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Flying With a Large Dog in Cabin: How to Guide (2024)

Curious to know whether flying with a large dog in cabin is possible? Traveling with pets is complex on the best of days, but when you’re working with a big dog things get a little more complicated.

Ideally, you’ll pull up at the airport, breeze through security, grab a drink and a puppy cookie at the Starbucks, and get Fido buckled in on the seat right next to you… unfortunately that’s not how flying with your pooch works. If you’re traveling on a commercial airline and your pup is NOT a service dog, then in most cases you’ll need to check them as baggage or hand them off to cargo.

But there are a few times where you can fly with a large dog in cabin, so let’s take a look at what those options are. How much is the journey going to cost you, what can you do to make it safe and stress-free (ish) and how can you get ready.

So let’s dig in because this is not something you want to be trying to figure out on the fly.

Golden retriever, large breed dog, flying in cabin on a plane

Flying With a Large Dog in Cabin: Is it Possible? 

Yes you can fly with large dogs in the cabin if your dog is NOT a service dog. There are many private and semi-private airlines that will allow your pooch to ride with you. But there are a few non-cabin options as well.

View out of an airplane window over San Francisco

Airlines that Allow Large Dogs in Cabin

1. JSX

JSX is a semi-private American air carrier that runs domestic flights, primarily in the Southern United States. They offer two types of tickets — Hop on and All in — and they welcome dogs up to 65 lbs on their flights.

There is no pet fee, but if you have a larger dog you’ll need to purchase a second ticket. You’re only required to be there 20 minutes before the plane is set to board, which means you don’t have to wait around with your pal. But he will need to be well-behaved and on a leash.

  • Cost: $109 – $499 (no pet fee)
  • Maximum Weight: 65lbs
  • International Flights: No

2. Aero

Aero is another semi-private airline that flies small planes of up to 16 passengers to various US destinations, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Aspen. Unfortunately, these flights are considerably more costly then you’ll find with JSX, you’re looking at prices of $1,250+.

The good news is, they allow big dogs in the cabin. For a dog less than 20 lbs that’s going to stay under the seat in a carrier you’re looking at a pet fee of $300. And for pooches 20 to 65 lbs (the maximum) you’ll need to purchase an additional seat. While their private terminal experience is grand, you do have to pay for it.

  • Cost: $300 pet fee (less than 20lbs), extra seat for 20 to 65 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 65lbs
  • International Flights: No

3. Tradewind Aviation

Based in Connecticut, Tradewind Aviation provides scheduled and private chartered flights throughout the US and Caribbean. This is a great option if you’re looking to head to a high-end vacation destination.

Pets of ALL sizes are allowed in the cabin — though notably only 1 per flight. However, dogs that are over 100 lbs will need to purchase an additional seat.

  • Cost: Additional seat dogs over 100 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: N/A
  • International Flights: Yes (limited)

4. Surf Air

Surf Air is a jet membership service that flies across the United States. They offer both semi-private and on-demand flights, but you need a membership to fly with them, and you’re looking at $199 to $3,000 annually.

To fly, dogs have to be older than 4 months, clean, well-behaved, with up-to-date vaccinations, and less than 100lbs. You’ll also need to call and notify the airline ahead of time

  • Cost: $199+
  • Maximum Weight: 100 lbs
  • International Flights: No


BLADE offers book-by-the-seat scheduled flights around the United States, crowdsourced and private chartered flights to anywhere. What makes BLADE unique is that their fleet consists of seaplanes, turboprops and helicopters, in addition to jets.

Your pup can travel on all of BLADE’s fleet, though the price varies. For helicopters, seaplanes and turboprops, you’re looking at $95 for 25 lbs or less, and an additional seat for over that. For jets, you’ll pay $300 for up to 35 lbs, and if your pooch is heavier than that, you’ll need to get an extra ticket. Dogs with their own tickets don’t require a carrier, but they do need to be on a leash.

