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Traveling with Pets

Pets in-cabin

Southwest Airlines accepts small vaccinated domestic cats and dogs. All in-cabin pets must be carried in an appropriate carrier, as indicated below and are subject to a $95 pet fare each way per pet carrier. The pet carrier counts as the customer's carryon bag.

Why is Southwest allowing pets onboard?
Southwest Airlines wants to enhance the customer experience for pet-LUVing travelers.

What types of pets are allowed?
Southwest Airlines will only accept small cats and dogs in carriers that can be stowed under the customer's seat.

How much will the pet fare be?
The Pet Fare will be $95 each way per pet carrier.

Will pets be allowed in cargo?
Under no circumstances will we accept pets in the cargo bin. Southwest only accepts cats and dogs in-cabin.

How many pets are allowed per aircraft?
Initially, Southwest's pet policy states that we will accept up to five (5) pet carriers per scheduled flight. However, from time to time, circumstances may allow for more (or fewer) than five pet carriers on a flight during the evaluation period.

How many pet carriers is each customer allowed?
Customers will be permitted to travel with no more than one (1) pet carrier per person. Each pet carrier can have no more than two (2) of the same species of small cats or dogs per pet carrier.

Do animals assisting customers with disabilities count toward the maximum number of pets permitted onboard?
No, animals assisting customers with disabilities will not count toward the maximum number of pets permitted onboard.

What types of pet carriers can customers bring?
Customers may bring a soft or hard-sided pet carrier that is leak proof and well ventilated. The pet carrier must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of the customer and be stowed in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations. The dog or cat must be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier with ease.

How big can my pet carrier be?
Your pet carrier must be able to fit under the seat in front of you. The under-seat dimensions are as follows:

  • Window seat: 19"L x 14"W x 9"H
  • Middle seat: 19"L x 19"W x 9"H
  • Aisle seat: 19"L x 14"W x 9"H
However, please keep in mind that some seats might be slightly smaller in width.


Will pet carriers count as a carryon bag or personal item?
The pet carrier will count as the customer's carryon bag.

Are reservations for the pet required?
Yes. However, pet reservations can not be added to your vacation package booking. To make reservations for a pet, the customer will need to call Southwest Airlines at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA and the customer representative will gladly create a booking for the pet.

What form of payment will be taken for a pet fare?
Customers can pay with accepted credit cards, cash, check, Southwest paper gift certificate, and the southwestgiftcard®. Southwest LUV vouchers or unused travel funds will not be accepted for payment of a pet fare.

Can pets earn Rapid Rewards credits?
No, not at this time.

Do pets require any type of vaccinations or documentation?
Southwest does not require a health certificate or any other documentation from the Customer's veterinarian for pets to travel.

What do I do with my pet when I get to the security check point?
When passing through security, customers will be asked to hold the pet and walk through the screening device while the carrier is x-rayed.

Will customers be able to preboard because they are traveling with a pet carrier?
Customers traveling with cats and dogs will board with their normal boarding group unless they are a customer who qualifies for preboarding.

Once onboard, can the customer hold his/her pet?
No, pets must remain in the carrier for the entire duration of the flight. This policy will be strictly enforced.

Is there an area at the airport for pets to relieve themselves?
Yes, all airports have at least one designated "animal relief" area that customers may take their pets to. Most are located outside of security checkpoint, so a customer on a connecting flight, with a pet, will need to enter through security to return to the departure gate. We will not "hold" a flight for a customer to take a pet to an "animal relief" area.

Is there a certain place on the aircraft designated for customers with pets?
Southwest maintains an open seating policy; however, those traveling with pets may not occupy an exit seat or a seat with no under-seat stowage in front of them.

Will the pet fare be refundable if a customer decides not to travel?
No, the fare is nonrefundable/nonreusable and cannot be applied toward future-date travel.

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