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Airline Pet Policy Southwest
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To the best of our ability, we ensure that recommendations given on reflect the current airline regulations. We cannot predict how a given airline may enforce these regulations. Noncompliance may result in the need to deny boarding for your pet. We suggest that you minimize the disruptions that may occur by carefully following the rules of the airline you are using.

Home > Airline Pet Policies > Southwest Airlines

Airline Pet Policy Southwest Airlines

Southwest dog

Can my pet fly with me in the cabin? Yes
Can my pet fly with me as checked baggage? No
Can my pet fly without me as manifest cargo? No

If your dog or cat meets the requirements listed in Southwest Airlines pet policy to travel in-cabin, you will need an approved airline pet carrier. The maximum size carrier that can be carried on a Southwest flight is 8.5" high x 18.5" long x 13.5" wide. If you are traveling with a soft-sided carrier, the height should be measured when compressed. There must be sufficient room for your pet to stand up and turn around in the carrier. It must have a waterproof bottom and must have adequate ventilation.

A maximum of 6 pets is permitted per flight. Southwest pet policy is one pet carrier per paying adult passenger. Two very small dogs or cats can travel in the same carrier as long as they are of the same species.

You must produce proof of current rabies vaccination for your pet.

You must notify Southwest Airlines that you are traveling with a pet. Reservations for pets cannot be made online. The charge for transporting a pet in the cabin is $75.00 each way. The fare is changing to $95.00 for flights after January 15, 2014. Any flights on routes served with AirTran are subject to AirTran's pet policy when flying on their aircraft.

Pets are not permitted to travel on international flights including those to Puerto Rico.

Service Animals: Both service and comfort animals are permitted to fly in the cabin with advanced approval.

Southwest Airlines does not provide checked baggage service for pets.

Southwest Pet Policy CargoSouthwest Airlines Pet Policy Manifest Cargo

Southwest Airlines does not allow pets to travel as manifest cargo.

 Southwest Airlines Pet Policy

GOT QUESTIONS??? We're happy to help. Please post to our blog or forum.
GOT COMMENTS??? It would be great of you to enter them below. Your experiences will provide insight to all pet travelers!!

may I buy a seat to put pet crate on? My little Shih Tzu doggie very spoiled, would not understand being put in a crate and shoved under a seat. She probably would cry. If she could be next to me in a crate and I could put my fingers thru the wire to pet and console her, she'd be an angel on the near 7 hr flight to CA from BWI. I will NOT put her in a cargo unless I'm allowed in cargo with her LOL.
Posted on 2013-04-21 15:54:02.0
Commercial airlines will not permit your pet to sit in the seat next to you. The only option is to charter a private pet friendly jet.
Posted on 2013-07-19 04:40:35.0
I have a pit bull that I need to send to my X in do I ship him on an airline....I realize they may have to put him in cargo hold.
Posted on 2013-08-09 22:31:32.0
My cat's carrier is to big for the seats. The.only thing wrong with it is that the height is only 10in. can I rent a pet carrier?
Posted on 2013-08-22 06:13:07.0
Can my small dog sit on my lap once we are airborne?
Posted on 2013-08-26 21:55:42.0
Your pet must remain in the carrier for the duration of the flight.
Posted on 2013-11-30 00:48:51.0
If your carrier is a soft sided carrier, you should be fine. Southwest does not rent carriers.
Posted on 2013-11-30 00:49:46.0
What about transporting my 65 lb. dog, not in the cabin of course? How much is it and how safe is it?
Posted on 2013-11-30 12:59:54.0
Did you ever get an answer?
Posted on 2013-11-30 13:01:13.0

