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Southwest Airlines Reservations
United States: 800-435-9792
International: see website
Southwest Airlines Pet Policy

Carry-On Pet Policy:

Southwest Airlines allows customers to carry small pets (cats and dogs only) on board all domestic Southwest Airlines flights. All in-cabin pets must be carried in an appropriate pet carrier. The pet fee is $95 each way per pet carrier. Each customer is limited to carrying one pet carrier on board. The carrier may contain up to two cats or dogs of the same species. The carrier will count as the customer’s carry-on bag. Southwest does not require a health certificate or any other documentation from the customer’s veterinarian for pets to travel. Pets are not permitted on international flights.

Checked Bagage/Cargo Policy:

Pets are not allowed in the cargo area on Southwest Airlines.

Carrier Guidelines:

Soft-sided and hard-sided carriers specifically designed as pet carriers are acceptable. The carriers must be leak-proof and well ventilated. The pet carrier must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of the customer and be stowed in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations. The cat or dog must be able to stand up and move around the carrier with ease.

Pet Reservations:

Reservations for small cats or dogs can only be booked by calling Southwest Airlines at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792). Pets will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until capacity is reached. The total number of pet carriers per flight is limited at this time, so customers should make their pet reservations as soon as they confirm travel plans to ensure availability for their pets. The pet fee must be collected at the ticket counter, is nonrefundable, and may not be applied toward future-date travel if unused. Customers traveling with a cat or dog must check in pets at the airport ticket counter and pay the pet fee before going to the departure gate. Customers can still secure their boarding pass online, at curbside check-in, the airport kiosk, or the ticket counter. Southwest Airlines does not accept pets traveling without a customer, and pets are not permitted to travel with unaccompanied minors or on international flights.
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Average Rating:
The Southwest Airlines is rated # among airlines based on 88 guest reviews.
Easy Flying with my Emotional Support Dog
Aggie in Chicago
Southwest is wonderful when my emotional support dog Milo and I fly out of Midway. The process is so easy compared to other airlines. All that I have to do is show my esa letter when I get my boarding pass and check my luggage. Make sure you actually have a esa letter from a real psychologist and not some badge or registration card since these things are not legitimate emotional support animal certifications. You can call your psychologist and let them know you need an emotion support animal or you can even get it online from a real therapist from ESA Doctors. There are other options out there, but they were the ones I used and the psychologist was most helpful when I needed to fly with Delta and needed her signature on a form they required. This is why I love Southwest! EZ PEEZEE 5 Bones all the way!
Frequent flier
Hogan Bennett in Tierra Verde, FL
I was saying that we have never had any problems with space or sitting. Usually the crew is very friendly and make sure that my stroller, which is gate checked, , is ready for me at our stop or destination .
Southwest is the way to travel
Hogan. Bennett in Tierra Verde,FL
I travel several times during the year and prefer Southwest of all airlines. We have never had any problems with
A Great Experience
Steven in Houston
First off, Layla is my ESA, so even though she was 60 lbs at the time she was able to fly by my side. Southwest made sure I boarded first and got the front row seating. They checked her paperwork once on each flight and that was it. I needed her ESA card and a letter from my doctor. There was no pet fee for us too which I was very pleased with. Everyone seemed to love her and enjoy having her on board.
Jana in Candor, NC
*You put your carry-on on the X-ray, not the carrier.
Only The Best!
Jana in Candor, NC
I flew out of Raleigh Durham Airport in NC and traveled to Chicago, IL. Southwest was the best. My cat was a first time flyer and they handled him very well in security. I was so inexperienced when it came to flying with a pet but they were very professional and helped me in the best way possible. I requested a private screening so I could take my cat out in a private room while they scanned my bag. I did this to make sure he wouldn't freak out and jump out of my arms. If you've never had a private screening, you simply put your carrier on in the x-ray as normal and walk through the metal detector while they take your pet for you. Then I proceeded into the private room to take him out. Once he was out a gentleman took the carrier to be scanned while I stayed in the room with the lady. She was super nice and talked to me about my cat. I couldn't ask for better service, especially since I had ZERO IDEA of what I was doing. Especially since this is only my second time flying. Also, the carrier was an American Tourist one. Fit right under the seat perfectly, didn't need to buy the South West one. Cat was also well behaved and pretty much slept on the way there. As I've read before, window and middle seats have the most room under them.
No issues
Layla in Kansas City
I have a Cavapoo and have taken her with me a couple times and have had the best flights. Everyone with SW was very welcoming and we had no issues. At one point during the flight I asked if I could get her out of the carrier because she was scared but it was against the rules however she did tell me I could comfort her by just sticking my hand in and petting her which I did. As far as the other passengers, I asked before I sat down if they wouldn't mind me sitting there as I had a pet and they were very nice and welcomed us.
Southwest is the BEST for Dogs
Muffler in Chicago
As a regular southwest traveler, I have to give you at "5 bone" rating. I get a royal greeting at outside check-in counter at Midway. Love my southwest collapsible bowl ...thank you for the thoughtful freebie! And my southwest bag is just the right size for this"husky Shih-tzu mix." It fits right under the seat. And I find other passengers are delighted to see me at the gate. Children and adults alike come by for "a snuggle" before they get on the plane. And i don't mind because I get to fly Southwest. Dogs seem to be a calming influence. My question is ... when will I get to accumulate Southwest miles?
Seats for Bigger Dogs
Leslie in Estes Park
I just want to say that I totally agree that Southwest should consider selling seats for bigger dogs...the fee now is the same price I paid for my ticket anyway. I think many people would want to use this service. Although my carrier will fit under the seat...I would be willing to pay extra for my pet to be able to sit next to me.
SouthWest is great!
