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Airlines have many rules regarding traveling with pets, and while these rules are essential for the safety of the passengers and the pets, they can sometimes be restrictive, especially if you’re traveling with a Pit Bull.
Pit bulls have long been the subject of controversy due to their reputation, leading many owners to ask themselves, can Pit Bulls fly on planes? and if they can, how to ensure that the trip will be safe and smooth?
Pit Bulls can fly on planes. However, whether they’re allowed or not depends on the airline’s policy; some airlines ban Pit Bulls outright, while others have restrictions. With proper training and socialization, you can ensure that your Pit Bull will be able to travel with no problems.
If you’re planning on traveling with your Pit Bull, you must be updated on all new regulations so that you don’t come across any surprises before your flight. Keep reading to learn some tips on how to fly with your Pit Bull and which airlines are the most pet-friendly.
Can Pit Bulls Fly on Planes?
The answer is yes; Pit Bulls can fly on planes but with some restrictions, depending on the airline and the specific breed of dog.
Each airline has its own policies regarding the transportation of pets on its flights. Some airlines used to have breed-specific restrictions that banned Pit Bulls outright, while others allowed Pit Bulls but with some restrictions.
However, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a statement in 2020 that prohibits airlines from banning certain dog breeds from flying. The statement clarified that airlines are not allowed to have breed-specific policies and must evaluate each individual animal based on its behavior and temperament.
This means that airlines are not allowed to have blanket policies that prohibit certain breeds, even Pit Bulls, from flying. Still, you need to check with the airline about their restrictions before booking your flight.
Additionally, it is important to check with the destination country’s laws and regulations, as some countries may restrict certain breeds of dogs, including Pit Bulls.
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.
Dog Breeds That Are Restricted from Flying
Breeds that are commonly restricted from flying include:
- Pit Bull Terriers
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Bull Terriers
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- American Bulldogs
- Doberman Pinschers
- Cane Corso
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Chow Chows
But, thanks to the statement of the U.S. Department of Transportation that prohibits airlines from having breed-specific policies, all dog breeds can fly.
However, you have to provide documentation proving that your dog is healthy and vaccinated, and if you are traveling with a service dog or an emotional support dog, you have to provide documentation that proves you are in need of your dog’s presence.
How to Fly with Your Pit Bull?
There are various things you need to consider and prepare for before booking a flight with your dog. So, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to fly with your Pit Bull.
Choose an airline
Choosing an airline can be tricky, especially when you are inviting your dog along. As mentioned before, different airlines have different restrictions, and some of them are stricter than others, not to mention expenses.
So, you need to research different airlines and choose the one that’s most ideal for your dog and your budget.
Take your Pit Bull for a health check
Before flying, ensure your Pit Bull is healthy enough to handle the trip.
Additionally, you need a health certificate from the vet that clearly states that your Pit Bull is healthy enough to fly and that it’s up-to-date with its immunization. Please note that the certificate is usually only valid for 30 days and that you need it for your return flight too.
Know whether your Pit Bull will fly as cargo or in-cabin
Each airline has its own policies regarding the breeds of dogs that are allowed to fly as cargo or in-cabin.
It typically 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, it will probably have fly in the cargo with the luggage.
The exact dimensions vary from one airline to the other, so it’s important to get in touch with your chosen airline and send them your dog’s exact dimensions so they can confirm how your dog will be flying.
Get an appropriate crate
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has established standards for transporting live animals, including dogs, on commercial airlines.
These standards are known as the IATA Live Animal Regulations (LAR) and include guidelines for the design and construction of crates used to transport animals by air. The specific requirement for the Crate is CR 82.
According to the IATA CR 82, the crate must:
- Be made of sturdy, durable material that can withstand the rigors of air travel.
- Be large enough to allow the animal to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
- Be ventilated on at least two opposite sides.
- Have a solid floor with a non-skid surface.
- Have a secure locking mechanism.
- Be marked with the words “Live Animal” and the arrow indicating the upright position.
- Include food and water dishes that can be secured within the crate.
- Include a name tag with the animal’s name, the owner’s name and contact information, and any special handling instructions.
