List of Airlines with the Best Pet Policies if you want to Fly with Cats in the Cabin
Anyone who travels with their cats would relate to me when I say that it is not always an easy thing to do. That is why here in our website, we try our best to make sure that all our fellow cat-parents are aware of the tips and tricks of traveling with our fur-babies - from all the steps that you must take to prepare your cats for traveling to securing them with their own EU pet passport, we got you all covered!
Now, if your cat is travel-ready, the next step - and also a very important one - is finding an airline that would accommodate you and your cat. I know a lot of people find the idea of flying stressful (i.e. the waiting, the takeoff, the cabin pressure, the landing, etc.), and this should be a cause for concern for us cat-parents. If flying is stressful for you, imagine that this could be 10 times more stressful for your cats. Thus, it is very important to find an airline that would not only accommodate you and your cat, but would also make your flying as less stressful as possible for you and your cat.
In this post, we list down in no particular order, airlines that practices pet-friendly flying policy, which means airlines which allow cats to fly in the cabin with us pet-parents (the thought of flying with Captain Ahab and Zissou in the cargo scares me). However, please be reminded that these policies are subject to change so it is best to confirm and double-check for any updates concerning pet travel.
Lufthansa is “Europe’s first and only 5-star airline and has thus joined the list of the world’s ten best premium airlines.” It is a German airline boasting a plethora of international flights with their impressive fleet. Lufthansa is also popular with cat-lovers because of you can fly your cat and treat it as a carry-on baggage upon check-in. This means that your cat can fly with you in the cabin as long as your cat weighs less than 8 kg., and your cat is inside an approved transport container.
The transport container must comply with the maximum size limit which is 55 x 40 x 23 cm (22 x 16 x 9 in) and its total weight of the transport container, including the animal, must not exceed 8 kg., as prescribed by Lufthansa’s pet-policy. To read more about the specifications of your cat’s transport container, click here. Lastly, each passenger is allowed to bring a maximum of two pets! Yay!
JetBlue is an American airline and is considered as one of its largest. According to their website, their mission of “bringing humanity to air travel extends to four-legged humans too.” This is reassuring for a cat-parent like me and upon review of their pet-policy, I can say that they are staying true to their mission.
In their website, a “Pet Travel Checklist” is provided to cat-parents like me, this includes the following:
- Necessary vaccinations and documentation
- ID tags
- Pet license
- FAA-approved pet carrier (no larger than 17"L x 12.5"W x 8.5"H)
- Pet treats and chews (pets ears can pop, too)
- A favorite toy that has your scent
- Pet supplies for the trip
- A pre-flight workout for your pet. That way they'll adapt more quickly to their new surroundings and sleep.
JetBlue also boasts that they have the most legroom in coach so putting your cat’s carrier in front of your seat would still give you space to rest your legs on. If you have an extra money to spend, you can also purchase more legroom through their “Even More Space”-seat option which comes with up to 7” legroom!
Unlike Lufthansa though, every passenger is entitled only to one pet in the cabin and they only have limited number of pets per flight, so this is more of a “first-come, first-serve” service.
3. Air France
Air France is the French flag carrier and has been known to practice a pet-friendly flying policy. Air France “commits to doing everything possible to make [your pet’s] trip as comfortable as yours.” Consistent with this commitment, they allow cats to travel in the cabin as long as they weight not more than 8 kg., at least 10 weeks old and have complete vaccines. However, this applies only to flights around EU (which is sad, but yay if you’re traveling around EU).
4. United Airlines
United Airlines allows cats to travel as an additional carry-on bag in the cabin for flights within the US and selected international travels. Just like JetBlue, United offers limited slots for passengers flying with cats, thus, the “first-come, first-serve” rule applies. A limit for your cat’s transport container is imposed at 7.5 inches long x 12 inches wide x 7.5 inches high (44 cm x 30 cm x 19 cm) for hard-sided kennel and 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high (46 cm x 28 cm x 28 cm) for soft-sided kennel. Lastly, for cats to be allowed to fly with United, it must be at least 16 weeks old.
5. Alaska Airlines
The “first-come, first serve” rule is also applied by Alaska Airlines and they have a breed restriction when it comes to cats which are considered “short-nosed” such as Burmese, Exotic Shorthair, Himalayan, Persian. A plus side though is that each passenger is also allowed to fly with a maximum of 2 pets, just like Lufthansa. And you will just check them in as a carry-on bag in the cabin. Lastly, Alaska Airlines boast of its “Fur-st ClassTM care” which offers “options for transporting your pet safely with top-notch care” and offers a list of Q&A that covers all the necessary details of pet travel. You may click here for more details.
Weight, Crate and Pay
Overall, what is common to these airlines can be summed up in three things: weight, crate and pay. The weight of your cat must be less than 8 kg., your cat’s crate must comply to the prescribed size and specifications and that you must pay the necessary fees which can be found in the airline’s website.
Now you can search for flights through these airlines and fly with your cats right beside you in the cabin! Bon voyage!