Can Pit Bulls Fly on Planes? A Guide to Traveling with Bully Breeds

Airlines have a lot of rules, and while rules are essential, they can sometimes be restrictive. Flying can be stressful for dog owners, you have your baggage, you pay a lot, and you want to fly your dog with you. 

Instances of biting, aggression, or attacks have not made the process any easier. 

If you want to get on an airplane with your dog, you have to be up to date with all new regulations, so that you do not find any surprises before your flight. 

Being up-to-date is easier than it sounds because airplane pet regulations are constantly changing. 

So, Can Pit Bulls Fly on Planes? Yes, Pit Bulls can fly on planes. Pit Bulls have been banned from flying on specific airlines before. However, the U.S Department of Transportation has forbidden airlines to ban dogs based on their breed.  Such great news! 

If you want to know how to fly with your Pit Bull, which airline to choose, tips on how to fly with your Pit Bull, and the IATA CR 82 Crate Requirement, keep reading. This is about to be very informative. 

Can Pit Bulls Fly on Planes? 

Whether Pit Bulls are allowed to fly on planes or not has been a topic with a lot of ups and downs. Due to some instances such as a Pit Bull biting a flight attendant, some airlines have banned Pit Bulls from flying. 

Thankfully, the U.S Department of Transportation stepped in and prohibited airlines from banning certain dog breeds. Hence, most airline companies lifted their ban. 

The ban was quite discriminating, it did not accept Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Doberman pinschers, which aggravated a lot of people who are parents to these breeds. 

That being said, there are a lot of regulations that apply when flying your dog on an airplane, which will be discussed in the following section. 

How to fly with your Pit Bull? A Step-by-Step Guide! 

Pitbull in a plane to show how can pitbulls fly on planes

If you are reading this article, you’re already on the right track. You are doing your research, which is  Before flying, you must do your best to get informed and understand what needs to be done. 

Doing your research includes: 

Investigating if Pit Bulls are banned at your destination

Some destinations are more pet-friendly than others. What you should do is check your destinations’ animal importation laws. 

Let us learn from Johnny Depp’s mistake when he invited his dog along to Australia only to find that it is not that simple. Yikes! 

You also need to be sure where the relief area is at the airport you are arriving at.  You can find directions on the website or at the airport. 

I have a complete guide on why Pit Bulls are banned in some places (and where they’re banned) here that you can (and probably should) check out.

Know whether your Pit Bull will fly in the cabin or cargo 

This depends on your dog’s size. If your Pit Bull is small enough to fly in a cabin, then you are lucky. However, if your dog is a bit large, then they will probably fly in the cargo with the luggage. 

Please note that flights can be quite stressful for dogs, especially if they are flying in the cargo. 

The exact dimensions vary from one airline to the other. Hence, I advise you to look up the regulations. Where exactly your dog will fly could be an important determinant of whether your dog will fly with you or not. 

Get an appropriate crate 

Airlines follow the rules of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The IATA has a list of guidelines for pet crate requirements. 

Of course, this list is always changing too. 

There are a few general rules that you have to follow:

  • The crate should have ventilation
  • It should be durable
  • It should have string handles
  • It should have a leak-proof bottom
  • You should clearly mark it with the words “Live Animal” 
  • You should write a label on it with your name, phone number, and destination 

Many people also don’t know how to measure their dogs or cats for the right crate, you can find a good source on how to do that in the sources section in the article.

Take your Pit Bull for a health check

Before flying, make sure your Pit Bull is healthy enough to handle the trip. Additionally, you need a health certificate that clearly states that your Pit Bull is healthy enough to fly and that they are up-to-date with their immunization. 

Please note that the certificate is only valid for 30 days and that you need it for your return too.  

Finding the airline that is most suitable for you and your doggo

Choosing an airline can be tricky, especially when you are inviting your dog along. It is worth mentioning that flying your dog can be expensive and restrictive. 

But if money is not an issue, then you are all set. 

While picking your flight, go for the non-stop flights, because transit can be such a hassle. You might also want to avoid holiday periods where airports and flights are busier than usual. 

Have all the necessary documents ready 

If your dog is an emotional support animal, you need documents that prove you really need him/her with you.

Airlines may ask you to provide documents related to training, behavior, and vaccination. 

Contact your airline 

Lastly, you need to get in touch with your airline to make sure they have space for your dog and that you would not face any complications.

It is important to realize that most airlines only allow a certain amount of pets on the plane. 

What airlines allow Pit Bulls? 5 airlines to choose from 

While we understand that you don’t always have the freedom of choosing which airline to use, if you can choose which airline to fly on, you should choose the one that’s also going to be friendly to your dog.

Here are the 5 most pet-friendly airlines you can use:

Delta Airline 

Delta airlines have had a bumpy history with Pit Bulls. However, after the U.S Department of Transportation issued a statement prohibiting airlines to ban certain dog breeds, it has opened its gates for Pit Bulls once again. 

However, here is the catch: it has to be a service dog. 

The pet fee varies with the destination. So, you have to ask the airline. 

American Airlines

While American Airlines is considered to be pet-friendly, it does not allow Pit Bulls to fly in its cargo. That is because it might be hard for Pit Bulls to breathe in the cargo holds while in the sky.

However, your Pit Bull can fly in the cabin with you. 

Service dogs can fly for free on American Airlines. Carry-on pets are $125 per kennel. 

