Southwest Airlines pet policy is in line with other airlines that accommodate small pets in the cabin of the plane but prohibit pets traveling as checked baggage and cargo. Southwest does a good job providing their customers with the pet policy information they need to safely and reliably travel with their pet. There are no guarantees, especially when it comes to travel delays. Nevertheless, if you and your pet meet all the airline requirements, you should feel confident that you’ll have a good experience in the airport and on your flight.

Here are the essential Southwest pet policies you should know about to determine if your pet is a good candidate to fly on the airline.

Flying with Pets in the CabinIf you’ve flown with a pet in the cabin before on another airline, you’ll probably find Southwest Airlines has similar pet policies. Size is the most common prohibition. Only small dogs and cats will fit under the seat. If you want to be sure you have the right size travel crate, you might consider buying the airline-branded pet carrier. If your pet is too big for this carrier, you may have to look another airline. Know the rules for flying with a pet in the cabin on Southwest before finalizing your reservation.  

Service Animal PolicyAs part of its commitment to customers with disabilities, Southwest Airlines welcomes service animals on Southwest flights. You simply need to let the airline know you’ll be traveling with an assistance animal as a Disability Option when making or editing the reservation. Southwest no longer accepts emotional support animals as service animals. To determine if your dog qualifies to be certified as a Psychiatric Service Dog and can be accepted as such on Southwest Airlines, you can visit Pettable’s PSD service. 

More Southwest Airlines Pet Policies and Programs

Health certificates are not required, but animals must be generally healthy, harmless, odorless, and well-behaved. They must not require attention during the flight. Southwest Airlines pet policy is to assume no liability for your pet’s health. In the event of an emergency, an oxygen mask and other first-aid may not be available. Pets are not permitted to travel without a passenger escort, nor are they allowed to travel with an unaccompanied minor.

Southwest Airlines also helps you understand the rules for airport travel. All pet carriers are subject to being searched. When passing through security, customers will be asked to hold the pet in the body scanner while the carrier goes through the X-ray machine. Southwest offers an airport information tool, but we encourage you to check out the complete Airport Travel Guide from Dogs on Planes.