Do you Fly With Your Dogs?



Thank you to everyone who offered opinions on this month’s topic. The following is a selection of the responses. Want to voice your opinion to the fancy? Follow ShowSight’s Facebook page for the monthly question prompt!



I have flown with my show dogs. I have sent puppies via cargo to new owners. Being unable to fly my dogs to show is hurting and unable to fly to the National specialty has devastated the entry.

—Jan Reed

I use Alaska as much as possible with flying dogs. They are great; they even let puppies sit in my lap.

—Mary Squire

Yes, but only when they can fly in cabin with me (small breed). Which airline do I trust? Since I fly with them in cabin, they are in my control, so I have never had an issue with flying and have used Southwest, Delta, and United, fairly regularly with no problems. Have recent issues affected my show/breeding schedule? Not at all.

—Pamela Preston

Yes have flown with them since 1979. Used to use different airlines, now only Alaska Air. While using American one year I was not allowed to bring my dogs back from New York due to cold (Shibas) until a different employee of American came literally to the rescue. At one point the Old Eastern Airlines left my Chows on the tarmac and would have left them if I had not seen them before boarding last. United is an airline, I would never fly my dogs. They are rude and would rather people not fly dogs using them.

—Laura Perkinson

I have Newfoundlands so I have a great deal of trouble flying my dogs these days. I used to fly United cargo up until this year when they will no longer accept dogs of his size (700 crate). Delta and Alaska have also changed their rules and will not accept a 700 crate in cargo. I found a flight on Air Canada to get him to our National Specialty in Michigan this month but we have to fly into Toronto and drive 4 ½ hours to our host hotel from there. They will only accept a 700 crate on one of their wide body aircraft and I have to travel to San Francisco or LA to get him on one of their flights. There are only two wide body flights per day. As a result of these new rules, I will no longer be able to fly a dog to Westminster or the Newfoundland National Specialties which typically occur on the east coast or Michigan. We live in California. I notice that our entries for this year’s National Specialty are down significantly from prior years. Not sure if this is due to the inability to get dogs there or some other reason. Booking a flight this year has been a nightmare and I won’t do it again.


I fly in the cabin with my Toy Fox Terrier on Southwest with no issues. They make me feel welcome bringing my dog!

As far as cargo, Alaskan Air is my go to. Very nice people who care about the safety of your dog! I have had issues with Delta multiple times and try to avoid using them.


I fly infrequently with Alaska Airlines. Last trip was very difficult. At both SeaTac and O’Hare, we were directed to three different places on different levels in the terminal before actually being able to check dog in—Doberman in 500 vari kennel. Luckily, my handler was with me, otherwise I would have been forced to leave luggage or dog in one area while moving to another. Scary. I drive bitches to be bred, have been fortunate to find dogs close enough to do that. I would consider attempting using cooled or frozen semen if I could not drive to the dog, even though that is not an ideal way to get a bitch in whelp! Since my national club does not plan to have national events out here on the West Coast (last one was 2013) I rarely am able to attend the National show and convention. I was eligible for this year’s National Rally Championships, but just too far to go and farther away next year. I wish these events could alternate between East and West Coasts and maybe a central US location, but that doesn’t ever seem to happen! So, yes, air travel definitely affects my show and breeding schedule.


Do you fly with your dogs? Yes, recently. Which airline do you trust? I used Delta. Have recent problems in air travel affected your show/breeding schedule? In booking the flight for the dog, under the seat, I had to measure the kennel, tell them how much the dog weighed, how much the dog and kennel weighed. They really gave me a fit, telling me if I was wrong, dog would not fly but when I got to the airport, coming and going, they never looked at the kennel/dog nor the paperwork. Just booking was a pain. The breed Tibetan Spaniel which they will not fly cargo. I used to fly with two Tibbies to Nationals with cargo, now I can only take one. This has effected our entries on the west coast (where there are very few Tibetan Spaniel breeders).


Nope, I’ve flown to deliver a puppy but I have too many dogs to fly with.


Which airline do you trust? Although I live in Canada, much of my traveling has been to and from the US. My favorite airline for traveling with dogs is Westjet. Air Canada is a close second. 

