Pet Travel: Tips on Booking an Airline Ticket for You and Your Pet

Airline pet travel tips for booking tickets for you and your petMany of our pet owners fly with their pets when going on vacation or traveling to see family or loved ones. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2012, 623 million people flew safely in the United States alone.

Whether it be the holiday season or any other time during the year, if you are interested in booking a trip with your pet in the near future, here are some tips for saving money when booking airline tickets during the holidays or any time of the year.

Book online, but always contact the airlines prior to booking your flight to verify there is room for your pet in the cabin or cargo hold of that flight. Online ticket prices will most likely always beat booking on the telephone with a reservations agent. Call back after booking to make a reservation for your pet.

Fly direct. Layover only when there is not a direct flight between your origination and destination cities. Keep layovers to 2 about 2 hours and avoid laying over in the UK and Japan if at all possible when traveling internationally to keep costs down. Do not change airlines if you are traveling with a pet. You will have to claim and re-check your pet. Changing planes is OK; changing airlines is not. It is fine to book a one way ticket to transport you and your pet to your destination and a different airline for the return trip. This can be a great way to save money on your airline tickets.

Consider alternate airports. Oftentimes, it can be easier and cheaper to fly into a nearby large airport, rent a car, and drive to a smaller city. If your pet likes riding in the car, this will certainly be more fun for your pet than landing and transferring to a smaller plane to take off again.

Book your flight about 6 weeks prior to the departure date if possible. Tickets tend to be below the average price at this time.

For impending weekend travel, book on a Tuesday around 3:00 PM EST. This is when the airlines have re-priced their seats on flights for the following weekend. Always verify on the telephone that there is room for your pet in the cabin or cargo hold prior to booking online and notify them after you make your reservations.

Fly on a Wednesday if you are traveling domestically. Business traffic is heaviest on Mondays and Fridays so fares tend to be more expensive on those days.

Take either the first flight out in the morning or the red eye at night. Ticket prices on early morning, dinner time, and red-eye flights tend to be cheaper than flights during normal daytime hours. Just be sure that, if you are flying internationally, your flight’s arrival time is during normal business hours during the week so you will not have to pay extra for a veterinarian to clear your pet.

Check Facebook and Twitter for special promotions. The airlines occasionally advertise special fares on social media. If you find one, move fast, as these bargains go quickly.

Check both large and small airline booking websites. Orbitz and Expedia are good to check, but don’t forget the smaller sites like Kayak which could have differing prices and deals on airline tickets. Also, be sure and check the airline’s website! Many airlines hold certain blocks of seats for their online booking and this can mean lower prices for you!

Fly off season. Transporting during the summer to or from hot weather cities can be challenging due to heat embargo rules. If possible, fly with your pet in the spring or autumn and avoid major holidays if possible. Baggage handlers are especially busy during holidays and time for attention to our pets and their needs may be limited. Tickets also tend to be more expensive during the holiday week due to higher demand.

Become a frequent flyer. These programs have become very popular with airline travelers and can afford significant savings. Some airlines even offer frequent flyer miles for traveling pets!

Be flexible. If you are willing and able to keep to a flexible schedule, your chances of finding inexpensive airline travel with your pet will be greater.

Airline travel can be expensive, especially if you are traveling with larger pets. These tips may help you save money next time you are booking your airline reservations.


Comments

Pet Travel: Tips on Booking an Airline Ticket for You and Your Pet — 180 Comments

  1. Hi, I have never flown with a pet. Will need to fly from Phoenix to Milwaukee with my maltipoo. I will purchase an approved soft carrier for her that will fit under the seat in front of me. Any help with how to do this will be GREATLY appreciated.

  2. Diana – because your dog will be traveling unaccompanied, it will need to fly as air cargo. You will need to contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the entire route. (this is not the same as the reservations department). Your dog will need to conform to regulations here to enter Portugal including the rabies titer test in step #3: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Portugal.cfm. See step #5 for differences between commercial and non-commercial regulations. There are links to further instructions and forms if you need them.
    Susan

  3. Hi, I am living in Portugal but I want to bring my dog from Costa Rica. He will be flying alone and I just can´t find where or how to get his ticket. Any help please!!!