Nancy in Port Charlotte
I flew from Tampa to Manchester with my 2 Yorkie puppies, only $95. for both. They were totally silent, and no one even knew they were there. Everyone boarding and screening was so nice to me, and the size of the larger bag was not questioned. Thanks so much Southwest!
Allergic to dogs? I'm allergic to your perfume
SSSS in Orlando
To the people who complain that they are allergic to dogs, I am allergic to your stupid stinky perfumes, deodorants, lotions, oranges, cigarettes, etc. I don't complain unless there is another seat available. Get a Zyrtec before the flight and you'll be fine. I won't! I just wish they had a children are in the plane like thye used to have a smoking area, so all the darn screaming-chair-kicking kids would be among themselves only hurting their own parents' ears and backs. My dog is so calm - the passenger next to me noted she was way better than the babies in the flight!
Mutzi's Mom in New York
Rose Marie in Brooklyn, New York
I would be ecstatic I would be allowed to pay for a seat to fly my 25 pound yorkie/bichon to Florida. I know she would be a wonderful seat mate. She loves and wants to kiss everybody. I am so upset that I can not buy a seat for her. And I know she would be very uncomfortable in a tight carrier under the seat.
I Love Southwest Now!
Dimmy in CT
I am so glad they are easy going, NO need for documentation from your vet, good rate, plus you can fit TWO pets in the same carrier, my two poodles are happy, happy! Only flying southwest from now on, you won a loyal costumer.. PLUS they dont charge for checking in your luggage, way to go southwest!
We love Southwest!
Elizabeth in New York, NY/Kansas City, MO
Since moving to New York for work, I've traveled much more frequently to see friends and family (and just get out of the city, period), and I always take my miniature dachshund with me. I have never had a single issue with booking her over the phone, or with ticket counter staff, airport staff, gate personnel, flight attendants, or other passengers. By being respectful and mindful of the rules, giving her lots of exercise and time to go potty before the flight (which usually means getting up super early and running her around outside the airport), and keeping her in her Southwest bag and under the seat for the duration of the flight, no one even knows she's in there and no one gets pissy (or sneezy) about her. The bag is HUGE and roomy and sturdy - in fact, I use it every time I need to take her someplace in the city, too. The only thing I'd recommend, since it's Southwest, is checking in VERY early (or getting early bird check-in) to ensure that you have your pick of seats, and that there's enough overhead bin space for the things you can't put under the seat. We always sit by the window to ensure the least amount of in-flight disruption. It works like a charm - she curls up and goes to sleep every time! (And while it's never been a concern for us - she's only 10lb - she's never once been weighed.)
Two cats, one carrier works!
Lyndsey in New York
I recently moved from Colorado to New York with my two cats in one carrier... One cat being 12 pounds and the other being 10 pds. I lost sleep for about two weeks worrying about flying them across the country.. I pictured every worst case scenario happening. I was most scared that my one cat would Meow the entire flight. He is a "talker" and meows constantly. I packed my car and had it shipped and took the rest of my things and my kittys on the flight. Going through security was easy because i asked for a "Private screening". I held one cat and an airport security agent was very helpful and held my other cat, while another security person ran my cat carrier through the x-ray. This was a private room with the door closed, so even if one of my cats got away.. They couldn't go anywhere. The plane ride was what I was most worried about... The "talker"; to my surprise he did not make a peep the whole way. No one even knew I had cats under the seat. I was so surprised. Even if he was to meow, I dont think many people could have heard because the engine and other airplane noises. I wanted to write this post because I worried and lost so much sleep over taking two cats in one carrier and flying them across the country.... My advice is dont worry, everything will be fine... Most people would prefer a meowing cat over a crying baby anyways. Good Luck :)
Great puppy flight experience, but what about an adult Frenchie?
Ginny in California
I flew on Southwest many times with my French Bulldog when he was still a puppy. When he was 8 lbs. we used a small American Tourister carrier with no problems. When he grew to about 12 lbs., we got the Southwest carrier. It is sized to the exact dimensions of under the seat, so it slides under great and has a large, square footprint that gives room to move around. The top expands two inches and we found that most seat spaces will accommodate that expansion. Physically carrying it through the airport is a different story. The bottom does not have enough support and it caves under the weight of the dog--like carrying a bowling ball in a large gym bag. If you have outfitted the carrier with blankets and toys, your pup will be enclosed in them any time you pick the carrier up. Depending on the weight of the dog, it is also painful (on the shoulder) and awkward (due to the shape) to carry this thing around. However, when the Southwest agents see that Southwest carrier, they never question the size, so it might be worth it for that alone. Now it has been several months since our last flight and my Frenchie has grown to a full-sized 27 lbs., albeit dense and compact. He still fits in the carrier, and we only take short flights (mostly NorCal to SoCal), but I'm wondering if (a) he'll pass muster at the check-in counter, and (b) I'll have the strength to carry him around the airport. Fortunately, I can count on him to be well-behaved. Does anyone have any experience flying a dog his size on Southwest?
Cat's, too !
Carol Ann in Florida
I recently flew Southwest with my 16 lb cat in a Southwest carrier. The carrier was great--plenty of ventilation. My cat was perfect--you wouldn't have even known he was under the seat ! Thank you to Southwest for allowing me to bring my cat with me to my new home without a two day car trip !!
Spoiling it for the rest of us.
Gail in MA
I keep reading reviews by people who take their dogs out of the carrier in the airport and in the plane. Please don't spoil traveling with our pets by pushing the rules. And pets are not allowed under the seats in the exit rows on ALL airlines, as they expect the people that sit in those seats to help in the event of an evacuation.
What is the fee for?
Liz in Fort Myers beach
I understand the fee is for controlling the number of animals on the plane. But couldn't the fee at least cover getting some air? Imagine being in a small cage squashed under a seat with no vEntilation for hours!
