Best Airlines for Cats

Petfinder.com announces airlines that top its list of best amenities for cats, dogs and other pets.

Posted: July 26, 2011, 3 a.m. EDT

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White cat in Sleepypod travel bed
When you travel with your cat, check out the airlines that offer special cat-friendly perks.
To help cat owners navigate air travel pet policies, Petfinder.com released its annual review of dog- and cat-friendly airlines. The airline list outlines the best options for in-cabin traveling with cats and dogs.
 
This year, Petfinder.com expanded its review to include Canadian airlines in addition to United States-based airlines. Petfinder.com chose the best dog- and cat-friendly airline that proved top in six categories, including: most pet-friendly overall, best amenities for dogs and cats (and dog and cat parents), best for transporting dog and cat variety, best for budget-conscious consumers, best for flying multiple cats and dogs in cabin, and best for big dogs.  In addition, all pet-friendly airlines that made the ranking were required to have zero pet deaths in the past reported year according to official government reports.*
 
The following are the top 2011 dog- and cat-friendly airlines, according to Petfinder.com:
 
Most Pet-Friendly Overall: Pet Airways. Dedicated to providing a superior travel experience for cats, dogs and other pets, the first-ever pet-only airline tops the list for this category due to their outstanding policies and first-class treatment of cats and dogs. Because Pet Airways only flies out of several major airports, Petfinder.com reminds dog and cat owners to drive or fly their dogs or cats in cabin on commercial aircrafts until Pet Airways comes to a nearby city.
 
Best Amenities for Pets (and Pet Parents): JetBlue.  For the second year in a row, JetBlue’s superior JetPaws program landed the airline in top place for the pet-friendly amenities category.  The customer-focused airline provides travelers with a pet carrier baggage tag, a travel “petiquette” guide, 300 TrueBlue points each way, and a comprehensive e-booklet with pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, parks and animal hospitals in some of JetBlue’s major cities.  
 
Best for Transporting Pet Variety: Frontier Airlines. Frontier allows the most diverse variety of pets in cabin, including domesticated dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and small pet birds.  
 
Best for Budget-Conscious Consumers: WestJet. Included in Petfinder.com’s review for the first time, WestJet tops this category allowing small dogs, cats, rabbits and birds to travel for $50 each way in-cabin. Coming in a close second, AirTran Airways allows domesticated dogs, cats and birds to fly in cabin for $69 each way.
 
Best for Flying Multiple Pets in Cabin: Frontier Airlines. Another exceptional airline in this year’s review is Frontier Airlines, which allows up to 10 cat and dog containers on each flight.  While only one dog or cat container is allowed per person, if you have nine other human friends traveling with you, the entire group can travel with up to 10 small cats or dogs. Remember to book your reservation in advance so the whole family can fly together!
 
Best for Big Furry Friends: Pet Airways. The only airline with a sole clientele of “pawsengers,” Pet Airways can accommodate some of the biggest dogs in town, as well as smaller animals such as cats, rats and guinea pigs. With the maximum height allowance being 34 inches from the floor to the top of a pet’s shoulders, pet parents of Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, Great Danes, Great Pyrenees and all those mixed breeds in between should rest assured that their colossal canine can fly comfortably.   
 
“As the proud parent of a huge pet family, I know how important it is to find a way for your pets to travel safely and comfortably with you, whether across the country or across the state,” said Betsy Banks Saul, the co-founder of Petfinder.com. “All too often we hear stories of pets dying or getting injured while traveling in a plane’s cargo. We feel strongly at Petfinder.com that you should only travel with your pet in the cabin with you when flying, which is why we continue to review and promote the pet policies of airlines each year. We hope that this list can be a resource for those traveling with pets this summer.”
 
In order to determine the most pet-friendly airline for each category, Petfinder.com referred to each airline’s pet policies on their official websites. In order to account for any animal deaths, injuries and losses for U.S. airlines, Petfinder.com referenced the U.S. Department of Transportation’s monthly Air Traffic Consumer Reports for May 2010 through May 2011. Each report tracks incidents involving the loss, injury or death of animals during air transportation from two months prior.  *According to a WestJet representative, there have been no reported pet deaths on WestJet over the past 12 months, although this fact could not be independently verified by a Canadian government source. 
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Best Airlines for Cats

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Reader Comments

E    Toledo, OH

3/18/2014 1:37:33 PM

Which airline, that claims proudly on their website to be able to handle your pet shipping needs, is the best for not making one excuse or another as to why they won't ship your 2 perfectly healthy, rabies vaccinated, veterinarian approved cats, when the airline definitely goes to that destination anyway?

Carl    Danville, CA

4/21/2012 9:41:14 AM

What airlines is the most reasonable to ship adult cat as cargo?

Carl    Danville, CA

4/21/2012 9:40:14 AM

What airlines is the most reasonable to ship adult cat as cargo?

S    3 Oaks, MI

7/27/2011 12:04:21 PM

Still think it's best not to have them fly if possible

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