Pets On Southwest

Brief Overview of Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines, founded in 1967, has become one of the largest and most esteemed low-cost carriers in the United States. With its headquarters in Dallas, Texas, Southwest operates over 4,000 daily flights to more than 100 destinations across the country.

Renowned for its dedication to exceptional customer service and affordable fares, Southwest has garnered a loyal customer base and a stellar reputation within the aviation industry. What sets Southwest apart from other airlines is its unique approach to air travel.

The airline prioritizes simplicity and efficiency while ensuring an enjoyable flying experience for passengers. By offering perks like free checked bags and no change fees, Southwest aims to create a hassle-free journey for travelers.

Introduction to the Topic of Pets on Southwest

For many pet owners, leaving their furry companions behind while traveling can be distressing. Recognizing this bond between humans and their pets, Southwest Airlines allows passengers to bring their pets on board—ensuring that both humans and animals can embark on memorable journeys together. With well-defined policies and guidelines in place, Southwest ensures that pets can safely accompany their owners during their flight experience.

Pets on Southwest are not limited to just dogs or cats; small domesticated animals such as rabbits or guinea pigs are also welcome on board. Furthermore, individuals who require emotional support animals (ESAs) or have certified service animals can rest assured knowing that they will be accommodated by the airline’s dedicated pet policy.

However, it is important to note that there are specific requirements and restrictions in place regarding pet size and weight when traveling with them in-cabin. These regulations ensure the safety of both pets and fellow passengers throughout the journey.

In addition to these guidelines, proper reservation procedures must be followed prior to traveling with a pet on board Southwest flights. In this detailed article about Pets on Southwest, we will delve into the various aspects of traveling with pets on this reputable airline.

From understanding Southwest’s general pet policies to making proper reservations and ensuring the comfort of your beloved pet during the journey, we will cover everything you need to know to embark on a smooth and enjoyable flight experience with your furry friend. So, let us dive deeper into the world of Pets on Southwest and explore how this airline caters to the needs of pet owners and their beloved companions.

General Policies and Guidelines for Pets on Southwest

Overview of Southwest’s pet policy

When it comes to traveling with pets, Southwest Airlines maintains a comprehensive pet policy that ensures the safety and comfort of both passengers and animals. With a customer-centric approach, Southwest allows certain types of pets to accompany their owners in the cabin, provided they meet specific requirements. This inclusive approach sets Southwest apart from many other airlines, making it a popular choice for pet lovers.

Types of pets allowed on board

Southwest Airlines warmly welcomes dogs, cats, small domesticated animals like rabbits and guinea pigs, as well as emotional support animals (ESAs) and service animals on board their flights. By allowing various types of pets in the cabin, Southwest acknowledges the bond between humans and their animal companions while accommodating passengers’ needs.

Dogs and cats

Southwest Airlines permits both dogs and cats to travel in-cabin. However, certain breed restrictions may apply due to safety concerns or local regulations. It is always advisable to check with the airline beforehand if you have a specific breed.

Small domesticated animals (e.g., rabbits, guinea pigs)

In addition to dogs and cats, Southwest also allows small domesticated animals like rabbits and guinea pigs in the cabin. These adorable creatures can provide emotional support to their owners during travel.

Emotional support animals (ESAs) and service animals

Recognizing the importance of emotional support animals (ESAs) for individuals with mental health conditions or disabilities, Southwest Airlines accommodates them as well. Passengers need to provide appropriate documentation proving their animal’s status as an ESA or service animal.

Weight and size restrictions for pets in the cabin

While welcoming pets on board, Southwest Airlines has some restrictions in place to ensure the safety and comfort of all passengers. The weight of a pet, including its carrier, should not exceed 20 pounds.

Moreover, carriers must fit comfortably under the seat in front of the passenger. These regulations guarantee that pets remain secure during the flight and do not cause any inconvenience or disturbance to fellow travelers.

Southwest Airlines’ commitment to accommodating various types of pets on board showcases their dedication to customer satisfaction. By providing flexibility within their pet policy, they create an inclusive environment for passengers traveling with their beloved pets, ensuring a seamless journey for both human and animal companions alike.

Pet Reservations and Fees on Southwest

Importance of making advance reservations for pets

Traveling with a pet can be an exciting and fulfilling experience, but it requires careful planning and preparation. One crucial aspect of ensuring a smooth journey with your furry companion is making advance reservations for your pet on Southwest Airlines.

This step is essential as Southwest has limited space available for pets in the cabin, and without a reservation, you may face the disappointment of not being able to bring your pet onboard. By securing a reservation well in advance, you guarantee that your beloved pet will have a spot reserved alongside you.

Pet reservation process on Southwest Airlines’ website or app

Southwest Airlines provides a user-friendly online platform that allows passengers to easily make pet reservations. To begin the process, visit the official Southwest Airlines website or use their mobile app.

Locate the “Manage Reservations” section, where you can enter your confirmation number and name to access your booking details. Look for the option to add or manage pets within your existing reservation.

Step-by-step instructions for booking a pet reservation:

1. Access Southwest’s official website or mobile app. 2. Navigate to “Manage Reservations” using your confirmation number and name.

3. Select the option to add or manage pets within your reservation. 4. Provide necessary information about your pet, including type (dog, cat, etc.), breed, name, weight, and carrier dimensions.

5. Review all entered information carefully to ensure accuracy. 6. Complete the payment process for any associated fees related to traveling with pets.

Associated fees for traveling with a pet

While bringing your furry friend along on your journey is undoubtedly rewarding, it does come at an additional cost due to the extra services involved in accommodating animals onboard Southwest flights. The fee associated with traveling with a pet is $95 each way.

