Cat Friendly Airlines for Flying with a Cat IN CABIN

cat friendly airlines

If you’re worried about flying with a cat in cabin, then rest assured, it’s not as hard as you think. Some airlines are more accommodating to cats traveling on planes than others. I’ve researched the pet policies to determine which are the most cat friendly airlines for traveling with cats in cabin in the US and Canada.

Whether you’re taking your cat across the country for vacation or you’re moving with your cats to the opposite side of the continent, don’t worry. Take the stress off and check out this guide I put together that takes you through what to expect in each step of flying with a cat in cabin from booking, what to do at the airport, and on the plane.  

Standard Pet Policy in Cabin (FAA Regulated)

All airlines have a pet policy, which outlines what they allow and restrict when it comes to flying with your pet in cabin or in cargo. All the major US and Canada airlines do allow cats in cabin, but there are differences in their policies.

The following is the standard pet policy when it comes to federally-regulated rules around flying with an animal in cabin:  

  • Your cat must be in the cat carrier at all times. You cannot take your cat out or open the bag to feed him/her.
  • The carrier with your cat inside must be tucked under the seat at all times without any exceptions. Your cat and the carrier may not occupy a seat or be on your lap whatsoever.
  • The carrier must meet the dimensions in each airline pet policy. The dimensions allowed differ for all the airlines, which is outlined below under each airline. The carrier is preferred to be soft-sided and some airlines only accept soft-sided. In additional, the carrier must be leak-proof and ventilated on at least 2 sides with mesh material.
  • Your cat must be able to stand and move around inside the carrier. That is, your cat should not be too big that he/she fits too snugly inside the carrier.
  • Your cat must be a minimum age. Some airlines are more strict than others on the minimum age (for example, some allow 8 weeks while some allow only after 16 weeks old).
  • Your cat carrier counts as one carry-on. So if the airline typically allows 2 carry-ons, then the cat kennel will count as one and you can bring another carry-on of your own belongings.
  • Your cat must be accompanied by a passenger at all times, and the passenger must be either at least 18 years old for most airlines and 15 for some airlines.
  • You can’t sit in the first row or an exit row or a bulkhead row, which is a row right behind a partition or a wall.

The differences in the pet policy by airline include fees, the size of carrier they allow, the minimum age of your cat allowed to travel, and the documentation you are required to fill out. Another major difference is how they treat emotional support cats in their policy.

Below describes the key information that you need to know with respect to the pet policy for traveling with a cat in cabin for each airline.

Cat Friendly Airlines

Let’s explore for each airline whether they are very cat friendly or not-so cat friendly. For each airline, I’ve rated the cat friendliness out of 5 cats in my opinion from research.

The major US and Canada airlines below are listed in alphabetical order. Beside each is my rating (out of 5) of the airline’s cat friendliness based on the research collected on their pet policy and customer reviews. Click to jump straight to that airline:

Air Canada 2.0 Delta Air Lines 2.0 Southwest Airlines 4.0
Alaska Airlines 4.5 Frontier Airlines 2.9 Spirit Airlines 3.5
Allegiant Air 3.5 Hawaiian Airlines 2.0 United Airlines 2.5
American Airlines 3.5 JetBlue 3.9 WestJet 3.0
Porter Airlines 3.5

Air Canada

Cat friendliness: 2 out of 5

The fee to fly your cat in cabin is one of the most affordable compared to other airlines. The reviews seen online on various travel forums indicate that Air Canada is pretty accommodating to cats flying in cabin but doesn’t have raving reviews for service. Those are the pluses.

Cons are that Air Canada is one of the airlines that have a small maximum allowed dimensions for pet carriers. Worst of all, Air Canada does not accept cats as emotional support animals, so this seems to me they aren’t very cat friendly.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

Within Canada and US (except Hawaii), the fee is CAD$50 and USD$59 one way.

In Cabin Policy

Standard policy on your cat fitting comfortably in the kennel such that he/she can stand and move around inside. Your cat in the kennel must be stowed under the seat at all times. Only one cat or small dog in the cabin is allowed per passenger. And your cat must be be at least 12 weeks old and fully weaned.

