How Much Does It Cost to Fly With a Dog?

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated: March 15, 2023 / Published: March 2, 2023
Cost of Dog-Friendly Air Travel

Everyone knows that flying with a dog can be stressful and costly. It’s like flying with a child, but often more expensive. Between the cost of airline tickets, pet fees and other associated costs, it’s no wonder why many people are hesitant to fly with their furry friends. But how much exactly does it cost to fly with a dog?

As a pet transportation method, flying with your pet isn’t something to take lightly, but if you’re prepared and know what to expect and prepare yourself financially, it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. So, if you’re thinking about taking your furry friend on a plane ride for a vacation or moving to a new home and wondering how much it costs, here’s what you need to know about the cost of flying with a dog.

Factors that Determine the Cost of Flying with a Dog

When it comes to traveling with a furry companion, there are various expenses you must account for. Let’s take a look at some of the factors that will influence how much flying your pet will cost:

#1. Airline Fees

First, you need to know how much you’ll have to cough up to get your dog on the plane. Airline fees for pets vary depending on the airline, but one thing is for sure: it’s not cheap.

Generally, the average cost of flying with a pet is $125 each way, but it varies across airlines, with United airlines charging $125 and American Airlines charging anywhere from $125 to $200 for carry-on and checked pets, respectively. And remember, if you want your pet to fly in the cabin, you’ll also have to buy your own ticket or pay for an air nanny’s roundtrip ticket.

That’s right, you’ll need to spend some serious bucks just to get your furry friend in the air.

#2. Size of Dog & Crate

The size of your dog and the crate they’ll be traveling in can also affect the cost. Some airlines charge more for larger dogs since they’ll require a larger crate.

Generally airlines have a 20-25 pound limit on pets that fly in the cabin (and that weight includes the carrier). All others are charged as checked luggage and transported in the cargo area. 

If your dog is 100 pounds or bigger it will have to use the airline’s cargo program. This is different from a smaller dog traveling in the same cargo area as checked luggage. Unsurprisingly, it’s more to fly your dog as cargo.

Because let’s be real, a Great Dane will need a much larger crate and space than a 20 lbs Chihuahua, so they’ll have to go in the cargo hold of airlines that allow it.

Whereas smaller dogs can stay inside a small crate that can fit under the seat in front of you — but you’ll still have to pay the associated fees.

But don’t worry. No matter the size, your dog can still fly the friendly skies.

#3. Type of Plane

Believe it or not, the type of plane can also affect the cost of flying with a dog. Some planes have more space for animals than others so the smaller planes will be a little more expensive.

The size of the plane also matters as it will determine how many carry-on pets can be allowed. Smaller planes don’t have as much room for carry-on pets, so you’ll be limited and may even have to pay more.

Also, you’ll likely have to pay more fees for international flights requiring multiple plane changes or layovers.

It’s important to research and shop around when looking for the best airline to fly with your pet.

Other Important Considerations

In addition to the cost of flying with a pet, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind.

#1. Vaccinations & Health Certificates

Most airlines require that pets have up-to-date vaccinations and health certificates.

This can add to the cost of flying with a pet, as you may need to visit a vet to get the necessary vaccinations and paperwork. And the cost of getting a health certificate can be between $35 to $300, depending on the vet.

For international travels, however, your pet’s Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) will need to get a USDA endorsement from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Depending on the number of tests your dog had, the cost of getting an endorsement can range from $38 to upwards of $173. So, make sure to factor that in when budgeting for your pet’s travel.

#2. Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is another cost to consider when flying with a pet. Pet insurance can help cover any medical costs in case your pet gets injured or ill while traveling.

That’s why some pet owners opt for pet insurance. It’s like a safety net for your furry friend’s travels.

#3. Comfort & Safety

Finally, it’s important to make sure your pet is comfortable and safe while traveling.

Bring along the necessary items to keep your pet comfortable, such as a blanket or toy. Also, secure your pet properly in the crate or carrier.


Flying with a pet can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. While shopping around for the best airline, be sure to factor in all additional costs, such as vaccinations, health certificates, pet insurance and comfort items.

Also, consider hiring an air nanny from CitizenShipper if you need a professional animal handler to accompany your pet on their flight.