Southwest Airlines Pet Policy

Southwest Airlines Co.

Southwest Airlines Pet Policy

Pet owners often consider their pets family. It's not always possible to leave your pet home when you travel. You may want to research the Southwest Airlines pet policy. This includes approved Southwest pet carrier as well as the Southwest dog policy.

If your dog, carrier, and route meet certain requirements, you can fly with your dog on Southwest. It's possible to fly on Southwest with your cat. However, it is important to check that your pet will be allowed aboard before you bring your pet along.

Before you bring your pet along to Southwest, here are the essential facts.

Southwest Pet Policy

Small domestic pets and dogs under 8 weeks old are allowed to travel in the Southwest cabin with their owners. Your cat or dog may fly under your seat.

Only a paying customer can bring a pet carrier. Unaccompanied minors cannot take a pet with them. You can transport up to two pets per ticketed passenger.

Your pet must remain in its carrier during the entire flight, including boarding and deplaning. Southwest may refuse to allow your pet aboard if it exhibits disruptive behaviour such as barking, scratching, whining, or excessive whining, or growling, or biting, lunging, or urinating.

You can't take your pet on international Southwest flights. You can't take your pet on a flight to Hawaii. You can bring your pet with you on Southwest flights between Hawaiian Islands.

Southwest also has an open-seat policy. Customers can't take an exit row or a seat without any under-seat space (typically the first row).

Book your Southwest flight with your pet

You must call Southwest to add your pet to your reservation for flights within the United States.

Passengers traveling with pets must register at the ticket counter on the day of travel. Southwest personnel will approve your pet and pet carrier by this step.

Southwest charges $95 per pet carrier, but the fee can be refunded if you don't travel.

Because only six pets can be brought on a flight, it is important to reserve your pet's flight as soon as you can. Pet reservations are accepted on a first-come basis. Southwest clarifies that it is possible for more than six pets to be allowed on a flight. Southwest may sometimes lift the cap for flights that depart from a hurricane-prone region.

If you are also bringing a service dog, or a pet, on your Southwest flight, and the dog is not smaller than a child under 2, you will need to purchase an additional seat. You will need to place your carrier under the purchased seat.

Southwest Pet Carrier Requirements

You must transport your pet on Southwest flights in a small carrier that is no more than 18 1/2 by 8 1/2 by 13 1/2 by 13. Although both soft-sided and hard-sided carriers are acceptable, the pet carrier must be leakproof. All pets must fit in the carrier completely and be able stand and move about.

A Southwest pet carrier can be purchased at the ticket counter, or online. The Southwest-branded pet carrier measures 17 inches in length, 9 1/2 inches high, and 10 inches wide. This is slightly less than the maximum size.

Remember that Southwest offers a generous baggage policy. However, pets count as one personal item. You can still bring a pet carrier or another personal item onboard.

Southwest cargo pet policy

Southwest Airlines does not allow pets to be carried as cargo. You can only take your pet with you on Southwest flights if you are in a cabin carrier.

Reservations for Pets

Southwest Airlines allows pets to be brought on board until their capacity is reached. There are only 6 pet carriers per flight, so it is important that passengers make reservations for their pets as soon as possible after they have confirmed travel plans. 

To reserve a spot, call the Customer Service Team at 1-8435-9792. Southwest Airlines will not allow pets to travel without a companion. Unaccompanied minors are also not allowed.

Pets in the Cabin

Southwest Airlines allows small pets (cats or dogs) to travel with them on domestic flights. Pets are not permitted to travel internationally on Southwest Airlines flights. Only one pet carrier can be carried by a customer on international flights. 

The customer can only bring one pet carrier, which may include up to two cats or dogs from the same breed. You must make sure it is small enough to fit under your seat. Southwest does not require any documentation or a health certificate from customers to allow pets to travel. Pet carriers are required to pay $95 each way.

Pets in checked baggage

Southwest Airlines prohibits pets from traveling in the cargo area due to the extreme temperature in the baggage hold.

Carrier Guidelines

Soft or hard-sided carriers for pets that travel in cabins should not exceed 18.5"x8.5"x 13.5" (47cm x 22cm x 34cm). They should be leakproof, ventilated, small enough to fit under the seat in the front, and well ventilated. The carrier must allow your cat or dog to stand and move around easily.

Other restrictions

International flights and any itinerary that includes international flights are not permitted to allow pets in the cabin. Southwest Airlines does not allow pets to travel on their flights to Hawaii. The Department of Transportation has changed the rules so that emotional support animals cannot travel onboard as pets.

Frequently Asked Questions (Faqs)

Yes, we have pet relief areas at all of our locations. We will not hold a flight for your pet so that they can go to relief areas.


We have an open seating policy; however, those traveling with pets may not sit in an exit row seat or a seat with no under-seat stowage in front of them.

While your pet is being X-rayed, you will be able to hold it and then walk through the screening machine with your pet. All pet carriers can be searched.

Unaccompanied Minors are not allowed to travel with their pet.

International flights and any itinerary that includes an international flight are not permitted for pets.

Acceptable pet carriers must be:

  • Specifically made for pet carriers (can either be soft or hard).
  • Well ventilated and leak-proof.
  • In the dimensions listed above.

Yes. The fare can be refunded if you cancel or your flight is cancelled, and you don't rebook. To request a refund, call 1-800-FLY-SWA. Pet Fare prices are subject to change at any time.

Space is limited so please call 1-800-I-FLYSWA(r) to make a reservation. We accept pets until we reach six carriers. Sometimes we allow more or fewer than six carriers.

 No. You may lose your pet if you do not follow this requirement.

Small domestic pets are welcome in domestic flight cabins with a suitable pet carrier. You must place your pet carrier under your seat. Customers who travel to Puerto Rico may have to comply with special requirements.