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 pettravel.com


Comments

Pet Travel: Traveling by Air with Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Rats, Turtles and other Exotic Animals — 229 Comments

  1. Alexis – guinea pigs are not permitted to travel according to JetBlue policies. Small dogs and cats only.

  2. Debbie – it is our understanding that rabbits are not permitted to enter Mexico, but we would suggest that you consult the National Department of Health, Food Safety and Food Quality, SENASICA for confirmation of that fact.contacto@senasica.gob.mx
    Susan

  3. KLVQ – If there are 2 passengers, 2 animals can travel in the cabin as long as they meet weight requirements. The hamsters should be able to travel in the same crate as checked baggage with the other 2 animals. Worst case, the hamsters will need to travel as air cargo, but it will be more expensive and less convenient. Ask Lufthansa if this would work.
    Phil

  4. We have a 4 year old mini- Rex bunny that travels with us. We are thinking of going to Tullum, Mexico next winter for a few months. Are rabbits allowed as pets in Mexico?

  5. We are traveling from Germany to the U.S. With 2 dogs and 2 cats…..we would very much like to bring our 2 hamsters with us….what are our chances of finding an airline to accommodate this amount of pets with 4 passengers traveling.

  6. Megan – you will need to contact the airlines. None of those mentioned publish that they will allow rats to travel in the cabin. Maybe as checked baggage in the hold. It is also helpful to get it in writing.
    Phil

  7. Hi, I live in LA and want to bring my 2 pet rats to New Orleans and NYC. Does anyone know if any airlines allow rats as a carry-on? Frontier told me that they allow them… however they don’t specifically list ‘rats’ on their website so I’m leery. It looks like Delta may allow them? … need to call. Thanks so much for any insight!

  8. Nassia – most likely, your chinchillas will need to travel as manifest cargo. We would recommend contacting Lufthansa cargo as they layover in Frankfurt. It is much easier than laying over in London. Whatever you decide to do, stay on the same airline for the entire trip.
    Susan

  9. Hello,
    I have 6 chinchillas and I’ll be travelling from Greece to San Francisco. Could you tell me if it’s possible to bring my pets with me?
    Will they travel as checked baggage?
    I haven’t booked an airline yet, do you have any recommendations for pet friendly international airlines?
    Also, it’s quite possible that it won’t be a direct flight and I read that for example in the UK they are placed in quarantine, will my chinchillas need to be placed in quarantine if the plane stops in the UK or any other country other that the destination?
    Thank you very much

  10. Jessica – I neglected to mention that your foxes must live in the following states: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Ummm Al Quwain and Al Fujairah. If they are not from one of these states, you cannot transport them into the UK.

  11. Heather – the US does not have regulations covering the import of rabbits. It is a good idea to travel with a health certificate, but it is not required.
    Phil

  12. Hello! In about a year my husband and I will be moving from Germany back to the U.S.A. We are bringing our rabbit with us, but I’m having a hard time finding import info TO the US, plenty FROM. Has anyone done this recently who can tell me what the requirements are??

  13. Hello,
    I am a british expat living in the UAE. Do you know if it is possible to take my two fennec fox pets into the UK?
    Thank you.

  14. Miriam – most all airlines that offer manifest cargo as a class of service will accept turtles, but they will need to travel in the cargo hold. We are not aware of any airlines that will allow them to travel in the cabin.
    Phil

  15. Andrea – we don’t have information on bringing a sugar glider to Ecuador. You may want to contact the Embassy or the Ministry of Agriculture in Ecuador with your inquiry. There is most likely an import permit involved. Sorry we cannot be of more assistance.
    Phil

  16. Anya – none of these airlines will accept guinea pigs in the cabin or as accompanied checked baggage in the hold. However, your friend’s guinea pigs should be able to travel as manifest cargo. Your friend should contact the cargo department of these airlines for details.
    Susan

  17. Hi,
    My family and i are going on a trip to Ecuador through Copa Airlines in a couple of weeks and i was wondering if I could take my sugar glider with me . I font have anyone to leave him with and our trip is for 12 days.
    Please let me know if you have any info on how to help me bring my glider with me.
    Thanks
    Andrea

  18. United, AA & Delta DON”T accept guinea pigs. My friend guinea pigs were just refused yesterday at LAX for wanting to bring her guinea pigs with her. It was a travesty!

  19. Lettie – there was a fuss earlier this year about a gal that fought to get a hedgehog to fly in the cabin of an airline and lost. Most all airlines, including Air Canada, that allow pets in the cabin limit them to small cats and dogs (maybe rabbits). No good reason why except that it has been a relatively short time over the years planes have been flying that they have allowed any pets in the cabin at all. Guinea pigs, rats and hedgehogs must travel on Air Canada as manifest cargo.
    Susan

  20. I’m vacationing in Thailand and I’m considering purchasing a hedgehog. We have already booked an Air Canada flight home and I can’t find anything on their website about if they allow hedgehogs on the plane. Do you have any insight to add to this?

  21. Harry = we wish we could help you with your inquiry, but we don’t have information on bringing guinea pigs to Guam. You will need an import permit if it is permitted, and that should give you the details you need. It is a long time to travel, and it is stressful for all animals to travel in the hold, but we see no reason why it cannot be done.
    Jason

  22. Hi! we are moving feom tx to guam and would love to bring our guinea pigs with us. do you have any information about Guam regulations and the best airline for guinea pigs? will they survive the flight?

  23. Hi Chris – if you bring your Chinchillas directly into the UK, they will be subject to 4 months of quarantine upon arrival. Your best bet may be to bring them into a non-UK EU country, enter that country and bring them in from there. The maximum number of pets that you can import to the EU non-commercially is five. Over that number and a whole other set of regulations apply. Your pets must be identified by a microchip or other permanent means and must be accompanied by a health certificate completed by a licensed veterinarian and should be endorsed by the local CFIA office. You may want to consider an EU country where there are options to cross the channel such as France. You or your legal representative must accompany or travel within 5 days of your Chinchillas for these regulations to apply.
    Jason

  24. Coumba – guinea pigs are generally carried as either accompanied checked baggage or manifest cargo depending on the airline. The cost can range depending on the class of service you choose. Your pet should fly on the same flight as you, but you should ask for confirmation of that prior to boarding.
    Jason

  25. Hi

    Can anyone advise about bringing Chinchillas into Canada from the UK please?
    I want to know how easy, costs etc it is to do this in case I relocate this year

    thanks

  26. How much is it generally if you want to travel with your guinea pig and do they stay with you the whole time

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