Air travel today is making more and more destinations accessible to humans and pets alike. Just like you stay aware of new locations that become available, you should stay on top of the latest pet travel policies so you and your pet can be ready to go when adventure calls. While policies can change from airline to airline, Southwest Airlines provides a low-cost option compared to other companies.
The fee per carrier on Southwest is $95 each way, and it is non-refundable and non-transferable. Reservations are required and are given out on a first-come, first-serve basis until their six pet per flight maximum is reached. Pets can travel on any domestic flight that Southwest offers, but they are not permitted on any international flights.
In Cabin Travel
Southwest offers in-cabin travel to small dogs and cats only flying in carriers that fit under the seat in front of you. Due to the design of Southwest’s planes, the size of your carrier may impact where you can sit. The middle seat provides the most space for a carrier. It can hold a carrier that is 19” X 19” X 9”. The window and aisle seats allow enough space for a carrier that is only 19” x 14” X 9”. This carrier is also considered your one carry-on bag so everything else you packed for your trip must be checked prior to reaching the gate. For the safety of your pet and the comfort of other travelers, pets must remain in the carrier for the entire flight unless they are a service animal. Emotional support animals do not fall under this category.
How It Compares
While by no means the strictest airline policy, this airline may not be a good choice if you have a larger animal or a non-traditional pet such as a rabbit or bird. However, for those with pets that fit these parameters, the lower rate is definitely appealing. Of course, if you have a service animal, the rules do change quite a bit. US Service Animals is a great resource for finding out more about flying with your pet or with your service animal on this or any other airline. The key is to be in the know from the start so there are no surprises on vacation day.