In most cases, you cannot buy your dog a seat on an airplane. That being said, some airlines may allow you to “purchase an airline seat,” but your dog can’t actually sit on the seat. Unfortunately, this exception primarily only applies to fully-trained service dogs.
Whether you’re traveling for pleasure or business, plenty of us have pets that we can’t bear to part with for long. Unfortunately, not every airline will allow you to bring your dog on a plane. And even those that do allow you to buy a plane ticket for your dog won’t let your dog sit in the actual seat.
Does this mean your dog isn’t allowed in the plane at all or just the cabin? Are there airlines that will allow large dogs on planes? In this article, we’ll discuss which airlines require your dog to remain in a pet carrier during the flight, which allow dogs in the cabin, and whether your pooch can travel with you in the next seat over.
Can you buy a seat for your dog on an airplane?
Sadly, most major airlines don’t allow you to buy an airplane seat for your dog. Though airlines may allow you to travel with your pet, you generally can’t buy them an actual seat. However, there are exceptions (which we’ll get to later).
Of course, if you do bring your dog in-cabin, there will be certain restrictions. Most airlines require you to pay a pet fee, which varies based on the airline. These fees will also differ for service animals, which are often free of charge. That being said, be sure to check the pet policies of the airline you’re traveling with before bringing your dog to the airport.
Which airlines allow you to buy dog seats?
Though most airlines won’t allow you to buy an additional seat for your dog, you may be able to bring them with you if they fit under your seat. If you have a large dog, however, you may have to put them in the baggage compartment.
- United Airlines. Pets can join you on most United flights, but there are some restrictions for international travel. That being said, you cannot purchase an extra seat for your dog. As of 2022, dogs cannot travel in the baggage compartment.
- American Airlines. Pet owners can bring their dogs in-cabin provided they fit under the front seat. Large dogs may travel in the cargo space, but fees vary.
- Alaska Airlines. Though you can bring your dog in-cabin or in the cargo area, Alaska Airlines does have breed restrictions. Short-nosed dogs, for example, cannot travel in the plane’s baggage compartment and must fit within the under-seat dimensions.
- Southwest Airlines. Unfortunately, Southwest Airlines only allows small dogs in-cabin. Large dogs and dog breeds are not allowed on board.
- Jet Blue. JetBlue only allows six pets per flight, so if you intend on traveling through them, it’s best to plan ahead. As with many airlines, JetBlue requires that pets be small enough so that they may be stored under your seat in a pet carrier.
- Delta Air Lines. You may bring one pet in-cabin as your carry-on luggage, which may include a small dog, cat, or household bird.
For more information, use the table below to find your airline and their pet policies (for domestic flights). Each airline also has thorough guidelines regarding their pet rules online.
|Airline||Pet fee||Size limit||Age requirement|
|American||$125||Hard-sided: 19 x 13 x 9 inches|
Soft-sided: 18 x 11 x 11 inches
|8 weeks old|
|Alaska*||$100||Hard-sided: 17″ x 11″ x 7.5″|
Soft-sided: 17″ x 11″ x 9.5″
|8 weeks old|
|Jet Blue||$125||17″ x 12.5″ x 8.5″ for both types of carriers||Not listed|
|Southwest*||$95||18.5″ x 8.5″ x 13.5″||8 weeks old|
|United**||$125||Hard-sided: 17″ x 12″ x 7.5″|
Soft-sided: 18″ x 11″ x 11″
|8 weeks old|
|Delta*||$95||Soft-sided: 18″ x 11″ x 11″ (preferred)|
Dimensions may differ depending on aircraft dimensions.
|10 weeks old|
|*Fee applies to each way.|
|**Fee applies to each way, and an additional charge may be applied for any layovers over four hours.|
Small or independent airlines
While most of what we discuss regards major airlines, there are multiple small and independent airlines that may accommodate your furry friend. However, in most cases, even when a small airline allows you to “purchase a seat” for your dog (as JSX does), your dog can’t actually occupy the seat. This simply provides you with a little extra room for you and your dog while on your flight.
If you’re traveling on any of the below independent airlines, check their online pet policies to see whether you can purchase a seat for your dog.
- Tradewind Aviation
- Surf Air
How can your dog travel with you?
If the airline you’re flying on allows pets, there are a few ways you can bring them with you. Depending on the size of your dog, you may be able to choose where your dog stays on the plane or be asked to keep your dog in the baggage area.
Fortunately for many dog lovers, most airlines allow you to bring your dog in-cabin during your flight as long as your dog can fit under the seat in front of you. Your dog must remain in a pet carrier for the duration of the flight and must be able to stand up and turn around within its carrier. This applies regardless of whether you have a hard or soft-sided kennel (though you may be able to have a slightly larger soft-sided carrier)
For anyone traveling with a service dog, your dog may join you in the cabin. If your dog is too large to fit under the seat in front of you, you may be required to purchase an additional seat for your dog. However, this does not mean your dog can actually occupy the seat.
