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.
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.
We maintain the right to refuse acceptance of a cat or dog exhibiting aggressive behavior or any other characteristics that appear incompatible with air travel.
Pet Reservation & Payment Information
New Pet Fare Price: Effective 10/23/2013
- Pets traveling prior to January 15, 2014 are subject to a $75 Pet Fare each way per pet carrier.
- Pets traveling January 15, 2014 and beyond are subject to a $95 Pet Fare each way per pet carrier.
Pet Fares are nonrefundable and may not be applied toward future-date travel if unused. Please note, the Pet Fare is subject to change at any time.
- Southwest-only 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.
- Southwest/AirTran Shared Itinerary Flights: Advanced pet reservations are not available for shared itineraries at this time. 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 book the pet’s reservation and pay the Pet Fare before going to the departure gate.
- AirTran-only Flights: Information regarding pet travel on AirTran-only Flights can be found on airtran.com.
In-cabin Pet Carriers
Get your official Southwest Airlines branded pet carrier for $48 (tax included) at any Southwest Airport Ticket Counter or online (tax not included) at The Freedom Shop (not an affiliate of Southwest Airlines Co.). Pet carriers are nonrefundable.
Acceptable Pet Carriers:
- Pet carriers are limited to maximum dimensions of 8.5” high x 18.5” long 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 permitted to travel to international destinations. Note: Pets are permitted to travel to San Juan (SJU).
- 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.
- Southwest Airlines will not be responsible if a Customer misses a flight due to the need to take the cat or dog to an outside relief area. Flight departures will not be delayed or held in order for connecting Customers to take a pet to an animal relief area.
- If the pet becomes ill during the flight, oxygen or other first aid procedures will not be administered.
- In the event of an emergency, an oxygen mask may not be available for the cat or dog.
- Southwest Airlines assumes no liability for the health or wellbeing of carryon pets.
- Southwest Airlines will not accept pet remains in the cabin of the aircraft.
Note: These restrictions do not apply to assistance animals or emotional support animals accompanying a person with a disability. More Information
Traveling with Pets: Security
When passing through security, Customers will be asked to hold the pet and walk through the screening device while the carrier is x-rayed.
All pet carriers are subject to being searched by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), other airport security authorities, as well as searches by airline personnel.