Ideally, your pet would sit in your lap in the cabin of the aeroplane. This is by far the safest, least stressful way for your pet to travel by air. However, this is not the case on most U.S. airlines. Large dogs and "exotic" animals such as rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs are rarely allowed in the cabin, and most airlines only allow one small dog or cat to travel with you. Most airlines require you to have documentation from your veterinarian stating that your pet is healthy and has received all required vaccinations. All airlines have restrictions as to when short-nosed breeds of dogs can fly, according to temperatures during time of flight. Some large airlines are more pet-friendly than others.
Delta Air Lines
Delta allows one household bird, cat or dog small enough to fit comfortably in a kennel under the seat directly in front of you. The pet must be more than 8 weeks old and must stay in the kennel during flight. Otherwise, cats, dogs, household birds, guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters are accepted as checked baggage, and you may transport a total of two kennels per flight. Giant-size kennels can only be shipped as cargo.
Delta Air Lines P.O. Box 20706 Atlanta, GA 30320-6001 (800) 221-1212 delta.com
In the cabin, American Airlines accepts up to two dogs or cats of the same species over 8 weeks old in one kennel up to 19 inches long, 13 inches wide and 9 inches high. You must make reservations to bring your pet in advance. As check-in baggage, a maximum of two checked pets per passenger is allowed. They accept no other kinds of animals besides dogs and cats.
American Airlines P.O. Box 619612 MD 2400 DFW Airport, TX 75261-9612 (800) 433-7300 AA.com
Your dog, cat or household bird (canary, finch or parakeet) may be accepted as carry-on or checked baggage. One small dog, one cat, two weaned puppies, kittens or two birds may come in the cabin if they stay in a kennel small enough to fit under the seat. Rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs will be accepted as checked baggage only. All other animals, including parrots, cockatiels and ferrets, must fly cargo.
United Airlines 77W. Wacker Drive Chicago, IL 60601 (800) UNITED-1 united.com
Continental allows domesticated cats, dogs, pet rabbits and household birds to be carried in the aircraft cabin on most flights within the United States. Only one pet is allowed per person, in a kennel to remain under the seat. Advanced reservations are required. Otherwise, pets are shipped as cargo.
Continental Airlines P.O. Box 4607 Houston, TX 77210-4607 (800) 523-3273 continental.com