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

On Boeing 777-300ER and 777-200LR  aircraft, the pet carrier cannot exceed these dimensions (L x W x H):

  • 17in x 15in x 8.25in (i.e. 43cm x 38cm x 21cm)

In our cabins equipped with lie-flat beds, only small or miniature dogs and cats are allowed. Soft-sided carriers are recommended, and they must not exceed these dimensions:

  • 16in x 8in x 11in (i.e. 41cm x 21cm x 28cm)

Booking

Book your own flight first. Then within 24 hours of booking your flight, contact Air Canada Reservations to register your pet for travel on the same flight as yours. At the time of the call, you have to provide the dimensions of the cat carrier and the weight and breed.

Emotional Support Cat

Air Canada does NOT accept cats as emotional support animals. Air Canada is only one of two US and Canada major airlines to not accept a cat as an emotional support animal. I’m very disappointed to learn this. I hope you change this policy soon, Air Canada, because every major US and Canada airline includes cats as emotional support animals. Yes, I’m totally pet policy-shaming Air Canada. Join me. Find them on Twitter here let them know they should update their policy to include cats as ESA!

Health Requirement

Like many of the airlines, Air Canada doesn’t require a documentation showing the health of your cat if your cat is flying in cabin. But they do advise that all animals, upon landing in any country/region, may be inspected by government veterinary officials, so it is a good idea to check your destination if they require it.

Bad Reviews

According to various travel forums, Air Canada has an average rating of 3 out of 5. But we’re really concerned about consistent bad reviews, because that tells you what the airline is doing wrong and what you should watch out for.

Most of the bad reviews are that the flight attendants or the agents deem the animal to be too big for flying in cabin. Many bad reviewers have said that they had no problems booking the ticket but upon arrival to the gate, the agent would deny the cat flying in cabin because the cat fits too tight in his/her kennel. And other bad reviews have included flight attendants rudely forcing the passenger to shove the kennel under the seat.

But for the most part, Air Canada seems to be okay with accommodating your cat.

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Alaska Airlines

Cat friendliness: 4.5 out of 5

Fees are average, although not on the cheap side. Cat carrier for soft-side is pretty reasonable compared to other airlines. Alaska Airlines allows a customer to travel with 2 pet carriers (with the purchase of adjacent seat). A lot of positive reviews about Alaska Airlines being a cat friendly airline.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

USD$100 each way. Service or emotional support animals fly for free.

In Cabin Policy

Alaska Airlines has a catchphrase called “Fur-st Class™ Care”. In addition to the standard policy for all airlines  as stated above, Alaska Airlines allows a customer to travel with 2 pet carriers, only when the adjacent seat is purchased by the same customer. This is unique to Alaska Airlines because other airlines only allow maximum 1 pet carrier per person. So, this is a plus for Alaska Airlines. Cats must be at least 8 weeks old and must have been fully weaned. Compared to other airlines, Alaska Airlines is pretty lax about this.

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

Carrier must not be bigger than (L x W x H):

  • Hard-sided: 17in x 11in x 7.5in
  • Soft-sided: 17in x 11in x 9.5in

Booking

Space for dogs and cats traveling in the cabin is subject to availability. Call Alaska Airlines to make your reservation and book your cat on the same plane at 1-800-252-7522.

Emotional Support Cat

Service animals or emotional support/psychiatric service animals are expected to be seated on the floor space below a guest’s seat or, if no larger than an infant, seated in the guest’s lap, if needed to accommodate your disability.
You may travel with an emotional/psychiatric support animal in the cabin if you are a qualified individual with a disability and certain documentation requirements are met.
You must provide Alaska Airlines the following completed documentation at least 48 hours before departure, and keep the completed forms with you for the entire journey:

  • Animal health advisory form
  • Certified copy of the animal’s health certificate from their veterinarian for their entire journey. Refer to Alaska’s pet policy for requirements for a health certificate.
  • Mental health form
  • Animal behavior form

These forms can be found here.

