Spirit Airlines Pet Policy 2024: Rules for Dogs, Cats and More

Adaeze Nwakaeze Adaeze Nwakaeze · Updated February 12, 2024

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A yellow airplane representing Spirit Airlines flying in the sky with its pet policy prominently displayed.

Planning a trip and wondering if your pet can come along for the ride? Well, you’re in luck! Spirit Airlines allows pets on board, so you and your four-legged friend can jet set together. But before you start packing your pet’s bags, get up to speed on Spirit Airlines’ pet policy. After all, traveling with your pet can be more complicated than just throwing a leash in your suitcase and heading to the airport.

That’s where we come in! In this article, we’ll guide you through everything you need to know about Spirit Airlines’ pet policy. So, even if it’s your first time taking to the skies with your pet, we’re here to help make your trip on Spirit Airlines as smooth as possible. 

Allowed Pets on Board

Spirit Airlines allow the following animals on board as pets:

  • Small cats
  • Small dogs
  • Small household birds
  • Small household rabbits

Note that household birds do not include farm poultry, waterfowl, game birds, flightless birds and birds of prey.

But that’s not all! Pet owners need to be aware of certain restrictions and rules. First, your pet needs to be at least eight weeks old and fully weaned to travel on Spirit Airlines. So, no bringing along your brand-new puppy or kitten just yet!

Service animals (animals that are trained to perform a task or work for a person with a disability, such as a guide dog for blind people) aren’t left out. They are allowed on board but must meet specific requirements and some documentation must be provided. Also, note that your service animal must be a dog.

Furthermore, Spirit Airlines does not allow large dogs and large cats in the cargohold at any time. Animals are also not allowed during international flights unless they are service animals. You should also present your animal for screening at the security checkpoint.

Prohibited Pets on Spirit Airlines

Now, we know that some of you might be thinking about bringing along your beloved hamster or pet tarantula, but unfortunately, rodents, reptiles, spiders, insects and hedgehogs are not allowed on flights either. 

We can’t say we blame Spirit Airlines on this one — we’d be pretty uncomfortable if there were a tarantula loose on our flight!

Consider Ground Transportation as an Alternative to Spirit Airlines

With many restrictions around pet air travel, ground transportation is often a better solution. It’s the safest, most reliable and most humane way to send a pet long distances.

Required Documents

No one likes last-minute surprises when traveling, so having all the necessary documents is crucial when traveling with your pet on Spirit Airlines.

#1. Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Letter

Spirit Airlines’ ESA policy previously mandated passengers to provide an ESA letter on the letterhead of a licensed medical health professional, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or clinical social worker. However, ESA are no longer permitted on Spirit Airlines flights (or any other airlines’ flights, for that matter). They can fly with you if they meet the pet travel requirements.

#2. Veterinary Health Certificate

If you are traveling to Puerto Rico or USVI, it is mandatory to have a veterinary health certificate or rabies vaccination. But if you are traveling with a service animal on Spirit Airlines to other destinations, you do not need to provide a veterinary health form or health certificate. Despite this, carrying these documents with you is advisable as they may be required at your destination for other reasons.

#3. Copy of Current Shots

While traveling with a service animal, Spirit Airlines doesn’t mandate that you provide a copy of your pet’s current shot records.

But it is advised to carry this paperwork along with your ESA letter, just in case it is required at your destination. Note that most states require specific vaccinations for pets, so it is always wise to have proof of all necessary vaccinations while traveling.

#4. A Signed Testament of the Animal’s behavior

While Spirit Airlines ESA Policy doesn’t mandate a signed testament to the animal’s behavior, the animal must be well-behaved and under your control throughout the flight. Your furry companion shouldn’t demonstrate disruptive behavior during the flight, including barking, growling, running or jumping.

Aircraft Cabin Restrictions

While Spirit Airlines allows pets to travel in the cabin with their owners, there are some restrictions to keep in mind to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers.

