Owning pets is a big responsibility, and when you go on vacation you have to figure out whether you’re traveling with pets or traveling without them! You can figure the best way to transport pets on planes or find the best airline to travel with pets with our handy guide here.
Traveling With Your Pet
Traveling with your fur-baby can be a stressful time, especially if you’ve never done it before. There are so many rules and regulations that it can be hard to navigate what applies to you and what doesn’t. Not only do the policies change frequently, but they often vary from airline to airline, as well. To help mitigate some of that stress, we’ve compiled this handy guide to flying with your pet that will have you and Fido confidently boarding your plane with ease on the best airline to travel with pets.
How will your pet travel?
Your pet will be able to fly to your destination with you, but how they get there will depend on a variety of factors. If your pet is on the larger side and isn’t a service dog or an emotional support animal, chances are good they’ll wind up flying as cargo, which is where all of the luggage is stored. If your pet is small enough to fit in a carrier under your seat, then they’re invited to share your cabin space on almost all of the major airlines. If you’re traveling with an exotic animal, you’ll have a bit more difficulty finding an airline that will accept your pets on planes. Rodents, insects, spiders, snakes, hedgehogs, etc. are prohibited on many major airlines so you may be better off leaving them home.
Is your pet allowed to fly in-cabin with you?
Before we start this section, we should note that airlines change their policies frequently. If you have any doubt about your pet’s ability to fly with you, call the airline directly before booking so you can get the most current guidelines for pets on planes. Now, if you specifically want your pet to fly in-cabin, you’ll be met with some restrictions. Certain airlines allow any pet that fits under the seat and weighs less than 20 pounds (with the carrier,) while others only allow service dogs onboard or emotional support animals; both service dogs and emotional support animals require documentation from doctors to prove their label. To distinguish the difference, service dogs are specially trained for years to help assist a disabled person with their daily tasks, while emotional support animals are certified by a doctor or psychologist as being helpful to a patient’s mental well-being. And just because these animals are allowed by law doesn’t mean their travel will come cheap. Even if your dog is documented, if he is over-sized and won’t fit on your lap, you may have to purchase another seat on your flight to accommodate him so you aren’t breaking airline rules. The airlines also have the right to refuse any animal if it’s misbehaving, dirty or doesn’t have up-to-date immunizations.
Which airline will you choose?
Considering that all of the major airlines allow pets in some way, your decision will vary greatly depending on the type of pet you’re traveling with, its size, price points and convenience. If you’re worried there’s too much to factor in before making a decision, we recommend speaking with a travel agent. They’ll be able to find the right match for you and Fido for the best airline to travel with pets with a lot less stress, and it won’t cost you any extra money to book through them. But if you’d prefer not to go through a travel agent, we strongly recommended calling the airline directly when you’re ready to buy your tickets. Some airlines only allow a handful of animals per flight, so calling is the best way to make sure there’s a spot available for your companion as well as yourself.
Will it be cost-prohibitive?
The cost of bringing your pet also depends on a variety of factors. Some airlines allow small animals for no charge, while other options can be as costly as flying yourself. The best airline for traveling with pets is the one that works for you. For large service animals, you may be required to purchase additional seats on top of the animal service charge. The cheapest option is to have your pet fly in the cargo hold, but this is a more dangerous and stressful option for your pet and should be a last resort. You’ll be looking at an average of $100 fee (each way) for having your pet fly in-cabin with you.
Off Airport Parking With Pets
Everyone knows that Fido or Fluffy is certainly “man’s best friend.” It makes perfect sense that you’d want to travel with them on vacation or to visit family and friends. But often traveling can be stressful. Our pets can often pick up on our stress and they feel things so much more intensely than we do, especially as we take our pets on planes. That’s why smart travelers know to choose off airport parking for their trips. When you choose off airport parking, you receive a GUARANTEED RESERVATION through AirportParkingReservations.com. In a single mouse click you can reserve your parking place at any off airport parking facility in the USA. This makes traveling so convenient – you can focus your energy on enjoying your trip and spending time with your beloved pet. At off airport parking facilities, the airport shuttle driver will help you with your luggage. This means instead of worrying about carrying your bags and a pet carrier – you can just carry your pet carrier! Keeping Fluffy or Fido safe and secure is job #1. You can talk to your pet as you are transported to the airport terminal and give them kitty or puppy treats to soothe them for the flight ahead. Smart travelers know that off airport parking is the ideal choice to make when traveling with their beloved pets!
Fly Through These Pet-Friendly Airports Next
It is understandable to want to bring your beloved pet with you on your travels around the country. Unfortunately, traveling with pets can often pose a host of challenges even if you have a service dog. Here are 5 of the best airports to consider for your next trip, ensuring that you and your animal will have a great travel experience for pets on planes. You can also look for the best airline to travel with pets to make the entire experience more smooth.
