Thinking about bringing your canine friend on a commercial airline anytime down the road? We’ve searched the airline’s service fees and safety records as they related to pets to give you the additional facts you need before you book that next trip. With a little preparation, taking dogs on planes can be less expensive and much less of a hassle!

Carry-on or Checked?

The first question you should ask yourself is whether or not you’ll be carrying your canine friend on the flight with you or checking him and putting him in the hands of the airline to be carried in the plane’s cargo area. This decision typically will come down to size, with there currently being simply no choice but to check larger dogs on aircraft.

Carrying your Doggie on with You

Traveling dog owners with dogs small enough (each airline has varying rules regarding this) have the option to bring their dog on the flight with them in the cabin. The main factor we considered was simply cost. In that regard, Southwest Airlines was the major carried with the lowest charge ($75 each way) to carry-on your dog. The airline also offers the P.A.W.S. (Pets are Welcome on Southwest) guide. This is really a pleasant move for an airline that didn’t even allow dogs (or any other pets) only a short while ago.

Also worthy mention is definitely JetBlue. While they now charge more than Southwest ($100 each way), their Jetpaws program is specifically designed for flyers traveling with dogs on planes. The program includes a pet bag tag, a welcome e-mail with important details and their “Pettiquette” guidebook describing etiquette with regard to dog travel. As an additional bonus, members of JetBlue’s frequent flier plan, TrueBlue, collect 300 points each way whenever flying with their family pet.

Checking your Dog

As pointed out above, pet owners whose animals are too large to fit under the seat in front of them will have to check them at the airline’s check-in counter. In determining which airlines we favored, we considered expense as well as statistics pertaining to fatality rate, injuries and loss.

Based upon those criteria, we feel Alaska Airlines comes out on top. Not only is Alaska the least expensive for checking animals ($100 each way as compared to as much as $250 each way on other air carriers), they also have experienced an impressive safety record.

Special Note on the Temperatures!

When checking your dog, keep in mind that cold or hot conditions be a significant hazard to the health of your dog. Airline’s regulations differ, but generally, if the weather conditions are forecasted to be either below 45F or over 85F, you might need a note from your personal veterinarian stating that your doggie is acclimated to such conditions. Additionally, if you have a snub-nosed dog, the constraints on warm temperatures is typically 75F. Some airlines will not allow snub-nosed pets at all in their cargo areas during warmer months. Choose morning flights whenever possible during hot weather. Finally, consult your airline to find out if the cargo hold is air-conditioned at any airport the plane is scheduled to visit.

Bringing Your Dogs On Planes – Exactly What People Should Know