25lb corgi, no problems
Erik in Tampa, FL
Flew last week with 25lb corgi. No issues at all. She flew in large sherpa bag which fit under the seat well. She didn't exactly have a lot of room to move around, but we did not have any problems.The staff was great and was very helpful. We did get one comment from a TSA person that she looked a little big, but they have no say in the matter. Overall great experience. Disclaimer: I was flying on a Southwest friends and family pass, not sure if this made a difference.
No Worries!
Michele in Indianapolis
I was a little worried about any issues that I may encounter with my Sherpa carrier and 9 lb Maltese on his first flight to Vegas recently b/c of some of the reviews. However, no problems were encountered at all and all Southwest personnel we dealt with were very personable and helpful. On both flights, the person sitting in the row with my husband and I stated they were unaware that we had a dog until we were de-planing! In fact, a flight attendant said she didn't even know there was a dog onboard until we walked past her while de-planing in Indy. (I guess pets aren't listed on the manifest?) Overall it was an excellent experience....$75 fee each way seems a little pricey...and I hope more airports catch on and open pet relief areas AFTER the security checkpoints. :-)
Love Carrier
Lauren in St. Louis
I love the carrier. Not only is cute, and not an eyesore...It has nice mesh sides, so I could keep my fingers near my pup on his first few airplane trips - which I am sure can be scary with all the sights and sounds. Not to mention he had never been zipped in a bag before. He is a 22 lb boston terrier and fit a little cramped, but he did just fine. All SW staff was so courteous and tried to make me more comfortable, as well as Wellington, my canine baby!
Glad you are becoming dog friendly
Susan in Pompano Beach
This might be an option for those (like myself) with a larger dog that needs his own seat http://petairways.com/
Thanks for the policy change!
Annie in Oakland
I'm so glad Southwest now allows carry-on pets. My 6-lb yorkipoo is a frequent flyer. Southwest's pet fee is at the reasonable end of the scale (one airline charges $200!!) The pet reservation process is easy and transparent compared to some other airlines. Since the pet policy change, I always fly Southwest.
Thanks for the policy change!
Annie in Oakland
I'm so glad Southwest now allows carry-on pets. My 6-lb yorkipoo is a frequent flyer. Southwest's pet fee is at the reasonable end of the scale (one airline charges $200!!) The pet reservation process is easy and transparent compared to some other airlines. Since the pet policy change, I always fly Southwest.
Flying with my little Maltese
Toni in Arizona
I love you Southwest. thank you for enacting a pet policy. I have 2 very small Maltese and have been able to fly with both of them. I purchased the Southwest pet carrying case for them and it is perfect. Flying is just great with you. thanks so much for making it easy
Flying with my little Maltese
Toni in Arizona
I love you Southwest. thank you for enacting a pet policy. I have 2 very small Maltese and have been able to fly with both of them. I purchased the Southwest pet carrying case for them and it is perfect. Flying is just great with you. thanks so much for making it easy
Haley in Alabama
I was nervous about flying with my 3 pound Chihuahua, and thought I'd have a hard time. The flight attendants were VERY helpful and nice, and even offered water to my dog. She started to get upset and whined at take-off, and when we got in the air, I took her out for a little while and the flight attendants didn't tell me to put her away! I was skeptical about flying SW with my dog, but it was a good experience and i will DEFINETELY fly again with south west!
My dog's a frequent flier!
Sharlene in Austin, TX
The first day SW accepted pets on board, my maltese and I boarded a flight from Austin to Chicago. The gate agents and I "learned" together how to process and travel with a pet. I have nothing but high praise for the gate agents, customer service and flight attendants. There have been absolutely no problems. My dog and I have flown over 12 round trip flights and have two more planned. Only wish they would grant rapid rewards points to me for my buddy. (American does - hint, hint!) Middle seat is the largest for the carrier.
Great experience
Beverly in Chicago
Just returned from a trip to California. This was my first time taking my 12 pound Min Pin. I was concerned about the size of my large sierra carrying case. We had no problems. The window and middle seats had plenty of room. The isle seat was to narrow. I was able to bend the back of the case and slide it under the seat. The southwest agents and crew were great. I will travel again with southwest.....
Southwest was amazing
Patricia in Orlando, FL
I flew with both of my dogs in one carrier and had no issues with southwest. I have a 7 pound dorkie and a 10 pound chi/yorkie mix. The flight attendants were super friendly and gave helpful hints as to wear to sit and offered the girls water. I have a sturdibag which is a 12x12X18, did not have any trouble getting it under the seat in front of me. The middle seat has the most under seat room. I am looking forward on taking the doggies on another trip :)
Underseat height
Gloria in Columbia
I have not yet flown with my 9-pound dog, but look forward to taking her on SW in February. Mary-Alice at the excellent www.dogjaunt.com measured under SW seats and got 11" high, not 8.25" as on SW website. Has anyone else measured ACTUAL HEIGHT UNDER SEATS? She has used a SturdiBag carrier with a flexible top that can be smashed down as needed to fit. Anyone else use this?
Virg in Ohio
After checking the reviews I am looking forward to giving southwest a try with pet travel! I hope the attendants are really as nice as people have said, bc squishing a pet under a seat can be really cruel and its not the passengers fault when the plane has different measurements than the seat next to them....so going to book my next flight with southwest! so glad they have opened cabin to pets!