Have recent problems in air travel affected your show/breeding schedule? No.


I refuse to fly and hardly ever show where it would be an outside show; weather is to unpredictable.


I have in the past both flown and driven to my national. The recent changes and issues have caused me to be forced to drive. Both my breeds, Boxers and French Bulldogs, are not accepted by any airline other than Air Canada.

These changes have made it almost impossible for anyone from any distance to reasonably get to a show. For me when driving to my national, I have to add three days both coming and going to make the drive comfortable. You will always have handlers that can make the drive with their clients paying all the expenses but many owners and owner handlers are finding it more difficult to manage the extra time and expense.

Additionally, there is the issue of trust. The airlines have proven with shoddy practices and high cargo prices that they are not trustworthy to take care of my dog. I would really like to see the airlines allow us to purchase a seat for both myself and my dog. Put us in the back of the plane if need be but allow the dog in cabin.

—Cindy Knox

Yes, I fly with my dog a Tibetan Spaniel, a couple of times a year. I pay the fee and he flies under the seat. He has never been an issue on a flight. I have flown United, Delta, and American cross country and into Canada.


I try to fly with 1-2 dogs under my seat. But if I have to ship via cargo, I prefer Delta. No recent problems flying to shows.


Yes. My breed is too large to go in the cabin. Only Alaska! No other airline is considered. No problems with show schedule or breeding.


We used to until they decided to not allow my breed. Which puts us as exhibitors and co-owners with friends in other countries at a distinct disadvantage in our breeding programs as well as campaigning our dogs. Even when we did fly with our dogs the employees would either misinterpret or make up rules as they went causing us to always have a copy of their rules with us. So the bottom line is yes I definitely have problems with the airlines! —Anonymous

Alaska Airlines is the only airline I travel on with my dogs. Excellent service, never a problem. Alaska goes everywhere I want to go.


We used to. I think the biggest effect is that people can’t get to our national in Indy from the coasts without a two to four day drive (E-W). They will come without their dogs.

—Suzie C (Boxers)

I will not fly my dogs. Every time I flew them in the past, I had much trouble. Plus the temperature here is too hot to fly much of the year.


Yes, I fly with my Chows. I can’t anymore because no airline in the US will do so. I have flown on Delta in the past.

—Cindy Stone

Yes, I fly with my dogs. I fly America in the business or first cabin. They are under 20 pound or I would not fly with them. I will not ship them in the airplane hold.

—K. Lake

Yes, over six times a year. Show and breeding trips to Portland, Oregon and Coast; Oakland, California; Orlando, Florida ; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Salt Lake City, Utah; Atlanta, Georgia; Tampa, Florida to name a few. Which airline do you trust? Southwest. If Southwest doesn’t fly there, I don’t go. Have recent problems in air travel affected your show/breeding schedule? Never. We had a hurricane blow into Florida the week of a September specialty and Southwest gave me a complete refund when I was forced to cancel plans after the show was canceled. I got trips departure times mixed up once and checked in at 4:00 for a flight that had left at 10 am. The ticket counter gave me a sad look when I explained I had confused the time with another flight ten days later. She called her supervisor and then rebooked me for the next morning and found me a motel for the night. No extra charge. None. All I paid for was the motel. I recommend the rewards program. If I cancel a flight, I book with rewards points, I get a 100% refund to my points.


I have a small breed so I can still fly with dogs. I like Southwest and KLM. I did not fly to our national this year; too expensive and I would like to fly with more than one dog. Not an option. Yes, it has affected breeding and showing. I would like to see AKC take a firm stand on the fancies behalf. Thanks for asking.

—Pamela Bradbury

Yes, I fly with my dogs. I fly Delta and they fly in cabin. No, I have not been affected.


I did it for more than 15 years before my breed was banned from all of them with no reason (Chow Chows). I trust American Airlines, Delta and United. Have recent problems in air travel affected my show/breeding schedule? 100%. I had my Chow bitch in the top five in the USA. After the banning all the investment went to the trash. Please do something! I live in Brazil, but I attend major shows in the USA.

