Pet Travel: How to Clear Airport Security with a Pet

Pet Travel - Clearing Airport Security with a PetYou and your pet are traveling in the cabin of an airplane together. You have checked in at the reservation desk, your pet is quietly lying down in their airline compliant pet carrier, you have tickets and possessions in hand. Everything is going according to plan. You proceed to the TSA security checkpoint. As you wait in the line, you wonder – what is coming next? How will TSA officials deal with your furry traveling companion?

PetTravel has received many questions about how people traveling with pets will be treated once they get to the front of the security line. Certainly, with all the confusion at security checkpoints and the flow of passengers intent on clearing the line and proceeding to their gate as quickly as possible, it is helpful to know how you and your pet will be cleared through security.

According to TSA: “Our security procedures do not prohibit you from bringing a pet on your flight. You should contact your airline or travel agent, however, before arriving at the airport to determine your airline’s policy on traveling with pets.”

Security Screening

More from TSA: “You will need to present the animal to the Security Officers at the checkpoint. You may walk your animal through the metal detector with you. If this is not possible, your animal will have to undergo a secondary screening, including a visual and physical inspection by our Security Officers. Your animal will NEVER be placed through an X-ray machine. However, you may be asked to remove your animal from its carrier so that the carrier can be placed on the X-Ray machine.”

You will be asked to remove your pet from the carrier so that the carrier can be run through the x-ray machine. You will walk through the upright metal detector with your pet. If you are traveling with a pet who is high spirited or scares easily, you can request a room so that your pet will not escape should you not be able to contain them when out of the carrier.

There has been a lot of news lately regarding the introduction of the controversial body scanners in many airports. If the old stand up metal detectors have been replaced with body scanners, both the pet and the owner are subject to pat down. Again, you will remove the pet from the carrier and make it available to security officers should they decide to inspect your pet. Should you require a pat down, you should put your pet back in the carrier first.

Being prepared is key to traveling with your pet. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your gate. Keep your accessories (coat, purse, laptop or other items you must carry) at a minimum so you will have free hands to handle your pet at security checkpoints. Take your pet out of the carrier after you have removed your shoes, belt, etc. and put your items on the table to be scanned. Be sure and carry a leash in the carrier to loop around your wrist to be sure that your pet cannot escape when you remove them from the carrier. Even calm pets can get nervous and scared when around groups of people and in unfamiliar environments.

We would welcome your feedback about your experiences at security checkpoints. Please make a comment so that you can help others who are traveling with their pet. We appreciate your time.

More information on pet travel by air


Pet Travel: How to Clear Airport Security with a Pet — 757 Comments

  1. Dawn – most all countries that require quarantine will arrange for supervised home quarantine; however, you should give them prior notice that you are entering the country with a service animal.

  2. If the pet is a support dog, while traveling oversees do they still need to be quarantined?

  3. Norma – ask for a room when you are clearing TSA. You can take her out in the room and TSA officials will X-ray your cat’s carrier. Bring a towel with you and wrap her up in it (not the head). Easier to get her into the carrier that way.

  4. My cat is a rescue cat and very nervous and high strung. Getting her out
    Of the carrier gives me nightmares. She can clear those walls easily. I am 80 years old and would not be able to chase after her.

  5. Im thankful for those airlines allowing pets to stay to the cabin. Its hard for the pet to stay at the cargo because of noise the they encounter being an animal lover and no capability to get pregnant i treat my pets as my child also. Its to late for me to know that there are airlines allow pet to stay in the cabin. 2 weeks ago i export my pet to canada but they place it in the cargo,when the pet get in the cargo airlind in canada my pets looks so weak,stressed and his jolly behavior disappear until now his not turning back to his natural behavior that why im so sad. We already check to his vet but nothing changes until now..i know its my fault because i dont have idea that pet is allow to stay to cabin this is lesson for me now. I would like to give thanks to those airlines allowing pets to stay to their cabin. GODBLESS YOUR AIRLINE ALWAYS FOR BEING UNDERSTAND THAT PETS HAS A LIFE AND THERE ARE IMPORTANT ALSO.

  6. Im amazed that other airlines allowing the dog to stay also in the cabin. Im not aware before that they are allow,im sad because its to late for me to know that pets can be allow to travel within the section of the passengers too. My 1 pet maltese breed l travel thru cargo last 2 weeks ago and now ill see his condition is not that good since he place at cargo of the plane until now everytime i see his condition his not good. I see him like he was so stress and unhappy. Im so worried about him. We already go to his vet bit until now no changes happen. It lesson learn for me of what happen to my dearly pet. Since its hard for me to have baby and hard for me to get pregnant. I treat those pets like my baby. Im very thankful for those airlines who allow to stay the pets in the cabin. GODBLESS ALWAYS TO YOUR AIRLINES for being considerable..

  7. Wow, reading these comments made me laugh. I got TSA covered, airline is good, Hotel is awesome, dog has her own suitcase and snacks for her are in my carryon (which is small and mostly filled with stuff for her. . .lol). It’s a direct flight so no issues there. My airline and airport are both pet friendly so good there. However, I didn’t worry this much when traveling with my son as a baby. I am just so nervous. I am even taking her to the vet before travel to make sure she is healthy enough to travel (p.s., she is a very healthy dog. . .it’s totally a mommy thing). We are traveling from Las Vegas to Orlando. Here in Vegas we do not have to worry about fleas so I will have her treated for fleas and ticks before we leave as Orlando is a hotbed of these creatures. Is it funny that my worry is just getting through TSA and coming home without fleas?. . .just Saying.

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