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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.

United Airlines 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, United Airlines is the only airline that will allow passengers to buy plane tickets for their dogs to have a seat.

However, this is only permitted for those flying with a second dog. Additionally, this is only permitted if both dogs fit in individual travel carriers approved for travel.

It’s important to note that 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. Furthermore, 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?

For a soft sided carrier the limit 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 – 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.

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.

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.

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 United Airlines, where others do not.


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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