The Best Airlines for Traveling With Pets When You Have Kids


Traveling with pets (and kids, to boot!) can be challenging, but flying with dogs or cats doesn’t have to be too hard if you have the right airline. We’ve found a few amazing airlines that don’t just accept pets but make air travel while bringing your pet relatively easy.

To make our list, the airline had to have a pet policy that meet the following requirements:

  • The airline allows pets in the cabin or allows them to be checked before the flight.

  • Does not require your pet in cargo to be shipped at the cargo counter (allows main counter check-in)

  • The airline has few or no incidents leading to harm to pets

  • The airline has reasonable pet fees—you don’t have to max out your credit card to travel with a pet!

Tips To Reduce Stress For Your Pet During Travel

  • Check for the local emergency veterinarian and processes to be admitted before you start flying with your four-legged friend.

  • We recommend to download the GoWhee App to plan something fun as soon as you arrive at destination.
  • Make sure your cats and dogs have all their updated vaccinations since this could derail your travel plans.

  • Invest in a good pet backpack carrier.

  • Check for the closest boarding dogs’ kennel to your accommodation, in case your family runs into an emergency.

  • Have a pet travel checklist with all the dog or cat’s and pet owners’ info and habits. In the case of something going wrong during the flight, the staff can help and make your animal comfortable.

  • Pack an extra collar

  • Look into a good pet insurance especially if it is your first time flying with your animal.


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Tips for Traveling with Your Pet & Kids

Both furry companion and kids can be unpredictable—so here are our tips to make sure that your trip to the airport is smooth sailing.

We recommend downloading the GoWhee App to find accommodations and activities that are both kid-friendly and pet-friendly at your destination.

Schedule a Vet Visit For Your Cats and Dogs.

Many airlines require a health certificate for your pet to fly. Even if yours doesn’t, you should get your pet checked out to make sure that it’s safe for them to travel. For instance, even if airlines allow them, it is dangerous for many snub-nosed breeds to fly.

Practice “Security Protocols” At Home

Airports and airlines require that pets remain in their crate or carriers at all times, so let your pet get used to their carrier at home. Make sure that the carrier is secure and that they can’t open it from the inside. Practicing at home can also help prepare kids to make the process a little smoother.

Work On a “Potty” Command Before Traveling

All airports have animal relief areas where you can walk dogs and cats before the flight, so to make sure that there are no unwelcome surprises, work on teaching your pets a command to use the bathroom, weeks before the trip.

Be Prepared with Your Animal’s Paperwork

Pets often need lots of paperwork for traveling, especially on an international flight. Make extra copies of this paperwork and keep it together in a big ziplock bag or folder that you can access easily.

Also, keep in mind that service animals like service dogs, are not pets. Under the ADA and the Air Carrier Access Act, service animals may accompany their owners anywhere without the need to carry paperwork. 

Pack Light Per Your Airline Checking Policy

Most airlines count your animal as your personal item, so you will be limited to one carry-on. If you’re taking a pet, you will also need to take their supplies. Minimalist packing will definitely make your trip easier. 

Bring Lots of Entertainment for the trip (For the Kids)

Bring lightweight, compact entertainment like coloring or activity books for the kids. Dogs and cats are an additional airport responsibility, so make sure the kids have something to entertain themselves!

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Pet-Friendly Airlines To Travel In the U.S.

Many American airlines are happy to let customers bring a furry family member. However, some have put a permanent or temporary suspension on checking your pets. This means that usually, pets can only fly in the cabin in a pet carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. 

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines carries more pets than any other air carrier. In 202 alone, the carrier welcomed 107,042 animals with zero reported incidents. 

Key Information: $100 pet fee – Pets travel in the cabin or as checked baggage – Health certificate required

Good to Know: Alaska Airlines accepts dogs and cats, as well as rabbits and household birds in the cabin. Reptiles, hamsters, ferrets, and more can fly as checked baggage. 

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Frontier Airlines

Frontier’s family policies and low fares make it super easy to travel with kids and pets. 

Key Information: $99 pet fee – Pets travel in the cabin of the plan – No health certificate required

Good to Know: Frontier allows rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and small birds, as well as dogs and cats.


JetBlue travelers earn extra mileage points when they travel with a pet! 

Key Information: $125 pet fee – Pets travel in the cabin during the flight – No health certificate required

Good to Know: JetBlue only accepts pets up to 20 pounds.

Southwest Airlines

In addition to two free checked bags, Southwest lets you check a pet crate and a pet stroller for free.

Key Information: $125 pet fee – Carry on pets only in the plane- No health certificate required

Good to Know: If you don’t want to worry about the pet carrier fitting comfortably under the seat in front of you during your trip, Southwest sells approved pet carriers.

Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines lets you bring dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits—so long as they fit under the seat.

Key Information: $110 pet fee – Carry on pets only – No health certificate required

Good to Know: Spirit does not allow hard-sided pet carriers.

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International Airlines That Are Great For Pet Travel

These airlines make it easy to leave the United States with a pet! Keep in mind that you will need extra paperwork to do this, so schedule a vet visit well before you travel.

Aer Lingus

This Irish carrier makes it easy to travel with pets in the UK and internationally.

Key Information: Pet fee starts at €40 – Cargo only – Health certificate required

Good to Know: The Traveling with Pets page makes it easy to find the required forms for pet travel.


Aeroflot allows one person to travel with up to 3 companion animals, more than any other air carrier.

Key Information: Pet fee starts at $87 – Carry on and checked pets allowed – Health certificate required

Good to Know: In addition to domestic animals, Aeroflot allows virtually any small mammal– if you want to travel with your hedgehog, this is the airline to take.

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Alitalia allows not just dogs and cats, but ferrets and birds in the cabin. 

Key Information: Pet fee starts at $40 – Carry on and checked pets allowed – Health certificate required

Good to Know: Alitalia requires your pet carrier to have a blanket covering the bottom so that your pet is comfortable.


Lufthansa’s pet policy allows you to travel with up to two animals in the same carrier, and they have a special cargo area for larger animals.

Key Information: Pet fees start at €55 – Carry on, checked, and cargo – Health certificate required

Good to Know: Besides dogs and cats, Lufthansa lets rabbits travel in the cabin.

If you found a great airline to travel with pets in this list, be sure to share it with your friends and family by choosing one of the options below!