Alaska Airlines Pet Policy: Traveling with Dogs & Cats Safely

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated February 12, 2024

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Whether you’re bringing your pet along for a vacation or relocating to a new city, flying with a pet can feel stressful. It’s especially worrying if you’re not prepared to travel with your dog. But don’t worry! We have all the tips and tricks to ensure your pet has a safe and comfortable journey.

One of the most popular airlines for transporting pets is Alaska Airlines. The airline is very pet-friendly, but there are some details to understand before you book that ticket. From choosing between in-cabin and checked baggage to booking your flight and getting your pet ready to fly, we’ll guide you through every step. So, let’s get started on this adventure with your four-legged companion.

Steps to Book a Pet on A Flight

  1. Book your own ticket on
  2. Review Alaska Airlines pet policies.
  3. Contact reservations or call to reserve your pet’s coveted spot.

Age and Kennel Requirements for Pets on Alaska Airlines

When it comes to traveling with pets, safety and comfort are the top priorities. To ensure this, strict guidelines are in place for pet age and kennel requirements on their flights.

#1. Age Requirements

According to Alaska Airlines, pets must be at least eight weeks old to travel. This isn’t just an arbitrary rule, it’s in place to ensure your pet is healthy and strong enough to handle the stress of flying. Plus, younger pets may not have received all their immunizations yet, which could put them at risk of getting sick.

#2. Breeds Not Allowed in the Cargo Hold

Alaska Airlines has a list of dog breeds that aren’t allowed to travel in the cargo hold of their planes. It is because certain species are more susceptible to respiratory issues, which can be exacerbated by altitude and temperature changes during air travel.

Breeds that are not allowed in the cargo hold on Alaska Airlines include:

  • Pug
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Boxer
  • King Charles Spaniel
  • French Bulldog
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Shar-Pei
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Bulldog
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Shih Tzu
  • Bullmastiff
  • Boston Terrier

If you have one of these breeds, don’t worry! You can still travel with your pet in the plane cabin if they meet the airline’s size and weight requirements.

Kennel Requirements for Checked Pets on Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines has specific requirements for kennels that are used for checked pets:

#1. Size Requirements

Kennels must be large enough for your pet to sit comfortably and turn around. The kennel must also fit under the seat in front of you or the cargo hold.

Here are the kennel sizes accepted by Alaska Airlines:

  • Extra small carrier (9 lbs when empty) – 15″ x 16″ x 21″
  • Small carrier (14 lbs when empty) – 19″ x 20″ x 27″
  • Medium carrier (20 lbs when empty) – 23″ x 22″ x 32″
  • Large carrier (24 lbs when empty) – 26″ X 24″ x 36″
  • Extra large carrier (28 lbs when empty) – 30″ x 27″ x 40″

Smaller aircrafts may have more strict size restrictions.

#2. Material Requirements

Kennels must be made of sturdy and well-ventilated materials, such as metal or hard plastic. The kennel should also have a secure latch and door to prevent your pet from escaping during the flight. If your kennel includes wheels, they must be removed before boarding.

What Happens If Your Kennel Doesn’t Meet Requirements?

Nobody likes last-minute stress, especially when traveling with a pet. If you arrive at the airport with a kennel that doesn’t meet Alaska Airlines’ requirements, the airline can provide a temporary one at an additional cost. But let’s be real, you don’t want to deal with the hassle and charges.

To avoid any inconvenience for you and your furry companion, it’s best to ensure you have the proper kennel well in advance. That way, you can enjoy your trip and not worry about your pet’s comfort and security. Plus, you’ll save money and avoid any unnecessary stress.

chihuahua dog in transport bag or box ready to travel as pet in cabin in plane or airplane as a passanger

Checked Baggage Pet Policy on Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines allows pets to travel as checked baggage on their flights. It is an excellent option for larger pets who don’t fit under the seat and for pet owners who want to avoid keeping their pets with them during the flight. For instance, some animals have more anxiety when they can see their owner during the flight. Here are some important things to keep in mind when traveling with your pet as checked baggage on Alaska Airlines:

#1. Accepted Animals

Alaska Airlines accepts a wide variety of pets. From adorable cats and dogs to cuddly guinea pigs and rabbits, you can bring along your little companion for the ride. You can also bring your non-poisonous reptiles, household birds, pot-bellied pigs and tropical fish with you! Just check Alaska Airlines’ specific policies and requirements for each type of pet before you go.

#2. Carrier Requirements

Alaska Airlines has specific carrier requirements for pets traveling in the cabin and as checked baggage. The carrier must be leak-proof, well-ventilated for pets traveling in the cabin and fit snugly under the seat before you. Airlines require the carrier to have enough space for your pet to stretch, turn around and take a cat nap. But don’t worry, their carrier will only take up some of your legroom, and it can’t exceed 17″L x 11″W x 9.5″H.

The carrier needs to be sturdy and secure for pets traveling as checked baggage made of hard plastic or metal. Your pet’s comfort and safety are top priorities, so the carrier must also be leak-proof and well-ventilated. Plus, it must be big enough for your pet to stand up and turn around comfortably. After all, they don’t want to feel cramped on their journey.