Health Requirement

A health certificate is not required for pets traveling in the cabin with their passenger; but check with the destination as many states have specific importation health and vaccination requirements.

Bad Reviews

Mostly the bad reviews on forums are about the cost of $100, which is typical of airlines. Alaska Airlines has a lot of positive reviews for being a pet-friendly airline. 

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Allegiant Air

Cat friendliness: 3.5 out of 5

Allegiant Air as an airline has a pretty low rating, because the carry-ons cost extra and because of uncomfortable seats. The fee for pet in cabin is pretty high considering it’s a budget airline.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

USD$100 each way. Service or emotional support animals fly for free.

In Cabin Policy

Allegiant Air allows 2 pets per carrier as long as they can stand and turn inside the carrier, but only one traveler may have one pet carrier. All other standard policy applies.

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

Carrier must not be bigger than (L x W x H):

  • 19in x 16in x 9in

Booking

To book a reservation with a pet, click the “Add a Pet in Cabin” link on the Travelers section when booking your reservation online.

Emotional Support Cat

Service animals and emotional support animals are not considered pets and are excluded from this policy. To add a service animal or emotional support animal, select the Travel with Pets option below the passenger name input section.

Health Requirement

Allegiant does not require a health certificate for pets traveling in the cabin. Again, check the destination.

Bad Reviews

Bad reviews tend to be about agents not letting their pet on board, especially agents not knowing the rights of pet owners with emotional support animals.

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American Airlines

Cat friendliness: 3.5 out of 5

Carrier size is pretty big in terms of length and width. It’s one of the more expensive airlines for pet fees. A lot of bad reviews are about the agents or flight attendants refusing to board the pet at the gate, because the pet is too big or the carrier doesn’t meet the requirements. Mixed reviews.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

USD$125 each way. Service or emotional support animals fly for free.

In Cabin Policy

Standard pet policy applies.

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

Carrier must not be bigger than (L x W x H):

  • 19in x 13in x 9in

Booking

Contact Reservations in advance to register your cat to fly in cabin.

Emotional Support Cat

Animals must be able to fit at your feet, under your seat or in your lap (animals to be seated on lap must be smaller than a 2-year old child). To travel with an emotional support and psychiatric service animal in the cabin, you must contact the Special Assistance Desk with all required documentation at least 48 hours before your flight.
Documentation required:

  • Mental Health Professional Form
    • State you have a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and are currently a patient
      Show the need for emotional support or psychiatric service animal for air travel and /or activity at your destination
      Provide proof of their licensing as a mental health professional or medical doctor (including date, type and state of license)
  • Behavior Guidelines
  • Animal Sanitation During 8+ Hours Form (only required if your flight is scheduled to be over 8 hours)

Additional forms required to fill out and submit can be found here.
Full info about traveling with an emotional support can be found here.

Health Requirement

In terms of health certificate, American Airlines doesn’t require it for your cat flying in cabin, but you are advised to check with the destination.

Additionally, American Airlines doesn’t allow you to travel with a pet if the current or forecasted temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.4 degrees C) at any location on the itinerary. Or if the ground temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 degrees C) at any location on the itinerary. Although, they may waive the cold temperature restrictions if you have a written letter from a licensed vet.

Bad Reviews

Mixed reviews of good experience and bad experience. Bad reviews consist of being rejected at check-in or at the gate. So it’s very much due to bad and rude service of the American Airlines employees.

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Delta Air Lines

Cat friendliness: 2 out of 5

The fact that they don’t even specify the dimensions of the cat carrier for in cabin shows their lack of care in helping you travel with your cat comfortably. Fee is the most expensive along with a few other airlines. Reviews state that it’s a gamble as to whether the service reps allow you on board with your pet even if you follow the rules, because they can be subjective. Seems very unreliable.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

USD$125 each way. Service or emotional support animals fly for free.

In Cabin Policy

Standard pet policy applies.

