What a great combination of being a pet lover and a travel enthusiast. But on the same side, it is also quite hectic and problem-creating. Pet Lovers can never leave their pets behind, even if they are traveling to any. Moreover, it's truly said that Traveling with pets can be a fun and thrilling experience for the passengers. Now talking about Southwest Airlines, one of the largest domestic airlines in the United States, popular for providing low-cost fares to passengers. Southwest Airlines Pet Policy is another thing that adds ups to the low-fare feature of the airline.
Southwest Airlines thus allows passengers to bring their pets on board. But there are certain sorts of guidelines that the pet owner must obey. Are you not aware of the policy and its guidelines? Surely you have landed at the right place. This article will provide every single detail about the pet policy of Southwest Airlines and how passengers can utilize it.
Southwest Airlines Pet Policy Overview
So, according to the Southwest Airlines Pet Policy, passengers can bring small cats and dogs along with them on their journey. The airline allows only one pet carrier per passenger. Let’s dive more into the article and learn about every single concept.
Southern Airlines only allows pets to travel in the passenger cabin, and that too on domestic flights. On the other side, the airline doesn’t allow the pet to travel in a cabin on any itinerary that includes the international flight quote and is from/to Hawaii.
Pet Travel Restrictions on Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines has released certain restrictions that pet owners should know before taking their pets on the plane.
- Southern Airlines only allows small dogs and cats to travel in their plane.
- Pet as checked baggage is not accepted by Southwest Airlines.
- The dogs and cats must be vaccinated before flying from one destination to another.
- The pets can travel with their owner in the passenger cabin as In-cabin Pets.
The guidelines and instructions for the In-Cabin pets are briefed down below:
- All the dogs must be carried in an appropriate pet carrier by the pet owner.
- Only pets who are at least 8 weeks old will be accepted by Airlines to board the flight. 8 weeks is the minimum age criteria released by the airline.
- Other factors that the owner must consider are that the pet should be harmless and odorless and not disturb the other passengers traveling in the same cabin.
- The pet should be inside the carrier all the time. Even the head and tail of the pet should be inside the carrier when they are in the gate area, during boarding/deplaning, and while onboarding the plane.
- The owner must ensure their pet doesn’t require attention during the flight.
Guidelines for booking with Pet
While booking a ticket along with your pet, you must go read out the following tips to avoid any confusion:
- Southwest Airlines only accepts pet bookings on a “First Come, First Served” basis.
- The airline only allows 6 pet carriers per flight. Assistance animals do not count toward the maximum number of pets on board.
- In rare cases, Airlines can allow more than 6 pet carriers in the plane.
- On 1 single ticket, the airline only allows one pet carrier. For carrying your 2 pet carriers, you have to book another ticket.
- Similarly, while talking about the pet carrier may contain 2 cats or dogs of the same species per carrier.
- Carriers should be large enough for the pets to stand and move around easily.
- Passengers cannot occupy an exit or bulkhead seat when traveling with the pet.
Pet Carrier Guidelines for Southwest Airlines
Now talking about the guidelines for the pet carrier that this Airline expects the owner to follow:
- All the pet carriers must be leak-proof and well-ventilated, making it easier for the pet to travel comfortably.
- Southwest Airlines only accepts carriers with soft-sided and hard-sided that are specially designed for pets.
- The size of the pet carrier must be 17” long x 9.5” high x 10” wide. Apart from this the other carriers should not exceed the maximum size dimensions i.e 18.5” long x 8.5” high x 13.5”.
- You can also purchase the Southwest Airlines branded pet carrier from any Southwest Airport ticket counter worth $58.
- The pet carriers purchased from the Airlines ticket counter are non-refundable.
- The Airline doesn’t allow pets as checked baggage. But passengers can carry them as a carry-on allowance, either as a personal item or as a piece of carry-on baggage.
Pet Fees on Southwest Airlines
The fee charged by Southwest Airlines for an each-way pet carrier is $95. Passengers can pay this fee at the ticket counter itself. In case of any changes with the program, if you decide not to travel with the pet, then you can claim the charges. The pet fees on Southwest Airlines are refundable.
Guidelines for Service Animals
Apart from all the small dogs and cats, Southwest Airlines also allows passengers to carry service animals along with them.
- The airline permits only fully trained service dogs. These trained dogs can be only used by a qualified individual or someone with a disability for accompanying while boarding the flight.
- Service animals can travel in the passenger cabin. However, they should not be too large.
- Other than service animals, emotional support animals can also travel with the owner as In-Cabin pets.
Pet Reservations and Check-In
Southwest Airlines Pet Policy includes some rules and regulations regarding pet reservations and the check-in process. Check the rules and regulations below.
- All passengers with pets should complete the check-in process at the airport ticket counter and make the payment before moving to the departure gate.
- In between the connecting flights, passengers can take their pets in the “pet relief area,” mostly outside the security checkpoint.
- Passengers must keep an eye on the time if they are going to the “pet relief area” because if they delay, then they can miss their flight. If this happens then you should know about Southwest missed flights policy. Southwest Airlines will not hold the flight until you return back to board the flight.
Tips for Traveling with Your Pet
Here are some quick tips for pet owners to consider before boarding the plane with their pets.
- Try to book your flight earliest because only 6 pet carriers are allowed by Southwest Airlines per plane.
- Make sure to collect all your pet's documents, like a health certificate, proof of rabies, and documents for age verification.
- Ensure to prepare your pet's carrier before the flight's scheduled departure. Label the carrier with the pet’s name and your name with contact information. Try to make it comfortable for the pet from the inside.
- Carry sufficient supplies like food and water.
- Try to report at the airport a few hours before the departure to complete your check-in process.