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.

Delta: Delta is a very pet-friendly airline with a variety of options for different animals. Delta welcomes passengers to carry small dogs, cats, and household birds in cabin. 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 as long as the temperatures along your route do not exceed 85 degrees.. 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 no longer provides checked baggage service, however they do transport pets unaccompanied. Delta only accepts pets on flights shorter than 12 hours.

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 for flights within the United States. They will also transport all these animals via cargo for $150 each 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, rabbits and household birds however; they will transport these pets and guinea pigs, and hamsters in the cargo compartment under their PetSafe program. The prices are $125 (in cabin) and $250-$500 (cargo) respectively.

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) in the cabin. Chinchillas, guinea pigs, and hedgehogs can be transported as checked baggage. 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 www.pettravel.com.


Comments

Pet Travel: Traveling by Air with Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Rats, Turtles and other Exotic Animals — 367 Comments

  1. Tammy – it depends on your airline’s pet policies. Frontier will be an option for you if they serve your route. Most other airlines do not fly rabbits in the cabin, but would still recommend that you call them to confirm as they may make an exception..
    Phil

  2. Can I fly with a small red eared slider on a delta plane? It’s a 5hr flight. What kind of cage would I need??

  3. Hope – your guinea pig will likely need to fly as air cargo. Does United fly your route? We don’t have regulations concerning guinea pigs entering Taiwan. They have regulations for many animals but not guinea pigs. Certainly a health certificate is in order. The Embassy may be able to help.
    Phil

  4. I’m in Canada and plan to go to Taiwan and I’d like to bring my guinea pig with me..do I need some kind of permit or certificate and is there a flight that allows small animals for over 12 hours?

  5. Morgan – you can drive with your pet or, if you plan on flying, contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the entire route. Your pet will need to fly as air cargo in an IATA-compliant pet crate. Your can have the crate made according to Live Animal Regulation specifications or get a crate like these: https://www.pettravelstore.com/pet-crates and modify it so your pet cannot escape.
    Jason

  6. I have a pet rat and im travelling for Pennsylvania to Utah, how do i bring her with?

  7. Michelle – your rabbit should not be a problem with a health certificate. The parrot will need to fly into MIA and go into immediate quarantine for 30 days. There are lots of requirements to import a bird to the United States. If you need our assistance with customs clearance and quarantine, let us know. (info@pettraveltransport.com)
    Susan

  8. I am leaving Nicaragua to go back to Miami. Does Avianca or another flight allow for me to bring my rabbit or parrot back with me?

  9. United has many non-stop routes between the two cities. You should contact their PetSafe desk for more details. We don’t know of any US-based airlines that will allow turtles in the cabin.
    Phil

  10. Gina – you will need an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture to import any animal other than a dog or cat to Ecuador. You will need to find an airline that flies the entire route and contact their cargo department as it is likely they will need to fly as air cargo.
    Jason

  11. I am leaving US for Ecuador and need to bring my 2 pet guinea pigs. Help, I don’t know what to do!!

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