This blog post was updated on September 12, 2014.

If you’re traveling with your pet, then prepare for some unexpected surprises. While flying with Fido may have received a bum rap a few decades ago, there have been substantial improvements in this department in recent years.

Nevertheless, it is helpful to remember the following:

TSA Regulations: The rules do not prohibit you from bringing your pet on your flight but it is always advisable to call the airport ahead of time. Some terminals will have a pet relief area. You can walk with your pet through the metal detector but need to present your pet for inspection. Your pet will never be placed in an X Ray machine, so you can rest easy.

Flight Rules: Most flights have a per flight pet fee, usually billed on a one way basis. Some carriers will not permit pets on the main deck itself, but rather as cargo (don’t worry, they will be well taken care of). Small pets can be accepted only in certain markets, so if you’re taking a puddle jumped and are bringing a Golden Retriever with you, don’t expect him or her to sit in your companion seat. Make sure you call ahead and really know what to expect so you’re not disappointed.

Kennels: Some carriers, like Delta and Continental, will have kennel requirements. For your pet’s safety, it is best to have kennels with adequate and plenty of ventilation, as well as room for the pet to sit and stand with head erect and not be squished. Because there are a lot of moving parts in an airport and airplane, no kennels made of wires are accepted.

Identification Tags: Make sure you include proper IDs on every item associated with your pet, including kennel and collar. Include your home address, phone number as well as the phone number at your destination.

Food and Water: Make sure you don’t overfeed your pets before they go on a flight lest they have a stomach upset. Give them plenty of water and be assured that they will be taken care of for flights of longer duration in the cargo.


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