  4. Pedro – KLM is an excellent airline; however, at a quick look, they do not operate the leg between AMS and LIS. This means you will need to claim your Whippet and clear customs at AMS. The regulations to enter the Netherlands are much the same as those to enter Portugal, however, you will need suitable time on your itinerary to do this.

    Iberia flies the entire route through Madrid with a quick stop, so you may want to consider this airline. Avoid British Airlines as they do not offer checked baggage services and transit through LHR (expensive). Aeroflot may also be an option through SVO. This layover is a bit longer than Iberia’s and you will want to confirm that the airline will hold your pup during the layover if it is flying as checked baggage.
    Susan

  5. I’m currently living in Japan, but I’m planning to move back, in the coming April, to my country(Portugal) with my dog(whippet)… I’m currently thinking about KLM, but wondering if you have other airline recommendations that may be more suitable?

  6. Stacey – if your Frenchie cannot fly in the cabin, then very few airlines will transport it in the hold. Lufthansa will and you may need to fly your Frenchie out of an airport served by Lufthansa.
    Susan

  7. Hi I am looking at taking my French bulldog from Manchester to faro. Any help please

  8. Donia – you may want to consider Lufthansa to SFO with a layover in FRA (you will stay in the terminal during the layover). You would clear customs in San Francisco, then take a domestic flight to Sacramento. Lufthansa does allow pets to fly in the cabin; however, you should confirm that they will permit this on your specific route.
    Susan

  9. Hello,
    I’d like to travel from Iran – Tehran to the USA – Sacramento sometime in August. I want my dog to be in the cabin with me and she’s 2.7kg. Since it’s a long flight I’m probably going to have either 1 or 2 stops meaning there’s a high chance that there will be multiply airlines taking us to the USA. May I know which airlines allow small dogs in the cabin with their owner to fly overseas?

  10. Maggie – if your cat is small enough to fit in an airline-compliant pet carrier like these: https://www.pettravelstore.com/pet-carriers/, then United flies your route the fastest, but you can also check with American or Delta as they also fly the route. If your cat is flying as accompanied checked baggage, then American would be your best bet as United and Delta doe not offer this class of service to live animals.
    Susan

  11. Hi my name is Maggie I’m flying with my cat and husband to California wish airline is better for my cat from Chicago to Fresno California

  12. Joan – as long as you are flying in and out of your layover airport on the same airline, you and your pup will stay in the secure area of the airport until you board your next flight. Your airline should fly in and out of the same terminal.
    Susan

  13. I am trying to import a puppy from Prague who will be 92-93 days old. Just old enough to have the rabies vaccine but too young for the 21 days wait before travel. Pup and I can fly out of Prague to 1 connecting EU airport then directly on to USA, without the rabies vaccine, if we can stay in the transfer area and not have to go through customs/show pet passport. I just don’t know the transfer areas of the major airports. I could fly almost any airline as long as I can connect from my Prague flight to my trans Atlantic flight. I imagine the best would be the same airline for both flights. Can someone tell me how to find out about both the airport TRANSFER AREAS of specific EU airports, and which airlines I would be able to stay in the transfer area while changing planes? I have been researching this for week. My return flight i hope to rebook for the date of Nov 4th. I can fly into any Usa airport, am flexible. We really want to bring this pup home without having to cut the vacation short by 3-4 days (ie befor the pup turns 3 months which is when rabies vaccine is mandated).

  14. Tenzin – because this is a domestic flight, the airline’s regulations will apply. Contact Air India or Spice Jet as they fly your route non-stop.
    Jason

  15. Hi..i need to know dat how can i take my puppy with me in plane frm.new delhi to baghdogra….and do let me know about the documents needed.
    Puppy beeed is beagle.
    And its 5months puppy.

  16. Sheila – yes, you can. You would contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the entire route to book the travel. Your pet will need to fly in an IATA-compliant pet crate like theseL https://www.pettravelstore.com/pet-crates/. It will also need a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian within 10 days of travel.
    Jason

  17. I’m flying Southwest and they do not have cargo for pets. Can I put him on another airline without me being on the same flight.

