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Yet again, a certain airline has made its way into headlines. This time, a rabbit died while waiting in one of the airline’s pet holding facilities. This latest incident has raised the question of what options do pet owners have when they need to transport their pet long distances.

There are typically 3 options for pet owners when they are flying with their pet.

  • Pets can be checked as carry on within an airline compliant container that will be stored under the passenger’s seat in the cabin.
  • Pets can be checked as baggage in the cargo hold.
  • Service animals, which are not considered pets, can be in the cabin of the airplane without being in a carrier.

Most animals will have to fall within the first 2 options, since the last one is reserved for service animals only. The availability of the first 2 options is dependent on the airline with which you are flying. This is due to the fact that the FAA allows each airline to designate their own rules regarding the transport of pets. However, each airline has to follow certain guidelines for pets in carry on containers.

  • The container must be small enough to fit under the seat without blocking any person’s path to the aisle.
  • The container must be properly stored before the last door to the airplane is closed.
  • The container must remain properly stored for the duration of the flight.
  • You must follow flight attendant instructions regarding the storage of the pet container.

For more information about traveling with pets on a plane, you should talk to someone within the airline you are choosing to fly with. This way, you will be able to know for sure what you need to do in order to take your pet with you when you travel.