Southwest Airlines Pet Policy

Southwest Airlines Pet Policy: Fees and Restrictions

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Last Updated on March 27, 2024 by Rick Spiegel

Pet lovers these days don’t want to leave their pets at home when traveling for long trips. Traveling with your furry friend can be a rewarding experience, and Southwest Airlines pet policy makes it convenient for pet owners to bring their pets along on their flights.

Southwest Airlines provides the best pet policy so that passengers who want to carry their pets along with them face no problem.

  • According to Southwest Airlines Pet Policy, pets can travel only inside the cabin. Pets cannot travel inside the Southwest cargo.
  • Pets are eligible to fly on domestic routes only.
  • Small dogs and cats can travel inside the cabin.
  • According to Southwest Airlines, one traveler can bring one pet carrier.
  • Dimension of the pet carrier: LXBXH: 18.5” * 13.5” * 8.5”
  • Southwest permits 6 pets on the flight. However, sometimes count can increase or decrease.

Southwest Airlines Pet Policy: Eligibility Criteria

  • Only one pet carrier is allowed per ticket per passenger.
  • Only dogs and cats can travel inside the cabin.
  • According to Southwest Airlines Pet Policy, the dogs and cats must be eight weeks old.
  • Pets can travel only if they have a reservation.
  • Moreover, the weight of the dogs and cats should not be more than 9 kg and fit in an approved carrier.

NOTE: If you plan to travel with your pet on a U.S. flight, it’s necessary to include your pet in your booking ahead of time by reaching out to Southwest directly.

On the day of your journey, passengers with pets are required to complete the check-in process at the ticket counter. This allows Southwest staff to give their approval for both the pet and its carrier.

Pet Carrier Rules on Southwest Airlines

  • Southwest Airlines permits only one pet carrier per passenger.
  • Travelers can carry two dogs or cats in a carrier if they are of the same species.
  • The dog or cat must stay within the pet carrier and have proper mobility inside the carrier.
  • At all times in the gate area, during boarding and disembarking, and for the duration of the flight, pets must stay within the pet carrier. If the passenger does not follow this rule, Southwest Airlines may refuse to allow the pet to travel.
  • Pet carriers that are specially made to be soft-sided or hard-sided are permitted.
  • The carrier should be enough small so that it can fit in front of the passenger seat.
  • Leak-proof and well-ventilated carriers are essential.
  • Travelers can purchase pet carriers from Southwest Airlines. The dimensions of the Southwest Airlines Pet Carrier are 17 inches in length, 9.5 inches high, and 10 inches broad.
  • However, if you are bringing your own pet container, then ensure that the maximum size should not be more than 13.5” wide by 8.5” high by 18.5” long.

 According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines, the pet carrier should be compact enough to fit under the customer’s seat in front.

Southwest Airlines Pet Travel Restrictions

  • Southwest Airlines Pet Policy does not permit flyers with pet reservations to sit in the exit row or a seat without forward under-seat storage. Also, they should stay inside the container for the entire flight duration.
  • Pets can travel only inside the Southwest Airlines cabin. They cannot be checked as luggage.
  • Each scheduled flight may include no more than six (6) pet carriers. Since there’s a cap on the number of pets that can fly on each Southwest aircraft, so don’t forget to call and make your reservation.
  • Cats and dogs that are not traveling with a passenger cannot fly on Southwest Airlines.
  • Also, Southwest Airlines Pet Policy does not permit unaccompanied minors to travel with pets.
  • On foreign flights and any itinerary that includes an overseas flight, pets are not permitted in the cabin.
  • A trained service animal and a pet cannot be kept in the same carrier.
  • Since your pet will be traveling in a carrier for the duration of the trip, make sure it is fed appropriately.
  • When traveling with a trained service animal or portable oxygen concentrator, the passenger must purchase an additional non-refundable seat to accommodate the pet.
  • Pets carried on board are not subject to Southwest Airlines’ liability for their health or welfare. There won’t be any oxygen or other first aid given if the pet gets sick during the flight.
  • If a traveler has to take their dog or cat to an outdoor relief area and misses a flight, Southwest Airlines will not be held liable. There will be no postponement or cancellation of flight departures to allow connected passengers to bring their pets to an animal relief facility.

Cremated Pet Remains

  • Cremated pet remains are allowed to be carried on board by passengers.
  • As long as the cremated remains are in a container that the TSA can inspect, they can be brought on flights. It is advised against carrying them in an opaque or urn-shaped container and instead use a plastic or cardboard one.
  • Southwest Airlines will not accept cremated remains as checked luggage.

