Our pets are more part of our families than ever. According to a 2015 survey conducted by the Harris Poll, 95% of U.S. pet owners consider their pet to be “one of us”. Increasingly we are treating our pets like our children and so understandably finding the best and safest way for them to fly is a top priority.
In which case, when you plan your next family trip what option should you choose for your pet?
Flying with your pet in-cabin
Traveling with your pet in-cabin is obviously the most reassuring option. Providing you organize a suitable pet carrier and abide by your airline’s in-flight regulations, you can travel with your pet stowed neatly in the space in front of you. In 2015 a high number of animal-related incidents reported by Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) were the result of our furry friends attempting to escape from their carriers in the cargo hold – with you next to them this can be avoided.
Most major U.S. airlines will allow a small pet, usually restricted to a domestic cat or dog, to travel with you in the cabin, with the exception of flights arriving into Hawaii, due to its status as the only rabies-free state. It’s worth mentioning here, however, that service dogs enjoy special privileges so it’s a good idea to check with your airline first.
Flying in-cabin is usually the cheapest way to travel. A lot of airlines will fly your pet in-cabin for around $100, including Alaska Airlines, Jet Blue and Virgin America. Further savings can be found for small cats and dogs travelling on domestic flights; Air Canada will fly your furry companion from $50, Delta’s prices start at just $75 and South West Airlines charge around $95. Most airlines will limit the number of in-cabin animals per flight and usually operate on a first-come-first-served basis – so if you do intend to fly with your pet it’s worth getting in touch with your airline early.
American Airlines have taken the in-cabin pet experience one step further. Last year they announced First Class cabins for small cats and dogs. Nicknamed “Cuddle Class”, these can be found onboard the airline’s fleet of A321T planes for passengers travelling from Los Angeles and San Francisco to New York City. According to Travel and Leisure, pets can enjoy a special compartment next to their owner’s seat which costs the same as the airline’s standard $125 in-cabin pet fee. As with the airline’s economy class, spaces are limited and customers are advised to book in advance.
Speaking of Fur-st Class™ Care, that’s the name of Alaska Airlines’ promise to pet owners to provide excellent pet travel. Once again, Alaska will allow small pets to travel with you in the cabin and they promise to safely transport your four-legged friend, providing “furst-rate” care.
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