2 Adult Cats ok!
Albany Kelley in NYC / Wash DC
Yesterday I had to travel to Las Vegas and pick up my mom's two cats and bring them back to our home in DC, while she recovers from an illness. The cats are 13 pounds and 11 pounds respectfully. I got the medium soft-sided carrier at Wal-mart of all places after going to 4 stores! It measures 19" by 11" high (bended to fit under the seat perfectly) by 12 or 13" wide I think. When I saw the cats and realized how big they were, I was worried I wouldn't be able to fly SW with them. They were VERY crowded in the carrier (side by side laying down, length was okay at 19", but width had them squished together a bit. SW counter check-in went well, even though the sister was hissing at the brother the entire time (lol). The agent peered into the carrier concerned, but as soon as I explained they would calm down later and they weren't used to being outside at all , the agent was fine. Security personnel actually HELPED me when it was time to get the cats out and walk them through. Then on the plane, the stewardess came by about 3 times to offer water for them and make sure they were okay. Now a day later, the cats seem to be adjusting well. I will ALWAYS fly Southwest with my animals from now on, hands down. $75.00 each way, if traveling within the states, no vet paperwork required. MUST make reservations by phone (no payment at that time though) to ensure your flight doesn't have too many pet carriers. Then must pay the fee at the check-in counter at the airport
Size / Height
Bella in Las Vegas / San Francisco / DC
Forgot to mention! Get a soft carrier (sherpa's the absolute best) and it's fine if it's even 10 or 11 inches high. They bend easily to fit under the seat and my cats cannot turn around or stand up under the seat, BUT as long as the animal is comfy while in the carrier otherwise, it's fine. :)
Hope it goes well!
Bella in Las Vegas
Just to answer a statement on here of a BAD review above my post. The person who said the gate agent heard her dog "whine" and demanded diability papers? That happened because if you travel SW, you MUST check in at the ticket counter and pay the $75 pet carrier fee. It can't even be paid online. Otherwise, if it is an emotional needs are other assistance animal, just provide your papers. BEST BAG/CARRIER? SHERPA brand hands down. I have the rolling duffel pet carrier for two cats. It's 10.5 inches high, 13 inches wide I think and 17"-19" deep (long). 4 wheels and a strap make it awesome for hauling my two cats (12 lbs and 9 lbs) through the airport. It does depend on the staff, but I just always tell them how often other cities let me travel with them and it always works out. Be POLITE and don't be afraid to beg. haha. They'll let you through, especially if you can produce a few tears if needed. :)
Amanda in SLC
We have a 12 pound boston terrier, she is pretty small for her breed and we want to take her with us to our wedding, we are a little worried about reading these reviews about the size of carriers. Do you suggest getting a larger carrier than the 8.5 in and then just pushing it down in the seat? Are they more concerned about the size of the carrier or the ability of the dog to stand/turn around. Any advice would be much appreciated!
The Only Ones I'll Fly With!
Angela in Brooklyn
I rescued two little Pomeranians - a mama and her baby. They're 11 and 9 lbs. and fit perfectly into a soft-sided wheely backpack that goes flat and fits PERFECTLY under Southwest's seats! I think SW offers the most under-seat space and the fact that they allow two of the same animal per carrier makes it easier on those of us who are traveling solo. They're so reasonably priced and I've had really great encounters with some of their employees. I can't even consider flying with my dogs on any other carrier.
SWA has been the greatest
Melissa in Las Vegas
I have flown twice now with my two (2) chihuahuas and had wonderful experiences. The staff was great and there was plenty of room for them under the seat. They are both under 5lbs.
Two Yorkies for the price of one!
Roanna in Naples
I fly with an 8lb Yorkie and a 7lb Yorkie, both for the price of one. They fit comfortably under the seat and sleep during the flight. They love travelling, and I love having them with me. Thank you Southwest for making it possible for me to bring my pets.
Allowing pets in cabin
Trisha in Brandon
I had quit flying SWA because I now have a small dog but have just read they are accepting pets on board. I am again a dedicated SWA traveler..thank you!
Thank you SWA
Art in Niantic
This is great, yet SWA didn't notify us frequent fliers they had started it. The other airlines have had us hostage and doubled or tripled their fees as a result. Bye Delta, hello SWA!!!
jen in las vegas
I have never had my dogs with me on SW airlines, but I am so happy they are finally allowing pets on flights. I hate flying other airlines just because of my dogs, and now I won't have to any more. Thank You so much Southwest! This is GREAT NEWS!
A valuable service
Doug in La Jolla
This is a very valuable service for travelers with pets; especially if they are unable to leave the animal with anyone at home. This also cuts costs on pet sitting services while the owner is away.
Do not anthropomorphize
Coopy in Dallas
Dogs are another species and should not be anthropomorphized (treating your dog like a human). Instead of treating dogs like furry children, we can show our dogs how much we love, appreciate and respect them by remembering they're dogs — and providing a life for them that puts their dog-ness at center stage. Forcing your dog to stay in a busy public place like in air ports, flights,underneath the seats for hours and other situation makes him uncomfortable and scared. Forcing social situations on a dog can cause the animal to become reactive. I always find driving my own dog in my own car the best than air traveling.I would leave my dog with a friend or pet care if I cannot drive on my trip.
