If you have a new puppy and are thinking about taking a trip that involves an aeroplane, you might also want to start looking into pet sitters. Airlines have started banning young puppies on flights.
The latest to make the change: United. As of Monday, United will no longer allow pets younger than four months old in the cabin.
A few years ago I drove from one side of the country to the other with my dog. I had originally planned to fly for our month-long visit, but at 10kg, my pooch ended up being a bit too heavy to legally fly under my seat in his carrier and I wasn't willing to fly him as cargo. And so: #FatTucker and I went on a cross-country road trip.
The change in policy impacts emotional support animals, in-cabin pets, and service animals and is because “animals under the age of four months typically have not received the necessary vaccinations” that ensure the safety of passengers and crew.
Delta made a similar policy change last month.
While the best policy is to probably leave your pet at home for those first few months (seriously, it’s a stressful situation for pets and can even be dangerous), if you absolutely need to fly with your new furry friend you do still have a few options.
Here are the airlines that still allow puppies:
Like most airlines Qantas only permits service dogs to be carried into the passenger cabin. For any other pet they must be booked in with Qantas Freight. All crates must be certified and have more than enough room for the animal to move around comfortably.
If you are on the same flight as your pet the ticket will be at a discounted price.
Virgin Australia requires that puppies be at least 8 weeks old for dehydration purposes, and must have a Veterinary certificate to verify that the young pup is old enough to travel. This being said they will have to travel in a crate in the cargo hold of the aircraft, as only authorised assistance dogs are permitted in the cabin.
If you are traveling in the U.S things are a little different:
American still allows puppies in the cabin. That said, puppies will need to be eight weeks old to travel within the United States and Puerto Rico on American and 16 weeks old when travelling into the United States.
The airline also doesn’t accept “brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs of any ‘mix’ as checked pets.” You can check out the full list of restricted breeds here, but those include Bulldogs, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, and Shih Tzus.
Southwest currently allows pets of any age to travel on its flights, but they have to be in a carrier that fits underneath the seat in front of you.
Pets are allowed on flights in a first-come, first served basis; however, only six pets are allowed on any one flight and only one pet per person.
Alaska Airlines / Virgin America
Alaska allows puppies as well as cats, dogs, rabbits, and household birds in the cabin, but the dogs and cats have to be at least eight weeks old and have been “fully weaned.”
Alaska only allows five pets in the cabin on each flight, so it pays to book early. Your pet also has to be in a carrier and stay in the carrier the duration of the flight.
Frontier allows pets of any age to fly in the cabin as long as they fit in a carrier and are placed under the seat in front of you.
Pets are required to stay in the carrier the duration of the flight. Just like other airlines, you’ll have to book a spot for your pooch ahead of time in order to secure it a spot.