Southwest Airlines Pet Policy And Fees In 2024

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Carrying your pet with you on the flight? No worries, Southwest Airlines pet policy is to let you fly with your pet. If you wonder can pets fly on Southwest? Then there is a big Yesss. Pets are allowed in SW but only in the main cabin.

Flying with Pets—Southwest Airlines Pet Policy

Southwest airlines pet policy

Southwest Airlines allows pets on their aircraft provided that you as a traveler follow all the important guidelines of the airline. Check out the various norms given by the airline to meet the eligibility and avoid any further issues. 

Here are the main guidelines that will take you through Southwest pet policy.

  • Southwest Airlines allows cats and dogs as pets in a proper pet carrier provided that the carrier should fit in the cabin on domestic flights.
  • Customers traveling to Puerto Rico have different specific requirements.
  • SW Airlines do not allow traveling pets to and from Hawaii.
  • Domestic cats and dogs of at least 8 weeks can travel on the plane with the traveler.
  • Pets should be vaccinated but there is no documentation needed.
  • Under Southwest pet policy, you have to carry the pet carrier with you while security check-in and the pet carrier is X-rayed.
  • You can carry up to 6 pet carriers on the aircraft at one time.
  • You should follow the guidelines of the carrier while traveling with a pet.
  • Southwest has an open seating policy, you can choose any row when traveling with a pet except for an exit row or the seat with no stowage beneath the seat in front of them.
  • Your pet cannot fly in cargo.
  • There are relief areas for pets but the aircraft cannot be put on hold for you to take your pet to the relief area.
  • Unaccompanied minors cannot travel with a pet.
  • If a pet shows disruptive behavior such as excessive whining, scratching, lunging, biting, growling etc. it can be denied boarding.
  • You cannot fly with your pet on international flights.
  • Air travel can be stressful for pets, but you should not give sedatives to your pet.
  • Consult with your vet before flying with your pet on the aircraft.
  • It is mandatory to make the pet reservation in advance by calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA Or 1(844) 769-1366.
  • Southwest airline pet fees in general are around $125 each way per pet carrier and $35 each way for Hawaiian Island travelers per pet carrier.

Between Hawaiian Islands

$35 per Pet carrier

U.S. Mainland

$125 per Pet carrier

Southwest Airlines: In-cabin Pet Carriers

You can book a brander pet carrier at the airport ticket counter of the airline or online for around $58 including tax. These pet container’s or carrier’s fee is non-refundable if the ticket is canceled.

Southwest Pet Carrier Guidelines

Pet Carriers which are acceptable:

  • The Southwest Airlines Pet Carrier should have the mentioned minimum dimensions as 17 inches in length x 9.5 inches in height x 10 inches in breadth.
  • The maximum size of the pet carrier should be 18.5 inches in length x 8.5 inches in height x 13.5 inches in breadth.
  • The pet carriers should be soft-sided & hard-sided carriers mainly designed to carry easily without hurting anyone.
  • A pet should be able to fit in, stand and move around in the container.
  • The carriers should be well-ventilated and leak-proof.
  • The carrier in which you carry the pet should be small enough to fit under the seat in front of the traveler and can be stowed as per the regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Pet Carrier Requirements:

  • As per Southwest Airlines pet policy, there is only one pet carrier allowed for one ticketed traveler.
  • The carrier can contain two dogs or two cats and should be of the same species per carrier.
  • Cats or dogs should be able to sit, stand and turn around in the pet container.
  • Pets should be secured in the pet carrier where it is kept at all times even when in the gate area, boarding/deboarding and they should be in the carrier throughout the entire flight duration.
  • If you fail to follow the requirement, there can be a denial of transportation of the pet onboard SW Airlines.

How to Add Pet to Southwest Flight?

Southwest Airlines pet policy allows you to take your pet companion on the next flight. To have a comfortable and smooth journey for both you and your lovely pet. Here is the guide to know about how to add your pet to your Southwest flight:

Check Pet Eligibility

  • Southwest accepts domestic cats and dogs only.

  • The same species of pets can travel in a carrier.

  • Pets must be at least 8 weeks old and should be fully weaned.

  • There are restrictions with a few breeds, so check Southwest pet policy for more details. 

Make a Pet Reservation

  • Contact at Southwest reservations department to add a pet to your flight.

  • You'll have to give your pet's name, breed, age, and weight to the agent of the department.

  • There are certain Southwest Airlines pet fees which apply to its reservation. 

Prepare Your Pet's Carrier

  • The pet carrier should be hard-sided to carry comfortably but the edges should be comfortable to carry it without hurting anyone.

  • Meet the pet carrier’s dimension requirement to get the reservation faster.

