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Traveling with Jack Bauer…Or not

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Jack Bauer sure will be happy this week.  Not only because this season of “24” is over (finally…it was way too suspenseful), but also because now his little furry friends can travel on Southwest Airlines flights.  For those of you who don’t know, Jack Bauer is my huge Maine Coon Cat. 

Beginning today, Southwest Airlines will offer special pet fares for your cats and dogs to travel with you in the cabin on all of our flights!

The Pet Fare will be $75 one-way ($150 roundtrip) and is open for small cats and dogs in carriers that can be stowed under the passenger’s seat.

 

 

 

 

Jack unfortunately is a large breed of cat and does not fit comfortably in a pet carrier…Jack will be staying home.

For those of you who prefer people to pets, don’t worry, we will be limiting the number of felines and canines in order to provide a comfortable environment for all onboard.

Here are a few other points to remember when traveling with pets:

  • Customers can travel with no more than one (1) pet carrier each. Each pet carrier can have no more than two (2) of the same species of small cats or dogs per carrier.  
  • Customers may bring a soft or hard-sided pet carrier that is leak proof and well ventilated. The pet carrier must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of the Customer and be stowed in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations.   The dog or cat must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier with ease. 
  • So…can I still bring a carry-on?  The pet carrier will count as your carryon item. You may also bring one additional personal item on board.
  • Just call Southwest Airlines at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA and the Customer Representative will gladly create a booking for your pet.

 

For complete information about the Pet Policy click here.


Oh, and check out our furry friends that share the policy with you here:

