Pet Travel: Tips on Booking an Airline Ticket for You and Your Pet

Airline pet travel tips for booking tickets for you and your petMany of our pet owners?fly with their pets when going on vacation or traveling to see family or loved ones. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2012, 623 million people flew safely in the United States alone.

Whether it be the holiday season or any other time during the year, if you are interested in booking a trip with your pet in the near future, here are some tips for saving money when booking airline tickets during the holidays or any time of the year.

Book online, but always contact the airlines prior to booking your flight to verify there is room for your pet in the cabin or cargo hold of that flight. Online ticket prices will most likely always beat booking on the telephone with a reservations agent. Call back after booking to make a reservation for your pet.

Fly direct.?Layover only when there is not a direct flight between your origination and destination cities. Keep layovers to 2 about 2 hours and avoid laying over in the UK and Japan if at all possible when traveling internationally to keep costs down. Do not change airlines if you are traveling with a pet. You will have to claim and re-check your pet. Changing planes is OK; changing airlines is not. It is fine to book a one way ticket to transport you and your pet to your destination and?a different airline?for the return trip. This can be a great way to save money on your airline tickets.

Consider alternate airports. Oftentimes, it can be easier and cheaper to fly into a nearby large airport, rent a car, and drive to a smaller city. If your pet likes riding in the car, this will certainly be more fun for your pet?than landing and transferring to a smaller plane to take off again.

Book your flight about 6 weeks prior to the departure date if possible. Tickets tend to be below the average price at this time.

For impending weekend travel, book on a Tuesday around 3:00 PM EST. This is when the airlines have re-priced their seats on flights for the following weekend. Always verify on the telephone that there is room for your pet in the cabin or cargo hold prior to booking online and notify them after you make your reservations.

Fly on a Wednesday if you are traveling domestically. Business traffic is heaviest on Mondays and Fridays so fares tend to be more expensive on those days.

Take either the first flight out in the morning or the red eye at night. Ticket prices on early morning, dinner time, and red-eye flights tend to be cheaper than flights during normal daytime hours. Just be sure that, if you are flying internationally, your flight’s arrival time is during normal business hours during the week so you will not have to pay extra for a veterinarian to clear your pet.

Check Facebook and Twitter for special promotions. The airlines occasionally advertise special fares on social media. If you find one, move fast, as these bargains go quickly.

Check both large and small airline booking websites. Orbitz and Expedia are good to check, but don’t forget the smaller sites like Kayak which could have differing prices and deals on airline tickets. Also, be sure and check the airline’s website! Many airlines hold certain blocks of seats for their online booking and this can mean lower prices for you!

Fly off season. Transporting during the summer to or from hot weather cities can be challenging due to heat embargo rules. If possible, fly with your pet in the spring or?autumn and avoid major holidays if possible. Baggage handlers are especially busy during holidays and time for attention to our pets and their needs may be limited. Tickets also tend to be more expensive during the holiday week due to higher demand.

Become a frequent flyer. These programs have become very popular with airline travelers and can afford significant savings. Some airlines even offer frequent flyer miles for traveling pets!

Be flexible. If you are willing and able to keep to a flexible schedule, your chances of finding inexpensive airline travel with your pet will be greater.

Airline travel can be expensive, especially if you are traveling with larger pets. These tips may help you save money next time you are booking your airline reservations.


Pet Travel: Tips on Booking an Airline Ticket for You and Your Pet — 210 Comments

  1. Jackie – we regret the airline’s refusal of your dogs; however, airlines will not accept live animals in the cargo hold if the temperature anywhere along the route falls below 45 degrees F. This is for the safety of all live animals.

  2. I am trying to book an Alaska flight to Psp from Geg, using miles and 2 dogs under the plane in cargo on Monday the3 or Tuesday the4 of January. First class. I have tried many times but can’t get through to reservations. My email is 5099981610. There will be 2 adults and 2 dogs in cargo below plane.. we prefer early AM
    My old confirmation code was APKESV but had to cancel cuz of the dogs not being able to fly because of cargo not warm enough

  3. I would like to fly to Paris from canada with my golden lab. She is to big for the cab. She has been chipped and rabbies vaccinated what else should I do to have a hassle free trip

  4. Tony – your wife should contact Emirates to see if they will care for the pup during the layover. If your wife must claim her dog, it must clear customs and enter the UAE. If flying as air cargo, Emirates may have the facilities to care for the pup during the layover; however, most airlines do not offer these services to pets flying as accompanied checked baggage.
    To address your question, the best way to prepare any pet for transport is to acclimate it to its crate. More info on that here: More information on flying a pet here:

  5. My wife wishes to bring her pet Shitzu from Brazil to Bahrain. This would involve flights from Goiania to Sao Paulo to Dubai to Bahrain. There would be layovers of 4 hours in Sao Paulo and 12 hours in Dubai (since preferred airline is Emirates). Any advice as to best preparation for the poor little 4 legged friend?

  6. Hello I live in Beirut Lebanon and will be traveling to Los Angeles CAlifornia USA my chihuaha is only 2 and half kilos and would like to fly him in cabin with me, this is my first time traveling with my pet what paper work do I need besides the rabies certificate from the vet, to enter USA since my vet doesn?t really have any clue or experience with travel papers for pets. Specially with the COVID-19 pandemic that?s going on now no one seems to have answers here in the country

  7. Robie – there is no way to tell what airline services will be offered to pets at the end of the year. You have the best chance to fly your Chi as accompanied checked baggage out of Dubai on Emirates. Not sure if you will find any airline that flies out of the UAE that will fly pets in the cabin to Manila. Emirates also flies the route nonstop.

  8. Hi Pet Travel,

    I am currently @ United arab of emirates and im planing to go back to Philippines this year. I will bring my 1-year old chihuahua with me. He is a little over 4 kilos. Any recommendations on which airline to take?

    Thank you in advance.

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