Air travel with pets

This year when I travel for the xmas holidays, I don’t want to leave my dog behind. I’ll be flying pretty short distances (1-2 hours each way not counting sitting in airports, most likely) and I although it will be a pain for me, I think he’ll do fine. He’s about 18-lbs., very quiet and well-behaved.

I’ll be flying either Allegiant Air (best rates I think) or Southwest. I’ll go with whichever can accommodate the pooch assuming the rates are still reasonable. Last year when I called up Southwest about doing this, I was told that showing up for the flight with a Doctor’s note of some kind would be sufficient, but this contrasted with the info I found on their website which stated that animals were not permitted. Both of these statements contrasted with various stories I heard from friends who claimed they didn’t even need the Doctor’s note. And of course, nearly every flight I’ve ever been on for the past few years I’ve seen small dogs and cats that did not look like service animals being hefted around by passengers (wish I’d thought to ask them).

If he has to travel below the cabin where it is noisy and scary, or if he has to be heavily medicated, or if there is some kind of fee that’s not reasonable, I might back off, but otherwise I’m motivated to do whatever I can to make this work.

Hoping to catch the attention of a seasoned pet traveler here!

Didn’t find this the first time I searched:

Can I bring my pet on-board?
Allegiant Air accepts live animals/pets (domestic cats and dogs only) in the passenger cabin of the aircraft. Pets will only be accommodated if they are in a kennel or carrier that fits under the seat which will allow a maximum size of 9" H x 16" W x 19" D. Soft–sided carriers are strongly recommended since pets must be comfortable while remaining in the carrier, under the set, at all times. The CSA will determine if there is adequate room in the carrier for any pet(s). A kennel or carrier is included in the carry-on baggage limitations.

There is a fee per one–way flight for each carrier in the cabin, with no more than two (2) pets per carrier. This fee must be paid at the time of booking the reservation. To book a reservation with a pet, please contact the Allegiant Air Reservation Center at 702–505–8888 option 1 and tell the agent you are booking with a pet. The per segment Booking Fees will be waived.

The customer must provide a current veterinary certificate of health issued no longer than 30 days prior to the flight, for each live animal traveling in the cabin. If a certificate is accepted on the originating flight, it will be accepted on the return flight if it is within 180 days of the originating flight and if the return flight was booked with the same itinerary as the originating flight. If a current veterinary certificate is not available, a current shot record on appropriate veterinary letterhead will be accepted.

Customers traveling with pet carriers may not be seated in exit rows, one row before or after an exit row or in the bulkhead seats for safety reasons since the carrier must fit under the seat. There can only be one (1) pet carrier per side, for a maximum of two (2) pet carriers per row.

So darn, he would probably need 3-4 additional inches depth than the above, but the policy looks well-defined and reasonable provided the fee they mention is also decent.

If the flights are that short, wouldn’t it be easier to drive? Not being snarky, just wondering what would be easier for you and the dog.

Much easier, yes, but I will have limited time.

And here are the fruits of a successful search that had no business going wrong the first time:

In summary:

[li]“Pets are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until capacity is reached”.[/li][li]Fee is $75, which I think is fairly reasonable considering the risks they and the fellow passengers would be undertaking.[/li][li]Southwest reserves the right to turn us away if my dog does anything even remotely unsettling, or if they just feel like it presumably. (“We maintain the right to refuse acceptance of a cat or dog exhibiting aggressive behavior or any other characteristics that appear incompatible with air travel”.)[/li][li]“These requirements do not apply to assistance animals or emotional support animals accompanying a person with a disability” (definition link).[/li][li]The longest part of the carrier must still be no more than 19".[/li][/ul]
So in short, I think I should visit some pet stores and try out carriers, just to be sure of my crude measurements (he’s skittish about weird objects and did not appreciate the clumsy, noisy tape measure). And I think I should consider finding a therapist who would be willing to knight him as an emotional support animal (which probably has more truth in it than I realize).

Sorry if this thread feels a bit like I’m just talking to myself. I’m still genuinely interested to hear all ideas and suggestions, especially any recommendations based on first-hand experience.

Be careful of getting a mental illness diagnosis willy-nilly…they can come back to bite you.

you can always use a service to transport your pet for you, google reveals this one to me

I’ve flown with my dog a few times. The best carrier out there is the Sherpa ones. Go to a pet store and see if the have it so you can try out which size is right for your dog.

Charging $75 each way (or more depending on the airline) is ridiculous IMO. The dog must be under 25 lbs, smaller then a breadbox, is not allowed out of the crate and must remain under the seat. I’m really not seeing the huge risk there nor am I seeing any inconvenience to the airline, however the price for the dog sometimes is more then the price for my own seat!


So how can a turkey get on a plane? Simple. The passenger provided proper documentation proving the fowl was indeed their emotional support animal, so Delta let the bird on board, and even gave it its own seat.

In 1986, Congress passed the Air Carrier Access Act, allowing service animals to fly on planes and ensuring they can’t be removed simply on the grounds that other passengers object. That turkey, or other emotional support animals, requires documentation from a mental health professional. It can’t walk about the cabin and can’t do their business during the flight (after 8 hours the animal’s owner must plan for the clean disposal of waste), something that must be a written guarantee from the human passenger. They also can’t block aisles or take up seats near the emergency doors.