  • You can book a pet carrier on the airport counter or online on the SW website.

  • A pet should be able to stand, sit and turn around comfortably throughout the flight. 

  • The pet should not come out of the container or carrier during the whole flight.

  • Attach an ID tag which should be non-breakable with your name, address and contact number. 

Arrive Early for Check-In

  • To check-in easily, reach the airport at least two hours before the departure. This allows enough time for the pet screening and check-in. 

  • Present the pet’s health certificate and vaccination certificate at the counter during check-in. 

During the Flight

  • Your pet should travel in the main cabin with you, beneath your seat or in a defined pet area.

  • Throughout the flight the pet should be kept in the carrier, except for lavatory breaks.

  • Under Southwest pet policy, you can have water bowls and disposable waste bags to allow convenience for your pets.

  • You can seek the help of the staff for any additional services needed for your pet.

It is very important to keep in mind all the details regarding traveling with a pet. Remain under the guidelines of Southwest Airlines pet policy to facilitate a comfortable journey for you and the pet. Contact the airline if you have any difficulty while performing any step.

FAQs About Southwest Airlines Pet Rules

Q1. Are pet reservations required?

Pet reservations should be made in advance by calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA. SW Airlines accepts pets on a first-come, first-served policy until it reaches the six-carrier capacity. Sometimes, this number can increase whereas other times it can decrease too. 

Q2. Can I travel with cremated pet remains?

You can carry cremated pet remains with you on the flight as a carry-on item. Cremated remains should be inspected at security checkpoints. These cannot be carried as checked baggage. 

Q3. How can I carry my cremated pet remains on the flight?

It is recommended to transport the remains in a cardboard container or temporary plastic bag which is usually given by the crematorium. This allows easy screening of the item. If the cremated remains container or bag cannot be screened it won’t pass further.

Q4. Can pets travel on international flights?

You cannot carry pets on international flights. Under Southwest Airlines pet policy, you can carry pets only on domestic flights

Q5. How much is the Pet Fare?

Southwest Airline pet fees for U.S. Mainland flights are $125 each way per carrier. Travelers traveling between the Hawaiian Islands, pet fare is $35 each way per carrier. You can also find pricing on the Optional Travel Charges page of the website. Please call the airline to know the exact pet fee as this might change anytime.

Q6. Are pets given rapid Reward points?

SW Airlines doesn’t allow pets to earn rapid reward points. Only travelers get the reward points if they are a frequent traveler. Through these reward points travelers can travel on discounted fares.

Q7. Where do I pay the Pet Fare? What form of payment(s) is accepted?

Southwest Airline pet fees can be paid at the airport counter or online through debit cards, credit cards or PayPal.

Q8. Will I get my refund back if I decide not to travel with a pet?

The fare is refundable on the cancelation of your flight and no rebooking of it. To request a refund call 1-800-I-FLY-SWA or visit the ticket counter.

Q9. How strict is Southwest about pet carrier size?

There are restrictions about pet carriers which you should follow to carry your pet comfortably and safely. You should follow the guidelines to let your pet travel with you. Contact the airline to know more about it in detail.

Q10. How to add a pet to Southwest flight?

You can add a pet to your flight by calling the southwest airlines reservation department and telling them about the details of your pet. You will need to provide the pet’s name, age, breed and other details if needed to the agent.

Q11. Does Southwest weigh pets?

Yes, Southwest Airlines pet policy allows a weight limit of 20 pounds for each pet, with the carrier. If your pet weighs more than that, they are not allowed to be carried on the aircraft in the main cabin. Call the airline to know more about weight restrictions.

12. Is flying a pet on Southwest too difficult?

There are certain guidelines that you should follow such as the weight and size of the pet container. Also, the pet container should be designed in a way that it has soft sides to not hurt the traveler who carries it. The container should also fit under the seat.

Q13. What type of pet carriers can I bring?

The pet carrier should be of the defined size and weight. It should be either hard or soft. Also, the pet should be able to fit in the carrier, which means they can sit, turn around and stand in the container.

Q14. Will pet carriers count as my carry-on bag or personal item?

Pet carriers are considered carry-on items or personal items on the aircraft. You can board the flight by carrying the pet in a personal item or carry-on item but not as checked baggage. Follow the weight and size restrictions of the container.

Q15. How many pets and carriers can be carried on a plane?

You can carry one carrier on one ticketed traveler. There can be two pets of the same species in one carrier. In total, the airline allows 6 pet carriers on an aircraft. However, contact the airline to get updated details regarding such information.

Q16. Can my pet travel as cargo?

No, the airline doesn’t allow pets to be transported as cargo. You can only keep them in the main cabin.