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

Carrier maximum size isn’t listed specifically. The policy says: “Check the under seat dimensions of the aircraft to ensure the kennel dimensions do not exceed the dimensions listed for the applicable aircraft and cabin confirmed.” This is the only airline that doesn’t tell you specifically. This unambiguous approach creates problems at check in or gate. Disappointing.

Booking

Pets are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Call Delta in advance at 800-221-1212 to arrange to bring your pet on board. To ensure the comfort of all of our passengers, Delta limits the number of total pets per flight.

Emotional Support Cat

To travel with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, passengers must upload the required documentation at least 48 hours before a flight. Each customer will be limited to one emotional support animal.
Download and fill out the required Emotional Support or Psychiatric Service Animal PDF found here:
You may submit a copy of vaccination records in lieu of the Veterinary Health Form as long as the vaccination dates and veterinary office information are included. Upload it to My Trips through the Accessibility Service Request Form. Keep completed paperwork with you while traveling.
On a Delta flight, service and support animals are expected to be seated in the floor space below a passenger’s seat, or seated in a passenger’s lap. Service and support animals and their associated items travel for free. The size of the animal must not exceed the “footprint” of the passenger’s seat.
Complete info found here.

Health Requirement

Restrictions: Snub-nosed cats.

Bad Reviews

Some really good reviews but many bad reviews about the service at the terminal. On the phone, the reps are helpful and friendly but apparently it’s a gamble when you get to the gate as to how the Delta people are going to treat you traveling with your pet.

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Frontier Airlines

Cat friendliness: 2.9 out of 5

Price for a budget airline is reasonable on the lower end. Although some customers said that they paid more for the pet fee than their own ticket. Their pet policy guideline is informative and they give more information to ensure that it goes smoothly. The cat carrier size allowed is short at 8 inches. Their requirement for emotional support animal seems outdated and quite strict. There have been numerous reviews about rude flight attendants when it comes to accommodating your pet on board. Nothing worse than a flight attendant making your already stressful flight with your cat even more uncomfortable.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

USD$75 each way. Service or emotional support animals fly for free.

In Cabin Policy

Standard pet policy applies.

I like their pet policy intro. It’s friendly and accommodating to cats: “Pets are like family. That’s why we’re committed to keeping your dogs, cats, hamsters, and more safe and sound on their trip. If you would like to take your critter on your next trip, there are few things you need to know first.”

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

Carrier must not be bigger than (L x W x H):

  • 18in x 14in x 8in

Booking

Call ahead and book in advance to register your cat on the same flight as yours.

Emotional Support Cat

We accept service animals trained to assist passengers with disabilities in the cabin of our aircraft at no charge.
We accept therapeutic/emotional support animals in the cabin of our aircraft under the conditions below:

  • A hard copy of a written statement, one per animal, current within one year, on letterhead from a mental health professional is required if you wish to travel with a therapeutic/emotional support animal. The statement must:
    • Include the date and type of the mental health professional’s license and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued.
  • Include documentation that the individual providing the written statement is a licensed mental health professional and that you are under their professional care.
  • Verify that you have a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—Fourth Edition (DSM IV).
  • Include documentation that having your therapeutic/emotional support animal accompany you is necessary to your mental health, treatment and/or to is needed to assist you during travel.

Your animal(s) must fit under the seat or on your lap, one animal per lap. We will make every effort to accommodate the space needed, however in accordance with FAA regulation you may be required to purchase an additional seat.

A health certificate is not required for therapeutic/emotional support animals unless mandated by the jurisdiction of your destination.
The behavior of any animal traveling on Frontier will assessed at the airport. This is to ensure the safety of all passengers is met prior to travel. We reserve the right to refuse to accommodate an animal in the cabin if requested documentation is not available or if the animal is considered aggressive or disruptive.
Complete info found here.

Health Requirement

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates the transport of pets within the U.S. While we do not require a health certificate for pets carried in the cabin traveling within the U.S., upon arrival, a certificate may be required by the specific state in which you are landing. For clarification, please call your veterinarian or see the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Veterinary Services.

