Alaska Airlines Pet Policy

Is Alaska Airlines Pet Friendly? – Alaska Airlines Pet Policy (2024)

Written By: Michelle Kelgord

Alaska Airlines is one of North America’s most popular airlines, and the fifth largest. Travelers choose Alaska Airlines for several reasons, from low fares to an extensive route network to impeccable customer service. But should Alaska Airlines be the go-to for travelers with furry friends, too?

If you’re curious about whether Alaska Airlines is pet-friendly, you’ve come to the right place. This article explores the ins-and-outs of the Alaska Airlines’ pet policy, ensuring you can book with utmost confidence.

Is Alaska Airlines Pet Friendly?

Simply put, Alaska Airlines is incredibly pet-friendly. In fact, their motto is, “We offer Fur-st Class Care for your loved ones.” It doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Whether you plan to bring your four-legged friend in the cabin or need your large and fluffy buddy to go in the climate-controlled baggage compartment, Alaska Airlines has you covered. 

Alaska Airlines Pet Policy Details

Before booking, it’s essential to know everything there is to know about Alaska Airlines’ pet policy. Let’s dive in!

Alaska Airlines Pet Policy for Carry-On Pets

Alaska Airlines allows a variety of pets, including small dogs, cats, rabbits, and birds, in the cabin for a USD $100 fee each way. Pets may only accompany travelers age 18 and older, and your pet will count towards your carry-on allotment. Dogs and cats are the only permitted pets in the cabin on flights to Hawaii and international locations.

Here are a few more important rules to know about the Alaska Airlines pet policy:

  • You may not sit in emergency exit or bulkhead rows.
  • A limited number of pet carriers are allowed per flight—three for the First Class Cabin and eight for the Main Cabin. Pets are welcome on a first-come, first-served basis, so calling ahead is crucial.
  • Only two pet carriers are allowed per traveler. If traveling with two pet carriers, a second ticket with an adjacent seat must be purchased. Two pets of the same species and size can travel in the same carrier if they fit comfortably.  
  • Dogs and cats must be eight weeks old and fully weaned for at least five days before departure.
  • Pets must remain in their carriers during the flight and while boarding and deplaning. Your pet’s carrier must be stored underneath the seat during taxi, takeoff and landing. 

Alaska Airlines has some specific rules and requirements regarding pet carriers, such as

  • Hard-sided carriers must not exceed 17″ L x 11″ W x 7.5″ H
  • Soft-sided carriers must not exceed 17″ L x 11″ W x 9.5″ H
  • Must be clean
  • Be leak-proof and include safe, non-toxic absorbent bedding
  • Fully enclose the animal
  • Be escape-proof
  • Have air ventilation
  • No tears or cracks
alaska airlines dog friendly travel blog jet set pets

Photo courtesy of @firstclassgus

Alaska Airlines Pet Policy for Service Animals

Trained service animals may travel with you for  free on Alaska Airlines (emotional support animals are not considered service animals). There is a maximum of two service dogs per person, and your dog(s) must fit within the space of your airline seat and foot area during the flight. A U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form (DOT Service Animal Form) must be submitted before travel.

Alaska Airlines Pet Policy for Pets in the Baggage Compartment

In the climate-controlled baggage compartment, also known as cargo, Alaska Airlines accepts most domesticated pets, such as dogs, cats, hamsters, birds, and non-poisonous reptiles. A USD $150 fee for travelers applies unless they are traveling solely in Alaska or are active US Military personnel, in which cases the fee is USD $100. Pets must weigh 150 pounds or less. If your pet weighs 151 pounds or more, you must take advantage of the Pet Connect™ service.

Alaska Airlines has many specific rules for flying pets in the baggage compartment, including:

  • Travelers must be on the same flight as their pets
  • Dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old and weaned.
  • A health certificate is required before departure.
  • Brachycephalic dogs and cats are not allowed.
  • Only one dog/cat per carrier.
  • No more than two puppies/kittens per carrier, as long as they are between eight weeks and six months, and comparable sizes of less than 20 pounds each.
  • Animals must be trained and well-behaved.

Be sure to review Alaska Airlines’ full set of rules and requirements here

Baggage Compartment carriers must be large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around, and lie in a comfortable position with no body parts hanging outside the unit. 

The following sizes are permitted:

Size
Carrier Size
Dimensions (L x W x H)
Extra Small
100
21″ x 16″ x 15″
Small
200
27″ x 20″ x 19″
Medium
300
32″ x 22″ x 23″
Large
400
36″ X 24″ x 26″
Extra Large
500
40″ x 27″ x 30″

Your pet’s carrier must have a food and water dish attached to the inside. It must also have absorbent and non-toxic bedding. All carriers must be clean, leak-proof, escape-proof, well-ventilated, free of cracks or breaks, and constructed of solid materials—no soft-sided carriers are allowed in cargo. They must also include handles that will lift the carrier without tipping.

 

If your carrier has multi-piece construction, the top and bottom units must be fastened with nuts and bolts. Other forms of attachment, such as slides or snap fasteners, are not allowed. Solid roofs are required, although ventilation slots are permitted. 

Restrictions and Exceptions

Alaska Airlines does have a few critical restrictions and exceptions to its pet policies.

For one, for their safety and comfort, brachycephalic or “short-nosed” dogs and cats are not allowed in the baggage compartment, but they are allowed in the cabin. 

Secondly, Alaska Airlines may decline acceptance of your pet into the baggage compartment in certain extreme weather conditions, for your pet’s safety.

