What It Will Cost You to Fly With a Pet on Every Major Airline


Whether you’re taking your cat along on vacation or bringing a new puppy home from another state, there may be times when you have to fly with your (small) pet. You’ll have to pay a fee for this no matter which airline you choose, but some will set you back more than others—especially if you are traveling with additional carry-ons or checked luggage.

Airlines have additional restrictions on the number of pets that can travel in the cabin on any given flight, so you’ll want to ensure there’s space when you book your ticket and add your pet to your reservation well in advance. You should also be clear on breed and age restrictions, as most airlines limit travel with very young puppies.

Delta Airlines

Strictly speaking, Delta is the cheapest airline to fly with your pet with a carry-on fee of $95 each way. Delta allows dogs, cats, and household birds in the cabin as long as they are at least eight weeks old (16 weeks of age if flying to the U.S. from another country) and can travel in a soft-sided kennel that fits underneath plane seats. In general, you are allowed only one animal per carry-on kennel, with exceptions for unweaned litters or two compatible pets between the ages of eight weeks and six months.

While Delta’s pet fee is the lowest among major airlines, you are allowed to bring only a personal item—no wheeled carry-ons—in addition to a pet kennel, meaning you’ll pay at least another $35 to check a bag. Unless you have free bag benefits, that brings the total to $130.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska charges $100 each way for dogs, cats, rabbits, and household birds traveling in the cabin (dogs and cats only on flights to Hawaii and international destinations). Dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old and fully weaned to solid food. Alaska allows two pets of the same species and size per carrier, which can be hard or soft-sided and must measure no larger than 17 inches by 11 inches by 7.5 inches.

Your pet carrier counts toward your carry-on allotment, but you can choose whether to bring a carry-on bag or personal item. Since Alaska does not charge for carry-on bags, you may end up paying only $100 to bring your pet along. Even if you do need to check a bag, the standard fee is $30, bringing your total to $130.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest allows dogs and cats that are at least eight weeks old to fly in the cabin on domestic itineraries for $125 per direction. Two dogs or two cats can travel in a single carrier, which must measure less than 18.5 inches by 13.5 inches by 8.5 inches.

While your pet carrier does count toward your baggage allotment, you can choose either a personal item or carry-on in addition. Southwest does not charge for carry-on bags or the first two checked bags, so your total will be just $125.

Frontier Airlines

Frontier is the only other airline aside from Delta with pet fee cheaper than $100. Frontier allows dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters, and household birds in the cabin on domestic flights for $99 per direction. Only dogs and cats are permitted on international flights. Dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old, and all pets must fit in a travel container that is no larger than 18 inches by 14 inches by 8 inches.

Passengers traveling with pets may also bring a personal item or a carry-on bag, which Frontier charges for in all cases (fees range from $50 to $100 depending on when you “reserve” your bag). Because you’ll pay a similar fee to check or carry on with Frontier, your total cost will be at least $150.

JetBlue Airways

JetBlue allows dogs and cats on all domestic flights for $125 per direction. Pets can travel on international flights with significant restrictions (limitations also apply to puppies entering the U.S.). Only one pet is allowed per carrier, which must be no larger than 17 inches by 12.5 inches by 8.5 inches.

Pet carriers count as a personal item, so travelers who purchase tickets at all fare levels above Basic Blue can also bring a carry-on bag at no extra charge. Basic Blue ticket-holders can bring another personal item but not a carry-on. A checked bag costs $35–$۴۰ for Blue, Blue Basic, and Blue Extra fares, so you could pay $160 or more in total.

American Airlines

If you fly American, you can carry on a dog or a cat that fits in a kennel measuring 18 inches by 11 inches by 11 inches or 19 inches by 13 inches by 9 inches (hard-sided) for a $150 one-way fee. Pets are permitted on domestic flights with additional restrictions for international travel.

American recently changed its policy to allow passengers a carry-on bag in addition to their pet carrier (rather than only a personal item), meaning you could pay just $150 to fly with your pet. The fee for one checked bag is $35–$۴۰.

United Airlines

United charges $125 per cat or dog each way and allows pets that are at least eight weeks old and that fit in carriers measuring 18 inches by 11 inches by 11 inches (soft-sided) or 17.5 inches by 9 inches by 12 inches (hard-sided). You’ll also be on the hook for an additional $125 if your layover is longer than four hours. Pet carriers count as carry-on luggage, so if you need to check a bag, you’ll pay an additional $35 unless you are flying premium economy or above.

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