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Airline Rules for Travel with Your Dog

By: PetPlace Staff

Read By: Pet Lovers
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Five tips on traveling with your pet by plane:

  • Make reservations well ahead of time and confirm them 24 hours before takeoff.

  • All airlines require a health certificate issued within 10 days of your departure date, whether you're traveling within the United States or abroad. Your veterinarian will have to examine your pet and certify that he is free of disease and healthy enough to travel.
    Note: animals must be at least 8 weeks old to travel by plane.

  • Be at the animal check-in (if you're handing over your pet yourself) at least 2 hours prior to a domestic flight or 4 hours prior to an international one, to allow plenty of time to complete the formalities.

  • Pets must travel in manufactured pet carriers – homemade ones won't do. Label the carrier "Live Animal," and mark "up" arrows on all sides of the crate. Also, write your home address and telephone number clearly on the crate. All kennels must have fixed food and water bowls clipped on the door.

    Flying Cabin Class

    If your pet is flying in the cabin with you, remember:

  • Carry-on pets must be small enough to fit into a carrier that can be stowed under the seat. Animals are not allowed in the overhead compartments, and they must remain in their carriers until the plane lands. You can use any kind of hard carrier, but only certain soft (canvas type) carriers are allowed; find out which ones your airline accepts.

  • When making reservations, make clear whether you expect to carry your pet aboard or send him cargo. Most airlines allow each passenger to transport a maximum of two kennels as cargo or one small pet in the passenger cabin. Note, though, that the number of animals allowed in the cabin varies from airline to airline and that it's perfectly legal for a carrier to turn down your request.

    International Travel

    If you plan to travel internationally with your pet, make sure to check with either the country's embassy or consulate well in advance. Some countries do not allow pets into their country and others require long quarantines. Import licenses and international health certificates may be required. Contact the country of your destination at least 4 weeks prior to travel. Don't arrive in the country unprepared. You may end up leaving your pet at the airport or returning home.

    For More Information

    Regulations vary from airline to airline, so ask your carrier which procedures they follow. Some have brochures available by mail or check the websites below for specific information.
  • www.aa.com (American Airlines)
  • www.nwa.com (Northwest Airlines)
  • www.delta.com (Delta Air Lines)
  • www.continental.com (Continental Airlines)
  • www.usairways.com (USAirways Airlines)
  • www.united.com (United Airlines)
  • www.southwest.com (Southwest Airlines)
  • www.dot.gov/airconsumers/animals.htm. (The Department of Transportation Fact Sheet)
  • thomas.loc.gov (The FAA Reauthorization Bill, HR 1000, Section 710)

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