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Alaska Airlines Pet & Emotional Support Animal Policy [Updated 2021]

2021-04-10


If you plan your next vacation to be in Alaska and you need to take your pet with you there are certain limitations to consider when traveling with Alaska Airlines. We will be happy to explain Alaska Airlines’ Pet and Emotional Support Animals Policy in an easy-to-understand way. The company can be classified as relatively pet-friendly and passengers can bring their cats, dogs, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, household birds, non-poisonous reptiles, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, and tropical fish as their official policy states.

A passenger can have either a pet carrier and a personal item, or a pet carrier and a standard size carry-on bag. Your pet carrier is counted towards your onboard luggage. Persons with two pets will have to buy the adjacent seat next to their own if they want to have both pets in the passenger cabin. Pets eligible for travel with Alaska Airlines have to be fully vaccinated. The company charges $100 for every flight per pet. You should carefully calculate your fare and call the information desk for help if you are not sure about the total cost of your flight and you have to switch airplanes.


Check in Procedure and Accommodation

We advise that you check in within 1-2 hours before your departure and check the particular check-in requirements for your airport. Please, keep in mind that the airline staff can decline admittance to pets that are in visibly poor condition and health. Also, the pet carrier has to be in good shape, leak-proof, and feature good ventilation. Only passengers of 18+ years of age are permitted to be accompanied by a pet on board.

The First Class cabin can accommodate a total of one pet carrier per flight, and the main cabin can accommodate a total of up to five pet carriers per flight. We advise against sedating your pet because the effects of tranquilizers on animals at high altitudes are not well researched and there may be undesired results. Sedation for your pet should be always consulted with your veterinarian.

Temperature swings can greatly affect your pet’s health and comfort. If temperatures at the origin, connecting and destination airports exceed certain limits, Alaska Airlines may decline acceptance for the animal's welfare.


Alaska Airlines Pet Carrier/Kennel Requirements

If you are traveling in the passenger cabin with your pet, there are considerations to be made. The pets must be small enough to remain under your seat and the pets should be comfortable. You can have either a hard-sided or a soft-sided carrier that is at no more than 50 pounds of eight. The dimensions should not exceed 17" x 11" x 7.5" (length x width x height). The pets have to be fully enclosed and they are not permitted to be let out during the flight.

Pets allowed in the passenger cabin are dogs, cats, rabbits, and household birds. Common pets like dogs and cats have to be at least 8 weeks old in order to be considered eligible for admittance into the passenger cabin. No more than two pets of the same species and similar size may travel in the same carrier, provided that the animals are seated comfortably and there are no signs of distress.

If your pet is traveling in the climate-controlled cargo hold the restrictions are a bit more inclusive. Alaska Airlines accepts the following pets in its climate-controlled cargo area — cats, dogs, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, household birds, non-poisonous reptiles, pot-bellied pigs, rabbits, and tropical fish. You should note that the pets must be harmless, inoffensive (not destructive to themselves or their kennel/cage), and require no attention during transit. You cannot visit and check on your pet from the passenger cabin.


Important Notice for Owners of Short-Nosed Dogs and Cats

If your furry companion is described as Brachycephalic a.k.a. "short-nosed" dog or cat it will not be accepted into the cargo compartment. Veterinarians warn that that short-nosed animals share common abnormalities that can compromise their breathing. Stress associated with flight can cause breathing issues and we advise your utmost care. "Short-nosed" dogs and cats may still accompany their owners as long as they are enclosed in a proper kennel/pet carrier. The following dog and cat breeds will be expected to travel within the passenger cabin:

Dogs:

American Pit Bull, American Staffordshire Terrier, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Brussels Griffon, Mastiff (All Breeds), Bulldog, Bull Terrier, Chow Chow, Dutch Pug, English Bulldog, English Toy Spaniel, French Bulldog, Japanese Boxer, Japanese Pug, Japanese Spaniel, Pekingese, Pug, Shih Tzu, Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Cats:

Burmese, Exotic Shorthair, Himalayan, Persian


Emotional Support Animals and Service Dogs Policy

As stated above, Alaska Airlines charges $100 per flight per pet, and Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are considered pets. Please note that if your ESA is not a dog or a cat, it can travel with you only within the confinements of the climate-controlled cargo hold. On the other hand, Service Dogs travel for free as long as they can be seated in the person’s lap or under their seat. The Alaska Airlines staff is instructed to provide persons with service dogs the seats with the most legs space. Keep in mind that persons with service dogs will not be permitted seats near the emergency exit and are usually not provided seats next to the aisle so that their dog does not obstruct foot traffic.

Persons with disabilities who rely on a service dog should know that Alaska Airlines does not permit more than two service dogs per passenger and you might have to purchase an adjacent seat for your second dog. Alaska Airlines guests that need a service dog must submit the DOT’s Service Animal Air Transportation Form, attesting to the dog’s health, behavior, and training which can be found here.


Traveling With a Service Animal in Training

Alaska Airlines is committed to providing fare-free of charge for service animals-in-training when the animals are being transported to their owner/handler. Should that be the case, please refer to the requirements listed below:

1. The service animal has to be transported by a certified trainer who can provide documentation on official letterhead noting the service animal has successfully completed training.

2. The trainer can identify the new owner's/handler's name and home city.

3. Accommodations must be confirmed in advance for traveling in the cabin or cargo compartment which is a subject of availability.


Notice for passengers to Hawaii:

The only service animal permitted in Hawaii is a service dog. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture requires the owners of service dogs to present appropriate health documentation. Hawaii is the only state that is rabies-free and there are certain regulations in place to secure that status. Service animals without the proper documentation may be quarantined for up to 120 days in Honolulu at the owner's expense. We strongly recommend that you consult your veterinarian and make sure to comply with the regulations employed by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.


Bad Animal Behavior Can Lead to Denied Service

Passengers and their pets are expected to be calm, non-disruptive, and comply with the Alaska Airlines terms of service. Bad animal behavior and non-compliance with the established policies can lead to extra fees, quarantine, and a travel ban in some cases. We recommend that you talk to Alaska Airlines representatives in order to receive help with planning your trip. Airlines are the most accommodating transportation vehicles for pet owners and we hope that your furry companion and you can enjoy your trip safely!