Traveling with pets

Alaska Airlines provides great care for your pets. Our pet travel program offers options for transporting top-notch care for your precious animal.

This page will answer most of your questions about traveling with a pet. You can review all of our policies regarding transporting live animals in our contract of carriage.

Booking pet travel

Space for pets traveling in the cabin or in the cargo compartment is subject to availability. For travel on Alaska Airlines, PenAir and Ravn Alaska, please contact Alaska Airlines reservations at 1-800-252-7522.

If your plans include travel on another airline, please contact the airline directly to reserve space, determine fees and obtain additional information.

Alaska Airlines does not transfer pets traveling in the baggage compartment to other carriers. Pets must be claimed and rechecked to the connecting carrier.

Breed restrictions

Brachycephalic or "short-nosed" dogs and cats are not accepted for travel in the cargo compartment on Alaska Airlines flights (including flights operated by Horizon, SkyWest, Ravn Alaska, or PenAir). Veterinary experts say that short-nosed animals commonly have abnormalities that can compromise their breathing. Stress associated with flight can make those conditions worse.

Brachycephalic or "short-nosed" dogs and cats may still travel in the cabin with their passenger provided their pet carrier fits under the seat.

This applies to the following breeds and mixed breeds thereof:

Dogs: boston terrier, boxer (all breeds), bull dog (all breeds), bull terrier, brussels griffon, chow chow, english toy spaniel, japanese spaniel/japanese chin, mastiff (all breeds), pekingese, pit bull (all breeds), pug (all breeds), shih tzu, staffordshire terrier

Cats: burmese, exotic shorthair, himalayan, persian

Pet embargoes

Extreme temperatures:
Due to an extreme heat wave in the Northeastern United States we will not accept pets for travel in the baggage and cargo compartment to/from Newark, New York-Kennedy, Washington-Reagan, Washington-Dulles, Baltimore, or Philadelphia airports from July 21-27, 2016.

Holiday travel:
Customers traveling on Alaska Airlines flights 2000-2999 or flights 3300-3499 may not check pets in the baggage or cargo compartments during the following dates:

  • November 17-29, 2016
  • December 15, 2016 through January 4, 2017

Pets in the cabin will still be accepted during these time periods.

Alaska Airlines accepts only cats or dogs for travel to Hawai'i. Because of Hawai'i's unique status as the only rabies-free state, and because of strong headwinds at certain times of year, there are additional requirements for travel. Please visit our Pets traveling to Hawai'i page for further details.

Health and vaccination requirements

Only pets in good health are permitted. We may refuse travel to a pet in obvious distress due to injury or illness or is in a kennel that is too small.

All pets traveling in the cargo compartment on Alaska Airlines (including flights operated by Horizon, SkyWest, Ravn Alaska, and PenAir) must have a health certificate dated within 10 days of initial travel and 30 days of return travel, when the return flight is booked in the same record. Pets traveling on a return flight booked in a separate record are required to have a health certificate dated within 10 days of that flight. A health certificate is not required for pets traveling in the cabin with their passenger; however, many states have specific importation health and vaccination requirements. Contact the state veterinarian at your destination prior to travel to determine necessary documentation (such as health and cold-weather acclimation certificates) and vaccination requirements. Alaska Airlines is not responsible for any costs incurred should customers not have the required health documentation to enter the state or country.

Discounted pet preparation

We're proud to partner with Banfield® Pet Hospital to provide pets and their owners with a special discount offer to prepare pets for take-off.

Passengers traveling to Kotzebue with a dog must have proof of their pet's parvovirus and rabies vaccination. Passengers checking in without required documentation will be denied boarding. Contact the Kotzebue city clerk (1-907-442-3401) for assistance or questions.

Passengers traveling to Nome with a dog must have proof of their pet's parvovirus vaccination. Passengers checking in without required documentation will be denied boarding. Contact the Nome city clerk (1-907-443-6663) for assistance or questions.

Passengers traveling to Hawai'i are subject to strict guidelines and specific programs that must be completed before your cat or dog will be accepted into the State of Hawai'i. Learn more about Traveling with pets to Hawai'i.

