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Can I Buy a Seat for my Dog on a Plane? [Yes – Here’s how]

Buying a seat for your dog on a plane is not possible when flying with most airlines.

There are some airlines that will allow you to buy a seat for a dog on a plane. However, it is important to note there are strict rules and regulations you must adhere to.

In this article we will list these airlines policies on buying your dog a seat on the plane, as well as general airline policies for flying with dogs in the cabin.


How to Buy a Seat for your Dog on a Plane

As far as we are aware, the only airlines that will allow passengers to buy plane tickets for their dogs to have a seat are United and Jet Blue.

Jet Blue state that passengers are only permitted to fly with one dog in-cabin. You are able to purchase an additional seat next to you, to place your dog carrier. Alternatively, your dog will have to fly stowed under the seat in front of you. 

United permit passengers flying with 2 dogs in cabin, as long as they are in their own carriers and you purchase an additional ticket for the seat next to you. However, United do not allow dogs to sit on the seats. Your second dog will still need to stay stowed under the seat in front of the additional space.

It’s important to note that both Jet Blue and United require advance reservations for in-cabin pet travel. You must also check that there is a spare seat available next to you.

How much does it cost to buy a seat for your dog?

The fee for taking a dog in the plane cabin is $125 per pet, for both Jet Blue and United.

When flying with United, there is an additional $125 service charge for each stopover of more than 4 hours within the U.S. or more than 24 hours outside of the U.S.

Thus, when taking two dogs on board, the charge will be $250, plus an additional $250 for any stopovers listed above.

Of course, you will also have to pay for the plane ticket for the seat next to you.

For information on the cost of a US Pet Passport, check How Much Does a US Pet Passport Cost in 2020?

What are the travel carrier restrictions for my dog?

Jet Blue requires that dog carriers are no larger than 43x31x21cm. When flying with United, the limit for a soft-sided carrier is 46x28x28 cm and for a hard sided carrier the limit is 44x30x19 cm.

We recommend that you use a soft sided carrier as they will provide your dog with much more space. They’re also easier to manoeuvre when on the plane and are often lighter than hard sided carriers. 

Best Rated Dog Carriers – Jet Blue & United Airline-Approved

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General Airline Policies for Flying with Dogs in Cabin.

1. Your dog must be healthy.

Dog’s generally must have a pet passport – a term used to represent the documents showing that your dog is healthy and ready for travel.

A rabies vaccination and health certificate are usually required to take your dog on a plane. Please note that health certificates must issued from an authorised veterinarian.

For more information on Pet Passports in the USA check How to get a USA Pet Passport in 2019 [ULTIMATE GUIDE].


2. Dogs must be small and light.

Most airlines require that dogs and their carriers weigh less than 8kg combined. This is because they usually require dogs to fit in a pet carrier that must fit underneath the passenger seats.

The rules and regulations have been set out by International Air Transport Association (IATA) ensure that dogs are comfortable when travelling. Thus, inside their travel carriers, dogs must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in a natural position in their kennel (without touching any side or the top of the container).

Please note the weight and size does vary between airlines:

Japan Air allows 10kg, where TUI allows just 6kg.

Therefore, if you are the owner of a large dog, it is likely that you will need to ship him in cargo hold.


3. Certain breeds may not be able to fly.

Some airlines have restrictions on which breeds they allow to fly. 

United doesn’t permit any pit bull type dogs in their cabins. 

It is rather common that airlines do not allow brachycephalic or snub-nosed dogs of any “mix” to fly, however this is often only mentioned as checked pets. This is in the interest of your dog’s own health and safety. Certain breeds often are more prone to certain illnesses which put them at risk when flying. Due to some cases over the years of dogs not making it to the end of their flight, airlines have gotten stricter on which pets they allow on the plane.

American Airlines do not allow the following dog breeds, or their mixes, to fly as checked pets:

      • Affenpinscher
      • American Staffordshire Terrier
      • Boston Terrier
      • Boxer (all breeds)
      • Brussels Griffon
      • Bulldog (all breeds)
      • Cane Corso
      • Chow Chow
      • Dogue De Bordeaux
      • English Toy Spaniel
      • Japanese Chin
      • Lhasa Apso
      • Mastiff (all breeds)
      • Pekingese
      • Pit Bull
      • Presa Canario
      • Pug (all breeds)
      • Shar Pei
      • Shih Tzu
      • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
      • Tibetan Spaniel

Different airlines have different pet policies, double check your airline to see if your dog breed can fly with you.