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
JFK continually leads the pack when it comes to pet-friendly airport accommodations. Many of the terminals provide easy access to pet relief areas. Terminal 5 boasts a stunning 4,000 square-foot outdoor garden patio, affectionately known as the “wooftop.” Visitors to this terrace can sit and watch their pets run around and burn off energy before the flight ahead. Terminal 8 is also a haven for pets with its 1,000 square-foot patch of real grass located right before you reach the security line.
Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
This Midwestern gem features two separate outdoor areas pre-security and one post-security indoor area for animals to relieve themselves and run around. The indoor areas feature a whimsical fire hydrant, fake grass, and a sink. Now Boarding is an onsite organization affiliated with the Animal Humane society that provides boarding, grooming, and training services, making it easier than ever to travel with your favorite animal.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
As the second busiest airport in the country, ATL is also one of the most accommodating airports when it comes to pets. Outside of the security area, ATL is home to a 1,000 square-foot dog park where your dog can get some fresh air. The airport also offers relief areas in every concourse. Pet Paradise is ATL’s onsite boarding facility, making it simple to leave your pet with trained professionals and pick it up when you return from your trip.
Denver International Airport (DEN)
It is no surprise that DEN offers so many amazing pet services. This modern airport is consistently ranked as one of the best airports in the world because of its wide array of convenience facilities. DEN is home to the popular Paradise 4 Paws pet resort. This 25,000 square-foot facility operates 24 hours per day. All three concourses offer pet relief stations that provide an artificial rock and a turf flooring system with the proper drainage.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
The city of Austin certainly loves its dogs, so it makes sense that the airport is flush with an abundance of pet-friendly amenities. AUS boasts a dog-friendly landscaped and well-lit “dog walk” located prior to reaching security. This area even has a pet drinking fountain so that Fido can quench his thirst. The airport also provides complimentary waste pick-up bags and an outdoor patio designated for pet relief located past the security check.
Other pet-friendly airports are Reno Tahoe International Airport, Dallas Love Field Airport, and Sky Harbor International Airport. Whether you have a service animal, therapy dog or other pet, you’ll have fun exploring these airports with them.
Before you take pets on planes, be sure to look into traveling through one of these five exceptional airports for pet owners.
Best Practices for Leaving Your Pet at Home While Traveling
When it comes time to go on vacation or travel, it is sometimes hard to know what to do with pets. On the one hand, you may prefer to board them in a kennel, but some pets don’t do as well with other pets. Rescued dogs, in particular, can also have difficulties in kennels or boarding facilities because they have already been abandoned at least once. Leaving them in a kennel or pet hotel may create unnecessary trauma for them. Here are five best practices for leaving your pets at home when you travel.
1. Check with your vet
No matter what kind of pet you have from hamsters to gerbils to goldfish to bearded dragons, it’s always best to get input from a trained professional as to how best to care for your pet when you are away. In addition, they will also be aware of the specific needs of your individual pet. If you have a pet with health issues, they can often recommend a reputable and professional pet sitter or even someone with veterinary experience to help with pet care. If at all possible, it is best to leave your pets with someone they know (like a friend or family member), but if not, make sure it is at least with someone well qualified to care for pets.
2. Leave detailed instructions
Be sure to leave detailed instructions including veterinary information and any specific feeding routines and where any toys or other supplies may be located. It’s a good idea to inform them of any individual habits or behaviors of your pet, including how they let you know they need to go out or where they like (or are allowed) to sleep at night especially if you’re hiring a pet sitter who will also stay in your home.
3. Pet-proof your house
Pets can often behave very differently when you are away than when you are home. Unless your pet sitter or caretaker plans to be in the house 24-hours a day while you are gone, chances are good your pet will be left alone for a period of time. If they are not crate-trained, be sure and close off any rooms you may not want them to destroy or put away any special family heirlooms. Your sitter should also leave adequate food and water for when your pet is alone.
4. Make sure they have a collar with an updated ID
If your pet doesn’t already wear a collar, it might be a good time to get them one. This is particularly important if you are leaving your pets with someone they don’t know, as they may actually go out looking for you. Make sure that if they get lost, anyone that finds them has plenty of contact information to get them safely home.
5. Don’t be afraid to use nanny or security cameras
If you are able to go on vacation and trust that your caretaker will take good care of your pets, great. If not, don’t be afraid to invest in a nannycam or security camera to check in on your pets occasionally. You may not be able to take your pets on planes with you, but you can make sure they’re ok. If you don’t personally know the person you hired to watch your pets and your home, using a nanny cam or security camera is a good option to give you peace of mind knowing you can watch over them even when you are away.