San Diego 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.

San Diego Airport Pet Relief Areas

San Diego International Airport pet relief areas offer several locations throughout the airport to both arriving and departing passengers. There are seven in total—six are located outside the terminals and one is post-security in Terminal 2. All stations include fake grass, a red fire hydrant, waste bags, and sinks for pet parents to clean up before or after a flight. San Diego is home to the country’s first indoor pet relief area, and they take their pet-friendly reputation very seriously. However, the San Diego Airport pet policy requires non-working animals to remain in their carriers unless utilizing these facilities.

San Diego Airport (SAN) Pet Cargo Protocol and Instruction

Generally speaking, pets too large to ride with you in-cabin have two options for transport. The first, flying as checked baggage, is relatively simple. Drop your pet off at the flight check-in counter and retrieve him at excess baggage upon arrival. The second possibility is to fly as cargo. This means that your pet will fly on a separate airplane and, likely, on a separate schedule. The San Diego Airport pet policy requires that all pet parents retrieve their animals from airline-specific cargo facilities. Below, we have listed the relevant location and contact information for these cargo offices. 


Delta Airlines Cargo
2357 Airlane Road
San Diego, CA 92101

Northwest Airlines Cargo
2357 Airlane Road
San Diego, CA 92101

United Airlines Cargo
2375 Airlane Road
San Diego, CA 92101

Southwest Airlines Cargo
2361 Airlane Road
San Diego, CA 92101

The SAN cargo buildings are clustered in the same part of the airport campus—just off Airport Terminal Road and closest to Terminal 1. There is no shuttle service to and from the cargo facilities, and we do not recommend walking from the passenger terminals. As a result, passengers should arrange for private transportation when accessing the cargo buildings.  

More San Diego International Airport Pet Policies

In the fall of 2014, San Diego International launched their Ready, Pet Go initiative. This program brings dogs and their handlers through the terminals to provide stress relief and comfort to passengers. The team currently has eighteen dogs ranging in size from small Shih Tzus to larger Goldendoodles. Though this provides added comfort for passengers, pet owners should heed caution: if your animal does not get along with others, you may want to leave him at home. Though not mentioned in the SAN pet policy, the frequency with which these animals roam the airport makes encounters nearly unavoidable—and nobody wants to hear dog barks echoing around the rotunda. Additionally, this pre-flight stress may make the ride unbearable for your furry friend. 

Furthermore, pet owners should keep an eye on the weather forecast when traveling through this airport. The San Diego pet policy does not explicitly call attention to this limitation, but if temperatures rise above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, your airline will likely deem the conditions too dangerous for Fido to fly. We recommend avoiding this airport during the hot summer months.  

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