How much does it cost to fly a pet?

Turning Points 3 min read

If you like to travel with your dog, and you are wondering how much it costs to bring a dog on a plane, you’ll need to add their travel costs to your budget. Generally, airlines charge a pet fee of $100 to $200 each way, but prices will vary depending on where you’re traveling and your airline. Check the airline’s pet policy before purchasing a ticket to make sure your pet meets the airline’s breed and size requirements. If not, the airline won’t let them board.

How do airlines determine pet flying costs?

Two main factors that affect how much you’ll pay to fly a pet. These factors include your pet’s size and where you are traveling. It costs less if your dog is small enough to fit in a carrier under the seat in front of you. If your pet is too large for the cabin, it typically costs more for them to travel in cargo if the airline allows it. Most major U.S. airlines don’t. In general, pet fees are higher for international than domestic flights.

Are there other pet air travel costs?

When flying with a pet, there are more costs to consider than the airline’s pet fee.

Carrier

Your pet must remain in an airline-approved carrier for the entire flight. Carrier requirements vary by airline and aircraft, so check before purchasing one. The cost for carriers ranges from $35-$150, depending on the size.

Baggage fees

Many airlines count the carrier as your carry-on bag. Therefore, the airline may charge a baggage fee if you need to check additional luggage.

Health certificate

You may need a certificate from your vet showing that your pet is up to date on their vaccines and healthy enough to travel. The cost varies from vet to vet. You must also get a USDA endorsement of the certificate if you fly internationally. The fee for the endorsement ranges from $38-$173 per pet as of August 2021, depending on the number of lab tests your pet needs.

Pet flying costs by airline

(All prices listed and policies regarding pet travel for each airline were valid as of November 2022. You should check your airline’s website for any changes prior to booking travel.)

American Airlines

American Airlines only allows dogs and cats on their flights. The cost to bring a cat on the plane is the same as the cost of a dog. American charges about $125 for pets traveling in the cabin. If your pet is too big for the cabin, the airline allows pets of active-duty military members and U.S. State Department employees to fly in cargo for $200.

Delta Airlines

Small dogs and cats may travel in the cabin aboard Delta Airlines flights. Delta also allows birds on U.S. domestic flights, except those traveling to Hawaii, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The cost of flying pets on Delta is $95 for flights to and from the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. The fee for international flights is $200. Delta doesn’t currently allow pets to travel in cargo.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines allows cats and dogs who can fit under the seat in front of you to fly in the cabin on domestic flights. The airline doesn’t allow pets on international flights. The cost of flying pets is $95 each way. There is no cargo option.

United Airlines

United Airlines allows dogs and cats on domestic flights (except Hawaii) and some international flights for $125 each way. United charges an additional $125 for each layover that’s more than four hours in the United States and more than 24 hours outside of the U.S. The airline doesn’t accept pets that can’t travel in-cabin. Notably, United doesn’t count your pet carrier as your carry-on bag.

Other considerations for pet flying costs

Flying with pets adds a layer of complexity to your journey, so preparing before arriving at the airport is important. Before embarking on a big trip with your pet, be sure you’re both protected. Travel insurance can save you money in case of trip cancellation or interruption, while pet insurance helps cover the vet bills when your cat or dog gets hurt or sick. Learn more about how pet insurance works.

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