How To Book a Plane Ticket for a Dog

Travel with dogs

When you book a plane ticket for a dog, airlines charge a separate fee from your standard airline ticket or luggage fee.

Airline Charges

To book a plane ticket for a dog on most major airlines will cost you around $150 each way for a dog that is traveling with its owner. Some large dogs, for which the combined weight of the dog and the kennel is more than 100 pounds, may require shipping the dog air cargo.  Air cargo and international fees are much higher and rise with the size of the animal from about $200 to as much as $500. Some airlines charge special handling fees in addition to the basic charges to book a plane ticket for a dog.      

As with any airline-related activity, it is essential that travelers contact the airline directly to find out the policies to book a plane ticket for a dog.  If your travel requires stops, check about feeder airlines.  Some cannot accommodate pets in the same way as their parent airline.

Above and Below Cabin Travel

A dog in a proper kennel will be shipped in a pressured part of the baggage compartment. Some airlines will allow you to bring a tiny dog in a proper kennel that fits underneath the seat.   Service animals are the exception and are allowed on all airlines.

Kennel Size

Check with your airline to determine kennel size requirements, especially for under-the-seat carriers. The United States Department of Transportation also dictates that kennels must meet minimum requirements of size, sanitation, strength, and ease of handling.  Sky kennels can be purchased, if needed.


The U.S. DOT has issued regulations regarding booking plane tickets for dogs.  Dogs may not arrive more than four hours early at their freight drop-off point. Puppies must be weaned and older than eight weeks old.  Puppies must also have food and water if they are to be travelling for 12 hours or more. Adult dogs must have food and water if travelling 24 hours or more.  For the most humane treatment, be sure to count hours on the ground as well.  Many states require a health certificate; therefore, most airlines require them for all flights.

Book Early

To book a plane ticket for a dog, always start as far in advance as possible.  That way you will be sure of all regulations required.  You should try to fly nonstop because it is much easier for you and your pet.


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