Pet Shipping Regulations: Traveling with Your Pet on Alaska Airlines

Rochdi Rais Rochdi Rais · Updated May 31, 2023

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Traveling with your pet can be a rewarding experience, but it’s essential to be well-informed about the pet shipping regulations of the airline you choose. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about traveling with your pet on Alaska Airlines to ensure a smooth and stress-free journey for you and your furry companion.

Traveling with Your Pet on Alaska Airlines: In-Cabin Travel

Alaska Airlines allows pets to travel in the cabin with their owners, provided they meet specific requirements:

  1. Pet Carrier Requirements: Your pet’s carrier must fit under the seat in front of you and meet Alaska Airlines’ size guidelines. The carrier should be leak-proof, well-ventilated, and large enough for your pet to comfortably stand up and turn around.
  2. Weight and Size Restrictions: The combined weight of your pet and the carrier must not exceed 20 pounds.
  3. Breed Restrictions: Alaska Airlines does not accept certain breeds in the cabin. Please refer to Alaska Airlines pet policy for a comprehensive list of restricted breeds.
  4. Fees: There is a non-refundable pet fee of $100 per pet carrier, each way.
  5. Advance Reservations: Alaska Airlines requires pet owners to make advance reservations, as they only accept a limited number of pets per flight.

Traveling with Your Pet on Alaska Airlines: Checked Baggage

Alaska Airlines offers the option to transport pets as checked baggage for larger pets or those who cannot travel in the cabin. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Pet Carrier Requirements: The pet carrier must be hard-sided, well-ventilated, and large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around comfortably. It should also be secure and escape-proof.
  2. Weight and Size Restrictions: The combined weight of your pet and the carrier must not exceed 150 pounds.
  3. Temperature Restrictions: Alaska Airlines will not accept pets as checked baggage when temperatures at the origin, destination, or layover airports are too extreme for your pet’s safety.
  4. Fees: The fee for transporting your pet as checked baggage is $100 per pet carrier, each way.

Preparing for Your Pet’s Journey on Alaska Airlines

Before Traveling with Your Pet on Alaska Airlines, it’s essential to prepare for a successful journey:

  1. Visit Your Veterinarian: Schedule a visit with your veterinarian to ensure your pet is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations. Obtain a health certificate, which is required for travel on Alaska Airlines.
  2. Acclimate Your Pet to the Carrier: Help your pet become familiar with their carrier by allowing them to spend time in it before the trip.
  3. Pack Essentials: Pack your pet’s food, water, medications, and any necessary documents in a carry-on bag.
  4. Arrive Early: Check-in at least two hours before your flight to allow sufficient time for pet processing.

For more information on pet travel regulations and requirements, visit the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) website.

Tips for Reducing Pet Anxiety During Air Travel on Alaska Airlines

Traveling can be a stressful experience for both humans and their pets. However, there are several ways to minimize pet anxiety during air travel on Alaska Airlines, ensuring a more comfortable experience for your furry companion:

  1. Familiarize your pet with the carrier: Spend some time acclimating your pet to their carrier before the trip. Encourage them to spend time in it, eat in it, and sleep in it to create a sense of security and familiarity.
  2. Exercise your pet before the flight: A tired pet is less likely to be anxious during travel. Schedule a play session or walk before heading to the airport to help expend some of your pet’s energy.
  3. Bring a familiar item: Include a favorite toy, blanket, or item of clothing with your scent in the carrier to provide comfort and a sense of familiarity.
  4. Use calming aids: Consult your veterinarian about using calming aids, such as pheromone sprays or supplements, to help reduce your pet’s anxiety during the flight.
  5. Keep your pet’s routine: As much as possible, maintain your pet’s regular feeding and sleeping schedule in the days leading up to the trip to minimize disruption and stress.

By implementing these tips, you can help reduce your pet’s anxiety during air travel and ensure a more pleasant experience for both of you on Alaska Airlines.

Understanding Alaska Airlines’ Pet Cargo Service

Alaska Airlines offers a pet cargo service for pet owners who cannot travel with their pets in the cabin or as checked baggage. This service provides a safe and reliable alternative for transporting pets that do not meet in-cabin or checked baggage requirements. Here’s what you need to know about Alaska Airlines’ pet cargo service:

  1. Safety: Alaska Airlines has a dedicated pet cargo area that is pressurized and temperature-controlled, ensuring your pet’s safety and comfort during the flight.
  2. Carrier Requirements: The pet carrier must be a rigid, hard-sided container that meets the International Air Transport Association (IATA) guidelines. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably, and it should have proper ventilation and a secure door.
  3. Weight and Size Restrictions: There are no specific weight and size restrictions for pets transported as cargo, but the carrier must fit within the cargo area of the aircraft.
  4. Booking: Pet cargo reservations must be made separately from passenger reservations and done well before your travel date.
  5. Fees: The fees for pet cargo service vary depending on the size and weight of the pet and carrier, as well as the origin and destination of the flight. Contact Alaska Airlines for a quote.
  6. Documentation: Ensure you have your pet’s necessary health certificates and vaccination records, as required by the destination country or state.

By understanding the features and requirements of Alaska Airlines’ pet cargo service, you can decide on the best transportation option for your pet when they cannot travel in the cabin or as checked baggage.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the cheapest way to transport a pet?

Typically, ground transport is the cheapest way to transport a pet.  Longer trips using a transportation service, like CitizenShipper, typically average around $1.00 per mile.  Using a pet transportation service ensures your pet arrives in your new location safely, while minimizing stress and overall cost. 

How much does it cost to ship a pet internationally? 

While shipping your pet domestically is a relatively straightforward process, international shipping can be more complicated.  Hiring a pet transport service to help with international logistics can save a tremendous amount of stress and time.  

Each country of arrival will have specific regulations regarding pet health checks, necessary vaccination, and possible quarantine requirements.  The cost to ship a pet internationally can vary, especially if you need to board your pet for an extended quarantine. 

How much does it cost to transport cats?

The cost to transport cats will vary depending on the transport method.  Cats can be transported via ground or air transit, and are often small enough to be considered a “carry on” item.  Transporting a cat can cost as little as $25 on Amtrak, or as much as $125 to fly in the main cabin of an airplane.

How much does it cost to travel with a small pet?

Traveling with a small pet, compared to a large pet, is much cheaper.  Smaller pets can fit under the seat in front of you and can often qualify as a “carry on” item.  Traveling with small pets on Amtrak can cost $25, while airlines can charge around $125.  Keep in mind certain companies will only allow cats and dogs to travel.  

What does it cost to ship a puppy?

While puppies are small enough to fly in most airline cabins, they can incur additional costs.  Puppies generally require more attention, and therefore can be more expensive than shipping an adult dog or cat.  

Many breeders will utilize an air nanny service to accompany your puppy.  If the air nanny is experienced, or a regular, certain airlines may provide discounted rates or waive certain fees.  Breeders regularly ship puppies to their new homes and are well-versed in arranging transportation.  

Bottom Line

Traveling with your pet on Alaska Airlines can be a smooth and enjoyable experience when you’re well-informed about their pet shipping regulations and properly prepared for the journey. Whether your pet travels in the cabin, as checked baggage, or through the pet cargo service, the key to a successful trip is understanding the requirements and ensuring your pet’s comfort and safety.

However, if you’re looking for an alternative to air travel, consider a pet transportation service like CitizenShipper, which connects pet owners with trusted and experienced pet transporters for a personalized and stress-free travel experience for your furry companion.