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Top 5 Airlines that Permit Flying With Dogs In-Cabin

Dog owners often face the dilemma of where to place their dogs during an airline flight. In most cabin versus cargo situations, many people tend to be unaware of the conditions and how to transport their pets on airlines.


Most dog owners usually prefer for their dogs to travel with them in the cabin mainly because they want to ensure their pets are safe. Although many airlines take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the animals flying aboard, it can still be an anxiety-inducing experience. 


As an owner, the best place to start is by understanding what the regulations are for each airline so you can feel at ease when it’s time to travel with your furry friend. 

Dog Travel Checklist for Flying

Before you go, ensure that you and your pet have everything they need to travel safely and comfortably:

  • Vaccine records and any other required documentation
  • ID tags
  • Health certificate
  • Airline approved carrier
  • Treats and chewies (specifically to help their ears pop)
  • A toy with your scent
  • Exercise beforehand so they are able to sleep/relax during the flight

Can Large Dogs Fly in Cabin?

Pet owners who own small animals have the convenience of taking their pet on the flight with them and slipping their carrier under the seat. However, this isn’t particularly easy to do when you have large dogs with you, such as a Saint Bernard because airlines, unfortunately, don’t often allow dogs of similar size to fly with you in a cabin.


If your furry friend is a registered service dog, it makes them legally eligible to accompany you onto the airplane’s cabin during flights.

With the Americans with Disabilities Act, your rights remain protected; however, it’s still important that you are informed about every airline’s policy and protocols before you book for traveling.


In most cases, when your dog is too large to sit inside a carrier or kennel that fits underneath the airplane seat, they’ll need to travel cargo. Many people wonder if it’s safe for your pet to travel cargo. The short answer is there is always a risk, however, airlines take extensive measures to ensure the safety of your animal. Your pet will fly in a climate-controlled compartment that sits underneath the cabin.

Airline Requirements

There are certain restrictions regarding the size of your dogs, and knowing the airline’s policies will help you preempt what needs to be considered, such as fees and more. For example, if you are traveling abroad, you should first consider whether or not your destination requires that animal companions be quarantined upon your arrival. Service dogs especially should follow the laws and rules of foreign governments at all times.


Another example is that some airlines make it clear that travelers with service animals aren’t permitted to sit along an emergency exit row and must not obstruct the aisle. Service dogs or animals traveling free in the cabin should also be small enough to remain seated in their handler’s lap or on the floor below the seat before them. Each airline has a varying set of regulations when it comes to these, so it’s best if you remain well-informed about what they require.


This article will help you learn about the airlines that allow dogs to fly with you in the cabin. Make sure that you read and understand thoroughly the different requirements and rules for flying with your dog in the cabin to get the most out of the listed information.

1. Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines is one of the most pet-friendly airlines. Small pets such as dogs, cats, and birds can travel with you in the cabin for a one-way fee. Your pet must be able to sit comfortably in a ventilated carrier that can fit under the seat.


Please note, if you do bring your pet in-cabin, this will count as your carry-on luggage. You can find more information here to learn about carry-on kennel requirements. 


Service dogs also travel free of charge on this airline. When flying on Delta, you must submit the U.S. DOT Service Animal Air Travel Form to obtain validation prior to the flight. Dogs must not display inappropriate behavior or staff may refuse to transport you and your animal. All service dogs must sit at the passenger’s seat floor space and are not allowed on the cabin aisle or the seats. Doing so will violate FAA regulations.


Airline Approved Carrier Size 

  • Maximum Dimensions of 18”L x 11”W x 11”H

2. Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is highly rated when it comes to pet travel. Not only are dogs and cats allowed to fly in-cabin, but you may also bring a pet rabbit or bird. 


An individual may travel with a maximum of two pets but must purchase a ticket for the seat next to them. Although two pets may travel inside the same carrier, the animals must be of the same species. If you’re wanting to fly First Class, you’ll only be able to bring one pet as your carry-on item, however, the main cabin allows for up to two animals. 


A maximum of two service dogs per guest are allowed in-cabin at no additional charge, but their size must not exceed the footrest area. It’s recommended to choose a window seat so that your dog is not at risk of being stepped on. 


Before you head to the airport with your pet, check out the animal relief areas so your pet can go before the flight.  


Airline Approved Carrier Size 

  • Hard-sided: Maximum Dimensions of 17”L x 11”W x 7.5”H
  • Soft-sided: Maximum Dimensions of 17”L x 11”W x 9.5”H

3. Southwest Airlines 

Southwest is rated as one of the best airlines to travel with your pet. Similar to other policies, smaller dogs and cats who have been vaccinated are able to fly with you in-cabin underneath the seat. This rule only applies to domestic flights, as international flights do not permit in-cabin pets. 


Your airline-approved carrier may contain up to two cats or dogs, as long as they are able to sit and move around comfortably within the carrier. It’s important to note, however, that pets are not allowed to share carriers with trained service animals. The carrier will be considered as a personal or carry-on item, so you’re able to bring an additional piece of luggage to stow away in the overhead compartment. 


Your dog or cat must not act aggressively or be continuously disruptive to others. They must remain inside the carrier at all times during the flight and cannot sit on your lap, even if they are small. 


Airline Approved Carrier Size 

  • Maximum Dimensions of 18.5”L x 13.5”W x 8.5”H

4. JetBlue

JetBlue is another great option for people traveling with their dogs or cats. A maximum of two pets per one traveler is permitted, however, you’re required to purchase an additional seat and pet fee for your second animal. JetBlue only allows 6 pets per flight, so you’re encouraged to book your ticket early to ensure your dog or cat can fly. 


As far as service animals go, JetBlue allows large service dogs or two service animals to accompany you, as long as they fit within the footprint of the seats. If they do not fit, then you must purchase additional seating or wait for a flight that has an ample amount of empty seats. Please note, your animal is never allowed on the seat and must be able to lay comfortably on the floor. 


Unlike other airlines, your service animal MAY sit on your lap if it’s small enough, as long as it’s not touching the seat, tray table, or the person next to you. Before you go, make sure to submit the required documentation at least 48 hours prior to your flight! 


Airline Approved Carrier Size 

  • Maximum Dimensions of 17”L x 12.5”W x 8.5”H

5. Air Canada

Air Canada permits your pets to travel in the cabin, cargo, or baggage compartment. However, only cats and dogs are only allowed in the cabin. Other kinds of animal companions should travel through cargo. 


Air Canada allows owners to bring their service dogs free of charge, as long as the dog is trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified disabled individual. Please note, as of March 2021, emotional support animals are no longer accepted in the cabin. To learn more, check out the Air Canada information page regarding service dogs


It is vital that you immediately make your furry friend’s reservation after confirming your travel plans. Also, make sure that you also tell them your dog crate or carrier’s dimension, as well as your dog’s breed and weight.


Airline Approved Carrier Size 

  • Hard-sided: Maximum Dimensions of 21.5”L x 15.5”W x 9”H
  • Soft-sided: Maximum Dimensions of 21.5”L x 15.5”W x 10.5”H


Dogs are one of the best companions a person can have! Whenever you feel like traveling somewhere to spend holidays or vacations, make sure you don’t leave your furry friend behind.


For this reason, it’s essential that you know which airlines permit dogs to fly in the cabin with you, so you can travel at ease knowing they’re safe and calm throughout the flight. We hope this article has helped you find an airline you can bring your pet with you and determine which one fits your needs the best.

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