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Can Fido Fly in the Seat Next to You?

opened pet travel plastic carrier with yorkshire terrier inside

A reader in Harrisburg, PA asked, “Can I buy a ticket for my pet on an airplane and just have her fly with me? What about taking a train or bus? I’d rather they were with me than in a cargo hold. What are the restrictions for flying with pets?”

Susan Smith, our Travel Expert, answers:

“If you are flying with pets that are smaller in size, it is always better for them to fly with you in the cabin if they are acclimated to their carrier, if your airline’s pet policies allow it, if they are small enough to fit into an airline-compliant carrier, and if your destination country allows for pets to enter when flying in the cabin. Most airline pet policies restrict animals flying in the cabin to cats, dogs and, in some cases, small household birds.”

“In all cases, you will need to notify the airline serving your specific route and let them know that you are traveling with a pet in the cabin because every airline has a limit as to the number of pets that can fly in the cabin on each flight.”

“It would be great to have our pets sit on the seat next to us on the plane, but no airline will allow that. Your pet must travel in its carrier under the seat in front of you unless it is a service or emotional support animal. Once airborne, you can pull your pet’s carrier out between your legs and comfort your pet.”

“As for trains operating in the United States, Amtrak will allow small pets to travel on many of its routes. More information on pet friendly routes can be found here: Amtrak Pets on Trains . In Europe, aside from the Eurostar, many trains allow pets on board. Europe is known for its pet friendly policies and pet owners will find options for trains, buses and ferries that will accept pets.”

“Subways and buses in the United States differ in their pet policies. Many trains that operate in cities like in New Jersey and Boston will allow pets to ride the trains and subways as long as they are leashed or in carriers. Do some research online before you travel to learn about pet policies on public transportation in your destination city.”

“Greyhound Bus has not yet changed their no-pets policy, but, as a privately held company, they are not bound to do that.”

“Remember that, when traveling or flying with pets by any means of transport, they must be well-behaved and should be sociable. You must keep them close and away from activity if possible. Acclimating them to their leash and/or carrier will help greatly in having a happy experience when traveling with your pet.”

You can learn more about Susan and read her other travel related articles by visiting our Contributors page.

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