How Much Does It Cost to Fly a Dog on Domestic Flights?

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated January 16, 2024

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They say a dog is man’s best friend and it’s not hard to see why. Dogs provide us with companionship, unconditional love and a sense of security that’s hard to find elsewhere. But when traveling with our furry friends, things can get a little tricky. Do we leave them behind? Bring them along in the car? Or consider air travel? The answer is entirely up to you. But if you’re considering the latter, you’re not alone in wondering what is the cost to fly a dog.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of traveling with your pet, compare air travel to ground transportation and break down the costs of flying your furry friend with some of the major airlines in the US. So, whether you’re a seasoned pet traveler or a first-time flier, get ready for takeoff and let’s dive in!

Domestic Flight Fees for Dogs

If you plan on traveling with your furry friend by plane, understand your options. Generally speaking, there are three ways to transport a dog by air —shipping them as cargo, traveling with them in the cabin or checking them in as baggage in the cargo hold.

To make things easier, it’s essential to know the specific airline policies before booking your flight. Different airlines have their policies regarding pet travel, which may include size and breed restrictions.

To help pet owners navigate these options, we’ve compiled a list of major airlines in the United States and their pet travel policies.

#1. Cost of Flying a Dog on American Airlines

The cost of flying your dog on American Airlines varies depending on your itinerary, but the airline charges a pet fee of $125 per kennel if you’re able to bring the dog in the cabin. You’ll only be charged one pet fee if you travel with multiple pets and they can fit into one carrier or kennel. If you have multiple dogs in a single kennel, they’ll have to meet the airline’s weight threshold.

When traveling with American Airlines, there are some restrictions you need to keep in mind. For example, the pet and carrier combined must not weigh more than 20 pounds and your furry friend must remain in their carrier under the seat in front of you throughout the flight.

If you plan to travel with a larger dog that cannot fit under the seat, American Airlines also allows pets to travel in the cargo hold using American Airlines Cargo. This service can range from $200 to $600, depending on your dog’s weight and the distance of your flight. Keep in mind this is different from checking your pet as luggage; you currently cannot check a pet as luggage on the airline.

#2. Cost of Flying a Dog on Southwest Airlines

If you’re planning to travel with your furry friend on Southwest Airlines, you’re in luck. The airline charges a fee of $95 per pet carrier each way for domestic flights. And you can bring one personal item in addition to the carrier.

Remember that size restrictions exist for both the carrier and your pet. The carrier must fit under the seat in front of you and your pet must be able to stand up and turn around comfortably in the carrier.Southwest doesn’t allow pets in to be checked as luggage or fly as cargo.

#3. Cost of Flying a Dog on Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines allows passengers to travel with their pets in-cabin.For carry-on pets, Delta Airlines charges a fee of $95 each way for domestic travel within the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. But for international travel, the cost is $200 each way. This fee applies to cats and dogs..

Delta Airlines has temporarily suspended the service for pets traveling as checked baggage.Note that the cost of flying with a pet on Delta Airlines is subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to confirm the latest fees and policies before you travel.

#4. Cost of Flying a Dog on United Airlines

As one of the largest airlines in the US, United Airlines offers travelers a variety of pet-friendly options.For those who want to keep their furry friend close during the flight, United Airlines allows cats and dogs to travel in their cabin for just $125 each way.

Please note that if you have a layover that lasts longer than four hours on flights within the US, or more than 24 hours on international flights, you will be charged an additional $125 fee. Also, travel credits cannot be used to pay this fee.United Airlines allows up to two pets per flight; each pet must be in an approved carrier. And the maximum combined weight of your pet and its carrier must be no more than 20 pounds.

United Airlines did offer its “PetSafe” service, which allows passengers to transport their pets as cargo on certain flights. However PetSafe has been discontinued by United Airlines.

#5. Cost of Flying a Dog Frontier Airline

When it comes to traveling with your furry companion, Frontier Airlines is a top pick for many pet owners. They welcome all pets on board and offer affordable cabin options for those who want to bring their pets along for the adventure.

For just $99, you can bring your furry friend to the aircraft’s cabin on Frontier Airlines. And if you need a service animal, they’re welcome too! The good news? You won’t be subject to any fees! However, you will need to present the necessary documentation before your flight.

