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 — 262 Comments

  1. Peter – The admittance of species other than dogs and cats, including pet birds, requires prior approval by the Ministry of Agriculture. The traveler must produce an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture in Brazil. You also need to verify that your pet is not protected under CITES regulations.\

  2. Kelly – monkeys are allowed on many, but not all, airlines via air cargo. We are not aware of any that will carry them in the cabin or as checked baggage. You will need to contact your airline’s cargo department and inquire as to whether they are accepted.

  3. Are there any international airlines that allow marmoset monkeys to travel with you, be it on the plane with you or cargo

  4. Jana – we would say that the APHIS 7001 form should be endorsed for several reasons. One, the airlines will be looking for that endorsement and two, it will give the certificate more credibility when entering Tokyo.

  5. My guinea pigs are flying unaccompanied on United from Tampa to Tokyo. I hate they will be on such a long flight but military orders are orders 🙁
    United said they will need a health certificate, anyone know if I have to go to a USDA vet to get the certificate? is it the APHIS 7001 form? I could use as much help as possible 🙁 tia!

  6. Melissa – transporting pet rats works as air cargo. Contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the entire route.

  7. Laura – flying a pet in the cargo hold is not anyone’s first choice, but sometimes, it is the only way to transport them. The airlines transport millions of pets each year and lose very few. Get good crates (like these: and cable tie the corners for strength. Let them spend some time in them before traveling. Are you aware that there will be quarantine for them when entering the UK?

  8. I’m moving to the UK from the US later this year due to military orders. We have two guinea pigs and I’m trying to find the safest way to transport them over there. I’m under the impression that the UK requires them to be air cargo. Has anyone ever sent their guinea pigs via air cargo? I’m concerned about how safe it would be for them…

  9. Melissa – the US will not have a problem with clearing your guinea pigs. They will fly as air cargo through IAG Cargo and will need a health certificate issued within 10 days of traveling.

  10. Does anyone know if it would be possible to take my 2 pet guinea pigs from the UK into Florida when I move there? The only direct airline to where we would live is BA.

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