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Federal Regulations for Pet Travel on Planes

February 27, 2014

Since a pet is a member of your family, you might be considering bringing him or her along on your next long-distance trip. You will need to plan ahead to ensure the best possible in-flight experience. The Federal Aviation Authority has published helpful information about traveling with pets on its website at
, which includes answers to frequently asked questions about the process.

While federal regulations require airlines to allow service animals in the cabin, not all airlines permit pets to travel this way. Ask your air carrier about its policies before you book your flight. If your airline allows pets to fly in-cabin, they must be brought aboard in an approved container small enough to fit under a seat. The FAA considers a pet in a carrier to be a carry-on item.

Even airlines that allow cats and dogs in passenger cabins may not allow other animals. For example, only a handful of U.S.-based airlines allow rabbits to fly in-cabin. And your snake will likely only be able to fly as air cargo, making reptiles among the most difficult species with which to travel.

Most airlines require an extra fee for in-cabin pets, which can be as much as several hundred dollars per animal. Most also limit the number of animals that can travel in a cabin on any one flight. Plus, many airlines have different rules for international and domestic flights, and your destination will have its own regulations. Even within the United States, pet owners who transport their animals across state lines are required to travel with a veterinarian-issued health certificate.


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