Open letter to Southwest CEO
Catherine in Brooklyn
Dear Mr. Kelly, Southwest has a well-deserved reputation for being the most innovative, and the coolest, airline in the industry. If there is anyone who can provide more options and greater flexibility for travel with pets, it's you. I have a 27lb Australian Labradoodle. He is too big to fit under the seat, and I will not risk transporting him as cargo. But I would love to be able to take him with me on trips and I would willingly pay for the privilege of being able to fly with him. I'd like to challenge you and your team to develop a workable solution that would allow passengers to purchase a seat on the plane for their companion animals that are too large to fit under the seat. There are pet carriers that are designed to be strapped in with seat belts, so dogs could be still be contained in a carrier while in the seat. The policy could be that, yes, you can purchase a seat for your companion animal, but the animal must be in a carrier that can be belted into the seat. Some examples of the types of carriers are below: https://jet.com/product/detail/03d7c549c28d4e608aadaf59c3083e99?jcmp=pla:ggl:gen_animals_pet_supplies_a2:hn_pet_supplies_pet_carriers_crates_a2_other:na:PLA_345544260_24784137660_pla-164084654460:na:na:na:2&code=PLA15&ds_c=gen_animals_pet_supplies_a2&ds_cid=&ds_ag=hn_pet_supplies_pet_carriers_crates_a2_other&product_id=03d7c549c28d4e608aadaf59c3083e99&product_partition_id=164084654460&gclid=Cj0KEQjw_qW9BRCcv-Xc5Jn-26gBEiQAM-iJhVqrXq10TSYXzkJ0Hmay5kLkxTtVjZpzdlms9t1NleEaAqBR8P8HAQ&gclsrc=aw.ds https://www.chewy.com/pet-gear-car-seat-carrier-car-seat/dp/51276?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=Pet%20Gear&utm_term=&gclid=Cj0KEQjw_qW9BRCcv-Xc5Jn-26gBEiQAM-iJhRI4akiPAiyN7ElFhCnh6F4E6LJsnMEnr6L5dbOv-3waAkdX8P8HAQ http://www.overstock.com/Pet-Supplies/Pet-Life-Collapsible-Nylon-Pet-Booster-Seat/9118160/product.html?recset=139c35a0-28b9-4434-9e94-70b0669d8122&refccid=CY7RGIUOIWCY2BCK6EMVXQGY7I&recalg=870,839&recidx=1 You would have my permanent loyalty for all of my travel needs if you could make this happen! Yours, Catherine
18 lb chihuahua
renee in sun lakes
I'm getting mixed messages from these posts about the size bag/dog SW will accept. Must depend on whose working huh. Do you think my 18.5 lb chihuahua will fit in a large sherpa bag under the seat? If a 25 lb corgi can, I don't see why not my Chi. I just weighed her yesterday. Can't believe she weighs that much! She's really solid. :) We've always liked SW airlines and fly them whenever they go where we're going but never took our dog before now.
Dogs In Seats
Linda in Alder
I'm totally loyal to Delta, but any airline that would allow me to buy a seat, then occupy it with my dog in a carrier would have my total loyalty forward. I once sat by a woman who had purchased two seats and was flying her cello in the extra seat. The cello was so big that the seat in front could not recline. My dog would be a much better seat companion than that.
Plastic carrier on Southwest flight
Matt in Pasadena
First of all - thanks to all who posted information on the under seat height on this message board. Your comments were very helpful. For those who might be interested, I was able to take a plastic carrier onto Southwest (my cat can shred through anything else). The carrier was from Petco and measured 19 L X 12.56 W X 10 H (inches). It slipped nicely under the middle seat oriented horizontally.
LOVE Southwest
Kota in San Francisco/Philly
I really wish the carrier space was bigger- my 9lb cat does end up feeling a little cramped, but he takes it like a champ... I've flown him twice now, and I've had nothing but good experiences, and nobody's ever questioned me about him not being able to stand up or turn in the carrier... They've never even asked to look inside the carrier to see him! Maybe it's a thing with dogs. But things have always gone smoothly for me, and thankfully kitty doesn't make a peep during the flights... and for pretty much the cheapest in-cabin pet price around, I'd say it's great! Just be wary of trying any critters over 10lbs. 15lbs, mayyybe. 20lbs, probably won't work out well...
Hoping for a smooth flight.
First time flyer with my dog in Richmond, VA
First time flyer with my senior 7lb Yorkie. Looked for a carrier to fit Southwest's specifications (8.25 H, is pretty small, just saying). Couldn't find one that small so settled for an 11H instead, hoping I don't have any issues. Not sure what to expect, last minute travel arrangements for business, not enough time to really familiarize my dog with his new carrier. I am actually pretty nervous, hoping he won't be too agitated or anything, fingers crossed. Southwest, please be kind! I will update after the flight!
Shirley in Providence RI
It would be greeat if I could buy a seat for my 11 lb Maltese so he could sit next to me. Going to Fl soonwith him and he does nothing but yelp bcause he wants to sit on my lap in his create andhe can see me but cant get to me. I've tried all kinds of meds to keep him quiet but nothing works. I get meds from my vet and he had given me some thing to calm him but nothing works. Ps let him have a seat. I pay for him some time more than I do for myself Pls let us have a seat for our pets
First time flyers
Donica in Newberg, OR
Took my 2 chihuahua mixes for their first flight yesterday. I chose southwest because they charge $95 per CARRIER not pet. Other airlines charge $100/per dog, plus and extra seat if you have 2 dogs as only 1 pet is allowed per customer! I did have trouble finding a carrier that fit in the dimensions southwest provided. I found a soft-sided one at Walmart that was a snug fit but not unbearable for my dogs. I "practiced" have them go in each day increasing the time each training period to get them used to it. They would go inside and usually cuddle up and fall asleep until I took them out. Well come the day of flying. I left them out of their carrier until we arrived at the airport, thinking the less I can have them stuck in there, the better. I had already taken them out to relieve themselves before we left, so we were ready to get checked in right away. I was trying to get to the airport at the latest amount of time, with still allowing enough for security and boarding because of the strict airport rules for dogs. Both dogs were very nervous in the car, as they usually think they are going somewhere fun. I had to somewhat squish them in their carrier (as they are trying to jump/run around the car)...and off we went to the ticket counter. The attendant asked me to set their carrier down and inspected it, saying they didn't have ample amount of room and got his supervisor. I tried explaining they were just really excited and this is their first time. The supervisor came out and said my carrier didn't allow enough room for them to move around/turn around, ect. I was already having anxiety about taking my dogs and this was just adding to it. The supervisor said I could purchase their pet carrier for $48.00... Making it $143 to take my dogs with me on a 2 hour flight -_- I paid for the bag, had the attendant help me put them in the new one which was about double th size! It looks like a small carry-on. Way bigger than the dimensions they give you online. The carrier had a hard plastic bottome, lots of mesh, and didn't deem it being "leakproof" as southwest states on their guidelines. Well after putting the dogs in the bag, I went up stairs and had to take them out of the bag again for security. They had me walk through holding both and scanned my hands. Put my doggies back in the bag and headed for our gate. Just as I sit down, I see that my flight is delayed for an estimated atleast 50 minutes. My dogs had started to calm down and I kept talking to them and snuck them some treats and cuddles while I could. The animal relief area was in the front of the airport, meaning I would have to take them back through security to get back to my gate. Lots of people were commenting on how well behaved and cute my dogs were, which was really assuring. After the long delay, we got to board. This was my first time flying southwest and the seating is very different. I tried to go all the way in the back where 2 nice ladies offered me the window seat and said "we are totally profiling, we thought you looked nice and we like your doggies" I stuck Bentley and Parisa below the seat, the carrier fit actually pretty well. They didn't make one sound the whole duration of the first leg of flight (ontario,CA to Sacramento, CA) then a stop in Sacramento for about 30 min then our final destination to Portlamd, OR. I was so proud of my dogs for hanging in there, relaxing, and just being good sports. The overall experience was good, besides I need to return my existing pet carrier that I will not be using. I suggest just buying one from the airline you are flying so you won't have any questions. I hope someday airlines won't charge for small animals at all since you are entitled to that space in front of your seat as a paying customer. Or, atleast reduce the fee. My dogs did better than any baby I've been on a flight with! Hope this information was helpful to all abut the carriers. Safe travels!