Southwest Airlines Pet Reservation

  • If any passenger wants to carry a pet along with them they should book the ticket in advance because Southwest Airlines limits the number of pets per flight.
  • Travelers can call 1-800-435-9792 to book for their pets.
  • Passengers are required to bring their pets to the airport in authorized pet carriers on the day of the flight.
  • Passengers who are carrying pets need to check in at the ticket counter and get all the documents verified for a pet.
  • Pay the pet fare at the airport ticket counter.

Southwest Airlines Pet Fees

  • Southwest Airlines charges a one-way price of $125 for each pet carrier for flights in the US mainland.
  • On the other hand, SW charges $35 as a pet fee for flights between Hawaiian islands.
  • The good news is that pet fares are refundable, so you can get your money back if your plans change.
  • It is not possible to pay for a pet fee with a Southwest gift card, flight credit, or LUV Voucher. You have to use your credit card to pay.
  • You can purchase a pet carrier from Southwest Airlines for $58. You can do it at any Southwest Airport Ticket Counter or online. There are no refunds for pet carriers.

Southwest Airlines Pet Refund

  • According to Southwest Airlines Pet Policy, travelers can claim a refund for pet reservations.
  • Passengers can call Southwest at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792) or go to the airport ticket counter to make a refund request.
  • Flyers can ask for a refund if they cancel their reservation and their pet does not travel, or if their flight is canceled and they decide not to rebook.

Does Southwest Airlines accept pet crates/strollers as checked baggage?

Yes, in addition to the standard free luggage allowance, customers who are traveling with pets are eligible to check an empty pet box or pram for free.

Remember that Southwest only accepts pets inside the cabin.

Also, when travelers bring a pet carrier inside the cabin, it will be counted towards their carry-on allowance. It will be treated as your personal item or carry-on bag. Thus, you won’t be able to bring all three together on the carrier.

Southwest Airlines strives to provide pleasant traveling for all passengers while accommodating pet-owning guests through the implementation of a pet-friendly policy.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How strict is Southwest Airlines with pet policy?

Southwest Airlines adheres to the pet travel rules and regulations strictly. It states that the pet should stay inside the cabin during the flight. Also, passengers cannot sit on the exit row seats and on seats without front under-seat storage.

Can my dog sit on my lap on Southwest?

No. According to Southwest Airlines Pet Policy, your pet cannot travel or sit on your lap during the flight. It should stay inside the container during the flight.

What size dog can fly on Southwest?

Any small domestic dog that can fit inside the container can fly on Southwest. The size of the dog should be such that it can easily stand inside the pet carrier.

How much does it cost to take a pet on Southwest Airlines?

There is a nominal fee for carrying a pet on SW. The nominal fee is separate from the passenger’s fare in Southwest Airlines. The airline charges $125 each way per carrier for bringing their pet.

Can passengers carry their pets on SW international flights?

No, passengers cannot carry their pets on Southwest international flights. They can only carry their pets on domestic flights within the United States and Hawaiian islands.

What type of carrier is acceptable for pets on a SW flight?

On Southwest Airlines, containers that are leakproof and have proper ventilation are acceptable. The maximum size of the carrier should not be more than 13.5” wide by 8.5” high by 18.5” long.

How can passenger make reservations for their pet?

Passengers can make reservations for their pets by contacting Southwest Airlines. They can add pets to their itinerary by calling the airline at 1-800-435-9792.

Are there any health requirements for pets on SW?

Passengers are responsible for ensuring the health requirements of their pets. Southwest Airlines suggests passengers to vaccinate their pets. Also, the weight of the pet should be 9 kg.

How old does the pet should be to travel on SW?

According to Southwest Airlines Pet Policy, the pets should be at least eight weeks old. If the pets are younger, then Southwest will refuse them to travel.

Can pets be denied boarding on Southwest Airlines?

If the behavior of the pet is not good, then SW will deny boarding. If the pet does excessive barking, howling, or defecates in the cabin area, SW will not permit it.


Rick Spiegel

I'm Rick Spiegel, a dedicated traveler and writer with a passion for all things related to airline travel. My love for exploring new destinations and my commitment to helping fellow travelers navigate the skies have led me to create a space where you can find all the information you need to contact airlines and resolve air travel issues seamlessly. With years of experience in the aviation industry, I've made it my mission to provide you with expertly crafted airline travel guides, ensuring that your journeys are as smooth as possible.

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