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Airline Procedures

Airline Procedures

Dogs, cats, and most warm-blooded animals transported by air are protected by the Animal Welfare Act. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) enforces this law.

These shipping regulations help assure that animals are treated humanely by airlines as well as animal dealers, exhibitors, and research laboratories. Pet exhibitors, owners, and other shippers also are affected by regulations established to protect the well-being and safety of animals in transit.

Airlines transport animals in the cargo compartment of the plane, but some airlines allow passengers to transport small animals in the cabin as carry-on luggage. The pet must be placed in a kennel that is comfortable yet small enough to fit under the passenger’s seat. Carry-on pets are not protected by the Animal Welfare Act. For specific airline requirements, contact your airline directly.


Updated: November 29, 2018