Bad Reviews

Bad reviews tend to be about the flight attendants being rude about the animal on board, particularly that the carrier doesn’t fit under the seat. I think due to the space under the seat on Frontier must be a little smaller than typical airlines. Customer support on the phone also comes up often for bad reviews.

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Hawaiian Airlines

Cat friendliness: 2 out of 5

Because Hawaii has no rabies, Hawaiian Airlines is very strict on the pet policy. They do not allow bringing pet to Hawaii from North America. Although inter-island and from Hawaii to North America allow bringing a pet, the documentation required is very strict. Very expensive fee from Hawaii to North America.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

USD$175 each way to/from Hawaii to continental North America. $35 each way within Hawaii. Service or emotional support animals fly for free.

In Cabin Policy

Hawaii is very strict on pet travel, because Hawaii is a no-rabies state. Pet travel is permitted only on inter-island flights and flights leaving Hawaii, but NOT allowed on flights arriving to Hawaii. (Exceptions made for service animals only.)

For inter-island flights, standard pet policy applies.

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

Carrier must not be bigger than (L x W x H):

  • 16in x 10in x 9.5in
  • Must not exceed 25 pounds in total (animal and carrier)

Booking

Book your pet in the passenger cabin at the same time you make your own flight reservations. Call 48-hours advance notification of your intent to travel with your pet by contacting our Reservations Department at 1-800-367-5320.

Emotional Support Cat

Emotional Support and Psychiatric Service Animals are welcomed to accompany a guest into the cabin, if they meet the conditions of acceptance. There is a limit of one emotional support or psychiatric service animal per person.
A guest requesting to travel with a Support Animal that is used for emotional support or psychiatric service, including but not limited to alerting the passenger to take medication or retrieving medication for a psychiatric condition, will be required to provide current documentation (i.e., not older than one (1) year from the date of the scheduled initial flight) on the letterhead of a licensed mental health professional or medical doctor who is treating the person for the condition, stating the following:

  • The passenger has a mental or emotional disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM IV);
  • The passenger needs the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at the passenger’s destination;
  • The individual providing the assessment is a licensed mental health professional, and the passenger is under his or her professional care; and
  • The date and type of the mental health professional’s license and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued.
  • In lieu of a letterhead from a mental health professional, a guest may use our Hawaiian Airlines Emotional Support/Psychiatric Service Animal form.

Health Requirement

Hawaii is a rabies-free state. Due to strict State of Hawaii regulations and restrictions, we encourage you to contact the State of Hawaii Animal Industry Division – Department of Agriculture Animal Quarantine Department for information regarding travel arrangements and fees to enter the State of Hawaii.
Travel within the State of Hawaii: No animal health certificate required. Travel from Hawaii to North America: Dated within 14-days prior to travel.

Bad Reviews

Mostly the bad reviews are the amount of paperwork required, the non-friendly nature of people working for the airline and in Hawaii with respect to animals because they are a rabies-free state.

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JetBlue

Cat friendliness: 3.9 out of 5

I gave JetBlue a rating that’s close to 4 but not quite as high as Alaska Airlines’ rating of 4. JetBlue seems to be pretty accommodating to traveling with a pet. But the flight attendants and agents for JetBlue also seem to give trouble about the carrier not meeting the requirement, although they do. There is also a restriction on the weight of your cat and carrier, which is not a restriction by most airlines. And the max weight is 20lbs which is quite arbitrarily restrictive.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

USD$100 each way. Service or emotional support animals fly for free.

In Cabin Policy

Standard pet policy applies.

JetBlue has a program for traveling with a pet called “JetPaws”.

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

Carrier must not be bigger than (L x W x H):

  • 17in x 12.5in x 8.5in
  • Cat and carrier must not weigh more than 20 pounds

Booking

Pets can be booked online or you can call 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).

