Be it for vacation, visiting family, etc., more and more pet owners are choosing to take their pets (which are different from Service Animals) with them on airplane flights. In fact, in the United States alone, over two million pets, mainly with with fur or feathers, are transported by air every year. Many are put into cargo and we all know the problems that can sometimes cause. However for smaller pets, it’s becoming a regular occurrence for them to fly in the cabin. Here are the carriers who not only accept pet travel with open paws, but even give them rewards for their travel:
JetBlue: JetPaws™ Program
From JetBlue’s website: “JetPaws is an exclusive program designed to give owners all the tips and tools they need for a smooth trip with their pet, from start to finish. We’re committed to all our customers, including the four-legged ones!”
This free program includes:
- Carrier bag-tag — a special bag-tag will be attached to your pet carrier at check-in so everyone knows your pet is ready to fly.
- Petiquette™ — a handy list of all the social graces for pet travel.
- TrueBlue points — earn 300 TrueBlue points on each flight segment when traveling with your pet. If you’re not already a TrueBlue member, sign up now. It’s free.
Important things to know and do:
Pets can be booked online or you can call 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).
- There is a pet fee of $125 each way.
- It is best to book early. A limited number of pets are allowed on each flight.
- Only one pet per customer is allowed.
- Your pet carrier can not exceed 17″L x 12.5″W x 8.5″H and the combined weight of your pet and the carrier must not exceed 20 pounds.
- Your pet and carrier count as one carry-on bag onboard.
- They can not accept pets going to Jamaica (MBJ and KIN), Barbados (BGI), St Lucia (UVF) the Cayman Islands (GCM) and Trinidad and Tobago (POS).
- They don’t allow pets on interline flights.
More information can be found on this page of JetBlue’s website.
Korea Air: SKYPETS
From Korean Air’s website: “Travel with your pet and enjoy “SKYPETS Service.” For the first time in Korea, Korean Air is now offering a SKYPETS service to provide greater service to passengers travelling with their pets. SKYPETS is a preferred customer program for those who register their pet on the website, collect stamps each time they travel with their pet, and use the stamps to receive free or discount travel with their pets.
Important things to know:
- The Korean Air SKYPETS program is designed to make traveling with pets as stress free and simple as possible; pet bookings and requests are simply added to the passenger’s itinerary after registering the pet on Korean Air’s website. Dogs, cats and birds can travel with Korean Air either in the cabin, or in the luggage hold, depending on their weight and size.
- Maximum of 3 pets per person can be registered.
- The flight tickets for pets vary, generally from $100 to $150 per pet, depending on place of departure and destination.
- A stamp will be awarded for each cage (one stamp given per single segment of domestic (within Korea) travel. Two stamps given per single segment of international travel).
- If you have more than 1 flight, please make a request for each flight.
- Six stamps can be redeemed for a 50% discount on the pet service charge for a one-way domestic flight with the pet. Twelve stamps can be exchanged for the complete pet service fees on a domestic flight, or a 50% discount on the service charge for an international flight when traveling with pets. 24 stamps can be exchanged for a one-way ticket on international routes.
- Accrued stamps are valid for three years from the boarding date and stamps can be claimed within 1 year from the boarding date.
More information can be found on this page of Korean Air’s website.
UPDATE: Effective July 7, 2020:
We’ve suspended PetSafe travel
As travel demand and government restrictions continue to impact our schedule, we’ve suspended all PetSafe and military pet transportation until further notice. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and provide you with updates on our PetSafe page.
United has not had a great history of keeping pets safe on their flights, so in mid-2018 they implemented several new policies and customer requirements for pet air transport. They also partnered with American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, to review and update their PetSafe® program.
United claims to offer industry-leading comfort and safety features for pets, including:
- Operate over 80 custom-designed, climate-controlled vehicles to safely transport pets in all weather conditions
- Pets are placed onto the aircraft last and removed first to minimize stress
- In the air, pets remain secure and comfortable in climate-controlled, pressurized compartments
- Onsite kennels and offsite facilities accommodate pets during long connection times and before international travel
- Dedicated, specially trained PetSafe Customer Service Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Plus, earn 500 MileagePlus® award miles for each PetSafe shipment within the U.S. and 1,000 miles for each pet sent to an international destination*
*This offer is subject to change. See the complete rules of the MileagePlus program. Offer applies only to pets shipped as cargo through the PetSafe program, not pets that fly in the cabin with their owners.
Other airlines also have pet programs (or at least allow pets on board), but are generally not as generous at JetBlue’s, Korean Air’s or United’s respective programs.
- Alaska Airlines: Fur-st Class™ care & PetStreak™ Animal Express
- Allegiant Air: Traveling with pets
- American Airlines: Traveling with pets (Update: service currently suspected due to COVID)
- Delta Air Lines: Pet travel
- Frontier Airlines: Traveling with pets (Pets part is on the bottom of the page. they get extra points in my book because their web page about pets is fun to read)
- Hawaiian Airlines: Traveling with animals
- Southwest Airlines: Current pet policies
- Spirit Airlines: “Does Spirit Airlines Allow Pets On Board?”
So there you go – if you want to bring your small pet with you as carry-on, you’ll get reward points by using JetBlue, possibly get them from United (if and when they start the program again), and can get some discounts or even a free flight with Korean Air. The other major U.S.-based airlines don’t have any sort of reward programs for bringing your pets, but at least they let you bring them (well, except American, right now) :-).
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