  • Cost: $95 – $300+
  • Maximum Weight: N/A but over 25 lbs (helicopter, seaplane, turboprop) or 35 lbs (jets) needs an additional ticket
  • International Flights: Yes (chartered or crowdsourced)

6. Linear Air

Linear Air runs essentially an air taxi service that allows you to charter a small private plane for as little as $4,200. Granted, that’s not the cheapest option for flying with your big dog but it is an option.

The great thing is that Linear Air has no real limits about the size of your dog. And, if you’re chartering a plane, there’s no add-on cost.

  • Cost: $4,200+
  • Maximum Weight: N/A
  • International Flights: Yes

7. EVOJets

EVOJets also provides private charters and empty leg specials. Unfortunately, they’re one of the highest price tags on the list — even for “empty leg” tickets which could start as high as $7,000. But if you have the money and want the privacy, they’re very welcome of your large pup.

  • Cost: N/A – no pet fee listed
  • Maximum Weight: N/A
  • International Flights: Yes

Airlines that Allow Large Dogs as Cargo/Checked

Flying with a large dog internationally? Cargo or checked might be your best option. As much as traveling with your pooch next to you sounds fun, it’s pretty costly. Luckily, there are some lower cost options if you’re willing to let Fido travel alone as checked baggage or with cargo.

Golden retriever at airport lying on a towel with a red collapsible water dish

8. Air Canada

Air Canada allows dogs of up to 100 lbs in both cargo and as a checked bag — if your pup is larger, they encourage you to reach out. Dogs need to be 12 weeks old and weaned, and they require an airline-approved crate.

Air Canada does have restrictions for dogs being transported to special locations, like Hawaii. Plus there are blackout periods due to the weather where pups can’t go to hotter destinations. For example: dogs cannot travel as checked baggage between July 1 and August 31, to warm destinations like Greece and Mexico.

  • Cost: $105 – $120.75 (within CA/US), $270 – $318.60 (International), single way charge
  • Maximum Weight: 100 lbs, larger contact Air Canada
  • International Flights: Yes

9. Air France

Air France allows large dogs (out to maximum of 75kg) to travel as checked baggage. Rates start at 75 Euros and go up to 400 Euros. However, they have a strict policy regarding brachial (snub-nosed) dogs — they are NOT allowed as checked baggage.

  • Cost: Rates vary starting at 75 Euros to 400 Euros
  • Maximum Weight: 75 kg (checked bag)
  • International Flights: Yes

10. American Airlines

American Airlines only allows checked pets for active military and foreign-service professionals on assignment, but they do allow them to travel in cargo.

The cost for carrying pets in cargo depends on where you’re headed to, but start at around $350+. You’ll need to call ahead and arrange for cargo transport for your best bud.

  • Cost: $350+
  • Maximum Weight: 100 lbs (including the carrier)
  • International Flights: Yes

11. Delta Airlines

If you’re going with Delta Airlines, you’ll be shipping the pup via cargo (it’s their only option). There doesn’t appear to be any maximum weight limit for a single pet, but you can ship 2 in the same crate so long as they’re each 20 lbs or less.

You’ll need to make reservations 3 to 14 days before departure, drop them off at the cargo drop off 3 hours early and pick them up from the Delta cargo location at the other end. There are also seasonal and extreme temperature requirements that you’ll need to consider in advance. If your flight is more than 12 hours, you’ll need to call to discuss with the airline.

  • Cost: $150 – 200
  • Maximum Weight: N/A
  • International Flights: Yes/No

12. Emirates

Emirates are one of the fancier airlines on the list, when it comes to commercial airlines. You’re looking at a hefty cost of $500 – $800 to have your large dog travel as a checked bag. But based on reviews, you’ll have a pleasant time traveling yourself.

There doesn’t seem a weight limit, simply that over 32kg you’ll be looking at an $800 fee. But it’s important to note that flights can be a maximum of 17 hours, otherwise they have to travel as cargo.

  • Cost: $500 – $800/kennel
  • Maximum Weight: N/A
  • International Flights: Yes

13. Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines transports dogs up to 70lbs (including their kennel) as checked baggage. If dogs are heavier than that, they’ll need to fly in cargo.

