It is easy for pet owners to go overboard when it comes to planning for a flight with a dog. They want the trip to be perfect and relaxing for their treasured pets and are looking forward to sharing the experience. The problem is that some may wrongly assume that their dog can fly with them. There are different rules for airline travel for different dogs.
The ability for the dog to fly in the cabin, rather than the cargo hold, is often down to size.
The size of the dog is important here. Small dogs are often able to fly in the cabin as long as they fit inside a carrier for the duration of the flight. That carrier must conform to the dimensions of the space under the seat in front, a capacity that can vary between airlines. If a dog is too big to be comfortable and secure in one of these crate in this space, they are too big to fly in the cabin.
This is when they need to go into a more secure hard-sided crate into the cargo hold. However, don’t assume that all small dogs are eligible for this form of airline travel. If they won’t behave themselves in the carrier, they can’t go in the cabin. Also, there is often only limited “seats” available for pets.
Some people assume that a dog’s ability to fly is all about their size, but there is more to it than that.
The size of the dog can quickly determine where they fly within the plane. However, there are exceptions to the rule, especially for any passengers dealing with disabilities. Service dogs are allowed to ride in the cabin of most major airlines, and the great news here is that there is no need for a carrier and size does not matter. As long as you have a calm, well-behaved dog that is genuinely there to provide assistance, they can sit on the floor by the seat. It is important to note that they cannot go on the seat or in the aisle, unless assisting you to the bathroom.
The problem with rules on service dogs is that, like all other airline rules, they can vary. Service pets for the blind, hearing impaired and other disabilities are fine. There are also some airlines that will allow service dogs in training, but it is best to check when booking. The biggest problem comes with emotional support dogs as they are not recognized in the same capacity. Even if they are registered as such, but are too big for the cabin, they will have to travel in the cargo hold.
These rules and variations show just how important it is for dog owners to check the regulations carefully.
The worst thing that any dog owner can do is to make assumptions over airline travel restrictions. A service agent can’t let a dog onto a plane without the right booking or if it fails to meet their requirements. Remember that different airlines view dogs differently. Some may take plenty in the cabin if they fit in their carrier, others may not take any at all. Also, size and purpose mean nothing on international flights if the dog doesn’t have the right paperwork. Be smart, be truthful about your dog’s size, purpose and temperament and work with the airlines.