Note: For travel to Canada, Costa Rica, or Mexico, refer to the international travel section below for additional health and vaccination requirement information.

Fee summary

Pet fee summary
Pet in cabin Pet in baggage
$100.00 USD each way $100.00 USD each way

Note: Fees indicated are per kennel/carrier and for travel on Alaska Airlines, PenAir¹ and Era Aviation only. If your itinerary includes travel on another airline, the other airline fee may be assessed. Please check with the other airline for more information.

Pets in the cabin

Passengers must be 18 years or older to travel with a pet in the cabin. A passenger traveling with a pet may not occupy an emergency exit row seat, bulkhead, or any seat with an airbag safety belt (row 6 on flight numbers 001-999). The First Class cabin can accommodate a total of one pet carrier per flight, and the main cabin can accommodate a total of up to five pet carriers per flight.

Important notes for travel with your pet in the cabin:
  • The pet carrier counts toward your carry-on bag allotment. You may bring either a pet carrier and a personal item, or a pet carrier and a standard size carry-on bag. You may not board the aircraft with a pet carrier, a standard size carry-on, and a personal item.
  • A customer may travel with a maximum of 2 pet carriers in the main cabin, only when the adjacent seat is purchased by the same customer.
  • Pets allowed in the passenger cabin are dogs, cats, rabbits, and household birds. Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old and must have been fully weaned.
  • Up to 2 pets of the same species and similar size may travel in the same carrier, provided no body parts protrude from the carrier and the animals are not in distress.
  • The pet must stay in its container (including head and tail) at all times while on board, and be stowed under the seat during taxi, takeoff, and landing.
  • Animals with offensive odors or those that create a noise disturbance must travel in the climate-controlled baggage compartment.

Carriers in cabin - The USDA and IATA have specific requirements.

Pets must be small enough to fit and stay comfortably in a kennel under the seat.

The following carrier sizes are accepted for travel in the cabin:

Kennel size chart for travel in cabin
Type Kennel size Dimensions (length x width x height)
Hard-sided 50 17" x 11" x 7.5"
Soft-sided 50 17" x 11" x 9.5"

To be accepted for travel, your pet carrier must:

  • Be within the listed dimensions above
  • Be clean and leak-proof with absorbent bedding made of material that is safe and non-toxic to the animal
  • Fully enclose the animal and be escape-proof
  • Have adequate air ventilation
  • Be free of tears, cracks, or breaks

Pets in the baggage and cargo compartments

Alaska Airlines accepts most small domesticated pets. Other pets may be accepted with approval. Pets that may travel in the climate-controlled baggage and cargo compartments include cats, dogs, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, household birds, non-poisonous reptiles, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, and tropical fish.

The following regulations apply:

  • Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks of age and weaned.
  • No more than 1 live dog or cat, 6 months of age or older, may be transported in the same kennel.
  • No more than 1 live puppy, 8 weeks to 6 months of age, and weighing over 20 lbs, may be transported in the same kennel.
  • No more than 2 live puppies or kittens, 8 weeks to 6 months of age, that are of comparable size, and weighing 20 lbs or less each, may be transported in the same kennel.

Animals must be harmless, inoffensive (not destructive to itself or the kennel), and require no attention during transit.

Climate-controlled baggage compartment

When you check your pet using this transportation method, you must travel on the same flight(s) to your pet's destination. Check in at least 1 hour, but no more than 2 hours before departure. Please note there may be specific check-in requirements at your departure airport. Your pet will be available for pick-up in the baggage claim area approximately 30 minutes after the flight arrives.

If your trip includes a transfer to another flight operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, SkyWest Flight Series 3300-3499, PenAir, or Ravn Alaska, we allow a maximum connection time of 4 hours for the animal at the connection city.

Note: Pets are not permitted to travel in the baggage compartment on flights operated by PenAir outside the State of Alaska

Alaska Airlines does not transfer pets to other airlines. If your trip includes a transfer to any other airline, you must allow time to pick up your pet in the baggage claim area and re-check your pet with the connecting airline.