It’s important to note that there are restrictions flying animals into Hawaii, and you’ll need to be aware of any time of year restrictions too. You and your pup can also jump on an international flight with Hawaiian airlines, granted it’ll have to be in North America.

  • Cost: $450
  • Maximum Weight: 70 lbs (including kennel), heavier need to fly in cargo
  • International Flights: Yes (North America)

14. Lufthansa

Lufthansa allows large dogs to fly as excess baggage for a fee somewhere between $150 and $400, depending on their size and the flight distance.

There is a maximum weight of 8 kg for dogs that are riding in the cabin, anything over that can ride as a checked baggage. Note that they DO NOT transport snub-nosed dogs.

  • Cost: $150 – $400 (depends on size and flight distance)
  • Maximum Weight: N/A
  • International Flights: Yes (with restrictions)

15. Swiss International Airlines

Swiss International Airlines do allow dogs that weigh more than 8 kg or travel in a container that exceeds the permitted sizes, and are NOT snub-nosed to ride in the hold. 

Passengers may travel with up to 2 pets — 1 in the cabin, 1 in the hold. So long as they’re traveling to a country that does not require animals to be imported as cargo.

  • Cost: $175 – $400
  • Maximum Weight: N/A
  • International Flights: Yes

16. West Jet

WestJet has a simple policy: dogs that cannot ride in the cabin, so long as they’re 100 lbs or less, can fly as checked baggage. Their pet fee costs between $100 and $236, depending on where you’re headed.

Altogether, it’s one of the cheapest options, and you can simply call them to book. It’s important to note that they have both cold and hot weather restrictions on animal transport, likewise they have holiday restrictions as well. If you want to ship a pet as cargo, you’ll have to call WestJet directly.

  • Cost: $100
  • Maximum Weight: 45 kg (up to 100 lb.)
  • International Flights: Yes (some)

How Do Big Dogs Travel on Planes: Ways Dogs Can Fly

Small terrier in a carry on luggage crate wearing brown sunglasses at the airport


Many airlines allow small dogs to fly with their humans as carry-ons. This means that your carry-on bag is actually your pet carrier, and it gets stored underneath the seat in front of you. Dogs that are able to do this are typically 20 lbs or less, and their carrier must fit below the seat.

Red golden retriever on the floor of a plane in the foot room area of a seat beside a collapsible water bowl

In Cabin

Semi-private and chartered flights sometimes allow you to travel with a large dog in the cargo (without having to fit under the seat) as in-cabin passengers. However, you might have to get them a ticket!

As Checked Bags

Many airlines allow crated dogs to fly as checked bags, though they often have restrictions on how big they can be. During this process they travel on the same plane as you, but under in the cargo deck where the rest of the checked luggage goes.

In Cargo

When dogs are transported via cargo, they are done so independently of your flight. They are considered to be traveling alone, and often it’s pricey to do so. However, some destinations require dogs (and other pets) to arrive via cargo.

Costs of Flying Large Dogs on Airlines

The cost of flying a large dog depends on how you’re flying them and where you’re headed. The cheapest option, WestJet goes as low as $100 for domestic flights (US/CA). However, you can charter a whole plane for $7,000+.

Jack Russel Terrier on an airport seat with a plaid suitcase beside it an sunglasses

Health Requirements for Dogs on Planes

Not all dogs are welcome on planes. In particular, some breeds (including brachial dogs like pugs and bulldogs) are banned from flying cargo and checked, often having to fly in-cabin (unless they’ve been banned altogether).

But beyond restricted breeds, any dog will have to be at least 8 weeks old (sometimes older), in good health with their proper vaccinations. They’ll also have to meet the health regulations of wherever you’ll be landing too.

Red golden retriever curled up in the foot room beneath the seat of a plane. As a service dog, he can travel on planes. He wears his vest and a pink happy hoodie
Theo is wearing a Happy Hoodie here to help with plane noise.

Flying with Service Dogs and Emotional Support Dogs

Service dogs are a whole other story. As working dogs, many are welcome on any airline (big or small) at no extra charge. However, there are sometimes still weight restrictions. Simply check the policy of the airline you’ll be flying with.