—Paulo Clerice

We used to fly with our dogs all the time, within the US as well as overseas. In fact, we co-breed a lot with another Chow breeder in Brazil. Since the Chow ban last October, we have been unable to fly anywhere with our dogs. American is the airline we always used, we would fly back and forth to Brazil several times a year. Not once have we flown there since the ban and won’t until they change their way of thinking. Never once in 20 years of flying back and forth to Brazil with Chows, have we ever had a problem—not once. The Chow Chow Club Inc did extensive research to see how many Chows have been injured or died on US flights. Only one and that was self induced when the dog chewed through his crate. Golden Retrievers were by far the highest incident of injury and death but they have no ban on any airline. We also supplied several letters from various veterinarians across the country that deal with Chows on a regular basis, stating that Chows can not be classified as a breed as being brachycephalic and that each case should be done individually. Everything we did fell on deaf ears, they were not interested in what we presented to them.

The airlines need to require a statement from a veterinarian stating that is dog is fit to travel and if anything happens while in flight, it is the responsibility of the owner. Yes, we all do health certificates but those do not really cover the details. The airlines are more concerned about being sued and a signature by the owner taking responsibility for the welfare of their dog while traveling, would eliminate that.

Has this effected our breeding program, our entries into shows and our future in both breeding and dog shows? Most definitely. This is a problem that concerns all breeds, for if left uncontested, the airlines will completely discontinue allowing dogs in cargo. This needs to be address by those that can actually make a difference—AKC. But they have shown no desire to even get involved. Perhaps when litter and registration numbers start to decline as well as entries into shows, they will sit up and take notice.

—Michael and Linda Brantley

Alaskan Airlines, yes it has affected my travel, we really need better air travel for our dogs.


I trust Alaska Airlines hands down. Have recent problems in air travel affected your show/breeding schedule? No, because I only fly Alaska or drive.


When I do fly, I only fly DELTA Airlines. They are the only airline, unless changes have been made recently, that requires the pilots Sign Off acknowledging their awareness there are live animals aboard. Also forms are faxed to the baggage and cargo offices of every destination or stop the flight makes informing them of the arrival or stop of flights with live animals aboard.

If you are traveling with a pet, you will receive a tag at your seat, from the flight attendant, that was taken off the pet’s crate, notifying you that your pet is aboard the plane.

I no longer ship bitches to the stud dogs to be bred. Instead, I only do chilled/frozen semen breedings. I have an excellent Repo. Vet and a very high success rate with frozen/chilled semen. I would rather pay the shipping on the semen than risk the bitch in shipping.

—Donna Bruce

I fly with dogs and occasionally ship. Alaska Air is my airline of choice for both. Reliable, polite, clear and consistent rules and take good care of the dogs.

Flying with dogs has become exponentially more difficult in recent years. Six weeks after 9/11 I flew bicoastal with four dogs and related gear. It was a bit tense but went smoothly. I would not do that now because the cost has become prohibitive, planes are more crowded, and the challenges pose more stress than I care to endure for me or my dogs.

I skip some national specialties because I can’t get direct flights.


I prefer to use Alaska Airlines, partially because their excess baggage charges for dogs are lower than other airlines, and I’ve never had a problem with their not looking after my dogs. They accommodate my refusing to board until I know the dog has been loaded, and then bring me a tag off the crate once I am seated. I have also had good experiences using Delta and American.

—Michele Ritter

Can’t fly dogs in cargo and only eight week old Bullmastiffs will fit under the cabin seat. That is idiotic in itself because dogs cause more trouble in cabins than in cargo.

I have flown dogs as excess baggage and cargo for over 40 years with only one incident and that was while unloading and not on the plane. Dogs should be accepted by assessing their temperament, not their breed.


I believe this ruling barring certain breeds is in restraint of trade. What happened to ADOA and their representing dog owners? What is the matter with AKC that the organization has rolled over and not made any effort to assist with this. Even if their worry AKC, why aren’t they doing anything?

—Carol Beans

Yes we fly with our dogs only on Alaska Airlines!

—Jim Dok 


  • Show Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

Your Cart

No Item Found
Subtotal $0.00
Shipping $0.00
Tax $0.00
Total $0.00