Pet Air Travel Information

Check with the Airline

Be sure to check with your specific airline to make sure that they allow pets on their flights. Most major airlines should.

Minimum Requirements

Most airlines require pets to be at least eight weeks old to fly. They also have a limit of one kennel per passenger. You are allowed to carry two animals in the same kennel if they are of the same species and of compatible size, weigh less than 20 lb. each, AND are between eight weeks and six months old. Otherwise, you will need another passenger. The kennel must be made of solid wood, metal, hard plastic, or similar material. It must also have ventilation on at least two sides and have enough room for your pet to stand up and walk around. (You can imagine how restless your pet can get on a long flight). You are also required to mark "Live Animal" in letters at least one inch tall, and your name, address, and phone number should be visible on the kennel.

Health Certificate

Make sure you have a health certificate for your pet supplied by a state-licensed veterinary clinic. Most airlines require it. If your pet is in good health and has proper vaccinations (you need to show proof of vaccination), you should be able to get a certificate on the same day as the exam.

Cost of Pet Tickets

There is generally no charge for a service animal (e.g. seeing-eye dogs or search dogs). Otherwise, you can expect between $40 and $60 one way and each segment within the continental United States. Generally, your pet will ride in the cargo hold. However, if your pet kennel is small enough to fit under the seat in front of you, the airline may allow you to keep the pet in the cabin.

Get to the Airport Early

Airlines generally take pets on first come, first served basis. They also have the discretion to accept your pet, so be nice to them.

Claiming Your Pet after the Flight

Take your paid receipt and some form of identification to the baggage claim attendant.

Feeding Instructions

It is a good idea to feed and water your pet at least four hours before the flight. Be sure to include feeding and watering instructions for the next 24-hour period. Sometimes you will need to supply appropriate food and liquid for your pet.

Special Restrictions of Hawaii and Overseas

Hawaii has strict procedures when bringing pets onto any of the islands. Dogs and cats must have a recent (no more than 10 days old) health certificate verifying that they are healthy and have no disease. All pets must be quarantined in Hawaii for 120 days, for a fee. Birds, on the other hand, do not need to be quarantined but do need to have a valid health certificate and a permit from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (P.O. Box 2520, Honolulu, HI, 96804). The permit needs to be cleared in advance by the Federal Veterinary Office. There is no charge for the permit. For complete information, call 1-800-483-7171 for the recorded information or 1-808-836-3228 for the quarantine office.

Foreign countries have strict regulations for bringing pets to their land. For details, contact consulate of the country that you plan to visit.
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