Pet Travel: How to Clear Airport Security with a Pet

Clearing pets through TSA securityYou and your pet are traveling in the cabin of an airplane together. You have checked in at the reservation desk, your pet is quietly lying down in their airline compliant pet carrier, you have tickets and possessions in hand. Everything is going according to plan. You proceed to the TSA security checkpoint. As you wait in the line, you wonder – what is coming next? How will TSA officials deal with your furry traveling companion?

PetTravel has received many questions about how people traveling with pets will be treated once they get to the front of the security line. Certainly, with all the confusion at security checkpoints and the flow of passengers intent on clearing the line and proceeding to their gate as quickly as possible, it is helpful to know how you and your pet will be cleared through security.

According to TSA: “Our security procedures do not prohibit you from bringing a pet on your flight. You should contact your airline or travel agent, however, before arriving at the airport to determine your airline’s policy on traveling with pets.”

Security Screening

More from TSA: “You will need to present the animal to the Security Officers at the checkpoint. You may walk your animal through the metal detector with you. If this is not possible, your animal will have to undergo a secondary screening, including a visual and physical inspection by our Security Officers. Your animal will NEVER be placed through an X-ray machine. However, you may be asked to remove your animal from its carrier so that the carrier can be placed on the X-Ray machine.”

You will be asked to remove your pet from the carrier so that the carrier can be run through the x-ray machine. You will walk through the upright metal detector with your pet. If you are traveling with a pet who is high spirited or scares easily, you can request a room so that your pet will not escape should you not be able to contain them when out of the carrier or get them back in the carrier once clearing security. You should allow extra time for this.

There has been a lot of news lately regarding the introduction of the controversial body scanners in many airports. If the old stand up metal detectors have been replaced with body scanners, both the pet and the owner are subject to pat down. Again, you will remove the pet from the carrier and make it available to security officers should they decide to inspect your pet. Should you require a pat down, you should put your pet back in the carrier first.

Being prepared is key to traveling with your pet. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your gate. Keep your accessories (coat, purse, laptop or other items you must carry) at a minimum so you will have free hands to handle your pet at security checkpoints. Take your pet out of the carrier after you have removed your shoes, belt, etc. and put your items on the table to be scanned. Be sure and carry a non-metallic leash in the carrier to loop around your wrist to be sure that your pet cannot escape when you remove them from the carrier. Even calm pets can get nervous and scared when around groups of people and in unfamiliar environments.

You can either carry your pet or let it walk beside you through the scanner. Once cleared, you can put your cat or dog back in the carrier.

We would welcome your feedback about your experiences at security checkpoints. Please make a comment so that you can help others who are traveling with their pet. We appreciate your time.

More information on pet travel by air


Comments

Pet Travel: How to Clear Airport Security with a Pet — 959 Comments

  1. Kerri – as your pup is over 3 months of age, it should travel with proof of rabies vaccination. although it is always a good idea to travel with a current health certificate, Air Canada does not require it unless your pup is flying as unaccompanied air cargo (which will not be the case).
    Susan

  2. I will be travelling within Canada- Ottawa to Newfoundland with 13 week old pup. I have documentation of vaccinations. Last vaccination was at 8 weeks old. Will Air Canada require documentation that pup is cleared to travel?

  3. Carina – if your toddler is a handful, then you may consider flying your cat as checked baggage in the cargo hold. Although it is preferable to fly it in the cabin, it may not be the best for you as you will have your hands full as it is. If clearing security is your only concern, know that you can request a room to remove your cat from the carrier so that security officials can x-ray the carrier. Be sure and arrive at the security checkpoint very early as it may take a bit of time to arrange this.
    Susan

  4. I am planning on traveling with a toddler and cat. What is the best plan or routine to go about that to make it easier for me since I will have no help

  5. Leena – you need to contact Air Canada and make a reservation for your cat. They will only fly a certain number of pets in the cabin. Within 7 days of export, your cat will need a health certificate from their vet as well as an Animal Health Certificate from the Animal Quarantine and Certification Service in India. If you intend to return to India, be sure and get an export Notice of No Objection.
    Susan

  6. I am travelling to Canada with my pet cat By Air Canada from Mumbai India . All his vaccinations are done. Do i need any specific papers or can I just reach the airport check us in like regular ?

  7. Sarah – as you will be changing airline companies, you and your dog will need to clear customs and enter Germany. It is difficult to say how long this process will take but the general rule is 4 hours. You will need to check with Condor to see how far in advance you must check your dog in. Your dog must conform to regulations here: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Germany.cfm. Steps 1-5 should be in order. Transit permit is not required. It would be much easier to stay on the same airline until you get to your destination country if possible.
    Susan

  8. Hi,
    I will be transiting through the Frankfort Airport in June. I will be arriving from Muscat, Oman, on Oman AIr. I have a 3 hour, 40 minute layover. I will be leaving to Anchorage, Alaska, USA on Condor Airlines. Both airlines have the space to check my dog as baggage, in the cargo hold. But I am unsure of the process to self-transfer my pet. Can this be done? She already has her rabies, titer test for blood work, and all shots up to date. Oman will issue me a health certificate. Do I need to obtain a transit certificate? I can’t find much information online.
    Thank you.

  9. Hi Joe – not sure what airline you will be flying, but you should plan to claim your Dachshund at MNL and take it outside for a walk. You will be changing terminals (likely) from domestic to international at MNL and 9 hours will enough time to take your pup outside and give it a nice walk. All large US airports have pet relief areas but this does not extend to airports in other countries.

    When you arrive in LAX, customs clearance should not be an issue when clear customs with your pup as long as these requirements are met including health and rabies certificates and screwworm inspection: https://www.pettravel.com/immigration/philippines.cfm. Visas for pet owners are not our expertise however, the US Embassy may be able to address your question about your wife. We have not heard of issues with a non-citizens importing a pet if they are listed as the owner of the pet.
    Susan

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