Hawaii-Specific Rules:

  • Only dogs and cats are allowed in Hawaii, and those arriving without proper documentation may be subject to a 120-day quarantine. 
  • There is a limit on the number of pets allowed to and from Hawaii, which changes depending on the time of year. For example, no pets are accepted as cargo during February, and only one is allowed between November 1st and January 31st and March 1st to April 1st. 
  • No pets are permitted on flights arriving past 10:00 PM.
  • Those traveling to Kona, Lihue, or Kahului must have a Neighbor Island Inspection Permit issued in their name.

International Rules:

Only dogs and cats are allowed to travel internationally with Alaska Airlines. Travelers are encouraged to research country-specific requirements before departure, as documentation varies depending on the location. 

  • United States

The United States has specific entry requirements for pets. For example, valid health certificates and proof of rabies vaccination may be required. It is important to note that a maximum of two animals are allowed per flight from Mexico into the U.S.

  • Bahamas

Dogs and cats are only accepted with an approved import permit issued by the Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. They must also have a Bahamas health certificate completed by a licensed veterinarian within 24 hours of takeoff.

Several breeds are not permitted in the Bahamas, including Savannah cats, Bengal cats, Chausies, Pitbulls, Presa Canarios, Cane Corsos, American Bullies, Staffordshire Terriers, and Dogo Argentinos.

  • Belize/Guatemala 

Pets are not accepted to and from Belize or Guatemala at this time.

  • Canada

Canada accepts dogs and cats and there are no health certificates required for those eight months and older. However, proof of rabies vaccination is required for certain cats and dogs.

  • Costa Rica

Bringing pets to or from Costa Rica is not recommended due to the risk of screwworm. However, if you plan to travel, dogs need a certificate within five days of travel stating that they are screwworm-free. All pets will require a certificate of good health, too. 

  • Mexico

Dogs and cats are accepted unless traveling through cargo service. Upon entering Mexico, travelers must visit the Mexican Animal and Plant Health Inspection Office (OISA) to check their pets for signs of diseases, ectoparasites, or fresh wounds. Proof of rabies vaccination may be required; no bedding or other materials are allowed. 

Note that if you travel with more than three pets, you may be subject to additional fees ($150 USD). Those traveling regularly between the United States and Mexico should consider registering for Alaskan Airlines’s “Pet Program—Frequent Traveler.”

jet set pets alaska airlines dog friendly traveling blog article

Photo courtesy of @dogfriendlynash

The Process of Flying with Your Pet on Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines makes it easy for you to travel with your purrfect pals.

Booking and Reserving Your Pet's Ticket

Booking and reserving your pet’s ticket is a cinch.

  1. Head over to alaskaair.com and book your passenger ticket.
  2. Review the policies and determine which option is right for you and your furry friend (cabin, cargo, etc.).
  3. Contact Alaska Air Reservations to request a spot for your pet ASAP, as there is limited space. You may call 1-800-252-7522 or chat online. 

Checking In and Boarding with Your Pet

Checking in and boarding with your pet is also hassle-free, although checking your canine companion into the cargo is a bit more extensive. 

If your dog is flying in the baggage compartment, you’ll need to make sure you complete the following:

  • Ensure your pet and luggage have been received by the airline
  • Ensure you have a valid boarding pass within the cut-off times (90 minutes for flights from Seattle and Guadalajara, 60 minutes for all other airports)
  • Have a health certificate provided by a licensed veterinarian
  • Have the carrier cleared by a team member
  • Offer food and water no more than four hours before check-in
  • Complete a Pet Check record with a team member
  • Check-in no more than two hours before takeoff 

Regardless of how your pet is flying, it’s important they have proper identification and that you allow ample time to check-in.

During the Flight: Tips for a Smooth Journey

Making the flight as smooth as possible is critical for your furry (or feathered) best friend. Much like many adults, dogs can become overwhelmed or nervous with air travel. Here are some of the best ways to ensure a smooth journey for your purrific pal:

  • Get accustomed to the carrier. This is key, especially if your fluff ball has never been in one before. Spend a few weeks before your flight to get them acclimated to their “home away from home.”
  • Add some important items to the carrier. You can also add some items to the carrier to help your hound feel more at ease. For example, toss in their favorite toy or blanket.
  • Workout before departure! A good workout will help your best friend get their wiggles out, which means they’ll be calmer during the flight.
  • Don’t forget to visit the animal relief area. Nobody wants to get stuck on a plane needing to use the restroom, and that includes four-legged friends. Visit the animal relief area before takeoff.

Offer food and water – but not too much! While your pet should be satisfied, overfilling with food and water can make your pooch sick.

jsp alaska airlines dog friendly policy blog post

Photo courtesy of @waffles_the_wonder_dog

Conclusion

Alaska Airlines is, without a doubt, one of the most pet-friendly airlines out there. Unlike many others, they accept pets in the baggage compartment, which is essential for those traveling with larger-than-life furry friends. And for smaller guys & gals, the cabin is open for business, too. Needless to say, if you want a top-notch airline to enjoy with your fluffy buds, Alaska Airlines may be the right choice. 

Note: We always encourage visiting the airline’s pet policy before booking, as rules and regulations can change at the drop of a hat!

Unleash the wanderlust in you and your four-legged friend! Be a part of the Jet Set Pets pack and subscribe to our one-of-a-kind Wet Nose Letter. Get ready for a tail-wagging adventure filled with insider travel tips and heart-melting tales crafted just for you and your pet. Don’t just dream of adventures, make them happen! Join our pack now and let the pawsome journey begin!

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