New and Improved: Airline Rules for Pets

Pet carrier stowed under plane seatTraveling with a pet is never easy, and airplane travel is no exception. Although it can be wonderful, and sometimes necessary, to bring your pet wherever you go, it certainly adds a layer of stress, as well as the need for lots of planning and preparation. Hearing about the recent pet deaths and other unfortunate pet-related incidents on flights can also make the thought of flying with a pet seem downright scary.

Regardless of whether you need to book a flight for your pet in the cabin or in the cargo hold, airline rules for pets have changed in recent months; keeping up-to-date with these new regulations is essential for traveling pet parents.

Airline Rules for Pets

Although most of the new airline rules for pets have been implemented by United Airlines, other companies are following suit and changing the way they handle pet passengers. Part of traveling with a pet should include researching airlines to find out which one is right for you and your pet.

Some of the updated airline rules for pets include:

  • Breed concerns – United Airlines is the first airline to put a restriction on the types of breeds it will allow. More than 25 breeds of short-nosed dogs and cats, including pugs, bulldogs, chow chows, and Himalayan and Persian cats, are no longer allowed on any flights due to safety concerns.
  • Heat safety – Many airlines have restrictions on pets traveling in the cargo hold during hot weather, but United recently upped the ante by prohibiting any pet travel to Phoenix, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, and Tucson between May 1 and September 30.
  • Layovers – New regulations limit the number of cities through which a pet can be routed. This not only reduces the risk of a pet getting “lost” during transit, but it also ensures that pets reach their destination as soon as possible.
  • Service/comfort animals – Regulations have recently been tightened regarding service and emotional support animals traveling with their handlers in the cabin. United Airlines now requires medical documentation, veterinary health certificates, and proof of training for emotional or psychiatric support animals.
  • Fees – Fees vary depending on the pet and airline. Some airlines now charge a separate fee for service animals, while others allow them to fly for free.

At Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates, we couldn’t be happier knowing that major airlines are doing everything they can to make air travel safer for pets. Your pet’s safety while in the air also depends on their health, which is why we recommend a wellness exam prior to air travel. Please contact us for more information or to set up an appointment.