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


Pet Travel: Traveling by Air with Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Rats, Turtles and other Exotic Animals — 394 Comments

  1. Likely, this is the policy of the airport or because of the route you are traveling. Flights from Central and South America, for example, may require an agent.

  2. just FYI, United does not allow individual to pick up your pet, and require a broker. So so far Air Canada cargo is the best option..

  3. Thank you for the info. Brussels airline doesn’t accept a turtle in a cabin.. too bad.

    So far Air Canada may be the one as they accept to have an individual to receive a pet without a broker. United didn’t allow me to even book a flight. Oh, what a mess.

    One of the broker I contacted gave me a quote door to door service and it costs around $3000 and up they said.. Sign..

  4. United will transport your turtle under their PetSafe program. Air Canada also flies the route non-stop. Would contact Brussels Airlines first and ask if your turtle can fly in the cabin.

  5. Likely your airline will require a health certificate. The US does not have regulations regarding rodents. You may want to check with the Department of Agriculture in Australia to see what is permitted to export your pets. Know that you will not be able to return to Australia with them unless the govt. will grant you an exception as a returning citizen.

  6. Hello. I have two pet rats in Australia….. I want to bring them back to America….. Any info on what’s required….. Thank you……

  7. I want to send my rabbit from dubai to paris. Airlines here are taking Only by cargo. What Kind of carrier is required?

  8. We cannot find an airline that will fly your guinea pigs in the cabin or, more importantly, an airline that flies the entire route. You will need to get your pets to Narita and Finnair can fly them to Sweden.

  9. Do you know an airline from Okinawa to the Philippines that will let you have your pet cabin or checked baggage? What do I need before flying with my guinea pigs? I know i’m suppose to have a health certificate but is there anything else that I need to enter the Philippines? How much would it be if an airline let me have my guinea pig in a cabin if not how much would it be checked baggage?

  10. I’ve got 2 rabbits with me, planning to move them back to my hometown. Will they be okay on a 12 hour flight? I’m worried about their chance of surviving

  11. Justine – likely not as we do not know an airline that serves your route that will allow it.Most Asian-based airlines will not allow pets in the cabin.

  12. Phil- Yes it is flown by the same airlone companys. Instead of air cargo can I carry on my three guinea pigs?

  13. Justine – the route from Naha to Manila with a layover in Taipei, is it flown by the same airline company or do you change airline companies in Taipei? In either option that you present, likely your guinea pigs will fly as air cargo, but it will depend on your airline’s pet policies.

  14. There is a flight from Naha Airport, Okinawa to Tokyo, Japan and it’s a four hour flight then I will be riding a one to two hour bus to Narita Airport and afterwards a two to three hour delay and then I fly out from Narita Airport to Manila, Philippines it’s a four hour flight. And there is also a flight from Naha Airport, Okinawa to China Taipei that is a two hour flight the I have a hour delay afterwards there is the last flight from China ,Taipei to Manila, Philippines. Also Can I check baggage my three guinea pigs? I don’t wanna leave my three guinea pigs behind or rehome them they are literally like my babies.

  15. Erin – it depends on your route. Frontier is pretty pet friendly although they may not allow your hedgehog to fly in the cabin. Most all airlines will fly it as air cargo. If you are flying domestic in the US, check with Delta, American or United.

  16. Belleza – we do not know of an airline that will fly a guinea pig in the cabin or as checked baggage from Chicago to Warsaw. Likely, your guinea pig will need to fly as air cargo.

  17. Which airline will allow to take my guinea pig and a cat with me from Chicago to Warsaw, Poland (in Europe)? I’m trying to call any airline but they keep saying no to guinea pig. Please advise.

  18. 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..

  19. 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??

  20. 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.

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

  22. 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: and modify it so your pet cannot escape.

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

  24. 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. (

  25. 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?

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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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