If you’re planning to travel with your dog on Southwest Airlines, it’s important to understand the airline’s policy before you book your flight. From breed restrictions to required documentation, here’s everything you need to know about traveling with your furry friend on Southwest.

Understanding Southwest Airlines’ Dog Policy

The Basics of the Policy

Southwest Airlines is one of the few airlines that allows customers to bring small vaccinated dogs on board for a fee. The policy applies to dogs that are trained to assist people with disabilities and those traveling with their owners for emotional support. This means that if you have a furry friend that you simply cannot leave behind, Southwest Airlines is the airline for you!

As per the policy, the dog must be small enough to fit comfortably in a carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. The carrier must be leak-proof and well-ventilated. The airline charges a non-refundable fee of $95 each way per pet carrier. It is important to note that only six pets are allowed on each flight, so it is best to book early to ensure that your furry friend can travel with you.

Reasons Behind the Policy

Southwest Airlines has implemented this policy to provide better travel experiences to its customers who rely on service dogs or emotional support animals. This policy ensures that pet owners can travel with their dogs without encountering any issues related to their pet’s safety or comfort.

Traveling with a pet can be a stressful experience, but Southwest Airlines has made it their mission to make it as easy and comfortable as possible. They understand that pets are an integral part of many people’s lives and that traveling with them can be a necessity, not just a luxury. This is why they have put in place a policy that is both accommodating and affordable, making it easier for pet owners to travel with their furry companions.

Additionally, Southwest Airlines has taken steps to ensure that their policy is in compliance with the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), which protects the rights of individuals with disabilities who travel with service animals. This act requires airlines to allow service animals to accompany their owners on flights at no additional cost. Southwest Airlines has gone above and beyond this requirement by also allowing emotional support animals on board for a small fee.

Overall, Southwest Airlines’ dog policy is a testament to their commitment to providing their customers with a comfortable and stress-free travel experience. So, the next time you plan to travel with your furry friend, consider booking your flight with Southwest Airlines!

Requirements for Traveling with Your Dog

Traveling with your furry friend can be a fun and exciting experience, but it’s important to ensure that you meet all the requirements set by Southwest Airlines to make your trip a smooth one. Here are some additional details to keep in mind:

Breed Restrictions

Southwest Airlines understands that every dog is an individual and that breed does not necessarily determine behavior. However, for the safety and comfort of all passengers, Southwest Airlines has a strict policy against allowing certain breeds of dogs that are considered aggressive, such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans, on board their flights. This decision was made after careful consideration of the potential risks and safety concerns that these breeds may pose.

If you have a dog that falls under one of these breeds, you may want to consider other travel options or contact Southwest Airlines in advance to discuss your options.

Age Requirements

It’s important to note that Southwest Airlines requires all dogs to be at least 8 weeks old to travel on their flights. Additionally, customers are prohibited from traveling with puppies or dogs that are not fully trained for service or emotional support purposes. This ensures that your dog is physically and emotionally ready for the journey and can handle the stress and excitement of air travel.

Health and Vaccination Requirements

Before you embark on your journey with your furry companion, you must provide proof of your dog’s current vaccination records. These vaccinations include rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and hepatitis, among others. This is to ensure that your dog is healthy and free of any contagious diseases that could potentially spread to other passengers or animals.

It’s also important to note that if your dog is found to be sick or exhibiting signs of illness, Southwest Airlines reserves the right to deny boarding to your dog. This is to protect the health and safety of all passengers on board.

Documentation and Paperwork

If you’re traveling with an emotional support animal, service animal, or psychiatric service animal, you must provide a signed and completed document from a licensed mental health professional or a licensed veterinarian that certifies the dog is trained to assist the owner in performing tasks or detects specific symptoms. This documentation is mandatory and must be provided to Southwest Airlines in advance of your flight.

It’s important to note that this documentation is not required for pets traveling in the cabin, but it’s always a good idea to have your dog’s vaccination records and other important paperwork with you just in case.

By following these guidelines and requirements, you can ensure a safe and comfortable journey for both you and your furry friend. Happy travels!

Preparing for Your Flight

Traveling with your furry friend can be an exciting adventure, but it’s important to prepare ahead of time to ensure a smooth and stress-free journey for both you and your pet. Here are some additional tips to make your flight a success:

Booking Your Pet’s Reservation

As mentioned before, it’s crucial to book your pet’s reservation as soon as possible. In addition to reserving your pet’s spot on the plane, you should also inform the airline of any special needs or accommodations your pet may require. For example, if your dog is a service animal, you should let the airline know in advance so they can make the necessary arrangements.

Choosing the Right Pet Carrier

When selecting a pet carrier, it’s important to choose one that is not only appropriate for your pet’s size but also comfortable and secure. Consider purchasing a carrier with a soft, plush lining to keep your pet cozy during the flight. You should also ensure that the carrier is sturdy and well-ventilated to prevent your pet from becoming overheated or uncomfortable.

Packing Essentials for Your Dog

In addition to food, water, medication, and comfort items, you should also pack a copy of your pet’s medical records and vaccination history. This can be helpful in case of an emergency or if you need to provide proof of vaccination at your destination. You should also pack a recent photo of your pet in case they get lost during the journey.

Tips for a Stress-Free Travel Experience

Aside from giving your pet some exercise before the flight and taking them for a walk during layovers, there are other ways to make the journey more comfortable for your furry friend. Consider bringing along a favorite toy or blanket to provide a sense of familiarity and comfort. You may also want to invest in a calming pheromone spray or collar to help your pet relax during the flight.

By following these tips and taking the necessary precautions, you and your pet can enjoy a safe and stress-free flight together.

At the Airport with Your Dog

Traveling with your furry friend can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be stressful if you are not prepared. Here is some additional information to help make your travels with your dog on Southwest Airlines a positive experience.

Check-In Process

The check-in process for traveling with a dog is slightly different from the regular check-in process. When you arrive at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter, you will need to check-in your dog as well. The agent will verify your dog’s vaccination records and ask you to fill out additional forms. It is important to arrive at the airport early to complete these steps so that you have plenty of time to get through security and to your gate.

Security Screening

During security screening, you will need to remove your dog from the carrier and carry them through the metal detector with you. This can be a bit nerve-wracking for both you and your furry friend, so it is important to make sure that your dog is trained enough to walk through the metal detector and stay calm. If your dog is unable to manage, you will be subject to a pat-down screening with your dog. This can be a bit time-consuming, so it is best to make sure that your dog is comfortable with the security screening process before you arrive at the airport.

Pet Relief Areas

Southwest Airlines understands that pets need a break too, which is why they provide pet relief areas at all of their airport locations. These areas are designed to offer pets some space and relief before or after their flight. Make sure to locate your airport’s designated pet relief area before your flight so that you can give your furry friend a chance to stretch their legs and take care of business.

Boarding and In-Flight Procedures

Southwest Airlines prioritizes service animals and customers traveling with an emotional support animal. If you are traveling with a dog, you will be given priority boarding with the other customers in your boarding group. During the flight, your dog must remain in its carrier, and the carrier must be placed under the seat in front of you. If your dog needs a break or needs to use the restroom, you must request it from the flight attendant. It is important to make sure that your dog is comfortable in their carrier before you board the plane so that they are less likely to become anxious during the flight.

Final Thoughts

Traveling with your dog on Southwest Airlines can be a wonderful experience if you plan ahead and adhere to the policy and requirements. Make sure to bring all of the necessary documents and supplies for your furry friend, including their vaccination records, food, water, and any medication they may need. By following these guidelines, you can make traveling with your dog on Southwest Airlines a positive experience for both you and your furry friend.