Don't do it - I just read horror stories about animals on planes
Posted on 2013-11-30 15:02:27.0
Great, I can take my cockatiel with me to Vail!
Posted on 2013-11-30 18:11:48.0
Southwest will not transport your pet as they do not offer cargo services. However, there are many carriers that transport pets as checked baggage or cargo. As many have pointed out, it is a risk to travel, but you can minimize that risk with proper preparation, good equipment (pet crate) flying during the Spring or Fall and being proactive when you fly. Watch your pet being borded, tell the crew about your pet. Also book the most direct flight possible.
Posted on 2013-12-03 04:15:52.0
Can I sedate my cat for travel on southwest airlines?
Posted on 2013-12-07 18:55:58.0
Can I fly with a 6" gecko (in approved carrier, of course)?
Posted on 2013-12-12 17:37:57.0
Southwest allows only small cats and dogs in the cabin. They don't offer cargo service, but there should be another airline serving your route that does offer cargo service.
Posted on 2013-12-13 01:51:20.0
Southwest permits pets to travel only in the cabin. As a general rule, the airlines discourage sedation, especially for pets traveling in the cargo hold due to breathing issues. I do not believe it is as much of an issue in the cabin as long as your pet is not of the snub nose variety.
Posted on 2013-12-13 01:56:14.0
What are the originating and destination airports?
Posted on 2013-12-18 03:49:30.0
Can i cargo my cat if i am on the same flight?
Posted on 2013-12-27 04:24:33.0
And is it safe ?
Posted on 2013-12-27 04:25:48.0
Southwest does not offer cargo services for live animals.
Posted on 2014-01-02 00:21:48.0
It really depends on the agent at the reservations desk. Obviously, they don't want to anger a flying passenger. However, the comfort of your pet is most important. If your pet is "stuffed" into the carrier, there will be a problem. If your pet normally lies down and does not jump around in the carrier, it should be ok. If you want to be really sure, go to the airport and ask them for confirmation. Record the person's name you speak to in case the agent on travel day gives you a hard time.
Posted on 2014-01-02 00:25:53.0
Lots of people will tell you it is not safe to fly a pet in the cargo hold of an airplane. And, for many reasons, hundreds of thousands of pets are transported safely every year. It is also not safe to transport a pet in the car. It is important to know your pet and prepare them in advance of the trip. Get the crate early and get them used to it. Remove them from their surroundings in the crate as much as you can prior to the trip. Here is a good article on the subject:
Posted on 2014-01-02 00:29:29.0
What about small animals? Like a bunny? My Mom wants to bring me one when she visits me in June. They are domesticated show bunnies.
Posted on 2014-01-15 09:19:10.0
Southwest only permits small dogs and cats in the cabin. Frontier will permit them if they serve your route.
Posted on 2014-01-17 03:48:16.0
this would be a small, two pound bunny in and enclosed carrier. Very quiet and clean. No one would even know it was there.
Posted on 2014-01-17 04:58:22.0
I don't think they will capitulate on this one Mom. But the good news is you will be going home with a dog!
Posted on 2014-01-17 07:08:18.0
Sharon Moore Because they are considered chewing animals, rabbits are not permitted in the cabin on many airlines. Alaska Airlines does, and there may be one other.
Posted on 2014-01-20 04:18:45.0
lol. You need to research your policies. A rabbit in a WIRE cage with a cover over it is not likely to be chewing anything. Dogs bark and cry, cats meow and scratch, both are likely to poop and create a stink.
Posted on 2014-01-20 04:23:18.0
Just out of curiosity....don't dogs and cats chew? Aren't they just as capable of chewing through a soft sided cage? Its no biggie if I don't get a bunny for my kids but people have more than dogs and cats as pets and some less likely to cause any trouble. I just think this a stupid policy and pet owners should raise their own stink. If other airlines weren't so much more expensive I would have booked the families flight with someone else.
Posted on 2014-01-20 06:11:53.0
Brandy Moore We are not the airline and do not make the policies. We agree that bunnies would be perfect travelers.
Posted on 2014-01-23 04:37:50.0
Posted on 2014-05-05 04:57:39.0
What about an iguana? He's only 6 inches! If not do you know of any airlines that do allow reptiles
Posted on 2014-06-05 10:47:30.0
Alexis - many airlines that offer checked baggage service (pet travels in the cargo hold, but on the sam flight as the passenger) will accept reptiles, however, not in the cabin. You will need to provide a compliant pet crate that will offer the warmth your pet needs.
Posted on 2014-06-10 03:20:00.0
I'm flying with my boyfriend who has a service dog and I'm not too familiar with the process. Who do I need to contact to get the service dog approved for coming on the flight?
Posted on 2014-06-16 22:00:37.0
If it is an emotional support dog you need to have a letter from a therapist. otherwise They allow service dogs on their airline. I call ahead and let them know that i am traveling with my E.S.A. so that they have a note about it. I also check my other dog as a pet in the cabin and both of my dogs have a blast hanging out with me on the plane. I have found for them the best flights are the early morning flights because they are more tired and tend to sleep the entire flight. you can call the airling and talk to someone about what specifically you need to bring.