25 Comments
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The Southwest Pet Policy says that pets must be (among other things) "odorless" to fly. I can't wait to hear the first news story about a Gate Agent or Flight Attendant telling a confirmed passenger they can't fly because their pet stinks....
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Please SWA, you're losing me. First it was Business Select and un-democratizing the skies. Then you retained the family boarding policy (make em board where their numbers are, you're discriminating against the rest of your rule abiding customers), and now pets! The worst flight of life was a flight from Houston to Albuquerque with a couple who took their dog out of the carrier mid-flight and let it ride in their laps. At the very least make clear that pets can't be taken out of their cages mid-flight. You refuse to recognize peanut allergies, and now you're refusing to recognize the large majority of us with pet allergies. This isn't a car trip to grandma's....this is a flight, with paying customers and a contract of carriage. Do better. Be better.
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Oh boy, a 4 hour flight smelling dog poop and cat urine. A battle of dogs yipping at each other as their ears pop, and my head exploding as my cat allergy kicks in. I have flown Southwest exclusively for the past 8 years. Friendly staff, lowest fares, and they go where I want to go (most of the time). No hidden fees and a great frequent flier plan that is simple to calculate - and it offered free drink coupons. Yeah! Unfortunately, I believe that my flights on July 4th and 9th will be my last two flights on Southwest. It may not be as bad as I think it will be, but Continental has reasonable prices - especially for the business traveler with only 1 bag. We cant afford to fly first class, but I'll spend the extra $20 so I don't have to fly kennel class.
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Another Bad Decision Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and actually we have addressed the issue about pets staying in the carrier during flight. If you will click on the two links above, the one that says "Pet Policy" click here has all the details of the policy, and the second link immedeately under that will take you to our video, that also explains the pet must remain in the carrier. As to allergies, we have carried service and emotional assist in the cabin for years, and should someone be allergic, we try to separate the parties far enough away that the allergy no longer becomes an issue. Brian
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MJ I hope you will reconsider your decision. You mention Continental, and they also allow cabin animals, including rabbits and household birds. Indeed, Southwest was one of the last airlines to prohibit dogs and cats (which are all we allow) in the cabin.
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Thanks for the quick bolg back Brian. I wasn't aware that others allowed the furry (and feathered) friends in the cabins as well. A long time with a single airline will isolates you from the other airlines policies. I appreciate that you would try to relocate passengers so they wouldn't be seated near allergy sufferers, but 10 carriers on a plane wouldn't allow for a lot of options. I check in as early as possible to get my preferred seat (you and I both know all seats aren't the same) but who gets moved when a pet owner sits near an allergy sufferer? Do I pay for Business Select and then get relocated next to the rear toilet? Continental only allows 4 pets in the economy class (1 in the front of plane on select flights), Delta restricts pets to just 2 in the main cabin. The odds of sitting next to poopy the cat, or yippy the dog are 2.5x greater on Southwest compared to Continental, and 5x greater compared to Delta, based on sheer numbers. Add the economic factor, pets fly for less on Southwest (just $25 less than a 3rd bag), and I suspect Southwest will attract more pet fares. But they will lose the human allergy suffering fares. I guess Southwest already calculated that though. They just forgot to send me a "Dear John" letter to tell me that they wanted to see someone else.
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I am not the least bit excited about this pet policy. I love animals, just don't want to be trapped in a crowded cabin with them. I hope Southwest will reconsider. Up until now you've been the only carrier I will use.
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MJ, I am not sure where you got the 10 carrier figure, but we only allow five carriers per airplane.
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I am horrified by this. I have flown SWA exclusively since 1998. Now they are allowing pets on board an already cramped and sometimes smelly plane. Do the people that make these rules actually fly on SWA flights? Do they realize that even the smell of a stinky passenger quickly goes through much of the plane? I have mild allergies to cats/dogs but it's bad enough that I will be sneezing and have a runny nose for the rest of the day! How can I now be able to get peanuts on board your planes, but no one cares if someone has allergies to pets? This allergy is much more common than peanuts! I am encouraging everyone to write letters to the executive of SWA to express our disgust. I am writing a letter right now. I am also looking into other airlines....
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Great decision! I really appreciate Southwest trying to make those with pets worry less when we fly. But what about the large dogs? Do you think you will change your policy sometime in the future to allow large dogs too? Even if the policy changes so that large pets will only be allowed on certain, not as busy flights, it would be extremely beneficial to me and many others.
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This is exciting for me! There have been many flights I've had to book on other carriers because my Pug was coming with me. For those who express concern about pet odors, I've flown with my Pug many times, and frequently people comment that they didn't even realize I had an animal with me. Most pets on flights are quiet and don't make messes. Good pet owners know how to limit the water their pet drinks prior to a flight, and most pets know not to make a mess in their crate because they have to sleep in that.
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I love it! I realize alot of people are annoyed by pets, but honestly, I am more annoyed by young children on flights! I just wish you could implement something for larger breeds of dogs flying in the cabin, then I would really be on board!
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Great way to get the people who fly with their pets often to fly with you. Many people take their pets to shows on the weekends flying both ways. Many people take their pets on vacation with them. Many pets are flown in cabin to their new owners. I fly often for all those reasons, and often have to alert the passenger beside me to not kick the carrier, they didn't notice there was a live animal aboard.
