Pet Travel: Traveling by Air with Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Rats, Turtles and other Exotic Animals

rabbitPets are on the move. More than 2 million pets are transported each year in the United States according to US Department of Transportation. Although the majority of animals that are transported are dogs and cats, exotic animals can be transported as well. It’s important to realize that every airline sets their own regulations on what pets, breeds and types they are willing to transport. Below is a list of airlines you might want to consider next time you travel with an exotic animal.

Delta: Delta is a very pet-friendly airline with a variety of options for different animals. Delta welcomes passengers to carry small dogs, cats, and household birds in cabin. Also, between September 16th and May 14th they will transport dogs, cats, household birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, hamsters and most reptiles, amphibians and fish via cargo as long as the temperatures along your route do not exceed 85 degrees.. Pets must be in an airline approved crate or carrier. As a bonus Delta will transport two pets of the same type in one kennel as long as they meet the requirements for acceptance. Delta no longer provides checked baggage service, however they do transport pets unaccompanied. Delta only accepts pets on flights shorter than 12 hours and they limit crate height to 24″.

Frontier: Frontier is known for their laid back regulations and relatively inexpensive transport fees. They allow dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters to travel in cabin (with the appropriate carrier) for $75 one way for flights within the United States. Only dogs and cats will be transported internationally.

United: United Air limits in-cabin travel to dogs and cats. They will only transport dogs in crates 30″ or under in their PetSafe Program.

WestJet: Westjet Airline is one of the most “exotic pet friendly” airlines in Canada. They will transport cats, dogs, rabbits, birds (not just household) in the cabin. Chinchillas, guinea pigs, and hedgehogs can be transported as checked baggage. The only downside to WestJet is their flight selection is somewhat limited, especially in the central US. They will fly snub-nosed breeds as long as temperatures are not excessive.

It’s important to remember that each airline makes its own rules for the import of birds and exotic pets. On top of the airlines, every country (beside the EU) makes their own rules regarding the various types of pets allowed to enter the country. For more information on traveling with your exotic pet, check out www.pettravel.com.


Comments

Pet Travel: Traveling by Air with Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Rats, Turtles and other Exotic Animals — 459 Comments

  1. Hello, I am traveling from Detroit, MI to Las Vegas, NA and would like to bring my three pet mice. Is this possible? What would be the cost and which airlines would allow it? I usually fly Delta.

  2. Hi im in dubai currently but am shifting to australia next year. Ihave 2 guinea pigs nearly 10 months old.
    I have to take them with me whichever way. Whether as imports etc.
    please dont tell me its not possible just give ideas of how to go around the system and take them
    With me. I cnt leave them and dont want to stay away from my husband also.
    Thanks in advance please help

  3. Rita – there are currently no regulations for bringing pet rabbits to the EU from rabies-controlled countries as long as you are traveling with your pet. You should travel with a health certificate.
    Susan

  4. Anna – Air Berlin offers checked baggage in the hold and manifest cargo services. They will not fly your guinea pigs in the cabin. (we don’t know of any commercial airline that will on an international flight.) You will need to contact them to tell them of your intention to bring your pets. Here is the contact info on their website: http://www.airberlin.com/en/site/airberlin_service_center.php. Make sure they will allow them to travel in one crate.
    Susan

  5. Hi Caroline – must mention that the UK will quarantine your bunnies for 4 months if you bring them there. As for Germany, currently there are no veterinary regulations regarding bringing a bunny to the country. You should always travel with a health certificate.

    As for the flights, we do not know of any commercial airline that will allow bunnies in the cabin on international flights. We understand your concern about flying them in the hold. As they would travel as checked baggage in the hold, the airlines take great effort to have them on the same flight as you are. Of course, you will meet the pilot and crew and remind them that there are live animals in the hold and please monitor the temperature and pressure. Wish we had a happier answer…
    PS Select an airline that will allow them to travel in the same crate.
    Susan

  6. Do you know whether there are any airlines that will transport guinea pigs in the cabin from the US to Germany? I know Lufthansa will allow them in the hold for $200, but they will only fly to Munich or Frankfurt which is not really convenient for me, as I still have to travel to north of Poland with them (too many regulations on bringing guinea pigs into Poland from non-EU countries; easier to drive them over as there is no border control). Easiest would be to fly airberlin, but can’t get hold of them to see if they will allow them on board or in the hold. Any tips would be very much appreciated!