I am Flying For The First Time w/ my Buddy
Lisa in Daytona Beach, FL
I love this page...I was a bit nervous about taking my 22 lb cocker with me on a flight, bit I think it might be ok with the correct carrier. I fly a lot but this will be the first time with my dog. My dad passed away last year and my dog is my parents grandkid(no two legged kids for me). My mom wants me to bring Lucy for Xmas..so here we go. You all give me hope.
"no guarantee" for Southwest branded Carrier
Leslie in Los Angeles
Hi - we flew recently with two puppies, both under 20 lbs. We had one Southwest Airlines carrier and another generic, black carrier. Unfortunately the Southwest Airlines carrier is very cheap and one zipper broke prior to the first flight and the second zipper broke (separated) after we went through security on the return trip. We asked agents at a gate in our terminal if they would replace the bag. They refused and asked for a 'suit' to come see the dog and the bag. The manager said we could buy the bag, if we wanted to fly, and that the carriers are not guaranteed. So there went another $45. That was my only bad experience with Southwest Airlines, otherwise the flight attendants and the agents at check-in were completely professional, warm and friendly. So be EXTREMELY careful with those zippers or you might also be running through a terminal in search of a new bag.
petting pet while in flight?
Dawn in Summerville, SC
Just wanted to know if anyone knows if it would be possible to mayb open the carrier, just enough to put my hand in there and pet my dog?
Furry Family member deserves a seat
Nikki in Orlando
I love my 20 lb dog and want him to be able to travel with our family. My dog is well behaved and a real crowd pleaser. I bet there are folks who would rather sit next to my dog instead of the loud, stinky, drunk who spent too much time ion the bar/lounge.
Depends on the airport staff
Jeff in Milwaukee
I've flown with a medium size terrier - in Milwaukee, they were happy to see him and there weren't any problems. On the return in San Diego, I had problems with both the ticket agent and the gate agent, threatening to make me leave him in San Diego. I was able to get him on board when I explained that I flew out with him and we were returning home.
Is My Dog Too Big
Karen in New Orleans
I bought the pet carrier through Southwest and realize how small it is. I have a 9 pound yorkie that fits in it, but he can't really stand and walk around too well. Do you think he will be able to board?
SWA Staff
Edel in South San Francisco
Very bad staff, I asked for a pre-boarding pass and he gave it without question, when he heard my little dog whined while in carrier, he questioned abt my dog and took away my pre-boarding pass, questioned me for proof of disability.
Pet fee higher than my seat!
Nancy Weed in Elk Grove
I plan flying to Portland, Oregon next month, and wanted to take my 8 month old kitten. His fee ($95.00 each way) was more than my ticket!! That's just wrong.... If my carry-on was full of clothes, I could just shove it under the seat it would be free. But, put a pet in it, and suddenly it's an additional $200. SWA doesn't serve it a drink, or peanuts......doesn't carry it on and off the plane.......doesn't ever touch it. It doesn't use the restroom, or cause any additional cleaning up after(like a human). It just sits there, under the seat, for the entire flight....just like shirts would! When I called SWA to question their logic, I was told that they only charged be caused the other airlines did! NOT a reasonable answer. I love SWA. I have been a frequent flier for the past 20 years.....they seriously need to revisit their pet fee policy!
What about Birds!?
MaryG1959 in Bethlehem, PA
A small parrot weighs less than 400 grams. Can fit easily into a very small carrier w/room to spare. If dogs are allowed and cats are allowed---small parrots should also be allowed. Also, if you are "carrying" your pet on and it fits under the seat....there is no reason to charge a fee for this!
attendants need 2 know policy
cynthia in austin,TX
The man in front of me had a cane. The attendant began forcing this under the seat hitting my dog repeatedly. I yelled several times and put my foot on the end of the cane to stop her. She yelled back that my bag had to go overhead! They had no idea I had a dog and I paid $75.00 for the same baggage space as everyone. Trying to comfort my 4 lb. dog was told I had to shove him back under the seat. Do they treat children like this?My neighbor on the plane was almost as upset as me!
