Which airline is the most Emotional Support Animal friendly?

ESA Pet Staff

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Pets have become a huge part of our lives – whether as emotional support animals or simply as family. It is, therefore, natural to want to carry them with you whenever you are traveling. However, traveling with pets can often be hectic, confusing, and somewhat stressful. Not to mention, some airlines do not allow pets on board.

The good news is that there are pet-friendly international airlines that not only allow pets on board but also handle pet transport. You no longer have to leave your emotional support animal behind. Thanks to these friendly pet airlines, you and your furry friend can have a seamless traveling experience.

We took the time to analyze some of the most pet-friendly airlines, the pet travel fee, size restrictions, and whether they are allowed in cargo or cabin.

Top 10 most pet friendly airlines

Top 10 Most Pet-friendly airlines

Here is a list of the best airlines flying with pets and emotional support animals

  1. Alaska airlines
  2. American airlines
  3. Hawaiian airlines
  4. Delta airlines
  5. JetBlue airlines
  6. Frontier airlines
  7. Hawaiian airlines
  8. Southwest airlines
  9. Spirit airlines
  10. Allegiant airlines

Alaska airlines

Alaska Airlines is one of the best airlines for flying with pets. It has the most flexible pet policy with one of the lowest pet travel fees.

Pet Travel in the Cabin

The carrier charges as low as $100 per pet carrier or kennel fly in the cabin. You can travel with two pets of the same species and size in one pet carrier, and you will still be charged $100.

The pet policy also allows customers to carry up to two pets carriers and fly with four pets. The catch is that you will have to purchase the adjacent seat, which can turn out to be relatively expensive.

Unlike other airlines, Alaska airlines are more flexible when it comes to the pet animals species that they allow flying in the main cabin. In addition to cats and dogs, it also allows household birds and rabbits.

Remember that pet carriers count as part of your carry-on bag allotment, so pack light not to exceed the limit.

Pet travel in cargo

The list of animals traveling in cargo is even longer; additional pets allowed include ferrets, hamsters, guinea pigs, pot-bellied pigs, non-poisonous reptiles, and even tropical fish. The pet fees vary depending on the size and route of the pet.

  • Cost; $100 and from $250 in cargo.
  • Allowed in cargo and cabin.
  • Size restriction; Hard kennels: 17” x 11” 7.5”
    Soft kennels: 17” x 11” x 9.5” , Cargo: 30” x 27” x 40”
  • Animals; A variety of specifies.

American airlines

American airlines are of the biggest airlines in the world and, thankfully – one of the most pet friendly. The airline makes provisions for you to travel with your pet either in the main cabin or the cargo – with a slight price difference.

Pet Travel in the main cabin

When traveling on shorter flights, pets can travel in the cabin with their owners. The policy is to carry one kennel that fits under sit in front of you. In-cabin travel, you must ensure that the pet stays in the kennel throughout the journey.

The pet travel fee starts from $125.

Pet travel in cargo

American airlines’ policy is that pets should be checked as cargo for long-haul flights. This ensures they are well cared for during the long-distance as pets can get restless. Pet travel in cargo is also the best option for owners with pets too big to fit in the cabin.

The pet travel fees start at $200

  • Cost: $125 and $200
  • Allowed in Cabin and Cargo.
  • Size restriction; All kennels 19” x 13” x 9”
  • Animals; Service animals, Cats, dogs.

Hawaiian airlines

Hawaiian airlines mostly allow traveling with pets for North American flights. They allow the pet to travel in cargo and also in the cabin. You can also enter any Hawaiian airlines lounge with your pet inside the carrier.

Pet travel in Cabin

You can travel with your pet in the main cabin as long as it is a North American flight and the pet carrier can fit under the seat in front. The pet carrier and the pet should weigh less than 25 pounds.

Due to space limitations, pets are not allowed to fly first class on Hawaiian airlines. There is also the additional cost for quarantine as per the Hawai department of agriculture which costs $185 per pet.

Pet travel in Cargo

If your carrier and pet weigh more than 25 pounds, then the pet will have to fly in cargo.

  • Cost; Cabin: $35 – $175
    Cargo: $60 – $225
    Allowed in cargo and cabin
  • Size restriction: Soft kennels: 16” x 10” x 9.5”
    Cargo: 36” x 24” x 26” or 40” x 27” x 30”

Delta airlines

Delta Airlines has international flights to more than 60 countries worldwide and welcomes people traveling with pets on domestic flights. The airline allows travel for service animals, household birds, cats, and dogs.

Small Pets can travel with passengers in the main cabin. The pets should be able to fit in a small carrier that fits under the seat in front. Kennels and carriers will count as one carry-on item, and travelers can carry one additional personal item.

Larger animals travel in the cargo for their comfort and safety and comfort. The price ranges between $125 to $200 based on flight destination.

  • Cost; $125 – $200
  • Allowed in both cabin and cargo.
  • Size restriction: 21” x 15” x 16”
  • Animals; Cats, household birds, service animals, and dogs.

United airlines

United Airlines also offers pet cargo and cabin travel. The airlines have a designated pet desk to handle any issues when traveling with your pet.

The airlines charge a $125 fee per pet for each leg of the entire flight – meaning you will have to pay $125 after every stop that you make.

Different flights may have other policies for pet travel in cargo, such as size restrictions and fees. The airline advises pet owners to call in advance to be informed of the pet requirements for that particular flight.

The airlines also only allow one pet per traveler; if you want to travel with more than one pet, you can register it under another passenger’s ticket.

