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Hi all,

My American Eskimo and I will be emBarking on our first journey above the clouds for the Thanksgiving holiday. We would appreciate any and all tips or experiences. Breed specific would be better, but anything helps! Potty advice, barking/howling incidents, how dogs of this breed may commonly react to the plane setting, etc.

My pup is 20-lbs, calm demeanor, usually most comfortable when on my lap. Not sure if I should get a carrier for her or just keep her on a leash on my lap. I am considering requesting the front-most seat on the plane in case any passengers have allergies to dogs, we can visible to them and at a distance.
 

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You really need to check with the airline for their requirements. If she can't comfortably fit in an under-seat carrier, then she would have to fly in the cargo hold, and there are weather restrictions for that.
 

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She has to be under the seat in an approved carrier for the entire flight.
Traveling With Pets
General Information
Southwest Airlines allows small vaccinated domestic cats and dogs to travel with you in-cabin under the seat in front of you. All pets must be carried in an appropriate carrier, as indicated below. Southwest Airlines will not accept pet remains as carryon or checked baggage.
Pets are not allowed to travel in-cabin on international flights or any itinerary that includes an international flight.
Pets will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis until capacity is reached. Six (6) pets are allowed per flight with a limit of one pet carrier per paying Customer traveling on the same flight. However, from time to time, circumstances may allow for more (or fewer) than six (6) pet carriers per scheduled flight.
Pets must be checked in at the airport ticket counter, however Customers can still secure their boarding pass online, at curbside checkin, the airport kiosk, or the ticket counter.
A pet that engages in disruptive behavior may be denied boarding. Examples of disruptive behavior include (but are not limited to):
  • Scratching, excessive whining or barking
  • Growling, biting, lunging
  • Urinating or defecating in the cabin or gate area
Pet Reservation & Payment Information
  • Pets traveling are subject to a $95 Pet Fare each way per pet carrier.
    Pet Fares are refundable. If you cancel your reservation and your pet does not travel or if your flight is canceled and you choose not to rebook, contact Southwest at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) or visit the airport ticket counter to process your refund. Please note, Pet Fare pricing is subject to change at any time.
  • U.S. Domestic Flights: Reservations must be made in advance by calling 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792). On the day of travel, Customers must bring the pet to the airport in an approved pet carrier. Proceed to the airport ticket counter to check the pet in and pay the Pet Fare before going to the departure gate.
Acceptable Pet Carriers:
  • The Southwest Airlines Pet Carrier (17” long x 9.5” high x 10” wide).
  • Other pet carriers with maximum dimensions of 18.5” long x 8.5” high x 13.5” wide.
  • Soft-sided and hard-sided carriers specifically designed as pet carriers are acceptable.
  • The carriers must be 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 (FAA) regulations.
Pet Carrier Requirements:
  • Southwest Airlines allows only one pet carrier per ticketed Passenger.
  • The carrier may contain two (2) cats or dogs and must be of the same species per carrier.
  • The cat or dog must be completely inside the pet carrier and be able to stand up and move around the carrier with ease.
  • Pets must be secured in the pet carrier at all times while in the gate area, during boarding/deplaning, and they must remain in the carrier for the entire duration of the flight. Failure to follow this requirement may result in denial of transportation of the pet onboard Southwest Airlines.
Note: Pet carriers are considered either a personal item or a carryon item. A Customer may board the aircraft with either a pet carrier and a personal item or a pet carrier and a regular size carryon bag. A Customer may not board the aircraft with a pet carrier, a regular size carryon bag, and a personal item. The pet carrier must conform to all carryon baggage regulations.

Pet Travel Restrictions
  • Southwest Airlines does not accept pets (cats or dogs) traveling without a Customer.
  • Pets are not permitted to travel with Unaccompanied Minors.
  • Pets are not allowed to travel in-cabin on international flights or any itinerary that includes an international flight.
  • Customers traveling with a pet may not occupy an exit row or a seat with no forward under-seat stowage.
  • Southwest Airlines will only carry pets in the cabin; pets are not permitted as checked baggage.
  • There will be no more than six (6) scheduled pet carriers per scheduled flight. However, from time to time, circumstances may allow for more (or fewer) than six (6) pet carriers per scheduled flight.
  • Cats and dogs must be at least eight (8) weeks old for travel.
  • The animals must be harmless, not disruptive, odorless, and require no attention during flight.
  • Cats and dogs must remain in the carrier (including head and tail) and the carrier must be stowed under the seat in front of the Customer (owner) for the entire duration of the flight.
 

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Contact the airline for specifics. You will need an IATA carrier. The airline will define the size of the carrier based on the physical size of the dog and the configuration of the carrier.. The size is based on the measurements of the dog, not the weight. Typically, nose to base of tail, height at shoulder, height to top of ears (erect ears count) and possibly the shoulder width. This will define the carrier size to accommodate the dog. Now the physical size of the carrier needs to fit under the seat, if not, then the dog goes cargo. Cargo for pets is pressurized and heated. The cost will be based on the weight of the carrier, dog, water.......

My miniature schnauzer will need a carrier that is 32" x 22" x 24". This will not fit under the seat. My dog only weighs 14 lb. The American Eskimo is physically larger than a mini-schnauzer. I have doubts if your dog will be allowed in cabin. Restrictions are more lenient for Service dogs. ESA dogs need to be in carrier.

A source for good carriers is Petmate on Amazon. You may be too late to process all the documents and get the carrier before T-Day.

Good Luck.

I know the requirements because this is a hurdle that I will cross in my future when I return to USA. My situation is complicated because I will be "Importing" a dog into the USA. So, I will need to handle a load of paperwork and prepare my dog to be in the carrier for about 30+ hours. Fortunately, I have located a Pet Relocation company that can manage all the red tape confusion. My estimated cost for this is about $1000 USD, plus the cost of any vaccines, carrier, fees, ...........possible quarantine costs.


After reading the SWA Pet regulations.....I would assume they will not fly the pet cargo. So, if your pet can not fit into the maximum size carrier as defined by SWA, then the pet can not travel on SWA. If the pet is in cabin, then it needs to remain in the carrier.
 
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