JFK 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.

JFK Pet Relief Areas

JFK has seven total animal relief areas with a healthy balance of pre- and post-security options. Each terminal has its own relief area (Terminals 1, 2, 4, 5 [x2], 7, 8) for easy access regardless of your chosen airline. Additionally, all pet relief areas conform with the federal Air Carrier Access Act, which mandates these amenities be available to those traveling with service animals. However, unless you are traveling with a service animal, JFK pet policy dictates that your dog must stay in his crate or carrier while inside the airport. Exceptions exist while passing through security and while utilizing one of the several pet relief areas.

John F Kennedy Pet Cargo: The Ark

If your pet is too large to fly in-cabin, he will likely travel as pet cargo. Some airlines allow animals to travel as checked baggage, but this practice is becoming increasingly uncommon. However, if this describes your situation, you will check your dog at the airline counter while departing and collect him from excess baggage claim when you arrive. If your pet is travelling as cargo, the pet policy at John F Kennedy Airport is to have him pass through a special facility.  

Unlike most airports, JFK has an animal handling facility built into their cargo terminal. The ARK at JFK is one of the airport’s newest additions; it offers veterinary capabilities, kenneling, and the handling of equine, bovine, swing, birds, and exotic/zoo animals. JFK pet policy dictates that all animals traveling as cargo pass through this facility. The ARK Pet Oasis serves as a central resource available to all airlines, pet shippers, pet parents, and federal agencies. Plus, with 24/7 service, staff members can meet the needs of all animals traveling as cargo.  

THE ARK at JFK also boasts easy access to aircrafts, vans for safe transport to and from the aircraft, parking for easy drop-off and pick-up, a veterinary triage area, 100% air exchange, dedicated outdoor relief areas for dogs, 47 dog kennels, and 12 cat kennels. It is located in Building 78, directly adjacent to Air France. For more information about how to access this location, we recommend using this helpful map 

More JFK Airport Pet Policies

JFK is a remarkably pet-friendly airport. However, the added amenities exist because of its number of passengers—several thousand people move through the airport each day, and hundreds of them have animals. As a result, it is necessary to always keep the JFK pet policy in mind—your animal should only be outside of his carrier while utilizing a pet relief area or while going through security. Unfortunately, this means that, even if you are in line for an indoor pet relief area, Fido must stay in the crate. 

If you are collecting your animal from cargo, your experience is likely to be more positive than at other airports. The implementation of the ARK Pet Oasis means that, once your dog has exited the plane, an experienced pet assistant will bring him to a relief area to stretch his legs. However, we don’t recommend putting pet collection off for too long—the facility, though large, might fill up, and you don’t want your furry friend to overstay his welcome.

Looking for a different airport? We have an airport directory for pet policies.