Alaska Airlines 

American Airlines and Alaska Airlines have similar rules. They do not restrict any breeds from flying. However, due to their cargo space, short-nosed dogs may not travel safely in the cargo. 

Pit Bulls are among the short-nosed dogs. Hence, they can fly with you in the cabin, where they will be safer. 

Alaska Airlines charges $100 each way as a pet fee. 


For a 95$ Pet fare, your Pit Bull can fly with you as a carry-on. Of course, that only applies if your dog fits the dimensions that they allow. You have to call the airline to make sure your dog’s size is suitable for their policies. 


JetBlue does not restrict any dog breed from flying. However, your Pit Bull has to be small enough to fit under your seat. The Pit Bull’s dimensions must not exceed 17″ by 12.5″ by 8.5″. 

JetBlue’s fee is $125 each way. 

6 Pro Tips for Flying with Bully Breeds 

So far, we have discussed almost everything you must know to fly with your pitbull, but there are a few things that can definitely make your trip with your Pitbull easier, and as someone who has flown with their Pit Bulls quite a few times, here are the best ones I’ve learned over the years:

Get a plane ticket early 

Most airlines allow a limited number of pets aboard, which means you have to be fast.

If you don’t book early, there is a chance you will either pay more than the standard fee or your dog won’t fly with you. 

Review your Airline pet policy 

Airport pet policies are constantly changing. Before flying, make sure to either contact your airline or look up the regulations online. It would not hurt to be extra ready. 

You should also make sure you have the adequate crate based on the IATA CR 82 Crate Requirements, which I will help you with at the end of this article.  

Choose a window seat

Choosing a window seat would be safer for your dog because of foot-trafficking. You might also want to choose a seat with extra leg-space, so that your Pit Bull and your legs aren’t crammed together. 

Your and your Pit Bull’s comfort are worth every extra dollar. 

Prep your Pit Bull beforehand 

The flight will probably be hard for your Pit Bull. I advise you to feed them before your flight so they may have some exercise and go to the bathroom before boarding the plane in their crate. They can also drink water till they board the plane.

Again, please make sure your dog is healthy enough to travel. 

Arrive at the airport early 

This tip is applicable if you are flying solo or with your Pit Bull. Arriving at the airport early is always advisable, as you leave time for any inconvenience that might occur. 

Most Airlines recommend you get to the airport two hours earlier than your flight if you are traveling with your dog. 

Pick your dog up immediately after arrival

Most airlines say that dogs must be picked up within four hours of the plane’s arrival. If you fail to pick them up within four hours, they might be taken to a veterinarian. 

What kind of dogs can’t fly? 

Thanks to the statement of the U.S Department of Transportation that prohibits the ban of certain dog-breeds, all dogs can fly. 

However, you have to provide documentation proving that your dog is healthy and vaccinated. 

If you are traveling with your emotional support dog, you have to provide documentation that proves you are in need of your dog’s presence. 

The IATA CR 82 Crate Requirements 

The IATA CR 82 Crate Requirements have changed recently. Unfortunately, the plastic crates you have used before to fly your dog are no longer acceptable. 

Instead, you should buy a crate made of metal, wood, synthetic materials, weld mesh, or wire mesh. The crate door must be made of heavy wire mesh, reinforced wood, or metal. 

Unfortunately, such crates can be very expensive. For instance, an aluminum crate cost approximately $600. 

Finally, traveling with a Pit Bull can be quite challenging. If you are not well prepared, you might need to cancel your trip at the last minute. So, make sure you follow the guidelines and make sure you do your proper research. 

Most importantly, make sure your loving Pit Bull can handle flying. 

Related Questions 

Which airline is the most dog friendly?

The pet-friendliest airline is Alaska Airlines. It has low fees in comparison to other airlines. Furthermore, its pet policies are more flexible than other airlines. For instance, it does not restrict dog breeds. Its cabin-only rule is also for the safety of your dog. 

Can Pit Bulls fly on American Airlines? 

Yes, Pit Bulls can fly on American Airlines. However, for their own safety, they have to be in the cabin with you. Like Alaska Airlines, the dog might find difficulty breathing in the cargo. Hence, they have a cabin-only rule for Pit Bulls. 

Can Pit Bulls Fly on Delta? 

If your dog is a service dog, it can fly with you on Delta. They must fit in a small, ventilated crate that fits under the seat in front of you. Delta has banned Pit Bulls before after an unfortunate instance. However, it lifted the ban when the U.S Department of Transportation condemned the ban. 

Can Pit Bulls Fly on Alaska Airlines? 

Yes, Pit Bulls can fly on Alaska Airlines for a $100 fee. Under the condition that it flies with you in the cabin. Your Pit Bull should also stay in a crate that is strong enough to hold it. You need to also make sure your Pit Bull can breathe well through the crate. 

Can Pit Bulls Fly on Southwest?

Yes, your dog can fly with you in the southwest, as long as they stay in their crate. The crate should match the requirements of IATA; it should not be made of plastic, but rather wood or metal and it should have ventilation. 

Can Pit Bulls fly on JetBlue? 

Yes, Pit Bulls can fly on JetBlue, but they have to fit under the seat. The pet fee is $125 each way. Your Pit Bull has to be in a suitable crate that has adequate ventilation and a no leaking bottom. 

Can Pit Bulls be service dogs?

Pit Bulls can make excellent service dogs. They are friendly, loving and devoted companions. Please note that Pit Bulls are in need of love and affection. 

Helpful Resources 

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