Airport Service Animal Policies

Assistance animals are welcome to travel with passengers who have disabilities. Certain exemptions are provided to these animals, but some rules and restrictions still apply. To determine if your dog qualifies to be certified as a Psychiatric Service Dog and can be accepted as such for air travel, you can visit Pettable’s PSD service.

Reagan National Airport Pet Relief Areas

Reagan National Airport provides its travelers with six pet relief areas. Four stations are outside and in unsecured locations, meaning passengers must exit the airport and re-enter through security. There is one location close to Terminal C, one close to Terminal B, and two between Terminals A and B. Additionally, the airport provides two indoor pet relief areas: one near Gates 1-9, and another near Gates 46-59. All areas are clearly marked and provide waste bags and receptacles for pet owner convenience. The Reagan National Airport pet policy has installed these animal relief areas primarily outside, but they remain relatively convenient. Unless the security line is excessively long, you should have little trouble accessing these areas.

DCA Airport Pet Cargo Locations and Protocol

Pets too large to fly in-cabin have two transportation options. Flying as checked baggage is the more affordable option, but it comes with certain risks. Regardless, this option is easy for you, the owner. Simply drop off your furry friend at the check-in desk upon departure and pick him up from excess baggage at your arrival destination.  

If your airline does not offer a checked baggage option, your dog will need to fly as cargo. Unlike checked baggage, this means that your animal will fly on a separate plane and schedule. However, cargo facilities and handlers are often better equipped to handle live animals. If you choose this option, Reagan National airport pet policy requires you to visit an airline-specific cargo facility to drop off or collect your pet. Below, we have listed the locations and phone numbers for the airport’s cargo buildings. For additional information, see the airport’s cargo directory. 


Alaska Airlines Cargo
106 Air Cargo Road
Washington, DC 20001

American Airlines Cargo
106 Air Cargo Road
Washington, DC 20001

Delta Airlines Cargo
106 Air Cargo Road
Washington, DC 20001

Southwest Airlines Cargo
100 Air Cargo Road
Washington, DC 20001

United Airlines Cargo
106 Air Cargo Road
Washington, DC 20001

The cargo facilities, while still on the airport campus, are separated from the passenger terminal building. Most are clustered close to the Economy Parking lot. There is no public transportation or shuttle service to or from these buildings, but they are easily accessed via private car. 

More About Reagan National Pet Policies

Washington, D.C. can be a very hot place to visit, especially during the summer months. This may, in some cases, pose a risk to your furry travel partner. If the temperatures rise above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (and they do—frequently), your airline may determine the conditions to be too dangerous for pet travel. This note is separate from the DCA pet policy and depends instead on the airline and common animal safety practices. We recommend searching for your airline’s policy and/or avoiding flying into D.C. with your animal during summer in the middle of the day.  

The Reagan National Airport pet policy is minimal and to-the-point. Though not state explicitly on their website, we want to offer a few general guidelines for pet travel. Most airports do not allow pets to be outside of their carriers while inside the terminals. Exceptions exist for working dogs and those utilizing an indoor pet relief area. To that end, it is essential to contact your airline about certain requirements and restrictions—these companies are often much stricter about pets than DCA pet policy. 

Looking for a different location? Check out our airport directory.