Comparing Pet Shipping Options: Alaska Airlines vs. American Airlines

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated May 31, 2023

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When planning to travel with your pet, it’s essential to consider the various pet shipping options offered by different airlines. In this article, we will be comparing pet shipping options: Alaska Airlines vs. American Airlines, to help you make an informed decision based on your pet’s needs and your travel requirements.

In-Cabin Travel: Alaska Airlines vs. American Airlines

Both Alaska Airlines and American Airlines allow pets to travel in the cabin with their owners, subject to specific requirements and restrictions:

  1. Alaska Airlines: Pets, including the carrier, must weigh no more than 20 pounds. The carrier must fit under the seat before you and meet the airline’s size guidelines. A non-refundable pet fee of $100 per carrier each way is required.
  2. American Airlines: Pets must fit in a carrier that meets the airline’s size guidelines and can be stowed under the seat before you. A non-refundable pet fee of $125 per carrier each way is required.

Checked Baggage: Comparing Pet Shipping Options: Alaska Airlines vs. American Airlines

Both Alaska Airlines and American Airlines offer pet shipping services as checked baggage:

  1. Alaska Airlines: Pets weighing up to 150 pounds, including the carrier, can be transported as checked baggage. The carrier must be a hard-sided, well-ventilated container. A fee of $100 per carrier each way applies.
  2. American Airlines: Pets weighing up to 100 pounds, including the carrier, can be transported as checked baggage. The carrier must meet IATA guidelines and be an appropriate size for your pet. A fee of $200 per carrier each way applies.

Pet Cargo Services: Alaska Airlines vs. American Airlines

For pets that cannot travel in the cabin or as checked baggage, both airlines offer pet cargo services:

  1. Alaska Airlines: Offers a temperature-controlled, pressurized pet cargo area. Fees vary depending on the size and weight of the pet and carrier, as well as the origin and destination of the flight.
  2. American Airlines: Offers the American Airlines Cargo service, which transports pets in a temperature-controlled, pressurized environment. Fees vary based on the pet’s size, weight, and destination.

Preparing Your Pet for Air Travel on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines

Before embarking on a trip with your pet, it’s crucial to prepare them for air travel, regardless of whether you’re flying with Alaska Airlines or American Airlines. Here are some essential steps to ensure your pet’s comfort and well-being during the journey:

  1. Visit your veterinarian: Schedule a check-up with your veterinarian to confirm your pet’s health and ensure they have the required vaccinations and health certificates for your destination.
  2. Choose an appropriate pet carrier: Invest in a high-quality, airline-approved pet carrier that meets the size requirements of the airline you’re flying with. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around, and lie comfortably.
  3. Familiarize your pet with the carrier: Encourage them to spend time in their carrier before the trip, making them comfortable with it. Place a familiar item, such as a toy or blanket, inside the carrier to help your pet feel more at ease.
  4. Maintain a consistent routine: As much as possible, keep your pet’s feeding and sleeping schedule consistent in the days leading up to your trip. This will help minimize disruption and stress during travel.
  5. Exercise your pet before departure: Help them expend energy before your flight by engaging them in a play session or taking them for a walk. A tired pet is less likely to experience anxiety during travel.

By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth and comfortable journey for your pet, whether you’re flying with Alaska Airlines or American Airlines.

Pet Travel Restrictions and Regulations on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines

When comparing pet shipping options on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines, it’s essential to be aware of pet travel restrictions and regulations that may apply. Both airlines have specific requirements and restrictions in place to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers and pets:

  1. Breed restrictions: Alaska Airlines and American Airlines have restrictions on specific breeds, especially brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds, due to their increased risk of respiratory distress during air travel.
  2. Temperature restrictions: Alaska Airlines and American Airlines enforce temperature restrictions to protect pets from extreme temperatures during travel. Pets may not be allowed to travel if temperatures at the origin, destination, or layover airports exceed or fall below-specified limits.
  3. International travel: When traveling internationally, you must adhere to your destination country’s pet import and export regulations. This may include obtaining specific health certificates, vaccinations, or quarantine requirements.
  4. Emotional support and service animals: Both airlines allow them to travel in the cabin with their owners. However, specific documentation and advance notice may be required. Consult each airline’s website for detailed information on traveling with emotional support or service animals.

Understanding the pet travel restrictions and regulations on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines is vital for ensuring a successful and stress-free journey with your pet. Always consult each airline’s pet policy and the regulations of your destination country before booking your flight.

FAQS: Alaska Airlines Vs. American Airlines

Can I travel with my pet in the cabin on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines?

Yes, both airlines allow pets to travel in the cabin, subject to a specific size, weight, and carrier requirements. Ensure your pet and carrier meet the airline’s guidelines before booking your flight.

What are the fees for traveling with my pet on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines?

On Alaska Airlines, the fee for in-cabin travel is $100 per carrier each way, and for checked baggage, it’s also $100 per carrier each way. On American Airlines, the fee for in-cabin travel is $125 per carrier each way, and for checked baggage, it’s $200 per carrier each way.

Are there any breed restrictions when traveling with my pet on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines?

Both airlines have breed restrictions, particularly for brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds, due to the increased risk of respiratory distress during air travel. Reviewing each airline’s pet policy to determine whether your pet’s breed can travel is essential.

Can I ship my pet as cargo on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines if they don’t qualify for in-cabin or checked baggage travel?

Yes, both airlines offer pet cargo services for pets that cannot travel in the cabin or as checked baggage. Ensure you review each airline’s pet cargo service requirements and fees before booking.

What documents do I need when traveling with my pet on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines?

You will need a valid health certificate from your veterinarian, indicating your pet’s health status and required vaccinations. For international travel, consult the pet import and export regulations of your destination country to ensure you have the necessary documentation.

Bottom Line

Both airlines offer various options for pet travel, including in-cabin, checked baggage, and cargo services. Ultimately, the best choice for you and your pet will depend on factors such as pet size, weight, destination, and travel requirements.

Familiarizing yourself with each airline’s pet policies and fees is essential to make an informed decision. Additionally, if you’re considering alternative pet shipping options, such as what airlines allow pets to fly alone, consult a reputable pet transportation service to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort during travel.