4. Your dog must be well behaved.

To ensure that the flight is undisturbed, your dog must be obedient to your commands. Furthermore your dog must behave appropriately in public, thus, he mustn’t bark or growl at other passengers or staff.

If your dog does not behave in an appropriate manner, some airlines may transfer him to the cargo hold at an additional cost, or refuse to transport him all together.

Some airlines require a consent form to ensure your pet is flight-ready.

For example, Lufthansa require two copies of a fully completed and signed forms at the check-in counter.


Documents required to Fly with Dogs In-Cabin

The documents required to fly with a dog in cabin will vary depending on which airline you are flying with, and where you are flying from and to. Generally you will require the following:

  1. Microchip certificate
  2. Rabies vaccination certificate
  3. Animal health certificate
  4. Additional vaccination certificates
  5. Rabies titer test results
  6. Parasite treatment certificate

This is just a guide on what is required, please check the requirements for your specific airline and destination country. 

a) Microchip.

Your dog can get microchipped at your local vet or a charity, such as RSPCA.

Not only is it a requirement when traveling with dogs, it is in your best interest. If your dog was to go missing whilst abroad, then you are far more likely to be reunited.

Get your dog microchipped BEFORE getting his/her rabies vaccinations. They will not be valid if microchipped after.

b) Rabies vaccinations.

If you want your take dogs on flights, it is likely that he/she requires a valid rabies vaccination. Particularly if you are taking your dog on an international flight as this is a requirement for entering most countries. 

Most countries require dogs to have their rabies vaccination between 30 days and 12 months prior to importing.

You can get your pet’s rabies vaccination at your local vet, alternatively some charities offer this service for free or for a discounted price. 

c) Animal health certificate.

Most airlines will require an official animal health certificate issued by an accredited veterinarian in order to export and import dogs.

In most cases, your health certificate will also need to be endorsed by the country’s authority responsible for the import and export of animals. For example, if you are traveling from the US, you will need your documents endorsed by the USDA. If you are traveling from Canada, you will need to have your documents endorsed by CFIA.

d) Additional vaccinations.

Depending on where you are flying to, your dog may also require additional vaccinations or treatments.

For example, Turkey requires that all dogs are vaccinated against parainfluenza, leptospirosis, parvovirus, bordetella, hepatitis and distemper before being allowed into the country.  

e) Rabies titer test.

Some countries require pets to have a rabies titer test before entering. This is usually the case when you are traveling from a country that is considered high risk for rabies.

If your ESA requires a titer test the process is as follows:

  1. Your pet will have a blood sample taken at least 30 days after the rabies vaccination.
  2. Your vet will then send the blood sample to an approved blood testing laboratory.
  3. Your pet’s blood test results must show a rabies antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml.
  4. You must wait 3 months from the date the blood sample was taken before you travel.
  5. The vet will give you a copy of the test results.

f) Parasite treatment.

To enter many countries, dogs are required to be treated against internal and/or external parasites before entering. This includes treatment for tapeworm, fleas, ticks, nematodes and cestodes. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I fly with my large dog in the cabin?

Unfortunately, most airlines will only allow small and light dogs in the cabin. This is because they usually must comfortably fit underneath the seat in front of you. If you are traveling with a large dog, it is likely that you will need to ship him or her in the cargo hold of the plane.

Can I fly with my puppy on a plane?

Yes, if your puppy is over 4 months (16 weeks) old. Most airlines will not allow dogs under this age to fly on their planes. Some allow younger puppies to travel, for example, Alaska Air require puppies to be at least 8 weeks old and fully weaned.

Can I take my dog out of the carrier on the plane?

Sadly no. Your dogs are expected to remain in their carriers while in the airport and on board the aircraft. This is the case for all airlines, so that you do not disturb other passengers.

Can I take 2 dogs on a plane with me?

Possibly, this completely depends on the airline you fly with. Different airlines have different regulations when it comes to traveling with pets. Some will allow 2 dogs, such as Jet Blue and United Airlines, where others do not.

Conclusion

So, if you want to buy a seat for your dog on the plane, you must fly with two dogs on United Airlines. Additionally, your dogs must be small enough to fit comfortably in individual, United-approved travel carriers.

If you don’t meet these requirements, don’t worry! There are many airlines that will allow dogs to fly in the cabin under the seat in front of you. As long as your dog is an approved breed and is well behaved.

For more information on other worldwide airlines that permit dogs in the cabin with their owners, check 13 Airlines That Allow Flying With Dogs In-Cabin [2021 Prices & Policies]

Hope you have found this helpful.

Happy travels!

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