  7. Hi,

    I have two dwarf rabbits. I plan to move internationally, from San Francisco to Dublin or Berlin (depending on my company). I want to bring my two rabbits on-board to make sure I can care for them. Do you know of any international flights that allow rabbits on board? I have found a few that allow cats/dogs, but none that allow rabbits. I really don’t feel good about moving them any other way. Thanks.

  8. We are considering a trip to Virginia USA in a few months. I need to bring my red eared slider with us. Can you recommend a turtle carrier that would work for us. She is 28 yrs old, 8″ long x 5″ wide. Also, what airlines would allow her to ride in the cabin under the seat?

    Thank you.

  9. Hi CC – it is tempting to bring a turtle on board with you in your purse, but it would not be a good idea to take it through the x-ray machine. It should be flown as accompanied checked baggage as all US based airlines will not allow it in the cabin. (not sure why as turtles don’t cause a ruckus and certainly are good travelers…) You will need a crate to protect your pet in the cargo hold. Many pet stores have them. Just make sure the door has a spring loaded lock and the crate comes in 2 pieces with secure fasteners. You will pay the cost at the ticket counter. It is well worth your pet’s safety instead of sneaking it on the plane.
    Susan

  10. I have a Turtle (6 inches by 5 inches) – I need to fly from NYC to Chicago on Delta. I don’t need a big crate, but do you have suggestions on this. I really don’t have the funds to pay a lot. She could actually fit in my purse.

  11. Hi Jason, thanks a lot for your suggestion!!! The cost is so expensive it starts from £295 pp to £795 pp on the beginning of September even if you do one stop, unfortunately I can’t reach the cost of the fly with my budget! So I need to give away my sweet Nelly to a friend.
    Many thanks Angelo
    (angelo.atz@libero.it)

  12. Angelo – your best bet is probably Alitalia as they have a lot of flights from London to Sardinia including one with a short layover in Rome. Yes, you can take your guinea pig with you. We would recommend traveling with a health certificate issued by your veterinarian.
    Jason

  13. Hi, soon I will leave London to fly back to Sardinia and I would like to take with me my guinea pig which we living together almost 2.5 years. Do you know which fly company and if I can take it with me. Many thanks Angelo

  14. It is not an easy process to import pet animals into Saudi Arabia. If it is permitted, you will certainly need an import permit. You should direct your inquiry to Ministry of Agriculture – Animal and Plant Quarantine Department. Saudi Air will permit pets in the cargo hold if the appropriate paperwork is presented.
    Jason

  15. Hi, I just wanted to know, if I buy a guinea pig in Singapore, what are the requirements to bring it back to Saudi Arabia. Does the Saudi airline allow pets on the plane?

  16. Hello,
    I want to take my 3 pet rats to germany with me. I didn’t see anything about rats. Is there a way to get all 3 of them to germany on any airline?

  17. Hi Lucas – although the EU considers Singapore a rabies-controlled country, your guinea pig will need to be licensed into quarantine for 4 months upon arrival in the UK.
    Susan

  18. Hi,

    I am adopting a baby guinea pig in Singapore and intend to return home to the UK in 1-2 years. Is there any way I will be able to get him home when I decide to return?

    Lucas

  19. American Airlines, Delta and United all have oodles of flights from MCO to BNA. If you are accompanying your hedge hog, the airlines should transport it as accompanied checked baggage in the cargo hold, otherwise, it will need to travel as manifest cargo (also in the hold). Contact the reservations number if you are traveling with your pet and the cargo number if you are not.

    You will need an IATA compliant pet crate to ship it in. You can find one at https://www.pettravelstore.com/pet-crates/.
    Jason

  20. PLEASE HELP!

    I’m wanting to buy a hedge hog down in fort meyes in Florida but I am from Tennessee, what do you think the best airline would be to ship this exotic animal from Orlando, Florida to Nashville, Tennessee ???

  21. Jean-Claude – Massachusetts regulations for the import of animals do not cover turtles. It does not appear that a painted turtle would be covered under CITES regulations, so you may want to contact the State Veterinarian and inquire: 617-626-1795. As for the airlines, you can inquire with Delta, United or Air Canada as to whether they would permit it on this route as they do not publish that they accept turtles in the cabin.
    Phil

  22. Any updates on transporting a painted turtle from North Dakota to Boston, MA?

  23. I think Delta has the best service for pets in your lists, although the price is not included. It will probably cost alot, I do have a Guinea Pig, and sometimes I am bring them to my tour, and it really feels great when they are handling pets carefully.

