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

rabbitPets 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 and they limit crate height to 24″.

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. Only dogs and cats will be transported internationally.

United: United Air limits in-cabin travel to dogs and cats. They will only transport dogs in crates 30″ or under in their PetSafe Program.

WestJet: Westjet Airline is one of the most “exotic pet friendly” airlines in Canada. 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. They will fly snub-nosed breeds as long as temperatures are not excessive.

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 — 459 Comments

  1. Hi everyone

    I’ve just moved from London, UK to Budapest, Hungary. I want to now bring my two pet rats across with me at the end of the month. Does anyone know airlines that do this route that will let them travel with me in the cabin?

    Thank you

  2. Hi Clare – the UK will quarantine your rat for 4 months after entering the UK. If flying commercially, it must travel as air cargo, so you will need to contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the route (Air Canada?). It will need a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian within 10 days of travel and an import license.
    Susan

  3. Hi there,
    We live in BC canada and have a pet rat. We may need to move back to the UK sooner than planned and we were wondering if it is possible to bring a pet rat back to the uk? I’m not sure if long haul flights allow pets and we can’t find much information on the regulations for rats.
    Thank you.

  4. Hi! WE have military orders to Germany and have 2 sugar gliders. We can’t find a clear answer on what we need to do to get them there. ANY insight would be great! I have looked over every site possible and nothing. please help!

  5. My hamster is small so I want everything for my hamster for Christmas like carrier backpack for my hamster.Even for my birthday

  6. Hi Sophie – it is possible to travel with your hedgehog from Michigan to Washington DC, but likely not in the cabin. As American is the only US-based airline that provides checked baggage, you will likely need to fly your hedgehog as air cargo. In this case, you would contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the route directly for details.
    Phil

  7. Sara – it is possible to take your hedgehog from Toronto to Vancouver. The question is whether Air Canada will allow it as checked baggage or through their cargo department. We believe the latter will be the case. Contact their reservation number. If it is not permitted as checked baggage, contact their cargo department.
    Susan

  8. Is it possible/safe to take a hedgehog on a 4hr flight from Toronto to Vancouver? Does Air Canada allow it?

  9. Sheneil – try WestJet if they fly your route. If not, try Air Canada. Ask if they will fly your rats as checked baggage.
    Phil

  10. Hi, i’m moving to British Columbia in May, any suggestions on what airline to go with for traveling with three pet rats?

  11. Div – as this is a domestic flight, you should check with an airline that flies the route directly and inquire as to their requirements. Your turtle will likely travel in the cargo hold as checked baggage.
    Jason

  12. Im going for a vacation wth my box turtle from Bangalore to Delhi. How can i take it along?

  13. Raghad – we do not have information on the import of turtles into Sudan. You may want to contact the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests in Sudan for import information. As for transport, find an airline that flies the entire route. You can contact the reservations number of the airline for information on your turtles traveling as checked baggage. If the airline does not transport turtles as checked baggage, contact the cargo department of the airline.
    Jason

  14. I want to travel with my 2 turtles ( and maybe one tortoise ) From UAE to Sudan.. i cant find any info. I cant travel by train bcz there is a sea. I can just fly there. How does it costs and whats the charges?

  15. We have a Russian tortoise (less than 10 inches in diameter) and will be moving from the US to Okinawa. I am finding it difficult to find quarantine information or travel regulations on tortoise; the I formation has all been related to turtles and lizards.
    Can you direct me to a reliable source?

  16. Mandy – as you are traveling within the EU, your turtles should travel with a current health certificate. You should verify that your turtles are not subject to CITES regulations. You should be able to travel by train with your turtles, except on the Eurostar trains. They will need to be in secure carriers. Contact the train that serves your route for additional information.
    Phil

  17. Hi, I am trying to travel with my two turtles (they are small, about 7-8 months old) from Madrid to London. I am finding it impossible to get any information. I will either fly or get the train. Do you know if I can just travel with them on train easily? Or do I need permissions? Thank you in advance!

  18. Ashlyn – we are not aware of any airline that will transport guinea pigs in the cabin to the EU or any other country.
    PHil

  19. I need to take my two guinea pigs from the US to Germany. they need to travel cabin with me. Does anyone know any airlines?