Emotional Support Cat

You will be asked at the airport to verify the service the animal provides. Must notify of emotional support animal travel and receive documentation no later than 48 hours prior to departure.
Emotional support animals are limited to one per customer.
The following documentation will be required:

  • Medical/Mental Health Professional’s Form
  • Veterinary Health Form
  • Confirmation of Animal Behavior

Upon completion of the documentation, you must submit the forms for review through this link at least 48 hours prior to departure. These documents need to be submitted for each reservation you’re traveling on; documents are not kept on file. Required documentation for emotional support/psychiatric service animals must always accompany the animal when traveling and is to be presented upon request to JetBlue personnel for review. The behavior of the animal will be assessed at the airport to ensure safety requirements are met before approving the animal for travel.
Forms to fill out and submit can be found here and here.

Health Requirement

Check the destination; not required by the airline for your cat in cabin.

Bad Reviews

Bad reviews are consistently about the smaller room under the seat and therefore a smaller maximum height of the carrier than other airlines. Also an arbitrary maximum weight of the animal and the carrier at 20lb. That’s not a restriction on most other airlines, so this tends to be many of the complaints.
Complaints also tend to be about the flight attendants saying the animal is too big but they’re following regulations of JetBlue and the airline’s restrictions are smaller for carriers than other airlines typically.

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Porter Airlines

Cat friendliness: 3.5 out of 5

I wanted to give Porter Airlines a higher rating. The fee is on the cheaper end and although the cat and carrier can’t weigh more than 20 pounds like JetBlue, the size of the carrier allowed is quite spacious. But the fact that like Air Canada, Porter Airlines also doesn’t recognize cats as emotional support animals is disappointing.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

USD$56 (or CAD$50) each way.

In Cabin Policy

Standard pet policy applies.

A maximum of one carrier per passenger is allowed. Only one pet is permitted in a carrier.

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

Carrier must not be bigger than (L x W x H):

  • 22in x 16in x 9in
  • Cat and carrier must not weigh more than 20 pounds

Booking

Pet travel is booked on a space-available basis. Porter allows up to two (2) pets in the cabin on any given flight. To avoid disappointment, you should reserve space for your pet at the time of booking or contact the Porter Call Centre at 1-888-619-8622 as early as possible. A minimum of 24 hours’ notice is required.

Emotional Support Cat

Is this a Canadian thing?? Porter Airlines also does NOT consider cats to be an emotional support animal and therefore does not allow a cat to be one. Only dogs. Disappointing.

Health Requirement

Check the destination; not required by the airline for your cat in cabin.

Bad Reviews

Not many reviews in general on pet travel, but most reviews about pet travel indicate that the airline attendants seem to be quite lax about pet travel.

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Southwest Airlines

Cat friendliness: 4 out of 5

Pretty cat-friendly airline. They even have their own pet carrier that they sell. And the pet carrier dimensions sold by Southwest is taller in height than other airlines allow. Not a lot of bad reviews. Seems the flight attendants and agents are not as strict of subjective about the pet travel rules.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

USD$95 each way. Service or emotional support animals fly for free.

In Cabin Policy

Standard pet policy applies.

Customers will be permitted to travel with no more than one (1) pet carrier per person. Each pet carrier can have no more than two (2) of the same species of small cats or dogs per pet carrier.

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

Carrier must not be bigger than (L x W x H):

  • 17in x 10in x 10.5in Southwest Airlines pet carrier that they sell
  • 18.5in x 13.5in x 8.5in for all other pet carriers

Booking

Reservations for Southwest-only itineraries must be made in advance, as space is limited. Reservations must be made by calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792). Pets will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis on Southwest-operated flights until capacity is reached. However, from time to time, circumstances may allow for more (or fewer) than six (6) pet carriers per scheduled flight.
On the day of travel, Customers will need to go to the ticket counter to pay the Pet Fare prior to proceeding through security.
Pets must be checked in at the airport ticket counter, however Customers can still secure their boarding pass online, at curbside check-in, the airport kiosk, or the ticket counter.

