The most pet-friendly airlines for your dream pet getaway
Planning a well-deserved getaway soon, but wanting to take your pet with you? Not sure which airline is the best for your pet or how to go about getting them onboard? Don’t fear, this report reveals the best airlines for pet-friendly travel so you can take off with your favorite furry friend.
When flying from anywhere in the US, be it Chicago or Dallas, you have access to a wide range of major airlines. Many transport pets on their aircraft, but usually, there are significant restrictions. This report uncovers every important detail when it comes to pet travel so you can discover new destinations with your best friend, even if they have fur or feathers.
Factors such as the diversity of pets allowed onboard and the costs of pet transport have been compared for the world’s largest airlines, to reveal the most pet-friendly airlines.
The most pet-friendly airlines
1. Turkish Airlines – Pet Travel Score: 7.13/10
Turkish Airlines rank as the best airline when it comes to pet transportation. Turkish Airlines will transport cats, dogs, ferrets, and small singing birds, at the lowest cost out of all major airlines on this list. Turkish Airlines charges between 150-450 TRY for your pet, equating to $8.15 and $24.46. The catch here is that the carriers for your pet are quite small, with maximum dimensions of 23 x 30 x 40 cm. Therefore, if you need a larger carrier your pet will travel in cargo.
Turkish Airlines’ most popular international route is between two popular coastal cities, Miami, Florida to Tel Aviv, Israel. Pets arriving in Israel from overseas must be accompanied by an official veterinary health certificate.
2. All Nippon Airways – Pet Travel Score: 5.87/10
In runner-up position is All Nippon Airways. Only one pet per passenger is allowed on All Nippon flights, however, All Nippon Airways will carry mammals and birds in cargo, meaning as many as nine different species are accepted. Prices vary, however, the lowest price totals $50 (prices vary depending on the size and weight of your pet). Since all pets travel in cargo, All Nippon Airways offer the largest carriers of these major airlines, with the sum dimensions reaching 292cm.
Japanese airline All Nippon Airways has an extensive international network extending across major countries including China, Korea, Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Western Europe. All Nippon’s domestic network also covers the entirety of Japan.
3. Spirit Airlines – Pet Travel Score: 5.63/10
In third place is Spirit Airlines. Four species of pets are allowed on Spirit Airlines; cats, dogs, rabbits, and birds can all ride alongside you in the cabin. Spirit Airlines likewise charge a standard price of $125 per pet flying on their planes, so you can get a much better feel for how much it will cost you to fly your pet no matter its size. Spirit Airlines allow up to two pets per passenger (provided there is room onboard the plane).
A major ultra-low-cost airline, Spirit Airlines has quickly become a major competitor in the American airline industry. Spirit Airlines offer trips to 77 destinations across the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta is Spirit’s top route.
Tips for flying with your pet
There are rules and regulations you must follow when traveling in the air with your pet, and these will vary from airline to airline. The following information highlights common areas you need to think about when considering buying your pet a plane ticket.
- Many airlines have a maximum number of pets allowed abroad for each flight, so plan your trip well in advance (including notifying the airline of your furry friend’s presence) to avoid disappointment, and to make sure you get your pet on your flight.
- Cargo travel can be quite stressful for animals and you will often take on liability for your pet’s safety: there are no guarantees when you ship an animal in cargo. It would be wise to travel only when your pet is healthy. Make sure to acclimatize your pet to their crate in advance, and travel when temperatures are moderate. Also, take the time to consult your vet before flying, to ensure that your pet is flight-ready.
- Some more dangerous breeds are disqualified from flying, so check that your airline does transport your breed. Your pet may also be refused boarding on the day if they exhibit dangerous behavior for example barking or growling. They may too be prohibited if they appear to be scratching, if they are irritable, or if they are notably unfit for travel.
- Airlines have several restrictions when it comes to animal transport such as minimum age requirements and vaccinations. Ensure that your pet meets all criteria before booking your tickets, as many airlines have requirements for space and breathing conditions of carriers for example.
- Even if an airline is willing to transport your animal as checked baggage, not all countries accept them, so you will need to check the rules and regulations of your chosen destination.
- Service animals will most likely be allowed in the cabin for all airlines, however, it is always worth checking your specific airline and flight to be completely sure.
- Each airline sets its own requirements for pets flying in the cabin and in cargo, including documentation. Make sure to pack the right travel documentation for your pets, such as health and identification certificates.
All data was retrieved using each airline’s official website. 21 of the world’s largest airlines were investigated, with four of these reporting that they do not transport animals. The 21 airlines considered are the 17 found in the above table alongside Easyjet, Ryanair, IndiGo, and Xiamen Airlines, all of which do not allow pets aboard flights (other than service animals). The seed list was generated using airportcodes.io and id1.de. Airlines without complete data were not considered.
The lowest and highest ticket prices were taken as the minimum and maximum you can expect to pay for your pet’s ticket on each airline.
The sum of the largest carrier dimensions was calculated by adding up the length, width, and height of the maximum size contained allowed onboard (all in cm).
Species allowed were taken as the total number of different species accepted on each airline. Where airlines accept “mammals and birds” or “small dogs and cats and other small household pets”, 9 common small household species were considered: dogs, cats, small birds, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, marmots, squirrels, and chinchillas. Always consult your airline on what species they allow aboard.
Pets per customer were recorded as the number of pets per passenger allowed on board. In some cases, an extra seat can be purchased for additional pets.
Data from each score was then ranked using a normalized scoring calculation to give each airline a pet travel score out of 10.