I fly with Theo, my service dog, regularly. Some airlines require different certifications which can make it complicated. Within certain countries, national flights allow us 2 seats because he is over 65lbs. However, international flights don’t offer this.

However, emotional support animals are NOT considered service animals. And while the used to be able to fly easily, they are becoming less and less welcome on airlines (most likely due to policy abuse). Even airlines that still allow them to fly, often do so under their carry-on policy.

Preparing to Fly with Your Large Dog

Vet Visit

Your vet will need to be healthy enough to travel, which means a quick visit to the vet. Make sure that you ask if your dog is OK to fly, and whether or not they recommend anything specific to help. If your dog is not yet microchipped, now would be a good time. Many countries have this as a travel requirement, but overall it’s a good idea for keeping track of them.

Get the Right Crate

The right crate can make or break your experience. Most airlines require you to have a crate that your dog can sit, stand and turn around in. If you know who you’re flying with, make sure they don’t have any additional kennel restrictions. Typically in cargo or as checked baggage, that crate must be hard sided made of plastic or welded metal with doors that securely close.

We recommend this hard sided travel crate.

Crate Train Your Dog

You don’t want to purchase your crate the day before then expect your puppy to be comfortable in it without any work. It’s helpful to work up to your full flight time so your fur buddy is prepared. Ideally, you practice a few hours a day in the weeks leading up to your trip so they’re prepared.

Add Identification to the Crate 

You’ll want to keep track of your dog as best you can, so working with a GPS tracking collar can make sure you know where she is. You also want to label the crate in big, identifiable green or red with something along the lines of “live animal” so everyone knows to be careful. Finally include a sticker with your name, address and dogs picture — in case they get out or you get separated.

Find the Right Flight

Most pet parents traveling recommend going for a non-stop flight where possible, so your pup gets in and out of the kennel as quick as possible. However, if you are flying with a large dog in cabin, a layover could be perfect, pending you have time to feed and water them, and take them on a potty break. But make sure to check with the airline because some have minimum layover requirements.

It’s a great tip to flight at night when both you and the pooch would already be sleeping. However, in colder weather midday flights might be better. Overall, most airlines make you avoid flying during the holidays, and have bans on specific temperatures. Essentially, you want to make sure you’re following all the rules.

Get the Paperwork Together

While it varies based on the airline you’re taking and your destination, you’ll want to make sure you have all of the paperwork filled out. Research the paperwork you need to get in and out of the country – do you need a health certificate or a pet passport – and make sure it’s all ready and accounted for.

Pomeranian on a flight sitting in owner's lap in a bag

Day of Preparation: What to Do

On the day of the flight, you want to make sure that you feed and water them well before you load onto the plane. Each airline has their own recommendations, but generally you want to make sure you feed and water them MORE THAN 3 hours before.

Tire out your dog pre-flight as much as you can, so they have the best chance of sleeping. Right before you head into the airport, make sure you take a potty break — especially if your pooch has to hangout in the kennel all day long.

If your dog is a nervous flier or has separation anxiety, some medication might be in order (IF your vet agrees). Make sure you administer it, arrive early and drop them off where they’re supposed to go.

But if your pooch is lucky enough to ride with you, he’ll need to hangout in security with you too. Make sure you put the crate on the X-ray machine and walk through the metal detector with your dog on a leash.

Flying With Big Dogs FAQs:

Which airlines allow large dogs in the cabin?

Commercial airlines typically don’t allow big dogs in the cabin, unless they are service dogs. You will primarily be looking at charter and private airlines.

What airlines allow pets in-cabin on international flights?

There are many commercial and non-commercial airlines that allow pets in the cabin, but they’re primarily small dogs and cats. If you want to fly with a large dog in the cabin, you’re looking at charter or private flights.

Can I buy a seat for my large dog on an airplane?

Yes, some charter and semi-private flights allow you to purchase a ticket and seat for your dog.

What is the largest dog you can take on a plane?