Need to Educate Employees
Sandra in Providence
I flew to Orlando with my 10lb Shih Tzu in a sherpa bag. I checked the website, made the reservation on th phone, and paid for him at the ticket counter. At no point did they tell us that there were certain places on the plane that we were not allowed to sit. Our plane was filled to max capacity. We sat in a row with the emergency doors. There was a flight attendant there who saw my dog was there and talked to us about him. 45 minutes into the flight another flight attendant came over and rudely told us that we were not supposed to be sitting there and told us to push my dog further and further under the seat. Yet another flight attendant came over to us and told us that we weren't supposed to sit there because my little dog was a "threat: to all the other passengers. We would be tempted to save him in an evacuation over human beings. Never been accused of something like that in my life. We were told the first flight attendant was unaware of the policy. We were then told that for the landing we would have to change seats with someone or let someone else put my dog in front of them and were we ok with that? We didn't have a choice. No one wanted to move so the lady in front of us was kind enough to my dog in front of her. The landing was rough and turbulent and I am sure when my dog looked to see my husband or me and saw a stranger that it freaked him out even more. The flight back home was great and that is the only reason I rated my review for 2 bones. There is no place on the website that says you cannot sit in certain seats nor was I told that by anyone I spoke with.
Where to get a carrier that small?
Grace in San Francisco
Hello, I am having a hard time searching for a carrier that's 8.25 in height. I have an 8 pound yorkie and for some reason I in belief that he is too big for the carrier but can definately fit under a cabin seat. I'm not sure what to do. I guess I will have to buy the carrier and see what they say.... I hope he can come :( Please feel free to e-mail me with any information regarding where I can purchase a carrier that's airline approved and within the height required by Southwest. Tanks everyone! Email is [email protected]
Under seat area too small
Arlene in Chicago
I was so happy to hear that Southwest was allowing pets. When I called the airlines for the dimensions I was told it was 19 inches long,14 " wide and only 8 1/4 inches high. I recently found a carry on bag that was actually that small. (even though I had an "airline approved bag") 8 1/4 inches high is really really low. I am positive now that I can't fly with my little dog. It seems all the other airlines minus JET Blue, have bigger areas.
Caribean is international?
Liz in florida
Found a kitten at a hotel wanted to adopt and fly back home. unlike most airlines southwest says the Caribbean is an international flight. American and other airlines do not. I had to spend a lot of money to change my airlines. Spent over 1 hour with their customer service. Thanks Southwest for ruining my vacation
Dog allowed out of carrier for 4 hour flight
Dissatisfied flyer in Orange County in Orange
Southwest allow d a dog on boa d with no carrier. After delaying the flight for 45 minutes and a message from the pilot, the dog was allowed back on board with a doggi container. Immediately after boarding the dog was out of its carrier and allowed out for the entirety of the 4 hour flight. No reprocussions for the dog owner. The dog was paraded up the aisle during the flight. The dog was on r Top of us and underneath our flight the entire time. Southwest did not follow or enforce their own rules. So disappointed and a miserable flight.
Dogs and a Monkey
Jane in Albuquerque
I went to Florida through Houston and had the worst flights ever. A passenger not only took a monkey onboard Southwest , but had the monkey out of the cage and the stewardess was feeding the monkey SWA peanuts in the back galley where she was preparing drinks . I am ready to rprt them to the Department of Health . I wrote a letter to SWA and they defended their policy . I also had complained that there were barking ,growling dogs throughout the cabin and a lot of dogs out of their cages and sitting in people's laps . There were approximately 8-10 dogs on each flight.the last return flight was after 11 pm and the dogs kept barking keeping everyone annoyed and unable to nap. Let me know who to contact . Ian a nurse and the flights were health hazards.
Steve in Lincoln, California
Why no pets allowed on international flights. Be honest. Your competitors allow.
birds cant fly
melanie in Austin Texas
I was looking forward to flying with southwest until I found out small pets do not include small birds. He has a little pet carrier same as a small dog or cat. I do not understand why he cant fly wuth us.
can't go to Mexico
Dede in Austin
Southwest will not allow dogs on international flights. I bought a house in Mexico, the flight from home to it is a 2 hour direct non-stop flight, but I can't bring my small dog. I could take her anywhere in the US on Southwest, which from Austin could be much longer and more difficult flights. So now I will be flying United or American. Southwest could have a "distance" policy, not a blanket "no" on international flights. Pity, because I did like flying on Southwest, but the pet trumps the airline.
Doug in Houston
If I have to put my dog in a carrier and shove him under the seat for the duration of the flight, then you should have to put your crying 6 month old baby in a carrier under the seat for the duration of the flight. There is NO difference. My dog is even smaller than your baby.
No board for 16lb Welsh Terrier
Alana in New York
Too bad their pet policy is so vague and subjective. Be warned lovers of Southwest Airlines? your 'small' pet can never be small enough. My carrier met requirements, dog could move with ease. I was checked-in, dog paid for and another agent decided she was too big and wouldn't let us board. She stated it was inhuman and suggested we fly with another airline. In dealing with customer service today they told me that the dog must be able to stand up fully including their head and turn around. with that said, only toy breeds would be allowed...not small breeds. My welsh is on the petite side and would have been completely fine.
What is the $180 fee for?