Emotional Support Cat

When booking a new reservation, Customers may use the “Add/Edit Disability Options” (situated on the Enter Traveler Info page) to indicate that he/she will be traveling with a fully trained service animal and/or an emotional support animal.
“We can’t ask a Customer to specify his/her disability, nor can we ask for “proof” of a disability. However, it is acceptable for our Employees to ask some fact-finding questions to ascertain what assistance an animal provides.”
In order for a Customer to travel with an emotional support animal, the Customer must provide to a Southwest Airlines Employee current documentation (not more than one year old) on letterhead from a mental health professional or medical doctor who is treating the Customer’s mental health-related disability.
Printable instructions for the required form can be found here.

Health Requirement

Southwest does not require a health certificate or any other documentation from the Customer’s veterinarian for pets to travel. Check destination to be sure.

Bad Reviews

Not a lot of bad reviews. There were a lot of reviews about people being allowed to take their pet out of the carrier. So it seems that the flight attendants are lax about it sometimes which then gives the wrong idea to the rest of the travelers and when they try the same thing, flight attendants that they get who know the rules will be restricting that behavior. Although they’re doing their job they then get into fights and flight attendants are rude about it. That’s mostly the reviews.

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Spirit Airlines

Cat friendliness: 3.5 out of 5

Carrier size and the number of pets per contained allowed being 2 suggests the airline is pretty cat-friendly. However, for a budget airline, the fee for cat in cabin is quite high. Not a lot of bad reviews but also not that many reviews on pet travel to begin with.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

USD$110 each way. It was impossible to find this on their website. Had to contact their customer service and they emailed me that it was $110 each way.

In Cabin Policy

Standard pet policy applies.

A maximum of 2 pets per container is permitted, but only one container per guest is allowed.

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

Carrier must not be bigger than (L x W x H):

  • 18in x 14in x 9in
  • Cat and carrier must not exceed 40 pounds

Booking

Advance notice is recommended but not required. There is a maximum of 4 pets per flight so calling to register is important.

Emotional Support Cat

We accept emotional support and psychiatric service animals as long as you have current documentation (no older than one year preceding the date of your scheduled initial flight) which must meet the following criteria:

  • On letterhead of a licensed mental health professional including a medical doctor specifically treating the passenger’s mental or emotional disability (e.g. psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker) stating the following:
    • You have a mental health related disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (DSM IV);
    • You need the emotional support or psychiatric service animal as an accommodation for air travel and/or for activity at your destination;
    • The individual providing the assessment is a licensed mental health professional and the passenger is under his or her professional care; and
    • The date and type of the mental health professional’s license and the state or other jurisdiction in which it was issued.

Health Requirement

Spirit Airlines does not require a health certificate for pets traveling with guests in the aircraft cabin. Check destination to be sure.

Bad Reviews

Most reviews are when they booked their ticket and called to add their pet because there’s no option to add pet while booking. And the agent tells them there’s already max 4 pets on flight so they can’t add their pet.

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United Airlines

Cat friendliness: 2.5 out of 5

Expensive fee. Very strict rules on emotional support animals. The only saving grace is that the carriers they allow are quite spacious. It’s the biggest. However, there are many bad reviews indicating that the agent at the gate didn’t allow the animal in because the kennel was too big, even though they met the requirement. Not very reliable.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

USD$125 each way.

In Cabin Policy

Standard pet policy applies.

Two pets per flight are allowed in our premium cabins on select aircraft. Pets are not permitted in our premium cabins on Boeing 757, 767, 777 or 787 aircraft due to limited storage space under the seat. Four pets per flight are allowed in United Economy® on all United flights. The number of in-cabin pets allowed varies by United Express partner airline.

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

Carrier must not be bigger than (L x W x H):

  • Hard-sided kennels: 17.5in x 12in x 7.5in
  • Soft-sided kennels: 18in x 11in x 11in

Booking

All customers traveling with in-cabin pets must check in with a United customer service representative in the airport lobby to receive a brightly colored yellow bag tag to attach to their pet’s kennel. In-cabin travel for pets is booked on a space-available basis. For additional information about the operating carrier’s in-cabin pet policy, contact the United Customer Contact Center.