Posted on 2014-06-17 01:41:12.0
Vanessa Guetersloh Thank you so much for the advice
Posted on 2014-06-17 02:29:54.0
Rissa - You need to contact the airline and give them notification that you are bringing a service dog on the flight. They will require documentation.
Posted on 2014-06-17 04:54:52.0
PetTravel alright thank you for your help
Posted on 2014-06-17 15:02:03.0
PetTravel I'm flying Southwest airlines do you think they will give me a hard time about it?
Posted on 2014-06-20 17:04:24.0
they shouldnt. i havent had any trouble. i do bring extra copiea of my documentation just in case though
Posted on 2014-06-21 04:31:04.0
Were you able to take your cockatiel on the plane with you?
Posted on 2014-07-10 12:57:25.0
Can I take a cockatiel on the flight with me? I could put her in a small cat carrier if need be.
Posted on 2014-07-10 12:58:49.0
H Seth - Southwest only transports small cats and dogs in the cabin. They do not transport reptiles.
Posted on 2014-07-15 04:40:43.0
Hi Laura - Southwest does not transport birds. You will need to find another airline that serves the route. United will transport birds if it serves your route.
Posted on 2014-07-15 04:41:37.0
Hi, I am planning to buy a puppy in another state and have it flown back with me. When I am able to get the puppy he will be about 9 weeks old and is not old enough for the rabies shot yet. Is there any other paper work I need for the puppy to come on the flight with me? Also when purchasing my ticket how do I go about stating I will want my puppy to be in the cabin with me and how do i go about paying for it and all the other processes?
Posted on 2014-07-16 18:12:44.0
Dayna - are you traveling within the United States or internationally? If within the US, then there are airlines that will permit your pet to travel in the cabin with you. You should call the reservations number to notify the airline you are traveling with a pet as there are a limited number permitted on each flight. You will pay for your pet when you check in at the reservations desk. Ask them if they require a health certificate when you call.
Posted on 2014-07-17 00:47:43.0
Do you have to pay the pet fare, if that animal is your only carry on?
Posted on 2014-07-28 22:00:54.0
Nicole - pets are always priced as excess baggage even if they are your only carry on. You will need to pay a fee to bring your pet on the plane.
Posted on 2014-08-01 02:29:35.0
Do I need documents to show that the pet is vaccinated?
Posted on 2014-09-18 03:32:50.0
According to Southwest's requirements, you do need to show proof of rabies vaccination. How they enforce their requirements is unpredictable.
Posted on 2014-09-21 00:09:50.0
Hi Kathy - Southwest does not rent carriers, but they do sell them. Not a great idea to put multiple pets in carriers made of canvas.
Posted on 2014-09-21 00:12:33.0
Irmary - pets are not allowed on any international flights to or from PR.
Posted on 2014-09-21 00:14:36.0
What about sugar gliders
Posted on 2014-10-05 00:37:24.0
Allison - Southwest allows only small dogs and cats to travel in the cabin.
Posted on 2014-10-06 03:04:25.0
What should the letter from my doctor say to carry my dog on the airplane for emotional support?
Posted on 2014-10-13 19:48:18.0
You can find a sample letter with instructions here:
Posted on 2014-10-16 04:29:05.0
The airlines will check to see if the carrier is too small for your pet. Your Terrier will need to stand up and turn around in the carrier. You should measure your pet from tip of nose to base of tail and from the top of the head to the ground when standing. If these measurements exceed the interior measurements of the bag, then the reservations agent may not allow you to board. If you are traveling internationally, they will weigh your pet in the carrier and see if it exceeds their weight limit. As for sedation, you will need to speak with your vet about that. We have all natural pet calmers here: You should always try any calmer or sedative at home before you fly to see what effects they have on your pet.
Posted on 2014-10-16 04:34:34.0
How can I found out in advance if my dog is capable of flying. She is a 20 pound puggle, who can fit in the carrier bag and is capable of moving around.
Posted on 2014-10-26 21:32:57.0
Shade - twenty pounds is a bit heavy to fit into an airline compliant pet carrier. Your Pug will most likely need to travel in the cargo hold as accompanied checked baggage in a cargo crate on another airline. (Southwest does not fly pets in the hold.) She will travel on the same flight as you do. However, as Pugs are snub-nosed dogs, it will be a challenge finding an airline to carry it. What cities are you flying from and to?
Posted on 2014-10-30 02:34:11.0
I have two maltipoos I need to get home for the holidays. One is about 14 lbs the other is about 11 lbs. If the carrier I put them in fits under the seat and they are comfy, can they both fly? if not, does anyone know of another way to get them home without chartering a jet?
Posted on 2014-11-05 22:26:19.0
Brie - your pets must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier. Generally, there is a one carrier per passenger with the exception of US Airways which allows you to make a reservation for a second pet. Not sure if they serve your route.