  18. Jessica – not sure of your timeframe, but would ask if you have tried to acclimate your GSD to a crate? Was it ever crate trained? If no, then this is something that you can do to help your pup with the stress of travel. We have lots of info on preparing a dog to fly here: https:// http://www.pettravel.com/news_letter.cfm. You can also consider the Queen Mary2; however, they tend to book up in advance. More info on that here: https://www.pettravel.com/cruiseship_ferry/QueenMary2.cfm
    Susan

  19. Dear Pet Travel, I am interested in moving from the US to the UK with my dog. He is a medium size German Shepard mix with a bit of separation anxiety and I am nervous about putting him in the cargo of a plane. Do you have any suggestions for the best way to travel?

  20. I travelled to Florida last week from Las Vegas with my 9 years old Shih Tzu. For the security and safety purpose of your pets, I found JetBlue Airlines more satisfied.

  21. Sheila – you may want to contact Turkish Airlines for cost information. Contact their cargo department if you are not traveling with them. Likely they will clear customs in Istanbul and, if unaccompanied, you will need an agent to assist in customs clearance and rechecking on next flight.
    Susan

  22. Hi, I am looking to fly two dogs from Faro, Portugal, to Antalya Turkey sometime late November, 2018. I have a Golden Retriever Bitch 29kg, and a Podengo X Terrier Bitch 7.5 kg. Which airlines travel from and too the above airports. Trying to find out approximate prices, which seems to be very difficult. Thanks. Sheila

  23. Clifford – The only airlines that fly this route are Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Philippine Airlines will not transport your Shih Tzus. You can check with Cebu Pacific cargo department and inquire. Be sure the temperatures are not a problem. If they are too high, no airline will transport your pets.
    Susan

  24. My partner and i are planning to bring our (3) three dogs SPECIFICATION : the 2 are Shit zhu and the last one is a Japanesse Spitz VIA Airplane.Our travel destination is just only with in this country PHILIPPINES from (NAIA) Ninoy Aquino International Airport Manila Philippines going to Cagayan De Oro City Airport Mindanao,Philippines.and were about to book our ticket soon as early as possible for our flight on this coming December 2018.Now,my concerned is or should i ask.Is it still allowed to bring my dog even i a Cargo areas????

  25. Tom – we really don’t have an answer for you. Now that Philippine Airlines will not transport Pugs in the cargo hold, owners of snub-nosed breeds in Vietnam and Cambodia have very limited options. And the temperatures do not help either. Is there anyway your Pug can fly in the cabin? One option would be to contact an agent in Vietnam or one that serves BKK and inquire about cargo only options. Try searching for one at IPATA.org.
    Jason

  26. Which airline i can buy ticket for me and for my dog his a pug we live in vietnam but i decided to go hone in the philipphines on september can you please help us find airlines?

  27. Abha – you can find requirements to import your dog to Canada here: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/canada.cfm. To export your pet from India, within 7 days of export, dogs and cats will need a health certificate from their vet as well as an Animal Health Certificate from the Animal Quarantine and Certification Service as well as all documentation required for their destination country. Be sure and get an export Notice of No Objection as your dog will need it to return to India.

    You will need to contact Cathay Pacific to make reservations for your dog. Depending on your dog’s size and your route, it may be able to fly as checked baggage. Watch out for temperatures, though. Temperatures can get pretty hot in New Delhi in July. The airline will not fly your dog in the cargo hold if temperatures exceed 30 degrees F. This policy is for the safety of your dog.
    Susan

  28. Booked my Cathy pecific ticket from New Delhi to Vancouver on 10 July 18 .I want to take my pet dog along any idea how to proceed ?

  29. Diana – you can fly Air India through New Delhi. Turkish Airlines also flies the route with 2 stops, however, one of which is the Maldives and dogs are not permitted for import (not sure about transit). We cannot find another airline that flies the entire route that will allow pets in the cabin.
    Jason

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