Emotional Support Cat

Beginning March 1, 2018, United will require additional documentation for customers traveling with emotional support animal or a psychiatric service animal. In addition to providing a letter from a licensed medical/mental health professional, customers will need to provide a veterinary health form documenting the health and vaccination records for the animal as well as confirming that the animal has been trained to behave properly in a public setting.
This change only applies to emotional support and psychiatric service animals.
When traveling with an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal, you’ll need to submit all three forms together to the Accessibility Desk at least 48 hours before your flight.
Emotional support and psychiatric service animals are also accepted in cabin for qualified individuals with a disability if certain information and documentation are provided in advance of travel. These animals must be trained to behave properly in a public setting. With prior documentation and clearance a customer may travel with no more than one emotional support animal. Multiple emotional support animals for a single customer are not permitted. United will consider all relevant information, including information from the required documentation, when determining whether an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal may safely travel in the aircraft cabin.
Customers traveling with an emotional support animal or a psychiatric service animal must provide the required documentation at least 48 hours before the customer’s flight by email (uaaeromed@united.com). If we are unable to validate the documentation, if the customer does not provide completed documentation, or if advance notification is not given, customers may be required to transport the animal as a pet, and pet fees may apply. Contact the United Accessibility Desk at 1-800-228-2744 if you have any questions about this process or are booking a flight within 48 hours of the departure time.

Health Requirement

Cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the U.S; however, some states require vaccination of cats for rabies, so it is a good idea to check with state and local health authorities at your final destination.

Bad Reviews

Mostly the bad reviews refer to not having problems booking on the phone with the agent but getting to the gate and refusing to board your animal b/c there’s not enough room or the max number of pets was reached or b/c pet is too big. And they don’t refund or do anything to compensate having to cancel trips.

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WestJet

Cat friendliness: 3 out of 5

Fee is affordable. For emotional support cat, the process is very clear. They provide the step by step forms required. The in-cabin policy is quite standard. But there have been a lot of reviews saying there is inconsistency in when their carrier was allowed and when it wasn’t. The flight attendants also were reported in some bad reviews as rude and not sympathetic about pet travel in cabin. A little unreliable here in terms of how it will go on your turn.

You can find their full pet policy here.

Fees

USD$50 each way.

In Cabin Policy

Standard pet policy applies.

Cat Carrier/Kennel Maximum Size

Carrier must not be bigger than (L x W x H):

  • 16in x 10in x 8.5in
  • Only soft-sided kennel allowed

Booking

Space for pets cannot be reserved online. To add your pet to your travel plans, please contact us at 1-888-937-8538 (1-888-WESTJET).

Emotional Support Cat

West Jet requires the following three forms (per assistive animal) be printed, completed, and emailed to SpecialCareDesk@westjet.com no later than 48 hours before you leave. The forms must be dated no more than one year before travel and kept with you while travelling:

  • Confirmation of animal training – to be signed by the owner/trainer of the animal, which can be found here.
  • Medical/mental health professional – to include your medical professional’s licence number, type of licence, and jurisdiction in which the licence was issued. Must be signed by your medical professional (e.g. psychiatrist, psychologist, or general practitioner), which can be found here.
    • Veterinary health – to be signed by the animal’s veterinarian, which can be found here.

West Jet’s Special Care Desk agents will review your documents for authenticity and send an email to the address provided confirming or denying your animal as an emotional support animal.
WestJet may deny application forms which appear to be questionable.
We strongly recommend that your emotional support animal wear its identification (e.g. vest) at all times while on the aircraft, however, WestJet does not require identification in order to accept your animal for travel. We suggest that you travel with identification as some agencies (the airport authority, transfer companies, etc.) may require it.

Health Requirement

Cats are not required to have proof of rabies vaccination for importation into the U.S; however, some states require vaccination of cats for rabies, so it is a good idea to check with state and local health authorities at your final destination.

Bad Reviews

Most had good experience. Bad reviews related to inconsistent experience where past times their kennels were accepted with the weight requirement met but other times were refused. Other bad reviews tended to be flight attendants being rude about stuffing the kennel completely under the seat.

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