If your dog is too big to be in-cabin with you, you’ll have to keep your dog in the baggage compartment. Since airline baggage compartments are climate-controlled, your dog won’t have any issues getting too hot.
However, to make sure your pet is safe, airlines allowing this kind of travel require you to provide an approved pet carrier for your pet. This must be a ventilated pet carrier and one that your dog can fully stand up and turn around while inside. To ensure the animal is safe, some airlines require you to provide written confirmation that your pet was fed and provided water within four hours of the flight.
What kinds of dogs can come on airplanes?
Though airlines don’t generally restrict what dog or dog breed can travel with you (except for size restrictions), service dogs or military pets may have fewer restrictions.
Service dogs are welcome on most domestic and international flights. However, service dogs are generally required to sit within the footprint of your seat while onboard. If your service animal is a large dog, you may be required to purchase a seat beside you for your animal. That being said, your service dog still cannot sit in the seat.
For the most part, your service dog must also be fully trained in order to board, as any animal in training is not a certified service animal. You must also contact the airline at least 48 hours before your flight to provide any medical or psychiatric paperwork identifying your dog as a service animal.
Emotional support dog
Though emotional support animals are generally not viewed as service animals, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) generally allows emotional support animals in-cabin with their respective passengers. That being said, some airlines (like Alaska Air) requests anyone traveling with an emotional support dog to adhere to the general pet policies.
As with service animals, you must submit a medical form and veterinary paperwork to ensure that the animal is a medical necessity for your flight and safe for other passengers. Unfortunately, many dog owners abuse the ACAA to get their pets onboard without paying the airline’s extra pet fee.
Military personnel traveling with their pets may have special allowances provided they are traveling on official orders. For instance, an active military member may check his or her dog on an American Airlines flight, whereas other customers are not allowed to do so. The same is true of any military member traveling through United Airlines, though United also allows a military member to check a dog if under Permanent Change of Station orders.
Can I buy a seat for my dog on an airplane internationally?
Though dogs can join you for international flights, there are additional requirements you must meet before they can join you. For instance, United Airlines requires that any pets flying internationally must be at least four months old to comply with rabies vaccination requirements.
It’s also important that you check the airline rules before bringing your dog to the airport for an international flight, as not all airlines allow this kind of travel.
What are the size restrictions for dogs that fly in-cabin?
For most airlines, your dog and the dog carrier must have a combined weight of no more than 20 pounds to fly in the cabin. This weight obviously differs depending on the airline and whether your dog is a service dog or an emotional support animal.
Check the table above for accepted kennel dimensions on specific airlines. If your airline isn’t included in the list above, contact them before traveling.
Can I buy a first-class seat for my dog?
While you can bring your dog into the first-class cabin, you can’t actually purchase a first-class seat for your dog. As with economy class, your dog must be small enough to fit under your seat and must remain in the dog carrier for the entire flight.
Can large dogs fly first class?
Depending on the airline, you may not be able to travel with a dog larger than 40 pounds. Though many airlines allow larger dogs to travel in the baggage compartment, other airlines (like Southwest and Jet Blue) only allow small dogs in-cabin. However, these restrictions may be relaxed if your dog is a service animal.
Can my dog sit on my lap during a flight?
Unfortunately, most pets in-cabin must remain in their pet carriers for the entire flight. The only exception is for service dogs, who may remain on your lap provided the dog is smaller than an infant or fits entirely on your lap without touching the adjacent seat.
- You cannot buy a seat for your dog on most major airlines, as they must fit under the seat in front of you.
- Different airlines have different size requirements for in-cabin dogs. However, the most common size requirements for kennels are between 17″ x 11″ x 7.5″ and 18″ x 11″ x 11″.
- Some airlines allow you to keep your pets among other checked bags in the baggage compartment.
- To remain in-cabin, your dog must stay in its pet carrier for the entire flight. This, of course, doesn’t apply to service dogs.
- Service dogs may remain outside of their carriers but must fit within the passenger’s seat footprint. If your service animal is a large dog, you may have to purchase an extra seat for your dog, though the animal cannot sit in the seat.
View Article Sources
- Carry on or transport your pet — American Airlines
- Travel for animals — United Airlines
- Pet Travel — Alaska Airlines
- Flying with Pets — Southwest Airlines
- Traveling with Pets — JetBlue Airlines
- Pets — Overview — Delta Air Lines
- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Pet Travel — U.S. Department of Agriculture
- How Much Does a Small Plane Cost? — SuperMoney
- How Much Does a Helicopter Cost? — SuperMoney
- How to Find Renters and Home Insurance That Covers Dogs — SuperMoney
- Does Pet Insurance Cover Spaying and Neutering? — SuperMoney
- What Are The Cheapest Days To Fly? — SuperMoney
- American Airlines Carry-on Size: Limits and Rules — SuperMoney
- Northwest Bank Travel Visa Credit Card — SuperMoney
- Compare Travel Insurance Companies — SuperMoney