Flying with Pets in the Cabin on Southwest Airlines

When making the pet reservation, you should get a pet-friendly seat assignment. Even still, the pet must fit comfortably inside a carrier that itself fits under the seat in front of you. Size may be the most common pet travel restriction, but it’s not the only one. You know your pet. Animals that hate being in a carrier or animals that have serious health concerns should avoid air travel whenever possible.  

Get all the answers you need to know whether your pet is a strong candidate to fly in the cabin on a Southwest flight.  

 

How much does it cost to fly with a carry-on pet on Southwest Airlines?
$95 each way.  

 

What animals are allowed in the cabin on Southwest Airlines?
The only animals allowed to fly Southwest are small domestic dogs and cats which have been vaccinated and which are 8 weeks or older.  

 

How many animals/pets are allowed on each Southwest flight?
Up to 6 pet carriers on most flights. One carrier allowed per passenger. 

 

What is the maximum carrier size? 
The maximum dimensions are 18.5”L x 13.5″W x 8.5”H.  

 

What pet travel forms are required?
Health certificates are not required for pets or most service animals, but you must provide documentation from a mental health professional when traveling with an emotional support animal.  

 

Can pets fly internationally on Southwest Airlines?
No. Pets may not fly internationally or have a flight itinerary that makes any international stops.  

 

Can pets fly as checked baggage or cargo on Southwest Airlines?
No. Pets may only travel in the cabin. This means pets that are too big to fit under the seat will not be able to fly on Southwest. 

 

Are there seat restrictions?
Pets and carriers must be able to fit under the seat in front of them. You will not be allowed to sit in the first row or in an exit row. 

 

How to Book a Reservation for Carry-On Pets with Southwest Airlines 

We recommend you learn the basic rules before contacting Southwest Airlines, so you know what to expect. If you’re looking at other pet-friendly airlines and trying to choose the best overall itinerary, you can book a reservation online with a 24-hour free cancellation policy. Then, you can immediately call Southwest to make the pet reservation, while this grace period is still in effect.  

Once you know your travel plans, don’t wait to make your pet travel reservation. Call Southwest Airlines at 800-435-9792. Even if the flight isn’t sold out for pets, you’re more likely to get a preferential seat assignment for your pet. Southwest Airlines pet policies are also easier to accommodate with more time to plan ahead.   

 

Other Types of Pet and Animal Travel with Southwest Airlines 

 

More FAQ Info for Flying with Pets in the Cabin 

 

How do I pay the Pet Fare with Southwest Airlines?
Advanced reservations are needed to hold the spot, but you’ll pay the $95 Pet Fare at the ticketing counter on the day of travel. Once paid, these fares are nonrefundable. If unused, you may not get a voucher for future travel. Southwest does say its Pet Fare is “subject to change at any time.”  

 

What are the carrier requirements and options for Southwest Airlines pet policy?
For $58, you can buy the official Southwest Airlines Pet Carrier, which measures 17”L x 10”W x 9.5”H. If your pet is barely small enough to fit, you might look for a carrier with Southwest Airlines maximum dimensions of 18.5”L x 13.5″W x 8.5”H. Regardless, your pet must be able to comfortably stand up, lie down, and move around with ease. Both soft-sided and hard-sided carriers are permitted, but they must be well-ventilated and leak-proof. 

 

Can a small dog sit on my lap?
Not unless it’s part of their training as a certified service animal or emotional support animal. Otherwise, all pets must stay in their carriers at all times on the plane and in the airport—except when going through security or visiting a pet relief area.  

 

Are there other Southwest pet travel restrictions?
The pet must be accompanied by a Southwest passenger. Each customer may bring up to 1 pet carrier. However, two small animals of the same breed that fit inside an approved pet carrier may fly together in the same carrier for a single Pet Fare. The pet carrier will count as the passenger’s carry-on item or as their personal item. Pet remains are not permitted in the cabin.