Southwest Airlines Pet Policy

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About Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines welcomes furry passengers on-board. So, if you are planning a vacation or going somewhere, you don’t have to leave your pet behind. Bring them with you on your flight journey, as Southwest allows small, domesticated cats and dogs in the cabin. However, as per Southwest Airlines pet policy, all pets must be carried in an appropriate carrier, which should be ventilated and large enough for the pet to sit, stand, and sleep.

So, if you are bringing your pet with you, here’s what you should know to ensure your pet enjoys a comfortable flight.

Southwest Pet Policy

The basic requirement to bring your pet on board is- the pet must be vaccinated, and at least 8 weeks old to be able to fly on board. Pets are not allowed in cabins on international routes and flights to / from Hawaii. However, they can fly within the Hawaiian Islands. Additionally, pets will be accepted on a first-come first-served basis. Only six pets are allowed in one aircraft.

Booking Your Pet with Southwest Airlines

As per Southwest Airlines pet policy To bring your pet on a domestic flight within the US with Southwest Airlines, you need to inform the airline beforehand by calling them directly and adding your pet to your reservation. On the day of travel, pets accompanied by their adult owner must check in at the ticket counter, where Southwest staff will inspect and approve the pet and carrier.

To ensure your pet can travel with you on your flight, it’s recommended to make a reservation as early as possible. Each flight has a limit of six pets, and reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s important to note that Southwest Airlines may make exceptions in certain situations and allow more or fewer than six pet carriers on a flight.

In case you’re traveling on a Southwest flight with both a pet in a carrier and a trained service dog, and your service dog is bigger than a child under 2 years old, it’s mandatory to buy an extra seat. After that, you’ll have to put the carrier underneath the seat in front of the additional seat.

Southwest Pet Carrier Requirement

Although the pet must be small in size (if not a service dog), they must remain in a carrier. However, as per Southwest pet policy before bringing your pet in any carrier, you must know the carrier must meet the airline’s requirements. The carrier must measure 18.5 inches long × 8.5 inches high × 13.5 inches wide and the pet must fit inside it comfortably, sit, stand, sleep, and move around. It must be leaked-proof and well-ventilated.

Additionally, pet carriers are counted as your personal item in the cabin. You can still bring another personal item or a regular size hand bag.

Acceptable Pet Carriers

  • The Southwest pet carrier measures 17” long × 9.5” high × 10” wide.
  • Other pet carriers must meet the dimension of 18.5” long × 8.5” high × 13.5” wide.
  • Both soft-sided and hard-sided are acceptable.
  • The carrier must be leak-proof and well-ventilated.
  • The airline only allows one pet carrier per passenger. However, it may contain two cats or two dogs of the same species.
  • Pets must be secured inside the carrier at all times, while in the gate area, while boarding or deplaning and during the flight.

Southwest Airlines Cargo Pet Policy

Pet Policy on Southwest Airlines doesn’t allow dogs and cats as cargo. You can bring your pet along with you in the cabin, inside a pet carrier.

Pet Travel Restrictions

  • An adult passenger must accompany the pet.
  • Customers traveling with a pet must not occupy an exit row or a seat with no under-seat stowage.
  • Only six pet carriers are allowed per scheduled flight. However, the airline can increase or decrease the number of carriers, depending on the circumstances.
  • A pet must not share a carrier with a trained animal.
  • The passenger must purchase an additional seat to accommodate the pet when traveling with a portable oxygen concentrator or trained service animal. The ticket is non-refundable.
  • If the pet gets sick during the flight, oxygen and other first-aid procedures will not be given.
  • In the event of an emergency, an oxygen mask will not be available for the pet.

Pet Reservation & Fee

Passengers bringing pets on board must pay a Southwest Airlines pet policy fee of US$ 95 each way per pet carrier. Pet fares are refundable. So, in case, your pet is not traveling with you or you cancel your flight, the amount will be refunded. To cancel and to request a refund, call Southwest at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792). You can also visit the airline’s airport counter to process the refund.

For US domestic flights, passengers planning to travel with a pet must call the airline at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792).

Southwest Airlines doesn’t allow pets in the cabin on international flights or any itinerary that includes international flights.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What species of pets are allowed on Southwest Airlines?

    Southwest Airlines allows small, domesticated, and vaccinated dogs and cats in the cabin on domestic flights. The pet must remain in a well-ventilated pet carrier, where the pet can stand, stretch, and sleep comfortably. The carrier must-be kept under the seat in front of you.

  • Can my dog sit on my lap on Southwest?

    The pet onboard can be on the floor or sit on the owner’s lap but on a different seat.
    If you are flying with emotional support animals or trained assistance animals, you do not have to keep them inside a pet carrier. However, the pet should be leashed at all times.

  • How much does it cost to fly pet Southwest?

    The pet fee on Southwest Airlines costs US$ 95 each way.

  • What size dog can fly on Southwest?

    Southwest allows only small cats and dogs onboard, which must fit in a carrier measuring 18.5 inches long × 8.5 inches high × 13.5 inches wide.

  • Where do I pay the pet fare?

    The pet fare must be paid at Southwest’s airport counter.

  • What do I do with my pet when I get to security?

    You must hold your pet while walking through the screening process. The pet carrier should be put on the screening device to get x-rayed.

  • Where do I sit with my pet onboard the aircraft?

    Passengers with pets can sit on their assigned seats. However, passengers with their pet are not allowed to sit in an exit row seat or a seat with no under-seat stowage.

  • Do pets require any type of vaccination?

    Pets must be vaccinated.

  • Can pets travel to / from Hawaii or between Hawaiian Islands?

    Pets are not allowed on flights to / from Hawaii. However, they can fly between Hawaiian Islands.

  • Can pets travel on international flights?

    Pets are not allowed on Southwest international flights or any itinerary that includes international flights.

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