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The Best Airlines to Travel With Your Service Dog

2021-07-06


There are a few things to consider when traveling abroad or domestically accompanied by a service dog with an airplane. You need to communicate with your airline, a veterinarian, and your doctor to establish a clear travel plan and make sure you and your furry friend can travel comfortably. We recommend against boarding flights that take longer than four hours between stops because your dog may need need to relieve itself and not all airplanes to have appropriately big toilets. A person traveling with their service dog is expected to be granted access to a sufficiently big toilet so that their canine can relieve itself without causing a sanitation accident by law.

You should make it a priority to prepare all necessary documentation for you and your service dog at least a week in advance. Most airlines expect the passengers accompanied by a service dog to provide their papers electronically or via a hard copy at least 48 hours before departure. You should call an airline representative to check what papers you will need. Along with the transportation forms from your government, you will have to prepare your service dog’s certification, ID card, vaccination card, and some airlines may require you to have a muzzle available.

Please note that the service dogs are not allowed to take up the aisle. Whenever you are flying with your service dog it will be expected to fit underneath your seat (the legroom) and stay there for the duration of the flight. Hence, it is important to know about the available legroom available. We have taken the time to compile brief reviews of the legroom for a few of the commonly used airlines along with keywords from reviews on TripAdvisor that may help you decide which airline to use.

The measurements below refer to the legroom provided with Economy Class. You can assume that the legroom will be increased with Business and First Class. However, we recommend that you call your airline and double-check the available space.





American Airlines

Legroom: 21 inches x 16 inches x 15 inches (53x41x38 cm)
Requires muzzle to be available: Yes
Service dogs in training allowed: No
TripAdvisor’s reviewers mostly comment: “reliable flights, nice crews, not-so-great food options”



United Airlines

Legroom: 17 inches x 11 inches x 7.5 inches (43x28x19 cm)
Requires muzzle to be available: No
Service dogs in training allowed: No
TripAdvisor’s reviewers mostly comment: “nice customer support, acceptable legroom, arguable refund policy”



Air Canada

Legroom: 32 inches x 18 inches x 9 inches (81x45x22 cm)
Requires muzzle to be available: No
Service dogs in training allowed: No
TripAdvisor’s reviewers mostly comment: “good value, reliable flights, need to work on their customer service”



Delta Airlines

Legroom: 30 inches x 17 inches x 9 inches (76x43x22 cm)
Requires muzzle to be available: Yes
Service dogs in training allowed: No
TripAdvisor’s reviewers mostly comment: “comfortable, good customer service, efficient”



JetBlue Airlines

Legroom: 17 inches x 12.5 inches x 8.5 inches (43x30x21 cm)
Requires muzzle to be available: No
Service dogs in training allowed: No
TripAdvisor’s reviewers mostly comment: “reliable flights, comfortable seats, bad customer service”



Spirit Airlines

Legroom: 18 inches x 14 inches x 9 inches (45x35x22 cm)
Requires muzzle to be available: No
Service dogs in training allowed: No
TripAdvisor’s reviewers mostly comment: ”inadequate legroom, relatively good value for money, need to work on the customer service”



Air New Zealand

Legroom: 31 inches x 17.2 inches x 12 inches (78x43x30 cm)
Requires muzzle to be available: No
Service dogs in training allowed: No
TripAdvisor’s reviewers mostly comment: “comfortable, affordable, but lacking in food quality”


Air Asia

Legroom: 29 inches x 17 inches x 14 inches (73x43x35 cm)
Requires muzzle to be available: No
Service dogs in training allowed: No
TripAdvisor’s reviewers mostly comment: “good value, comfortable, need to work on food options”


Scandinavian Airlines

Legroom: 32 inches x 17.4 inches x 7 inches (81x44x17 cm)
Requires muzzle to be available: Yes
Service dogs in training allowed: No
TripAdvisor’s reviewers mostly comment: “comfortable, quick boarding, affordable”


British Airways

Legroom: 25 inches x 17.5 inches x 14 inches (63x44x35 cm)
Requires muzzle to be available: No
Service dogs in training allowed: No
TripAdvisor’s reviewers mostly comment: “efficient, clean, lackluster customer service”


Hawaiian Airlines

Legroom: 21 inches x 16 inches x 15 inches (53x40x38 cm)
Requires muzzle to be available: No
Service dogs in training allowed: No
TripAdvisor’s reviewers mostly comment:
 ”good customer service, clean, lacks in food quality”

Through a careful and patient review of the airlines above, we can recommend Scandinavian Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Hawaiian Airlines. These three companies offer reliable flights, affordable pricing, good customer service, and comparatively comfortable space for your service dog. Try to stay patient at the airport during the check-in process and have a safe flight!