Many find themselves wondering “is my dog too big to fly in cabin” and, from a commercial standpoint, the answer is probably. However there are a few airlines (primarily charter and private) where flying with large dog in cabin is possible.

What if my dog is too big to fly?

If you can’t fly with your dog, your options are going to be costly but not impossible. Your two main options are going to be chartering a flight (or teaming up with a few dog owners that are headed to the same place). Otherwise, you can connect with a company that helps transport pets.

Do commercial airlines allow big dogs in cabin?

Commercial airlines don’t allow big dogs in the cabin, except service dogs. However, there are a few commercial airlines that have higher in-cabin weight allowances:

  • Spirit Airlines: 40lbs (pet and carrier)
  • La Compagnie: 33 lbs (pet and carrier)

What commercial airlines do not have a weight limit?

The following commercial airlines don’t seem to have a weight limit for large dogs flying as checked baggage, however it’s best to contact them directly to check:

  • Emirates
  • Swiss International Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Delta Airlines
Golden retriever service dog tucked under seat in foot room area on a plane

Can large service dogs fly in cabin?

Yes, large service dogs can often fly in the cabin. However, it’s best to contact the airline ahead of your flight. Not only do most of them need you to register in advance, but there might be some form of weight restrictions you need to be aware of. Your service dog will also have to be in good health to fly, and meet the requirements of your destination.

Are there any other options for big dogs to fly?

While it’s costly, chartering a flight is always an option. But there are online groups like Chartered Air Travel With Pets that are set up to help people coordinate and share the flight costs.

Wrap-up: Flying with a Large Dog In Cabin

So, can you fly with a large dog in the cabin? Yes, but it’s going to cost you. While there are some more affordable options among them, you’ll ultimately be going with a charter or private company instead of commercial.

However, if you only have a commercial flight budget, there are options. You might be able to check Fido as a bag or ship him with cargo. 

Read More Travel with Dogs Tips!

Dog Travel Planning Guide

🐶 How do you travel with a dog?

You can road trip, go camping, fly (depending on your dog’s size), go for day trips, and even live in an RV or motorhome with your dog! I’ve done all of the above with my dog, Theo.

✈️ How to travel with a dog by plane?

Check the airline requirements, if you’re flying with a large dog you’ll need to book far ahead, get a travel crate or carrier, and make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccinations. And don’t forget to bring along a leash, collapsible dish, and plenty of treats! (Read more)

🚗 How to travel with a dog in a car?

Get a seatbelt or car-friendly crate, a seat protector, and a few toys to keep your pet safe and comfortable. Bring along items like a leash, pee pads, treats, collapsible bowl, and some calming treats for anxious dogs. Take frequent potty breaks (I recommend every 2 hours minimum).

🧳 What should I pack in my dog travel bag?

I always pack a collapsible bowl, back up leash, 50ft long leash, Toppl food toy, plenty of dog food, and a few toys for my pup when we go on our travels. It’s important to have all the essentials packed before you leave home since it can be difficult to find pet-friendly stores in some locations. (Read more)

📝 What paperwork do I need to travel with a dog?

The paperwork you need will depend on where you’re going. You will always need your dog’s veterinary records and their vaccine status. You may also need an international health certificate, titre test, and even a spay/neuter certificate.

🐾 What is the best travel dog crate?

This collapsible crate is great for local travel and road trips. For plane travel, I recommend this hard crate for large breeds and this carrier for small breeds.

📍What is the best way to travel with a dog?

It depends! The best way to travel will depend on you and your dog. Small dogs will have an easier time with plane travel. Large breeds are better for long term trips to minimize plane time, or road trips.

🛌 Best dog travel mat?

This non-slip, water-proof, easy to wash travel mat is my go to!

✈️ What’s the best site to buy cheap flights?

To find cheap flights, I recommend Skyscanner.

🏨 What’s the best site to find cheap hotels?

To find cheap hotels, I recommend

Or stay for free with Trusted Housesitters!

🚗 What’s the best site to rent cars abroad?

To find cheap rental cars, I recommend Discover Cars.

🚗 What’s the best site to find tours?

To find epic tours, I recommend Viator.

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