  24. Daniela – not sure where you are located now, but we recommend traveling with a recent health certificate. Your rabbits can fly in the same plane as you as checked baggage in the hold. You need to stay on the same plane for the entire trip because the airlines do not interline pets.
    Jason

  25. I have two rabbits a big one and a small one snow and ruby and I want them to travel with me you see I’m 18 and I’m moving out soon in one more year I’m moving to Peoria, IL in Illinois and I want help how who can help me ??

  26. May – unless it is an exotic type of guinea pig, you can bring your pets to the US. If you are traveling with them, they will travel as checked baggage in the cargo hold. They should have a health certificate issued shortly prior to travel.
    Susan

  27. Natalie – unless it is an exotic type of guinea pig, you can bring your pets to the US. If you are traveling with them, they will travel as checked baggage in the cargo hold. They should have a health certificate issued shortly prior to travel.
    Susan

  28. Hi Anthony – because they are entering the UK from a non-EU country, your guinea pigs will be subject to 4 months of quarantine when entering the UK. The number of your pets in the crate will depend on airline policies, but generally, smaller pets are permitted to fly together as long as there is adequate room for them to move around.
    Jason

  29. My family is moving to the UK from the US and would like to bring our four Guinea Pigs.
    1. Are Guinea Pigs allowed into the UK?
    2. What are the UK requirements for entry of Guinea Pigs?
    3. May I bring two Guinea Pigs per pet container?
    All advice will help!

  30. Any chances that I can take my beloved guinea pig to US?

    1. how long
    2. how much
    3. what’s the procedure?

    Your early reply will be highly appreciated.

    Thanks a lot!

  31. Any chances that I can take my beloved guinea pig to US?

    1. how long
    2. how much
    3. what’s the procedure?

    Your early reply will be highly appreciated.

    Thanks a lot!

  32. Hello – would have to research the restrictions on bringing a hedgehog into Saudi Arabia, but the issue would be returning to the UK as their regulations do not include the import of other animals from high-rabies countries like Saudi Arabia. Rabbits, rodents and other animals can only be imported from other EU and rabies-controlled countries.
    Susan

  33. Hello, I have an unusual one. I’m considering adopting a hedgehog. I’m currently studying in London but I am originally from Saudi. So, I was wondering what the process would be to transport it from the UK to Riyadh. As I will be traveling back and forth during holidays. Any help would be appreciated.

  34. Hi Alexis – we do not know of any commercial airline that will permit a pig in the cabin. Your pet can travel with you on the same plane in the cargo hold as checked baggage.
    Susan

  35. Can you take a micro pig on the plane ? Will it be permitted on the plane ? If so what are some airline companies that would permit the pig ?

  36. I live in Australia and would like to take my pet rat to live in England , can I take him in the plane cabin with me? Also is there a quarantine period? Cost ?

  37. Danica – we don’t have information on bringing guinea pigs into China. You can try emailing the Ministry of Agriculture Tel: (8610)59191428, 59191492. Most all airlines will ship a guinea pig as checked baggage or manifest cargo. BA only offers manifest cargo through an agent. Try some other airlines as well.
    Susan

  38. Hello Pet Travel. I’m going to China 2 months later and I need to bring with me my 1 year-old guinea pig. Do you know the requirements needed by the P.R.C and which airline can transport my guinea pig? I also checked BAI about shipment permit but it’s all about dogs and cats only. I’d like to know the requirements to get a shipment permit for a guinea pig. Hoping for a response. 🙂

  39. Kirk – Cebu Pacific does not transport live animals of any type. Not sure of your route, but you could inquire to Philippine Airlines if they serve it. They may or may not carry arachnids, but I assure you it will not be in the cabin. You also need to check requirements of your destination country unless you are remaining in the Philippines.
    Susan

  40. I would like to know how to travel my pet tarantula localy by Plane? Preferably cebu pacific? Its my first time to travel my tarantula and I want to know if this is posible. I dont like to ship it since it will take more than a day whereas traveling it by plane will only take it 1-2 hours. What are the requirements needed?

  41. Hi Niki – with a health certificate, you should be fine entering any EU country with a rabbit from another EU country unless it is the UK.
    Susan

  42. Hi Johanna – the EU regulations for animals other than dogs, cats or ferrets are country specific. I would need to know what country you are traveling to.
    Susan

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