Traveling with Pets

The information that follows is mostly for dogs and cats. Airline policies regarding other pets vary, so you'll need to contact the airlines directly for additional information on your ostrich, or, if you are Harry Potter, your owl.

The travel policies of U.S. airlines with regard to shipping animals are subject to change at any time and, following the 9/11 attacks, these policies are likely to become more restrictive than in past years. To be safe, request written confirmation of reservations from the airline about transporting your pet.

All that said, there are three ways you can ship your pet:

  1. Your pet can travel on the plane with you (either in-cabin or as cargo). In either case, your pet will be considered excess baggage and charged accordingly. Some airlines no longer offer this option.
  2. You can book your pet on a separate flight. In this case, you will be charged the cargo rate plus shipping fees, all of which is considerably more expensive than excess baggage.
  3. Or, you can have your pet shipped through a licensed commercial shipper. You will likely be charged the cargo rate plus a shipping fee. Some airlines require this method unless your pet is small enough to fit under your seat in a proper shipping container. Generally, animals 100 lbs. or larger will be charged as cargo even if they travel on the same plane as you.

Globetrotting Pets: An International Travel Guide by David J. Forsythe asks wouldn't you rather have your pet with you rather than leave it at home with a sitter? This book says it will help you prepare to take your pet along, explain the various entry requirements of the world's countries, allow you to contact tourist offices and embassies worldwide to learn the pros and cons of traveling with your pet. The author says that over two million people travel internationally with their pets each year, very likely all on your flight. You can read our review of this book here.

User Feedback

Related Taking Pets Articles