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I am a long time Southwest Airlines flyer but I think this new pet policy for Southwest Airlines is ridiculous. I don't want to have to worry about my allergies flaring up because I was sitting near someone's pet cat on my flight. I want to be able to fly the blue skies with Southwest, arrive and depart on time and get to my appointed destination without having to use allergy medicine or running to the bathroom to wash my eyes out so I can see. I would rather pay for a bag than have to go through this -- I believe I'll have to look for alternative airlines from now on. I think SWA has forgotten that the airline was built to fly people first and foremost.
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I have a question- what provisions are being made for people who may have life threatening allergies to animals? How are they to know if there will be a pet right next to then that might send them into anaphylaxis? There was a dog under the seat next to me on an American flight once, and I spent the entire flight having an asthma attack, and my allergies are minor. Just wondering. Are people who have allergies now responsible every time they fly to ask if there will be pets? Or do the have a reasonable expectation that the journey won't make them ill? Is this coming down to which customers matter more? just curious...
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I am very happy to hear that SW is finally allowing small pets on board! I have travelled with my cats via other airlines for the last four years. I travel with them to cat shows, to visit my relatives, and for vacations. I always bathe my cats before I go, which cuts way down on allergens. The dander, created as the cat grooms itself, is what people are allergic to. Bathing the animal cuts way down on that issue. Some breeds of cats and dogs are less 'allergenic' than other breeds. Mine is one of those. As to the odor and the noise, unless I specifically tell someone I have a cat with me, they do not even know it. My cats ususally sleep through the flight, and have never made a 'smelly' mess in their carrier. I also know how to prepare them properly for the flight. And I keep a portable litterbox and tent in my other carryon bag that I can set up in a rest room in the airport in case we are travelling for a long period of time. That helps prevent any unwelcome deposits on the plane. Those of you who think this is a disaster because of your allergies have probably flown with pets on board with other airlines without even knowing it. American, Continental, Delta, United, and several others also allow pets on board...... And all of them require that the pet remain in the carrier for the duration of the flight. An animal confined to a carrier under the seat is not very likely to be speading dander around the cabin.... Just my 2 cents.......
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Boy, I can just walk into a house and not even know there is a cat there: my eyes start watering and my breathing becomes even more of a chore. Pet dander is airborne and no matter where you sit, it will find you with the assist from the 737 air circulation system. It becomes part of the local environment. And potential noise: not that children are exactly like pets, but when they decide to vocalize you can't shut them up. I was on a recent flight from Dallas to Chicago and it was the most unpleasant experience I've ever had on an airplane. I've been taking flights for over 50 years all over the world and this 2 year old girl screaming at the top of her lungs for almost the entire 2 hour trip was the most excruciating aural experience I've ever had. You couldn't block it our and there was no place to go. Ah, just think of a flight where I'm sneezing and wheezing while dogs and children are howling in discordant tones! I'll bravely sit there and eat my peanuts!
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I couldn't believe when I read the policy change allowing cats and dogs on your airline. My family of 7 will not be flying due to severe cat and dog allergies. How does a company choose pets over humans? Besides allergies, why should other passengers have to be subjected to the smells and sounds of animals while flying? I have small children who are scared of certain cats and dogs and now there is a possiblity that they will be upset during the flight because of the presence of animals? I think this is an unbelievably inconsiderate decision for a majority of the people who fly, or used to fly, your airline.
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Thanks a million Southwest! This brings you just that much closer to perfect. One of the most worrisome things for us is having to leave our dog behind when traveling and this will make that occur less frequently. Passengers who fly with us usually never know we have a pet on board. As for me the worst things are persons who wear perfume in the confined space of the cabin (gives me a raging headache on top of the cabin pressure issues), crying babies and kids kicking the back of my seat. I have never had an issue with anyone else's pet on a flight. Thanks again for making this important change.
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So, Tracey R, which airline are you going to fly now???
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LOL. Everyone worried about allergies is STUPID. If you are that allergic, then dander on someone's clothes sitting next to you could bother you - I highly doubt that has happened to you though. Almost every major airline allows cabin pets. Why are you having such a melt down over it? I also have severe allergies, but I also know how to deal and be prepared. Take medicine before the flight and have an inhaler on you for emergencies. Pets are much quiter than babies and small children. People just like to bitch about everything now-a-days.
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I would actually love to see this policy go one step further. I'd like to suggest one flight per day / week that is yout "Pet flight" My dogs are 30lbs and just a few lbs too large for under the seat - so in my case I would gladly pay full fare to be able to buy seats for my dogs, strap them in and save myself a 4 day drive across country. I hope you consider it - you could isolate the animals and hopefully gain a few more "customers" in the process!
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I love the idea that small pets are allowed on the flight. I have actually seen Jessica Simpson flying southwest with her dog and wonder why the average person wasn't allowed to do so. Its about time we all get treat equally.
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I also am disappointed with Southwests decision. It is getting more difficult to fly with a severe cat allergy. I had to recently switch flights. It is very stressful and inconvenient. There should be some type of policy if a severe allergy sufferer books first , he should get priority. I consider it a disability and an looking into pursuing it that way. I just booked Frontier to New Mexico, but am flying to Miami in January and am using USAIR. I might have to change flights. My throat closes up and I just don't want to take a chance. My allergist agrees.
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I have had severe allergies to dogs and cats my whole life. Though I love animals (outside!), and am otherwise healthy and athletic, I have to get allergy shots once a week; the doctor's office where I go is filled with similar patients. I will absolutely not be flying Southwest. I can afford to pay a little more in order to be able to breathe. It's worth it. And trust me- there are a LOT of people who will do the same.