Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Airlines: Pet-friendly or money-hungry?

Last night, a friend told me about the fees she had to pay recently to book a flight on Delta with her Chihuahua as a carry-on companion. I was shocked to learn that the dog's round-trip fare was more than the human's.

According to her experience, Delta's fee for pet travel was only $50 two years ago (it's now $150 each way). So it appears the airlines are also raising pet travel fees in their quest to cover rising costs (read: make more money).

The fees and rules for pet travel are varied and arcane for different airlines, so I advise you to research your preferred airline in depth if you plan to travel with your pet. For example, some airlines don't allow pets as checked baggage during the hot summer months, and many restrict the total number of animals on any given flight.

Following is a summary of the one-way fees (as of this writing) that some of the more popular airlines charge for pet travel. It's clear that, other than pet-unfriendly Southwest, the airlines are making a lot of money on pet travel.

Delta$150 in cabin / $275 as checked baggage
Continental$125 in cabin (does not allow pets as checked baggage)
United$125 in cabin or checked ($250 checked for large kennels)
American$100 in cabin / $150 as checked baggage
U.S. Airways$100 in cabin (does not allow pets checked as baggage)
JetBlue$100 in cabin (unclear on whether they accept pets as checked baggage)
Northwest$80 in cabin / $139-$359 as checked baggage, depending on size of kennel
SouthwestNo pets allowed (except service animals)


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems rather ironic that for the airlines that allow pets as checked baggage, the fee for the pet in the cabin seems lower. I'd have just assumed it would be the other way around, as a discouragement to have animals in the cabin. Of course I'm assuming cabin space would be limited to smaller animals; a St. Bernard would take up more space than some humans!

October 17, 2008 8:34 AM  

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