  20. Tar – you will need to fly your tortoise as air cargo. so contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the entire route. If you intend to transport him before October, you will need to fly Delta or United or choose a flight that daparts/arrives early AM or late PM due to the temperatures.
    Susan

  21. Flying from Hawaii to North Carolina with a sulcatta tortoise. Looking for an airline that will allow him to fly

  22. My business partners were needing APHIS 7001 a few weeks ago and saw an online service that has a lot of sample forms . If others need to fill out APHIS 7001 too , here’s http://goo.gl/Weh4RM

  23. well lucky me I’m flying delta with my genie pigs all the way to FPO or Freeport Bahamas can I get a wootwooot

  24. Ani – many airlines fly the route directly between Sydney and LAX (Delta, United, Virgin Australia, American) but they will not allow any pets in the cabin due to the duration of the flight. With Virgin Australia and American, your bunny should be able to travel as checked baggage. With Delta and United, your bunny must travel as air cargo. Australia requires that pets enter the country as cargo and the airlines that fly out of Australia keep the same policies.
    Phil

  25. Puja – we are not aware of any commercial vessel that travels from Australia to the US that will allow pets. As for flying, airline attendants cannot feed your rabbit once in flight. That said, you may want to ask your vet how long it would be safe for your bunny to go without eating.
    Phil

  26. Jackie – we are not aware of any commercial airlines that serve this route that will allow hamsters to travel in the cabin. Thai Airways no longer allows any pets to travel in the cabin. sorry..
    Jason

  27. Help! We have two hamsters that we need to move with us from Yangon to Geneva. Thai Airways will not take them for security reasons. I would prefer not to have them travel cargo – do you know of any pet friendly carriers?

  28. Hi

    We’re planning on moving from Australia to the US later this year but my concern is my bunny’s health. He eats only crushed greens and very little hay and pellets due to his ongoing dental issues.

    My concern is will he be OK to fly that long? Has anyone ever faced this issue? Also what about his food on this 15 hour flight? I’m terribly scared and even thinking of cancelling plans if he is not going to be ok!

    Also, is there any way we can ship him instead of flying and my husband or me can travel with him.

    Any information will be much appreciated.

    Thanks
    Puja

  29. I am moving permanently to California from Sydney. We have a bunny and I am trying to find the safest way to take him. any help is appreciated.

  30. Darla – there are a few very good websites on the Internet about shipping a turtle, so you may want to research. If these turtles are protected by CITES, approvals will need to be obtained from them. You should also contact the Fish and Wildlife Service to see what is required to import your turtles.
    Susan

  31. We are considering adopting two aquatic turtles during our time in S Korea. Wondering how difficult it would be to transport them back to the states when our military orders move us next? Can turtles be in cargo? Any suggestions for crating them for the flight?
    We have owned an aquatic turtle in the past and are familiar with routine care, but we always moved stateside via our car… So this is uncharted territory!
    Appreciate the assitance in helping us make a good decision at this time!

  32. i have 4 yearsold rabits in dubai , now we are planning to move from dubai to visakhapatnam please suggest us how to travel my bunnies ?

  33. Peter – The admittance of species other than dogs and cats, including pet birds, requires prior approval by the Ministry of Agriculture. The traveler must produce an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture in Brazil. You also need to verify that your pet is not protected under CITES regulations. http://checklist.cites.org/#/en\
    Jason

  34. Kelly – monkeys are allowed on many, but not all, airlines via air cargo. We are not aware of any that will carry them in the cabin or as checked baggage. You will need to contact your airline’s cargo department and inquire as to whether they are accepted.
    Susan

  35. Are there any international airlines that allow marmoset monkeys to travel with you, be it on the plane with you or cargo

  36. Jana – we would say that the APHIS 7001 form should be endorsed for several reasons. One, the airlines will be looking for that endorsement and two, it will give the certificate more credibility when entering Tokyo.
    Phil

  37. My guinea pigs are flying unaccompanied on United from Tampa to Tokyo. I hate they will be on such a long flight but military orders are orders 🙁
    United said they will need a health certificate, anyone know if I have to go to a USDA vet to get the certificate? is it the APHIS 7001 form? I could use as much help as possible 🙁 tia!

  38. Melissa – transporting pet rats works as air cargo. Contact the cargo department of an airline that flies the entire route.
    Phil

  39. Laura – flying a pet in the cargo hold is not anyone’s first choice, but sometimes, it is the only way to transport them. The airlines transport millions of pets each year and lose very few. Get good crates (like these: http://www.pettravelstore.com/pet-crates/) and cable tie the corners for strength. Let them spend some time in them before traveling. Are you aware that there will be quarantine for them when entering the UK?
    susan

  40. I’m moving to the UK from the US later this year due to military orders. We have two guinea pigs and I’m trying to find the safest way to transport them over there. I’m under the impression that the UK requires them to be air cargo. Has anyone ever sent their guinea pigs via air cargo? I’m concerned about how safe it would be for them…

  41. Melissa – the US will not have a problem with clearing your guinea pigs. They will fly as air cargo through IAG Cargo and will need a health certificate issued within 10 days of traveling.
    Phil

  42. Does anyone know if it would be possible to take my 2 pet guinea pigs from the UK into Florida when I move there? The only direct airline to where we would live is BA.

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