If a delay prevents your pet's flight from departing, your pet may be placed in a kennel facility until it can be transported. Costs incurred due to weather-related delays are the responsibility of the pet owner.

Alaska Airlines will accept a pet and kennel combined weight of up to 150 lbs. Should the pet and kennel weigh 151 pounds or more, please contact Air Cargo for assistance and pricing.

Checked kennel requirements

The USDA and IATA have specific requirements for kennels traveling in the cargo compartment.

To ensure your pet travels safely, checked kennels must meet the following requirements, in addition to USDA and IATA requirements:

Kennel compliancy chart
Kennel must: Kennel must not:
Be of solid construction and composed of plastic, wood, metal or material of comparable strength and able to withstand rigors of normal transportation. Be collapsible, snap-top or soft-sided, or composed of wire, mesh, cardboard or wicker.
Be secured with nut- and bolt-type fasteners if the kennel is not constructed as one piece. View example Be secured with twist, slide, or snap fasteners. View example
Be escape-proof with one metal grated door fastened securely to prevent accidental opening. Have a plastic door.
Be constructed with original or standard replacement parts. Use zip ties, duct tape or rubber bands to construct the frame.
Have handles or handholds on the exterior to lift without tipping. Have permanently attached wheels. Wheels must be removed or rendered inoperable.
Have a solid roof. Ventilation slots are permitted if roof integrity remains intact. Have sharp points or edges, with no protrusions that could injure the animal.
Have adequate air ventilation. Vents must be covered with permanent bars or other sturdy material. Be secured with a lock.
Be clean and leak-proof with absorbent bedding made of material that is safe and non-toxic to the animal. Contain bedding material when traveling to Mexico. Shredded paper or absorbent pads are acceptable.
Contain a food and water dish clipped inside the door to allow feeding without opening the door. Have a plastic or fabric covering such as a tarp or kennel cover.
Allow the animal to stand up (head erect and not touching the top), lie down and turn around in a normal, comfortable position.
Have releasable zip ties securing the closed door to the frame, utilizing all original drill holes. (Alaska can supply)

The following kennel sizes are allowed on Alaska Airlines:

Kennel size chart
Size Kennel size Dimensions (height x width x depth)
Extra small 100 15" x 16" x 21"
Small 200 19" x 20" x 27"
Medium 300 23" x 22" x 32"
Large 400 26" X 24" x 36"
Extra large* 500 30" x 27" x 40"

* Extra large (Size 500) kennels are only accepted on Alaska Airlines flights 001-2999.

Note: Alaska Airlines is unable to accept a carrier larger than a 500 size kennel.

Cargo options

Cargo is a term used to denote goods or produce being transported generally for commercial gain. It does not include passenger baggage or animals traveling with a passenger.

View information on shipping your pet via Air Cargo.

Food and water for checked animals

  • Regulations require animals traveling as checked baggage to be offered food and water within 4 hours of check-in
  • Animals must be offered sufficient food and water to last the entire journey
  • Customers with a connection of four or more hours may request access to their animal in the connection city to offer additional food and water
  • The customer is responsible to re-check the animal in the connection city and provide the paid receipt when rechecking the animal
  • During check-in, you will be asked to complete a Pet Check record to certify your pet has been offered food and water prior to acceptance

Extreme outdoor temperatures

Extreme hot and cold temperatures can pose a health risk to pets. In summer, choose early morning or late evening flights. In winter, choose mid-day flights. Whenever possible, book nonstop or direct flights. If temperatures at the origin, destination, or connecting airports exceed certain limits, Alaska Airlines may decline acceptance for the animal's welfare.


Sedation is not advised since the effects of tranquilizers on animals at high altitudes are unpredictable. The decision to prescribe a tranquilizer for your pet should be made by your veterinarian.

Service animals

For information regarding service animals, please review our Service and emotional support animals page.

Animal relief areas

View a list of airport animal relief areas

Pet travel Q&A

View a comprehensive list of Questions and answers about pet travel, prepared by our partners at Banfield® Pet Hospital.