Can I Buy My Dog a Seat on an Airplane? [Yes!]

Whether you are flying for a trip or moving across the country, you may be hoping to take your furry friend along with you. You may think that your only option is to put them in the cargo hold, but that isn’t always true. Many pet owners prefer not to put their pets in cargo as it can get cold and dark, and some more sensitive pups might feel stressed out without their owners there to comfort them. 

can I buy my dog a seat on an airplane
Can I buy my dog a seat on an airplane? [Yes!]

Luckily, there is another option. Several airlines do allow you to bring pets on board with you. This article will cover what pets you can bring on the plane with you and the regulations surrounding traveling with pets. If you are planning to travel with your pet soon, keep reading!

Where To Buy an Airplane Seat for Your Dog?

Generally, most airlines do have a policy that allows you to bring a small pet on as carry-on luggage. In this case, the pet must be in a carrier and stowed under the seat in front of you.

I asked an expert animal lawyer Kristina Bergsten (from the Animal Law Firm) for the specifics of what size dog can fly on a plane and she said “Under the federal Air Carrier Aviation Act, a dog that fits in the compartment under the seat in front of you (typically where you stretch out your legs) and does not encroach in another passenger’s space, or one that fits in your lap.”

But what if you want to BUY A SEAT for your dog?

If you would instead not stow your pet under the seat, there are at least two airlines that allow you to purchase the seat next to you for your pet. These two airlines are United and Jet Blue

These two airlines are among the very few that will let you buy a seat next to you to place the carrier on. This may help your pet be more relaxed, as they are closer to you and not down on the floor. It may give you some peace of mind as well. 

However, the only unfortunate thing is that seat or not; your dog must remain in their carrier. Most airlines will not even allow you to open the page to keep your dog from jumping out and running through the plane. This is part of why soft carriers, such as those that look like duffle bags, are preferred for air travel.

The smooth exterior will allow you to pet your dog from the outside and provide some comfort to them. 

Also, note that there is a limit to the number of pets you will be allowed to bring. Some airlines only allow one pet per customer, while some allow two. Always check beforehand what your airline allows. 

In most cases, the dog carrier is counted towards your carry-on limit. Take that into account when packing for the plain. 

airline ticket
Scanning airline ticket for my pet dog!

How Much Does a Seat Cost? 

If you purchase a seat for your dog, you will need to pay the total seat price. The price of the seat may be even higher than the price you paid for your seat, as you will need to purchase it from the airline directly rather than through a third party that may offer a discount. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter that the seat is reserved for a dog carrier.

You will still be expected to pay the total seat price. 

On top of the seat price, most airlines have an additional fee for allowing pets on the plane. As an example, United Airlines charges $125 per pet. Most airlines charge a fee of anywhere from $100 to $150 for bringing your dog as a carry-on. 

If you are forced to put your dog in cargo, such as if you have a large breed, then you can expect to pay anywhere from a couple hundred upwards to a thousand dollars. 

One additional cost is that your dog must be in an airline-approved carrier. These can cost anywhere from $100 to $1000. 

What Dogs Are Allowed? 

Next, we will go over the regulations of what dogs are permitted on the plane. This section will be generalized across airlines, so be sure to double-check with your airline before you bring your dog to the airport. 

The only exception to these guidelines is service dogs. Suitably trained and registered service dogs are permitted inside the cabin, usually by sitting at your feet. If you have a disability and want to fly with your service dog, some airlines will allow you to move to a spot with extra leg room to accommodate your dog, or you can purchase the seat next to you.

This only counts for service dogs and not emotional support animals. Most emotional support animals need to follow the same guidelines as pets. 

Size

Airlines generally only allow small dogs and other pets on the plane with you. The dog must be small enough to fit in an airline-approved carrier. In most cases, the carrier must be able to work under the seat in front of you. 

This limits you to only small-sized breeds. The weight limit is usually anything to a maximum of 20 or 25 lbs. 

Chihuahua rubbing legs
Chihuahua rubbing owner’s legs.

Breed

As mentioned in the size category, airlines generally only allow small breeds to be in the cabin. Any larger dogs will need to be placed in cargo. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however. 

One, most airlines will not allow any dogs that are a breed known to be violent. For example, very few airlines will accept Pitbulls, no matter the temperament of the individual animal. 

Some airlines will also not allow breeds that are known for breathing issues. For example, some airlines will not let English Bulldogs fly. 

To be sure if your dog is allowed on the plane, check your airline for a list of approved breeds. If there isn’t one on the website, an airline representative should be able to tell you. 

dogs that stay small forever
11 Dogs That Stay Small Forever (with Photos)

Health

To fly, your dog must be in good health. If your dog is visually sick, there is a good chance that it will not be permitted to board the plane. 

In some cases, you may be required to present proof of good health before you board the plane with your dog. This will require visiting the vet before you travel so that they can give you written verification of your pet’s good health. In many cases, you may need a vaccination record as well. 

One other note. When traveling with puppies, most airlines will not allow puppies under 16 weeks old to fly. Some airlines will go as young as eight weeks, providing that the puppies are fully weaned.

If you are traveling with a puppy, you may need to show proof of their age. 

woman holds a French Bulldog
French Bulldog yawning.

Behavior

All dogs on the plane must be well-behaved – this means that your dog must be relaxed in their carrier during boarding. If they are panicking or barking, there is a good chance that you will not be permitted to board with them. 

French Bulldog looks behaved
French Bulldog looks well-behaved in a room.

What Do I Need To Travel With My Dog? 

Just as with humans, there are a few documents that dogs need to travel in a cabin. 

  • Animal Health Certificate
  • Microchip Certificate
  • Rabies Vaccination and titer test result
  • Parasite Treatment Certificate

Those documents should cover the health portion of your pet’s travel documents. Depending on where in the world you are traveling, you may be required to show proof of other vaccinations.

Also, depending on where you are going, you may need to apply for a passport for your pet. Be sure to do this as soon as you know you are traveling – so that you have all the documents in hand well before it’s time to fly. 

As mentioned above, you will also need an airline-approved carrier. Different airlines will have slightly different size requirements for the carrier, so check before you purchase a carrier

red dog carrier
A dog in a red pet carrier.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few common questions that often come up when someone is hoping to bring their dog or pet on the plane with them. 

Can I fly with a puppy? 

Yes. So long as your puppy is at least 16 weeks old and fully weaned, it can fly with you. Some airlines will allow as young as eight weeks. You may need to bring proof of their age. 

Black and Tan Coonhound puppy in a crate waiting for the milk.
Black and Tan Coonhound puppy in a crate waiting for milk.

Can I bring my large dog to the cabin? 

No. In most cases, large dogs will need to travel in cargo. The only exception is service dogs. 

large Bullmastiff
A large Bullmastiff sits on the grass.

Can I bring more than one dog with me? 

Some airlines allow up to 2 dogs per customer. Check with your airline before you fly. 

three Dachshunds
Three Dachshunds with different colors.

Can I take my dog out of the carrier once we are in the air? 

No. Unfortunately, dogs must remain in their carrier for the entire flight – the reason for this is to prevent them from escaping you and running through the plane. 

woman holding dog
Senior citizens with their dog on a plane.

Final Thoughts

It is possible to buy a seat for your dog on a plane. The only unfortunate thing is that your dog will still be required to stay in their carrier – no matter if they are on the seat or stowed under the seat in front of you. 

No matter how you decide to travel with your pet, always remember to bring all the needed documentation and to use an airline-approved carrier.