  • Cost; $125 per leg
  • Allowed in Cabin and Cargo
  • Size restriction; Cabin: $125, Both, Hard kennels: 17.5” x 12” x 7.5”; Soft kennels: 18” x 11” x 11”, Cargo: No crates taller than 30”

JetBlue airlines

JetBlue airlines offer pets and service animals their pet perks program under the JetPaws program. This pet program provides pet owners with a carrier bag, pet travel tips, and 300 Tue Blue points.

JetBlue provides an affordable pet travel fee of $100 when traveling North. The extra perks of the JetPaws program make the traveling experience more manageable.

Travelers can also hold their dogs in during their flight, especially if it is an emotional support animal. The pet policy allows only one pet per person, although in exceptional cases, some exceptions can be made.

You are also allowed to purchase a seat next to you to place your pet carrier.

  • Cost; From $100
  • Allowed in the cabin only
  • Size restriction: 17” x 12.5” x 8.5”
  • Animals; Cats, Dogs, and service animals

Frontier airlines

Frontier Airlines is also among the budget-friendly airlines to travel with your pets. The carrier charges $99 per leg of the trip; it can be a little pricey if the flight has multiple stops because the pet fees apply with each visit.

The airline encourages pet owners to carry their pets in carriers big enough to allow movement. This is so that the pet can sit, stand, and turn around as it pleases. The airline still needs to be the right measurement to fit under the seat.

Pet owners are advised to call ahead and give information about their pets so that they can get a seat assignment that will accommodate their pet carrier.

Pets are only allowed to travel in-cabin and not in cargo. The customer agents at Frontier airlines are pretty friendly and will work with you to ensure you have a seamless experience.

·  Cost; $99 per pet per leg of the trip.

·  Allowed in the cabin only.

·  No maximum weight.

Southwest airlines

When looking for budget-friendly airlines to fly with your pets, southwest airline is a great option. It is one of the most dog-friendly airlines that allows you to travel with your dog on a budget.

The price per pet carrier is only $95. The pet travel policy allows you to carry two pets in the same carrier.

If you have two pets that cannot fit into one carrier, you will need to book the other pet under the ticket of someone else traveling.

The airline does not fly pets in cargo; hence your pets need to be sizable enough to fit in the main cabin.

  • Cost; $95 per pet carrier
  • Allowed in the cabin only,
  • Size restriction; 18.5” x 8.5” x 13.5”

Spirit airlines

Spirit Airlines allows small domesticated pets to travel on their domestic flights. The airline allows domestic cats and dogs on all flights and small household birds and small domestic rabbits on all flights except to/from Puerto Rico and the U.S.V.I.

The airline is among the few that do not require a health certificate for pets traveling in the aircraft cabin- except when traveling to U.S.V.I.

Travelers can carry two pets per carrier, but only one carrier is allowed per passenger. The pets must be at least eight weeks old and fully weaned. The pets have to remain in the carrier for the entire flight. The combined weight of the pet and carrier should not exceed 40 pounds. a

The airlines do not transport pets in cargo.

  • Cost; $100
  • Allowed in the cabin only
  • Size restriction; 18″ x 14″ x 9″

Allegiant airlines

The airline allows pets to travel on in-cabin flights as long as they can fit under the seat in front. The pet policy on allegiant air includes; one pet per carrier, the carrier must be well ventilated, and it should stay inside the carrier the entire flight. In addition, persons traveling with pets must be at least 15 years old.

Pets allowed to travel in the main cabin must meet the Allegiant Air pets’ regulations. The carriers must be well ventilated and spacious enough to allow movement for the pets. The animals must also be harmless, odorless, and non-disruptive.

The airline charges $50 per segment per carrier, and travelers must pay this fee at reservation. Pets are not allowed to travel in cargo. You do not need to carry a health certificate for your pet as it is not a rule but bear in mind you are liable for the health and safety of your pet.

  • Cost; $100
  • Allowed in Cabin Only
  • Size restriction; 9” x 16” x 19”
Dog waiting to travel with a ESA letter and luggage

When flying with pets, what should you do to ensure you encounter no problems?

There are a couple of measures you can take when flying with your emotional support animal, pet, or service animal to ensure you encounter no problems.

Ensure your dog is in perfect health before flying.

It is imperative to ensure your pet is feeling okay, especially if you will travel long flights. If it is an emotional support animal, you need it at its best because seeing it in distress can be more damaging to you.

Take your pet to get checked out and ensure it has not been sick in the last few days.

Get a comfortable and spacious spot

Comfort and space are good things for you and your pet or dog. The front seat is always more spacious, so you might want to book that. Also, ensure your dog carrier is big enough to allow movement to your pet if it gets restless.

The pet should be able to stand up, sit down, and turn around. The more room they get, the more comfortable they will get.

Ensure your dog is well-behaved

Even airlines that accept pets do not allow disruptive pets on board. You need to train your emotional support animal or pet to be well-mannered. If it is an emotional support animal, you want to make sure it is non-disruptive so that you can be allowed to stay with it.

Call your airlines in advance

Different airlines have different pet policies and requirements. Call your airlines in advance to be aware of what is allowed and what is not. This will help to avoid any miscommunication during boarding.

Have the proper and up-to-date documentation

Many airlines require proper documentation, especially for emotional support animals. This is because some people started taking advantage and bringing all kinds of animals on board under the guise of emotional support animals.

If you need to provide proof, have your ESA letter to clear any doubt. Other documentation includes a pet passport, health, or vaccination certificate.

Carry pet essentials

Ensure you carry all the essentials that your pet may need. Pack some treats and snacks for your pet in case they get hungry. Bringing your pet’s favorite treats can make the journey more enjoyable, and they will be less disruptive.

ESA Pet Staff