#1. Pets Must Be Odorless and Well-Behaved

We all love our furry friends, but let’s be honest — sometimes they smell! Let’s not forget about the importance of good behavior, too. To ensure your pet smells fresh and clean, give them a bath and grooming session before your flight. This reduces any unwanted smells and helps your pet feel more comfortable and relaxed during the journey.

And when it comes to behavior, your pet must be well-trained and not cause any disturbances on the flight. Nobody wants to be seated next to a yapping dog or cat constantly trying to escape its carrier.

#2. Passengers Are Responsible for Their Pets

You’re not only responsible for your safety but also for the safety and well-being of your pet during the flight. Your pet should be healthy enough to travel and has all the necessary documents and vaccinations before boarding the plane. Once on board, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your pet and provide them with plenty of attention and comfort to keep them calm and happy.

Securing your pet in its carrier is crucial for its safety and the safety of others on the flight. You wouldn’t want your pet to break loose and start running down the aisle, causing chaos and disruption. It’s not a good look!

If your pet becomes sick or starts acting up during the flight, it’s your responsibility to take care of them and ensure they don’t bother other passengers or crew members. Pack some treats, toys or other distractions to keep your pet entertained and relaxed.

Seating and Carrier Requirements for Pets on Spirit Airlines

Your carrier should be FAA-approved and meet the airline’s guidelines. For Spirit Airlines, the carrier must fit comfortably under the seat in front of you. While the carrier has to fit under the seat, it also needs to be large enough that your pet doesn’t feel cramped and uncomfortable during the flight. 

Once you have your carrier all set up, you’ll need to ensure that your pet stays inside it throughout the flight, except when they need to use the designated pet relief area. This means no snuggling on your lap during takeoff or landing, unfortunately. But hey, your pet will be cozy in their carrier, and you can focus on getting some well-deserved rest or catching up on your favorite TV shows.

It’s also important to note that Spirit Airlines does not permit pets in first-class seating or emergency exit rows. So, choose your seat wisely and ensure you’re both comfortable for the duration of the flight.

Approved Carrier Dimensions

Spirit Airlines allows passengers to bring pet carriers on board, provided they are within the maximum size of 18″ x 14″ x 9″ and the combined weight of the pet and carrier does not exceed 40 pounds. Please note that only soft-sided containers are allowed in the cabin for pet transportation, and you must select the appropriate type of container that prevents your pet from sticking its head outside. 

Furthermore, it is important to ensure that the container meets all government safety standards for pet transport to guarantee the safety of your furry friend throughout their journey.

Limited Number of Pets Per Flight: Importance of Booking in Advance

Each passenger is allowed to bring only one pet carrier with a maximum of two pets inside when traveling on Spirit Airlines. 

Pets are not permitted on international flights. Additionally, on routes within United States territories, including San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, Spirit Airlines has a maximum limit of four pet carriers allowed in the cabin. They operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

So, the last thing you want is to show up at the airport with your pet carrier and discover that all the pet slots on the flight are already filled. To avoid that nightmare, book your pet’s spot in advance to ensure there is space for them on the flight.

You can book your pet’s spot by contacting Spirit Airlines Reservations Center at 800-772-7117.

Pet Fees

Fees for Pets on Spirit Airlines

The fee for pets traveling in the cabin is $110 each way. This fee applies to dogs, cats, and household birds. Payment is usually made to book your pet’s travel in advance to ensure there is space available. Therefore, no payment and no reservation. Note that the pet fee is non-refundable, even if you cancel your reservation. So, it’s always a good idea to double-check your travel plans before booking your pet’s ticket.


There you have it, folks! Traveling with your pet on Spirit Airlines is totally possible, but it’s more complex than just showing up at the airport with your furry pal in tow. You need to be aware of the rules and restrictions to ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey for you and your pet. 

Ready to take your pet on your next adventure? Post a listing on CitizenShipper today and select the ideal pet transporter for your specific requirements.