#3. Fees

When traveling with a pet on Alaska Airlines, you’ll need to pay an additional fee for your pet. The fee varies depending on your travel type — in-cabin or checked baggage. For in-cabin travel, the fee is $100 each way. Remember, there’s a limit to the number of pets allowed in the cabin on each flight. Make sure to book early to secure a spot for your furry friend. If you choose to travel with your pet as checked baggage, the fee is $100 for travel within the United States and $200 for international travel. You may need to pay additional baggage fees if you’re also checking other luggage. Double-check the current pet travel fees and policies on Alaska Airlines’ website before booking your flight, as they may change occasionally and vary by airport.

#4. Health Certificates

Before traveling with a pet on Alaska Airlines, you will need to provide a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian. The certificate must be issued within ten days of travel for in-cabin and checked baggage pets. It must include information about your pet’s vaccinations, overall health status and other relevant information. Alaska Airlines may refuse to transport your pet if they appear in poor health or show distress. Additionally, if your pet is found to have a contagious disease, it may be denied boarding to protect the health of other passengers and animals on board. Your pet must have all vaccines issued 10 days before travel and 30 days before return travel on the same ticket. If you have separate tickets, vaccines must be done 10 days before travel, as well.

#5. Restrictions

There may be certain restrictions on when and where pets can travel as checked baggage, depending on the time of year and the destination. Make sure to check with Alaska Airlines to find out about any restrictions that may apply.

In-Cabin and Checked Baggage Pet Policy Comparison on Alaska Airlines

It’s expedient that you understand the differences between the in-cabin and checked baggage pet policy to make the best decision. Here’s a comparison of Alaska Airlines’ in-cabin and checked baggage pet policy:

#1. In-Cabin Pet Policy

Alaska Airlines allows cats and small dogs to travel in the cabin with their owners if they meet specific requirements. The maximum weight of the pet and carrier combined has to be less than 20 pounds. Only one pet is allowed per passenger, and the pet must remain in its carrier under the seat in front of you throughout the flight.

#2. Checked Baggage Pet Policy

Alaska Airlines offers checked baggage service for larger pets or those that don’t meet the requirements for in-cabin travel. Pets traveling in the cargo hold must be in an airline-approved carrier, which must meet specific size, material and ventilation requirements. Keep in mind that Alaska Airlines does not accept pets in the cargo hold during extreme weather conditions, as this could pose a risk to your pet’s health. At the time of departure, the temperature at the departing city and destination city must be between 45 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

What To Consider Before Choosing Between In-Cabin or Checked Baggage

When deciding whether to travel with your pet as an in-cabin or checked baggage on Alaska Airlines, there are a few factors to consider.

#1. Breed Restrictions

Check if your pet’s breed can travel in the cabin or cargo hold. As we mentioned earlier, certain species may not be allowed in the cargo hold due to their susceptibility to respiratory issues. If your pet is one of these breeds, you must travel with them in the cabin.

#2. Health Risks

Traveling by air can be stressful for pets, and certain health risks are associated with air travel, such as dehydration and temperature changes. That doesn’t mean your pet can’t fly with you. You only have to minimize these risks by ensuring that your pet is healthy and fit to fly and by following Alaska Airlines’ guidelines for pet travel. If your pet has a pre-existing medical condition, consult with your veterinarian before booking your flight.

#3. Additional Fees

Consider the additional fees associated with pet travel on Alaska Airlines. Traveling with a pet in the cabin typically costs more than traveling with a pet as checked baggage. Besides, if you’re traveling with your pet as checked baggage, you may need to pay additional baggage fees if you’re also checking other luggage.

Tips for Traveling with Pets on Alaska Airlines

Here are some tips for traveling with pets on Alaska Airlines:

#1. Book Your Flight Early

Book your flight as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Alaska Airlines limits the number of pets allowed on each flight, so booking in advance can secure a spot for your furry friend.

#2. Check Breed Restrictions

Check if your pet’s breed can travel in the cabin or cargo hold. As mentioned earlier, certain breeds may not be allowed in the cargo hold due to respiratory issues, verify with the airline before booking.

#3. Get Your Pet Accustomed To Their Carrier

Give your pet time to get used to their carrier before the flight. This usually reduces they animal’s anxiety during the flight.

#4. Follow Carrier Guidelines

Ensure your pet’s carrier meets the airline’s size and material requirements. The carrier must also be ventilated, leak-proof and secure.

#5. Ensure Your Pet is Healthy

Before you travel with your pet on Alaska Airlines, ensure they’re healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations. This will not only prevent the spread of diseases but also ensure that your pet is not at risk of any illnesses that could be made worse by the heat or stress of travel. So, make sure to take your pet to the vet for a check-up before the trip and confirm that they’re fit to fly.

#6. Provide Food and Water

Make sure your pet has access to food and water during the flight. For in-cabin pets, you can bring a small amount of food and a water dish in their carrier. While you’ll need to provide food and water in a container attached to the carrier for checked baggage pets

#7. Label Your Pet’s Carrier

Label the carrier with your pet’s name, your name and contact information. The contact information should be easily visible from the outside of the carrier. This ensures that your pet is reunited with you in unexpected situations.

#8. Be Prepared for the Unexpected

Bring extra food, water and any necessary medications for your pet. Consider freezing a large bowl of water — this ensures your pet has enough water for the entire flight and there’s no risk of spilling. Have a plan in case of any unexpected delays or emergencies and bring along a first aid kit.


That’s a wrap, folks! You’ve got everything covered for your pet’s trip with Alaska Airlines. Remember to pack some treats and verify all necessary documents before your flight. To ensure your pet’s safe and comfortable journey, post a listing on CitizenShipper to find a trusted driver to care for your furry friend.