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What is your advice for flying with pets?

CarlyeThornton
Employee
Employee

For some of us, our pets truly are our companion and accompany us everywhere we go – even on an airplane! What are your furry friend travel hacks?

3 REPLIES 3

Re: What is your advice for flying with pets?

SoCalFlyer97
Aviator C

SoCalFlyer97 has zero plans to bring man's best friend aboard a flight (I don't even have one; my household has cats--more on that later)...but if I ever needed to...

 

I would first get up-to-date and be educated on the do's and don'ts. When I started flying the LUV airline regularly, I studied. I did extensive research in ensuring my short-haul day trips from SoCal would work both practically and financially. I had to learn how to use the local public transit systems abroad. I would need to do the same thing should I ever be in a position to fly with a pet.

 

The web has some really good tips and I would get the information from multiple sources. Let's not forget Southwest's nicely prepped page on this which includes the rules and policies of travel:
https://www.southwest.com/pets/

 

One key step: I would certainly make sure the pet can handle the trip. This would involve checking first with the vet and likely doing a few test "flights" in the car with the pet in the carrier so they can become accustomed to traveling in the carrier, and seeing how the animal reacts in the carrier when being walked through crowded and noisy environments.

 

There's a bunch of other tips but my advice for flying with pets is to first do the homework,  study the do's and don'ts, and know your pet.

 

So as I was writing this post, I checked with my cat on all this...

 

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She meowed a remark that (I think) translates to something like:

Oh no! Don't try to upgrade me to Business Select. This feline doesn't fly. Not taking any briberies including Remy Grahams. I'm perfectly content with my accommodations right here on this cat post next to the sofa; I'm living First Class right here at home that includes free premium beverages of filtered water straight from the fridge, free wi-fi, and two free checked cases of Fancy Feast.

 

Okay...what that means is she does not like car rides, is no fan of being transported in enclosed areas (certainly not a fan for trips to the vet), and if I ever attempted to bring her on a SW flight, she'll likely go out her way to locate, hit the call button, and request that one-way security escort off the plane. Thus, SW is unfortunately out of the question for my pet.

 

Long story short: I would be proactive, know your pet, and do the pet travel research beforehand. That will help ensure your decisions for pet travel needs are done with certainty.

Re: What is your advice for flying with pets?

danielleprice
Explorer B

My dog goes EVERYWHERE with me! He went on 16 SWA flights **in 2023 alone. We have having a happy flight down to a science and here is what has been most helpful for us:

 

1.) Help them to love their airline carrier and associate it with their fun + safe place… not just the vet!

Many dogs don’t fly a ton and only see that carrier when they’re sick and being taken to the doctor where they’ll get a shot/X-Ray/medicine. Of course they’ll be wary of it and by proxy be afraid of being closed into one and put on the floorboard with loud airplane sounds going on!

Use that carrier everyday! I made it his bed in my kitchen where he can get cozy at the end of the day and feel safe. Make it how you transport them to their favorite places (like to Grandma’s or the park). Give them their favorite treats in there. Now when I pull out the carrier from its spot in the kitchen, my dog is ecstatic to hop inside and go on an adventure in the skies! 

2.) Train them to know being zipped inside and put in a floorboard area (as opposed to your lap) is totally safe + normal. I practiced with putting my dog in his carrier and driving with him in it in the passenger side floorboard for weeks before his first flight. It’s a big difference to be zipped up in there instead of on your lap like they’re used to so this made it normal v. confusing or a bad thing for him! 

3.) I bring lots of high value treats for him for after the flight. My boy now knows there’s grilled chicken breast and cheddar cheese on the other side of his SWA ride haha!

4.) Sit in a window seat if you can! When we've been on the aisle, I've noticed he perks up every time someone passes (which is a lot with bathrooms, drink/snack service, trash pick-ups etc.) Window seat keeps him more settled and able to sleep uninterrupted. 

 

Hope that helps and happy flying 🙂 

Re: What is your advice for flying with pets?

tappingmom1
Frequent Flyer A

Excellent tips, @danielleprice !!

Thank you for posting.