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 — 406 Comments

  1. Please update this policy published on your page. It is so outdated that is it literally useless. It’s dated 2011. It’s now 2018. Many airlines are now not accepting many of the PETS listed on this page.

  2. Justyna – you should know that the United States will not permit the following species of tortoises: Leopard tortoise (Geochelone pardalis), African spurred tortoise (Geochelone sulcata), Bell’s hingeback tortoise (Kinixys belliana). You will need to contact the US Fish and Wildlife Services to confirm that permits will not be required. More information here: You need also to check to see if your tortoise is an endangered species: Your tortoise should travel in a container like one of these or a wooden crate that conforms to IATA regulations: You can contact the LOT Polish to discuss whether your tortoise can fly as checked baggage or will need to fly as air cargo.

  3. Hi ! I want to transport my tortoise from Poland to USA . I will be traveling there in September . I live in YSA now and I want to finally bring my childhood pet to USA. I will be traveling with polish airlines LOT . Any idea what do I have to do? Any permits ? How the cage supposed to look, and if I can take it on board with me ?

  4. Kimberley – guinea pigs are not carriers of rabies; no injections should be needed. Current health certificate is fine to enter the US.

  5. Hey euhm i got a question about injections for guinea pigs.
    Im sure a health certificate is needed for them but i dont think injections are, well 2 vets told me injections arent needed for guinea pigs .
    Also as far i heard no quarantine is needed.
    So any one idea about this because i going to be traveling him on a plane to Boston.
    I just wanna make sure this is all i need to know and not being suprised by more rules.

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