabin, but you’ll be able to bring up to 2 pets in the same carrier, provided they are familiar with each other. Flexible, right? For larger pets and other animal species, such as rabbits and hares, you’ll need to transport them via cargo where they’ll be safe and sound. Prices range from €55-100 EUR for carry-on pets. The fees for transporting pets via cargo are a little more expensive, ranging from €70-400 EUR, depending on the size of your pet’s crate and the route.

Service dogs can board Lufthansa flights free of charge as long as they fit in the foot space of your seat and are attached to the safety belt provided by Lufthansa.

Rabbit wearing yellow sunglasses

Swiss International Airlines

When travelling with SWISS, you can take your pet with you into the cabin or in the cargo compartment. To make sure you and your pet have a stress-free journey, SWISS recommends having your required documents ready when checking in as well as an airline-approved carrier for your pet. Small cats and dogs are allowed in the cabin. You can bring up to 2 pets with you but you’ll need to be quick when booking as spaces fill up fast! 

And if your pets are a little on the larger side, or you want to take your beloved rabbit on vacation with you, you can rest assured that SWISS will take great care of your furry friend - the airline even states on their website that conditions in the cargo compartment are similar to those in the cabin. Prices range from €50-380 EUR depending on the size of your pet and the final destination.

Dog on a sandy beach

KLM

We want to make sure that our pets have just as great of a travel experience as we do - with KLM, you can bring your small cat or dog into the cabin with you, or transport them in the hold. 

Much like any other airline, you’re only allowed to bring small cats or dogs onboard and they need to fit inside an airline-approved pet carrier, safely slotted underneath the seat in front of you. There’s limited space available on KLM’s aircraft meaning you’ll need to make reservations as soon as possible after you book your own flight.

Whether you’re planning to bring your larger pets on vacation with you or moving into a new home, you won’t have to worry about leaving any of your pets behind - KLM goes the extra mile compared to other pet-friendly airlines, letting you bring up to 3 pets in the hold! Fees range from €75-400 EUR each way - although this is a huge price range, it really depends on where you and your pet(s) are flying to and from, and the size of your pet.

KLM aircraft on runway

Final Thoughts

With any of the airlines listed in this guide, you can rest assured that your pet will fly safely with (or without) you. But it’s a good idea to spend some time looking into each airlines’ policies for travelling with pets, making sure you pick the right one for you, as each airline has different rules for different aircraft, routes and destinations. 

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