It is important to note that this fee is nonrefundable, regardless of whether your flight plans change or if you decide to cancel your reservation. The fee contributes to the airline’s efforts to ensure a seamless and comfortable experience for both pets and passengers by providing necessary facilities and appropriately trained staff.

Ensuring that you make advance reservations for your pet on Southwest Airlines not only guarantees their spot onboard but also allows you to plan your trip accordingly. By following the simple step-by-step instructions provided on the website or mobile app, you can easily add or manage pets within your existing reservation.

However, it is essential to be aware of the associated fees when traveling with a pet on Southwest Airlines, as they help cover the necessary arrangements and services provided for pets’ well-being during their journey. Now that you understand how to reserve your pet’s spot and the associated fees involved let’s delve into in-cabin requirements and comforts for pets on Southwest in our next section.

In-Cabin Pet Requirements and Comforts on Southwest

Approved carriers and containers for pets in the cabin

When traveling with pets on Southwest, it is crucial to ensure you have an appropriate carrier or container that complies with their guidelines. The airline permits soft-sided carriers or hard-sided carriers, both designed specifically for in-cabin use.

Soft-sided carriers are typically made of durable nylon material, which allows for flexibility while maintaining structural integrity. On the other hand, hard-sided carriers are usually constructed from sturdy plastic materials, providing increased protection and stability for your pet during the journey.

Maximum dimensions, materials, and safety features

To adhere to Southwest’s regulations, your pet’s carrier must fit comfortably under the seat in front of you. The maximum dimensions allowed are typically 18.5 inches long by 8.5 inches high by 13.5 inches wide. It is crucial to measure your carrier accurately before booking your flight to ensure compliance.

In terms of materials and safety features, both soft-sided and hard-sided carriers must have secure closures such as zippers or latches to prevent accidental openings during transit. Additionally, carriers should be well-ventilated to allow proper airflow for your furry friend while onboard.

Tips for choosing the right carrier

Selecting the ideal carrier for your pet involves considering various factors that prioritize comfort and convenience during travel: a) Soft-sided carriers vs hard-sided carriers: Soft-sided carriers are generally lighter and more flexible than hard-sided ones; thus they offer enhanced portability and ease of storage when not in use. b) Ventilation requirements: Ensure that any carrier you choose has sufficient ventilation panels or mesh windows to facilitate proper air circulation within the enclosed space.

c) Accessibility features (e.g., pockets, zippers): Opting for a carrier with additional pockets can be advantageous, allowing you to store essentials such as treats, waste bags, or documents. Additionally, carriers with multiple zippers provide easier access to your pet and ensure they can be secured safely inside.

Preparing your pet’s carrier before travel

To help your pet feel more comfortable and secure during the journey, it is vital to familiarize them with their carrier well in advance of the trip. Leave the carrier open in a familiar space within your home, gradually introducing them to it by placing treats or toys inside.

This will allow them to associate positive experiences with the carrier and reduce anxiety. In addition to familiarization, consider adding comfort items to the carrier.

A cozy blanket or cushion can provide a sense of familiarity and warmth for your pet throughout the flight. Including their favorite toy can also offer a soothing presence and alleviate stress during travel.

By considering these in-cabin requirements and taking steps to ensure your pet’s comfort before the journey begins, you can make traveling on Southwest Airlines a positive experience for both you and your furry companion. Remember that providing an appropriate carrier that meets all guidelines not only ensures compliance but also contributes significantly to your pet’s well-being throughout their time in the cabin.

Pet Check-In Process at the Airport

Arriving at the airport with your pet

Once you have made all the necessary preparations and arrived at the airport, it’s essential to ensure a smooth pet check-in process. When you first enter the terminal, make sure your pet is secured in its carrier or on a leash, depending on its size.

While navigating through the airport, remember to be considerate of other passengers and keep your furry friend calm and comfortable. Avoid crowded areas that may overwhelm your pet and try to find quieter spaces where they can relax before the journey.

Checking in your pet at the designated counter

Upon reaching the designated pet check-in counter, Southwest Airlines’ friendly staff will assist you with checking in your beloved animal companion. Be prepared to provide all necessary documentation required for travel with a pet. This includes any health certificates or vaccination records that may be mandated by Southwest or local authorities.

Ensure you have these documents readily available for ease of verification.

  1. Required documentation (e.g., health certificates, vaccination records)

Before traveling with your pet on Southwest Airlines, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with their specific documentation requirements. Typically, dogs and cats over eight weeks old require a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian within ten days of travel. This certificate verifies that your furry friend is fit for air travel and up-to-date on necessary vaccinations.

  1. Verification process by airline staff

Once you have presented all the required documentation during check-in, Southwest’s attentive staff will review them thoroughly. They will verify that all documents are complete and comply with their guidelines for pets on board. This verification process ensures both compliance with regulations and prioritizes safety for all passengers traveling with pets.


Southwest Airlines’ pet check-in process at the airport is designed to ensure the safety and comfort of your furry companions throughout their journey. From arrival at the terminal to checking in your pet at the designated counter, Southwest’s staff is there to assist and guide you through each step. By having all necessary documentation readily available and being mindful of your pet’s well-being within the airport environment, you can help make the check-in process a seamless experience for both you and your animal companion.

Traveling with pets can be an enriching experience, allowing us to create lasting memories together. Southwest Airlines recognizes this bond and strives to accommodate pets with their well-thought-out policies and procedures.

So sit back, relax, and embark on your travel adventure with peace of mind knowing that Southwest Airlines values your pet’s welfare just as much as you do. Happy travels!

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