Pet Travel: Traveling by Air with Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Rats, Turtles and other Exotic Animals

rabbit travelPets are on the move. More than 2 million pets are transported each year in the United States according to US Department of Transportation. Although the majority of animals that are transported are dogs and cats, exotic animals can be transported as well. It’s important to realize that every airline sets their own regulations on what pets, breeds and types they are willing to transport. Below is a list of airlines you might want to consider next time you travel with an exotic animal.

Continental: Continental is known for their famous “PetSafe” program and sets the industry standard in pet airline travel. Unfortunately they’re not as catering to exotic animals. Continental limits their welcome to only dogs, cats, rabbits and household birds. Guinea pigs, rats and any type of reptiles are not permitted. Continental will transport pets unaccompanied.

Delta: Delta is a very pet-friendly airline with a variety of options for different animals. Delta welcomes passengers to carry dogs, cats, and household birds in cabin permitting their size. Also, between September 16th and May 14th they will transport dogs, cats, household birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters and most reptiles, amphibians and fish via cargo. Pets must be in an airline approved crate or carrier. As a bonus Delta will transport two pets of the same type in one kennel as long as they meet the requirements for acceptance. Delta also transports pets unaccompanied.

Frontier: Frontier is known for their laid back regulations and relatively inexpensive transport fees. They allow dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters to travel in cabin (with the appropriate carrier) for $75 one way. They will also transport all these animals’ via cargo for $150 a way. Only dogs and cats will be transported internationally. They are also one of the few airlines left that will transport bulldog breeds.

United: United Air limits in-cabin travel to dogs, cats and household birds however; they will transport these pets and guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits in the cargo compartment. The prices are $125 (in cabin) and $250-$500 (cargo) respectively. United also transports pets unaccompanied.

WestJet: Westjet Airline is one of the most “exotic pet friendly” airlines inside the US. For only $50 (for both in cabin and cargo) they will transport cats, dogs, rabbits, birds (not just household), chinchillas, guinea pigs, and hedgehogs. The only downside to WestJet is their flight selection is somewhat limited especially in the central US.

It’s important to remember that each airline makes its own rules for the import of birds and exotic pets. On top of the airlines, every country (beside the EU) makes their own rules regarding the various types of pets allowed to enter the country. For more information on traveling with your exotic pet, check out


Pet Travel: Traveling by Air with Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Rats, Turtles and other Exotic Animals — 315 Comments

  1. Lisa – it is possible as long as you are traveling with them. Up to 3 per person. Have your vet issue a health certificate within 10 days of travel.

  2. Tyler – Australia allows few other types of pets other than cats and dogs to enter the country and rodents are not one of them. Sorry..

  3. Lisa – Up to 3 guinea pigs or hamsters can be imported into Germany with their owner. A health certificate is highly recommended.

  4. Is it possible to take our guinea pig from the US to Germany? We are moving there in a few months.

  5. Oneilia – Australia allows the import of cats (approved countries), dogs (approved countries), birds (selected species from NZ), horses (approved countries) and rabbits (NZ only). We do not believe it will be permitted. You can confirm at 1800 900 090.

  6. Sabrina – yes, you can bring your guinea pig to the US. It will need a health certificate issued within 10 days of travel. Not sure if you can find an airline that will fly it as accompanied checked baggage if you are traveling with it. Otherwise, it will need to travel as air cargo, so you would contact the cargo department of an airline that flies to the US as directly as possible.

  7. Jessica – according to DEFRA regulations, pet rabbit or rodent does not need to serve quarantine if it travels from an EU country and it’s been living there for at least 4 months. Your rabbit can enter Ireland from the UK as long as you accompany it and a Advance Notice of Import must be sent to the Animal Health and Welfare Division, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, at least 24 hours in advance of arrival of your rabbit.

  8. Hello there,

    I will be travelling from Turkey to Finland with Finnair airlines then connect in Finland to Amsterdam with my pet rabbit. I will then be boarding a ferry from Amsterdam to the UK (where I’m from). Will my rabbit need to go into 4 months quarantine because he has originally come from a non-EU country or will he be exempt from this because he has travelled through 2 EU countries (Finland and The Netherlands) first? I also need a health certificate to show in Amsterdam, so I am thinking if he is accepted in to The Netherlands with this then surely I can travel to the UK from The Netherlands as it’s an EU country who have accepted him.

    From the UK I will be moving to Dublin, Ireland so I am also wondering if I am able to have him taken into ‘transit’ quarantine for 21 days (my boyfriend recalls seeing this is possible somewhere but we now can’t find the information!) before he can be moved to Ireland since Ireland is an EU country and essentially I should be able to move him from The Netherlands to Ireland without any problems but there are no direct ferries, hence going through the UK.

    I would greatly appreciate your help and very much look forward to hearing from you!

    Thank you in advance

  9. Off hand, we are not aware of an airline that will allow guinea pigs in the cabin, but contact WestJet if they fly your route. They are a pet friendly airline.

  10. Do any Canadian airlines allow guinea pigs on board? I would like to travel with my guinea pig in the cabin in his carrier.

  11. Hello Kimberley – we know of no commercial airline that will allow rats to travel in the cabin on any route. You can ask Austrian Airlines whether they will transport your rats as checked baggage or if they will need to travel as air cargo. Lufthansa, KLM and Swiss Air also fly the route efficiently.

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