Jeri in Portland,OR
While I appreciate being able to take my small dog on the plane with me, I find the $180 fee (roundtrip) outrageous. What am I paying for? The pet carrier counts as one of my carry on items so now I can only have one, not 2. I would understand except I just paid an extra $180 which is sometime more than my own plane ticket. There is not enough room under many of the seats for the carrier, even though I went out of my way to buy an airline approved carrier guaranteed to fit under all airline seats. For my $180 I have no room for my feet, no room for even a small purse and its harder to find a seat. The flight attendants treat me as a second rate passenger, always watching, always reminding me of the rules and I better not dare to get out of line. There is no extra help, no dog treat, nothing special and I am not asking for any of that. I just want to know why I am paying an extra $180? I love babies, but I find myself very irritated now when I see kids under 2 years old traveling on their parents lap, being fussed over by flight attendants, getting special treatment, all for free! I am sure the airline asks for the money because it can and those of us who love our pets and are glad for the opportunity to keep them with us and we will pay. But it is very unfair and takes advantage of people who love their pets! I would totally understand need to make a reservation for a pet to avoid too many on a flight. And I understand and abide by all the rules. But I really resent having to pay so much more money and than actually having a much worse flight experience.
Why pay more for a dog?
Carm in Houston
So here is my issue. It costs more for me to carry my dog than it does for me to fly to my hometown. I think that is ridiculous. I should at least be able to pay what my seat costs, especially since the dog isn't even in the seat. This policy needs to be changed.
moyra in san antonio
Pleeeeeeeze let us buy a seat for our doggies. I have a Westhighland terrier, who I cannot leave I would pay first class and travel in coach if I could buy a seat for my westie. My hobby is travel but is limited right now.
Pay for seat
Esther in Cape Coral,FL
Many of us would gladly pay for a seat to put dog carrier on that is for a wheaten terrier I have sit next to drunks, people who reek of smoke,screaming kids and hateful adults. No longer fly til airlines let us buy a seat for our pet
Vanessa Ruiz in New York
Southwest has very strict policies, which are understandable, however, the flight attendants (there were two) were very harassing and made me and my dog feel like a second rate passanger. My dog started whimpering (after being in the carrier for over four hours) and I tried to comfort him by petting him (he remained in the carrier). The flight attendant told me that I was not allowed to do that, and I was "breaking the law". Well what if he needed water or a snack? The most shocking thing of all was that she said she used to train dogs! No compassion at all, the other passengers next to me were outraged by how rude she was as well. Do NOT FLY SOUTHWEST IF YOU HAVE A DOG.
Mary in Rutland
I absolutely love dogs but I dont think they should be allowed in the cabin because of pet allergies alot of people have. People who have allergies should not have to worry about pets being on their flight. In a closed in area like an airplane people with pet allergies will have a really hard time breathing & other side affects on top of the anxiety it causes. There should at least be some non pet flights that people with allergies can choose. Just not fair to people with allergies! My dog flew cargo from Virginia when I adopted him & did absolutely fine (not Southwest). So please reconsider & not allow pets on flights Its too much of a risk with people with health issues. And like I said Im a dog lover!
Jean in Chicago
I had my small cat in an approved carrier under the seat in front of me. After take off I put the carrier in my lap closed so that the cat and I would have more room. Not allowed, and was told so rudely, even though the passenger next to me said he considered it cruel to jam the animal under the seat for four hours. Will seek alternative transport.
Don't bet on it!
Jenn in Raleigh/Durham
I decided to take my 18 pound beagle with me across the country for Christmas. She fit comfortably in the Large Sherpa, but knowing that she was on the larger side, I called Southwest to speak to them in advance about whether she would fit. I provided her weight, the dimensions of her carrier, and was assured that it would not be a problem as long as she fit under the seat. When I arrived at the airport they denied me boarding! Even though I did not raise my voice or become rude in any way, a nearby agent made a comment, "and they talk about Michael Vick being cruel to animals!" It was outrageously offensive because I love my dog and treat her extremely well. They then refused to get a manager to speak with me the first 3 times I asked. Finally I demanded to speak with a manager who admitted that my dog fit perfectly fine in her carrier, but just thought the carrier was too tall for Southwest because of their "lifevests." The manager then tried to refuse to refund my $600 ticket and was unwilling to work with me to find accommodations on any other airline. After calling customer relations, my ticket was refunded, but I was forced to go to other airlines and show them my pet and buy a ticket last minute. It cost me $1200 to make the trip, but both American and Delta said that she was perfectly fine in her carrier and we traveled without incident on American the next day. After being harassed and ridiculed at the airport, I will never travel Southwest Airlines again. If you have any dog bigger than 10 pounds, I would stay away.
my pets not accepted!
sandy in phoenix
other airlines including airtran accept my 2 household birds, sw is the only one that doesnt. So I recommend airtran, they are cheaper, and until sw takes them over, go that route. sw sucks and discriminate s against pets
flying kennels, yuuck.
Bruce in Houston
I used to love Southwest. On my last flight a dog in the waiting area was barking and yipping for 20 minutes before we boarded. Add on that I am dogphobic (two very bad bites) and now have to fight to be sure no dog is near my seat. And the dog owners let them out of the carrier and the attendants allow it. Now I drive to Dallas.
Stranded with two dogs
Jenny in Seattle
I called ahead and made the reservation. I bought the over priced Southwest pet carrier. I went through security easily and then because the dogs were growling at each other they wouldn't let me on the plane. I'm sure they would have calmed down. So I was stranded at the airport at 10:00 at night while my luggage went to Oakland and had to fly Alaska Airlines the next day. I was not pleased.
Don't Count on It!!
Susan in Winter Haven Florida
I agree with Jeff from Miwaukee. My 18 lb Cairn Terriier was happy in his carrier and had been checked in (I had even paid the $75) when an agent came bay and said he didn't look very comfortable and he couldn't turn around (I didn"t point out the passengers can't stand up and turn around). They absolutely would not let us board so we were left in Albany with no way to get to Orlando.
small dogs only
jodi in Iowa
we are traveling for the holidays and wanted to take our pet- thrilled to see a pet policy with swa-but only momentarily becasue realized it has to be a tiny dog or cat only- many families have larger pets so not being able to access cargo is really unfortunate for midsize or lg dog owners.
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