#6. Cost of Flying a Dog on Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines accepts a variety of pets, including cats, dogs, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters and household birds. The cost for this service is $100 for domestic flights.

But to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort during the flight, specific rules must be followed.

  • The combined weight of the pet and carrier must be no more than 150 lbs.
  • You must travel on the same flight(s) as your pet to its destination.
  • Dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old and weaned.
  • A health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian is required for each pet traveling in the baggage compartment.
  • At most, one live dog or cat, six months or older, may be transported in the same carrier.
  • All animals must be harmless, inoffensive (not destructive to themselves or the carrier) and require no attention during transit.

Adherence to these guidelines is essential to ensure a smooth and stress-free experience for you and your furry friend. Alaska Airlines is one of the few airlines that allows you to check a dog in the baggage compartment.

Additional Costs to Dog Transportation by Air

In addition to the base fee for flying a pet, several additional expenses can impact your travel budget.

#1. Additional Fees

Don’t let additional fees catch you off guard! Some airlines charge extra fees for pet transportation, with prices ranging from $50 to $500 or more depending on the airline, route and pet size.For example, some airlines may charge an additional fee for pets traveling in the cabin, while others require payment for pets traveling in the cargo hold. Make sure to research your airline’s pet policies to avoid unexpected costs.

#2. Price of Airline-Compliant Pet Carriers

Your pet’s safety and comfort during air travel are paramount and a suitable pet carrier can make all the difference. Airline-compliant pet carriers must meet specific size and construction requirements to ensure your furry friend’s well-being. And while the cost of a carrier can vary, investing in a carrier that meets your airline’s needs is crucial to avoid any unforeseen expenses or issues.

#3. Cost of Hiring a Flight Nanny

If you’re unable to travel with your pet, hiring a flight nanny or pet transporter can provide peace of mind. These professionals accompany your pet on the flight, ensuring their safety and well-being throughout the journey. But be prepared to pay several hundred dollars or more depending on the length of the trip and the number of pets. After all, you’re not just paying for the nanny’s time, you’re buying their round-trip ticket!

In addition to these costs, you’ll also need to obtain a health certificate from your veterinarian, which will also cost you. This certificate affirms your pet is healthy enough to travel and is up to date on all vaccinations.

So How Much Does it Cost to Fly a Dog?

On average,flying a dog domestically can cost between $200-$600. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

  • Airline fees: Depending on the airline, fees can range from $90-$300 each way.
  • Crate: A travel crate is required and can cost anywhere from $50-$500, depending on the size and quality.
  • Vet check and health certificate: This is usually required for air travel and can cost around $50-$300.

Be sure to plan ahead and check with your airline for any specific requirements or restrictions. With a little planning, you and your furry friend can have a smooth and stress-free journey.

Exploring Alternative Options for Pet Transportation?

Ground transportmay be the way to go if you’re looking for a safe, affordable and stress-free alternative to air transport for your pet. With ground transport, your pet can enjoy a comfortable ride in a private vehicle with an experienced driver and you can rest assured that they’ll receive the care and attention they need.

One great option for ground transport isCitizenShipper, a unique marketplace that connects pet owners with experienced and vetted drivers across the country. CitizenShipper lets you enjoy peace of mind knowing that your pet is in good hands.Plus, with CitizenShipper, you’ll have access to a vast network of trusted and experienced drivers, making it easy to find the perfect match for your needs.

So, if you’re looking for a reliable and cost-effective alternative to air transport or traditional pet transporters, look no further than CitizenShipper. Your furry friend will thank you for it!

The Wrap Up!

There’s no question that traveling with your pet on a domestic flight can be expensive. But by researching and investing in the right services, you can ensure your pet’s journey is safe and comfortable—without breaking the bank.

Remember to compare all your options, from air transport to traditional pet transporters and ground transport. Consider factors like safety, comfort and cost when making your decision. And if you’re looking for a stress-free and affordable alternative to air transport, CitizenShipper is an excellent option.

Start exploring your options today byposting your pet’s travel details on CitizenShipper and get multiple bids in seconds. Give your pet the journey they deserve—at the price you can afford!

Happy travels!