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

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

  • 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.

  • Miriam Sanchez

    Hi guy’s i’m wondering if i could take baby box turtles on a plane?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Andrea

    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.

  • Anya

    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!

  • 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.

  • Lettie

    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?

  • 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.

  • harryperu

    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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Chris


    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


  • coumba diallo

    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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