pet on the airplane

How to Check-in Pets in the United States

To begin with, let’s just point out that according to TSA security procedures you are not prohibited to fly with your pet. Still, you have to get in touch with the airline or the travel agent to make sure that you’re not caught off-guard by any latest regulations or procedures regarding pets traveling by plane.

On the other hand, you also need to be well acquainted with your airline’s policy on traveling with pets.

Security Screening Procedures

First of all, you need to consider that you will have to present your pet to the SECURITY OFFICERS at the checkpoint. Then, you will be allowed to walk with your friend through the metal detector. If this is impossible, the Security Officers will carry out a secondary screening procedure, which also includes a visual and physical inspection of your pet.

It is true that you won’t be able to explain the whole thing to your pet but you can stand by it and make the whole process as relaxing and reassuring as possible. One thing is certain though: your animal will NOT be placed through an X-ray machine. Nevertheless, you may be required to move your pet away from its kennel so that the Security Officers may place it on the X-Ray machine.

Good to know

One of the most important things to consider when you decide to take your pet along with you is the fact that you need to create a calm and relaxed atmosphere for your pet. This is important especially during the security screening procedures. It is therefore imperative to take into account a few tips that will certainly enable you to offer your pet a leisurely air travel experience. What is more, being prepared will certainly help cut down on stress.

First of all, you should consider bringing a leash. It doesn’t matter whether you need to walk your pet through a metal detector, or carry it through. You need to make sure that you’re able to control your pet in a jam-packed airport. You wouldn’t want your dog on the loose in a place swarming with people and luggage.

You should then remember to declutter your pet’s crate. The Security Officers need to be certain that there are no prohibited things inside the kennel. They’ll therefore carry out a visual inspection of the crate and they must be able to clearly see the inside of the kennel. Of course, you’ll be required to remove your pet from the kennel in these circumstances.

Furthermore, you are compelled to check in at the ticket counter. You are not permitted to use the Curbside or Self-Service Check-In. You should therefore be prepared to allow extra time beyond the customary check-in times. Nevertheless, do keep in mind that checked pets are not normally accepted more than four hours before your departure time.

So, you need to schedule your day so that you fall somewhere in between. Last but not least, you’ll also be asked to fill in a checklist with an agent. For instance, you will be asked whether your are securely attached to food and water dishes and if you have access to these dishes without opening the crate.

Restrictions that apply to pets traveling as carry-on

Keep in mind that if you plan to travel with your pet as carry-on, you need to make all the necessary reservations beforehand. This is usually required by all the airlines because there is a limited number of pets that may travel in the cabin. Pets are usually allowed on a first-come, first-serve basis, so it important to make all the reservation well in advance. Besides, you pet is taken into account as one piece of carry-on baggage.

In addition, only one pet is normally allowed in one kennel. There is only one EXCEPTION: a female cat/dog can travel with her un-weaned kitten or puppy if it is a minimum of 10 weeks old. Finally, you’ll have to make sure that your pet is small enough to fit comfortably in a kennel under the seat directly in front of you.

Types of pets allowed as carry-on

US Airlines allow the following pets as carry-on.

Finally, we’d like to point out that DOGS and CATS must be at least eight weeks old for travel. In addition, if two pets are traveling in the same kennel, they must be the same species and also small enough to fit comfortably in the crate. For instance, both the pets as well as the container should weigh no more than 20 lbs. combined.