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Traveling with Pets: Everything You Need to Know to Knock Your Next Trip Out of the Park


Whether it’s spontaneously adopting a new pet while away from home or fulfilling a loved one’s final wish to care for their pooch, Southwest has got you covered. Read more to hear from Customers who’ve taken to the skies with their pets, and learn what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to bringing your favorite furry friends onboard.


Flying with Bailey

Submitted by kcastilow

I was devastated when I received the news that my great aunt was terminally ill and was not expected to see the weekend. My parents were with her in Arizona, and my mother called to tell me my great aunt had asked to see me before she passed.


Because I live in Houston, I had originally purchased a Southwest ticket to see her the next week. However, our family was informed by the hospice nurse that my aunt's health was rapidly deteriorating, so I quickly called Southwest’s Customer Service to try and change my ticket. I informed the Representative that I was willing to pay whatever I needed to get to Phoenix as quickly as possible.


Bailey.jpgHe immediately began searching for flights out the very next morning. He asked why I needed to leave so urgently, and I explained that my aunt was very ill and not expected to live much longer, and that she had specifically asked for me to come see her.

This trip was not only important for me to spend a few precious moments with my aunt, but also because she had asked me years ago to care for her dog Bailey in the event of her passing. She had visited me in Houston and known I would care for Bailey the same way as my own pup Bella; I immediately agreed to her request.


When I finally arrived to my aunt’s bedside, she was so happy to see me. That night, she went to sleep and passed away peacefully. I know in my heart she went to rest knowing her beloved Bailey would be properly cared for.


I am so thankful to Southwest for helping me get to Phoenix without any added financial burdens. Additionally, I’m grateful for the kind Phoenix Customer Service Agents who helped me get Bailey to his new home in Houston. They were compassionate when I explained he was flying for the first time and it was my first time flying with a pet. While Bailey wouldn’t need his own boarding pass, they explained that I would need to call and make a separate reservation for him. From there, all I had to do was keep Bailey in a pet carrier and pay the $95 fee to get him onboard! All of my questions were answered with a smile and Bailey was treated with care and lots of head rubs.


It’s a tough world out there, but knowing I can rely on the kindness of People at Southwest makes my travel experience that much smoother every time I fly. Thank you all!


Note: Pet reservations must be made in advance by calling 1-800-I-CALL-SWA (1-800-435-9792). On the day of travel, Customers will need to go to the ticket counter to pay the $95 Pet Fare (credit cards and cash accepted) prior to proceeding through security.



The “Tail” of Three Cities

Submitted by mmwhite1

My journey with Southwest began with a 5 a.m. flight from St. Louis to Chicago that, unbeknownst to me at the time, would be to say goodbye to my mother. Just as I was getting settled on the plane, the Pilot announced the weather in Chicago was looking treacherous, and we would be grounded until further notice. Minutes later, my brother sent a text that Mom had taken a turn for the worse and was being sent to Cardiac Intensive Care.


NYpuppy.JPGAfter speaking with Flight Attendants onboard, I ultimately decided driving to Chicago would be the best option. If fate could have it, we hadn’t pulled away from the gate, and the door was still open—which meant I could make a break for it! I quickly grabbed my suitcase and raced out of the plane.


Fast forward one month, and I was spending time with my sister’s family on the Jersey Shore, where we purchased a new Labradoodle puppy! Knowing the two of us would soon be flying home together to St. Louis, I set about reading Southwest’s pet travel policy. Without delay, we purchased a pet carrier and reserved a spot on our flight back to complete our journey home—it truly was a “tail” of three cities!


Note: Customers are permitted to travel with no more than one (1) pet carrier per person. Each pet carrier can have no more than two (2) of the same species of small cats or dogs per pet carrier.


For additional specifications, please see the full Southwest pet policy found here. Your pet can travel in style with the official Southwest pet carrier available for purchase here.



A Coffee, a Churro, and the Two Puppies Out Front

Submitted by dF_StLouis

I was set to go on my second mission trip in two months, and we would be spending the week assisting families in need in a variety of ways. Once we arrived, a unanimous vote was taken to grab a breakfast of delicious pastries, warm breads, and fresh-squeezed juice at the local bakery. That’s when everything began to change.



My eyes quickly caught onto two puppies sitting outside the bakery, greeting every customer as they walked in. Their tails wagged so fast they were nothing more than a blur as they danced at every pat on the head and tiny treat they were given. The pastries and assortment of breads could wait—I had puppies to play with! The longer I played with them, the more I realized there was something special about them both. Of course, I began to wonder: should I take them home?


Our group continued on to begin the work we had come to do, meeting so many wonderful people along the way. But the faces of those two tiny puppies had already ingrained themselves into my brain and my heart.


As I walked towards the front door where the puppies had been only days earlier, I was filled with anticipation and excitement for what was to come. But those few moments of joy and happiness vanished the moment I realized they in fact were not sitting by the door. They were gone.



Frantically, I searched the area, running from here to there but ultimately getting nowhere. Adding salt to the wound, the entire area was being hit by a torrential rainstorm. Soaked and dejected, I drove back to the bakery. To my surprise and delight, they had returned to their spot by the front door!


After working all the details out of how I would “officially” adopt them, it was finally time to bring them home. Many thanks go to our missions group and the entire Southwest Team for banding together and making this dream a reality—Southwest stands apart from everyone else as they treat all their Customers like dear friends. And when you’re among friends, everything is better.


No need to fret when it comes to your pet! We’ve got you covered with a checklist to ensure you’re able to get where you need to be without any hiccups.


Have questions about bringing your furry friend with you onboard? Southwest's full pet policy (not including emotional support animals) can be found here.