Southwest Pet Policy: Traveling with Your Furry Friends

Are you a pet lover who can’t bear the thought of leaving your furry friend behind while traveling? Well, you’re in luck because Southwest Airlines has a pet-friendly policy that allows you to bring your pets along on your journey. In this article, we will explore Southwest’s pet policy in detail, providing you with all the information you need to know before flying with your beloved companion.

What is Southwest’s pet policy?

Southwest Airlines understands the importance of keeping your furry companions close, and therefore, they have a comprehensive pet policy in place. This policy allows passengers to travel with small cats and dogs in the cabin on most domestic flights. However, it’s important to note that Southwest has certain restrictions and guidelines to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for both passengers and pets.

Types of pets allowed on Southwest flights

Southwest Airlines only permits cats and dogs as in-cabin pets. Unfortunately, exotic animals and other types of pets are not allowed on board. Additionally, Southwest does not transport pets in the cargo hold, so you can rest assured that your pet will be by your side throughout the flight.

Pet carrier requirements

To ensure the safety of your pet during the journey, Southwest has specific requirements for pet carriers. The carrier must be leak-proof, well-ventilated, and fit comfortably under the seat in front of you. It’s crucial to choose an appropriate carrier that adheres to these guidelines to avoid any inconvenience during the boarding process.

Fees and restrictions

Southwest Airlines charges a pet fare of $95 each way per pet. Passengers are allowed to bring only one pet carrier on board, and each carrier can contain a maximum of two small cats or dogs from the same household. The total weight of the pet and carrier combined should not exceed 20 pounds.

Booking a flight with your pet

When planning your trip with your furry companion, it’s essential to make your pet’s reservation in advance. Southwest has limited space for in-cabin pets on each flight, so it’s recommended to book early to secure a spot for your pet. You can contact Southwest’s customer service or make the reservation online while booking your own ticket.

Check-in process for pets

On the day of your flight, it’s crucial to arrive at the airport with ample time for check-in. Passengers traveling with pets need to check in at the ticket counter and present the necessary documents, including a valid health certificate for your pet issued by a licensed veterinarian. The health certificate should be dated within ten days of travel.

In-cabin pet guidelines

While on board, it’s essential to follow Southwest’s guidelines to ensure a smooth and comfortable journey for both your pet and fellow passengers. Pets should remain inside their carriers throughout the flight and should not be taken out at any time. The carrier should be stowed securely under the seat in front of you. Additionally, it’s important to keep noise and disturbances to a minimum to maintain a pleasant environment for everyone.

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Pet travel tips

Traveling with a pet can be an exciting adventure, but it’s crucial to be prepared to make the experience enjoyable for both you and your furry friend. Here are a few tips to consider:

Familiarize your pet with the carrier before the trip.

Pack essential items like food, water, medications, and comfort items.

Take your pet for a walk before the flight to ensure they are relaxed.

Avoid feeding your pet a large meal right before the flight.

Provide your pet with ample water during the journey.

Pet relief areas at airports

Southwest Airlines understands the importance of bathroom breaks for your pets during the journey. Most airports have designated pet relief areas where you can take your pet for a quick bathroom break before or after the flight. It’s recommended to familiarize yourself with the airport layout and locate these areas in advance.

Safety measures for pet travel

To ensure the safety of your pet during the flight, it’s important to follow a few safety measures. Make sure your pet is wearing an ID tag with your contact information. Additionally, it’s advisable to have your pet microchipped in case they accidentally get separated from you. Lastly, consult your veterinarian about any necessary vaccinations or medications required for air travel.

Flying with service animals

Southwest Airlines complies with the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and allows passengers with disabilities to travel with their trained service animals. However, it’s important to notify Southwest in advance about your intention to travel with a service animal to ensure a seamless journey.

International pet travel

If you plan to travel internationally with your pet, it’s essential to research and comply with the specific regulations of the destination country. Each country has its own rules regarding pet importation, quarantine, and health requirements. Contact Southwest’s customer service or consult the embassy or consulate of the destination country to gather all the necessary information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring my pet on all Southwest flights?

Yes, you can bring your pet on most domestic Southwest flights. However, some restrictions may apply to specific destinations or during peak travel periods.

Can I bring more than one pet on board?

No, Southwest allows only one pet carrier per passenger, and each carrier can contain a maximum of two small cats or dogs from the same household.

Can my pet fly in the cargo hold?

No, Southwest does not transport pets in the cargo hold. Pets are only allowed in the cabin.

Do I need to provide any documents for my pet?

Yes, you need to present a valid health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian dated within ten days of travel.

Can I let my pet roam freely on the plane?

No, for the safety and comfort of all passengers, pets must remain inside their carriers throughout the flight.

Southwest Airlines offers a pet-friendly policy that allows you to travel with your beloved pets in the cabin. By following Southwest’s guidelines and preparing adequately, you can ensure a safe and comfortable journey for both you and your furry friend. So, pack your pet’s essentials, make a reservation, and embark on a memorable adventure together with Southwest.

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