Posted on 2014-11-09 23:08:27.0
hi does anyone know if a male Shih Tzu full grown about 13 lbs will fit? We need to bring him from Michigan to Texas but I'm having trouble figuring this out. if anyone has flown with one or one about the same size please let me know of your experience.
Posted on 2014-11-17 02:15:45.0
Where can i email or fax the form?
Posted on 2014-11-17 20:11:10.0
Shannon - not sure which form you are referring to. If it is the vaccination record, you present it to the agent at the ticket counter when you check-in.
Posted on 2014-11-18 03:51:02.0
If your pet is under 16" from tip of nose to base of tail and around 10" high, you should be able to find a carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you. Here is a good one that affords extra room and squishes down to fit under the seat:
Posted on 2014-11-20 03:47:44.0
I have a 45lb lab mix ESA dog travelinf from Co-->TX. This will be our first fiight together I was woondering what I should be expecting and if I need a crate if she is an ESA dog??
Posted on 2014-12-04 18:43:23.0
What about Rats? I was just told that the airline can deny my request for an ESA because he's a rodent. Is that legal?
Posted on 2014-12-07 21:58:22.0
Emily - your dog will not need a crate, but you need to contact Southwest and tell them you are traveling with an ESA dog. they will need notice and documentation ahead of time.
Posted on 2014-12-11 02:47:33.0
Bagheera - understand that US based airlines are required by law to transport medically certified animals according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. There is no legislation covering Emotional Support Animals. Whether they accept them or not is according to the policies of the airlines.
Posted on 2014-12-11 02:50:07.0
Can I send a pet, without being a passenger on the flight? ?? Please respond
Posted on 2014-12-21 16:43:51.0
Southwest Airlines does not offer services for unaccompanied pets.
Posted on 2014-12-29 02:22:23.0
What weight must dog be to fly in cabin with me
Posted on 2015-01-13 15:59:04.0
Barbara - what is important to Southwest is that your pet fits comfortably in its carrier. It needs to be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier and the carrier must fit under the seat in front of you. We would recommend between 4 and 12 pounds. If you have a dog on the larger side of the scale, you may want to consider a SturdiBag if you don't have a pet carrier. This great carrier is light weight and taller than other bags and is made to "squish" down to fit under the seat in front of you.
Posted on 2015-01-17 03:52:33.0
Are pets that are traveling allowed to be sedated?
Posted on 2015-02-12 06:10:34.0
Fenix - assuming that you are traveling on Southwest Airlines and your pet is with you in the cabin, a mild sedative should be fine. The concern is mainly for pets in the cargo hold. Be sure and check with your vet.
Posted on 2015-02-16 04:59:42.0
You are correct because they only carry pets on domestic flights. Ask a supervisor for a private screening room if your cat or dog is skittish around crowds.
Posted on 2015-02-16 05:00:55.0
Some airlines didn't used to allow you to fly with Pitbulls... is that still a thing? I have a pit bull puppy I need to travel with me.
Posted on 2015-02-16 16:08:15.0
Lilah - Southwest Airlines will carry your puppy as long as it is at least 8 weeks of age and will fit in a carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you.
Posted on 2015-02-20 03:11:41.0
i have a 8month old bully at my moms houses in puerto rico i need my dog my son miss her sooo much n my mom is going to move bk to the usa how can i get her to come home to my son...
Posted on 2015-03-07 04:54:30.0
I have 3 cats I need to travel with and I will be traveling alone. One is 8 yrs old and the others are 8 months, all weigh under 12 pounds. Will this be a huge problem?
Posted on 2015-03-11 07:14:12.0
Juni - you will need to find an airline that flies the entire route from Puerto Rico to where you are and contact their cargo department if your Mother is not traveling with your Bully. It maybe a challenge because American Airlines does not transport Bullies. What city in the US are you located in?
Posted on 2015-03-15 01:43:27.0
Heidi - it will be a problem is you are traveling on Southwest Airlines. They do not transport pets in the cargo hold and you cannot carry 3 cats in the cabin yourself. You need to find an airline that will carry pets as accompanied checked baggage in the hold that serves your route.
Posted on 2015-03-15 01:46:00.0
PetTravel How much are the carriers that SOuthwest sells? Do they have them at all ticket counters?
Posted on 2015-03-18 17:02:22.0
Has anyone used the Sherpa bag that is on wheels with Southwest? Or any recommended bag on wheels for use on Southwest?
Posted on 2015-03-30 03:46:51.0
Can you fly a cat by itself from 1 airport to another and what is the cost?
Posted on 2015-04-02 09:23:50.0
Misty - Southwest only carries pets in the cabin with traveling passengers. They do not offer services for unaccompanied pets.
Posted on 2015-04-03 03:41:35.0
Carolyn - the Sherpa bag on wheels is a bit large and pretty rigid although it is a good bag. Would suggest that you contact Southwest and ask how much room there is under the seat in front of you on the aircraft serving your route.
Posted on 2015-04-03 03:42:42.0