It’s important to note that these are general guidelines, and specific requirements may vary depending on the airline and destination country’s laws and regulations. It’s always best to check with the specific airline for their specific requirements for the crate and for pet travel in general.
It’s also important to note that the IATA CR 82 crate requirements are often updated. For instance, plastic crates are longer acceptable for flying dogs. Instead, the crate must be made of metal, wood, synthetic materials, weld mesh, or wire mesh, and the crate door must be made of heavy wire mesh, reinforced wood, or metal.
If you’re looking for crate recommendations, I have a complete guide on the best crates for Pit Bulls that you can check out.
Have all the necessary documents ready
When traveling by air with a dog, several documents may be required by the airline and destination country.
These documents can include the following:
- Proof of service dog or emotional support dog status: This can include a letter from a licensed therapist, physician, or other mental health professional stating that the passenger has a mental or emotional disability and that the dog is necessary for their treatment.
- Health certificate: issued by a licensed veterinarian within a certain time frame before the flight and must state that the pet is in good health and fit to fly. Some countries may also have specific vaccination requirements that must be met before the animal can enter the country.
- Rabies vaccination certificate: Many countries require that dogs have a current rabies vaccination. The certificate should indicate when the vaccination was given and when it expires as well as the name and address of the vet who administered the vaccine.
- Microchip or Tattoo: Some airlines and countries may require that the pet is microchipped or tattooed for identification purposes.
- Import/export permit: Some countries may require an import or export permit for the animal. It is important to check with the destination country’s laws and regulations to see if a permit is required and how to obtain one.
- Travel reservation: Some airlines may require that you have a travel reservation for your pet. This is typically done at the same time as booking your own travel and is subject to availability and additional fees.
The 3 Most Pet-Friendly Airlines
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.
So, here are the 5 most pet-friendly airlines you can book a flight with when travelling with a Pit Bull:
Delta Airlines have had a bumpy history with Pit Bulls. However, after the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a statement prohibiting airlines from banning certain dog breeds, it opened its gates for Pit Bulls once again. However, here is the catch: it has to be a service dog.
The fee for traveling with a pet in the cabin on a Delta flight is $125 each way. It’s worth noting that service animals, including Pit Bulls trained as service animals, are not subject to these fees and are welcome to fly in the cabin with their owners.
American Airlines does not accept pets as checked baggage and only Pit Bulls that are properly trained as service animals are allowed to fly in the cabin with their owner.
The fee for traveling with a pet in the cabin on a American Airlines flight is $125 each way. However, there are certain restrictions on the size and type of pet that can travel in the cabin, as the pet should be small enough to fit comfortably in a carrier that can fit under the seat in front of you.
Alaska Airlines does not allow Pit Bulls to be transported as cargo and only service Pit Bulls are properly are allowed to fly in the cabin.
The fee charged for traveling with a dog on Alaska Airlines depends on the type of travel.
- For travel within the state of Alaska, there is a fee of $50 for each way per dog.
- For travel between Alaska and the contiguous 48 states, there is a fee of $100 for each way per dog.
- For travel to/from Hawaii, there is a fee of $125 for each way per dog.
The fees for traveling with a dog on Alaska Airlines are subject to change and may vary depending on the route and class of service. Additionally, fees may vary for service animals and emotional support animals, it’s best to check with the airline directly for the most up-to-date information.
It’s important to note that the fee only covers the transportation of the dog, and it does not include any additional services such as feeding or care during the flight.
6 Tips to Make Flying with Pit Bulls Easier
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 easier.
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.
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
Go for non-stop flights
While picking your flight, go for the non-stop flights because transit can be a hassle. You might also want to avoid holiday periods when airports and flights are busier than usual.
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.
Prep your Pit Bull beforehand
Pit Bulls are energetic dogs and they may be nervous or stressed during the flight. Training your dog to be comfortable in a travel container and getting them used to the sights and sounds of an airport and airplane can be helpful.
I also 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.
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, so you can have enough to deal with 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.
By following these tips, you and your Pit Bull can have a smooth and safe flight.
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