Passengers are allowed to carry along small domestic dogs and cats in the cabin of flight. Southwest airlines pet policy states that dogs and cats must be properly vaccinated. All pets must remain under the passenger’s seat in an approved carrier as per the standards. No pets are allowed to travel along in the cabin of international flights.

The Southwest airline follows the first-come-first-service policy as the seats for pets is limited per flight and passengers should book tickets for their pets as early as possible to get a guaranteed seat for their four-legged friend.

All the pets must check-in through the ticket counter at the airport but the passengers/customers can check-in online, at the airline’s kiosk/ticket counter, or at the curbside.

The pets should have a sound and good behavior to be approved for travelling in the cabin of flight. Pets with the below-mentioned behaviors will not be accepted in the southwest airline’s flight.

  • Biting, growling, lunging
  • Excessive barking or scratching
  • Urinating near the gate area or in the cabin

Southwest Airlines pet policy restrictions

  • No pets traveling without a passenger/customer are accepted in the cabin of southwest airlines flights.
  • With the unaccompanied minors, no pets will be allowed to travel in the cabin.
  • Pets are not welcome on any of the southwest international flights or any booking which includes an international flight.
  • Passengers/customers are not allowed to occupy any exit row seats or the no forward under-seat stowage if traveling with pets.
  • Only six pets are allowed in the cabin per Southwest airline’s flight but the figures may increase or decrease in the future depending on the circumstances.
  • All dogs and cats must be 8 weeks old or more to be allowed to travel in the cabin of a Southwest flight.
  • The pets should not be of harmful or disruptive nature and they should not bother any co-passenger/customer.
  • All pets must be put in a strong carrier with proper locks. The carrier should be under the seat of passengers all the time during the flight.
  • No pet is allowed to share the carrier with emotional support or trained service support animal.
  • Passengers may have to purchase an extra seat for the pets if they are traveling with a trained service/emotional service animal or a portable oxygen concentrator.
  • Southwest airlines will not take any responsibility if a passenger/customer misses his/her flight because of the need to take the pet to the outside relief area.
  • There are no arrangements if the passenger’s/customer’s pet faces any medical emergency.
  • No oxygen mask is available for pets in case of an emergency.
  • Southwest airlines strictly do not accept any pet remains in the cabin of the flight.

Southwest flying with pets in-cabin

The Southwest flying with pets in-cabin policy states that if your pet meets all the requirements and standards of the Southwest airlines pet policy then, the pet will be accepted in the cabin of the flight. Passengers/customers need to put their pets in an approved carrier as per the requirements.

Southwest pet carrier dimensions/size requirement

Passengers/customers can purchase the southwest airline’s official pet carriers from any Southwest ticket counter/kiosk for $58 (inclusive of taxes). All purchased pet carriers are non-refundable.

Acceptable pet carriers

  • The maximum allowed dimensions of a pet carrier are (18.5in*8.5in*13.5in) for a flight with Southwest airlines.
  • The carriers which are soft-sided and hard-sided are accepted as a pet carriers inside the cabin
  • The carriers must have proper locks and ventilation systems, there should be enough space for the pet inside to stand and move around comfortably without touching the top of the carrier.
  • The carrier must fit properly under the seat of the passenger/customer.

Pet carrier requirements

  • Southwest airlines have limited to one pet allowance per ticketed passenger.
  • Passengers can carry along two pets in a single carrier/cage if the pets belong to the same species and size, both the pets should have enough space to move and stand comfortably without touching the top of the carrier.
  • The pets(cats and dogs) must remain totally(head to tail) inside the carrier.
  • All pets must be in the locked carrier all the time, starting from the gate area to the entire flight duration. Failing to follow this rule will lead to the denial of pet transportation.
  • All the pet carriers/cages are considered as a piece of carry-on luggage or personal item. Passengers/customers can either take along a personal item and a pet carrier or a carry-on luggage and pet carrier.

Flying with a Cat In-Cabin? What to Expect?

Southwest Allowed pets

Only small cats, dogs, and household birds are allowed on the flights of Southwest airlines.

Age restriction

All the pets must have the age of at least 8 weeks old.

Restricted routes

No pets are permitted to travel with southwest airlines on international flights including the destination of Puerto Rico.

The pets with Southwest airlines are allowed to fly on the routes of the Hawaiian Islands but still, there is no service offered for pet transportation to Hawaii.

Restricted breeds

As per the Southwest airlines pet policy, no cat or dog breeds are banned to travel in the cabin of the flight but the pet should be of sound and good behavior, aggressive behavior will not be tolerated at all.


Passengers/customers can check-in with the Southwest airlines through any of their available methods(online, booking centre/kiosk or the curbside) but still, they will have to make a visit to the ticket counter for the pet check-in process and payment of the pet reservation fare and charges.

Pets who will travel in the cabin of the Southwest Airlines flight, need to pass through a security check-up just like all the passengers/customers. Passengers will need to take out their cat or dog from the carrier/cage and hold them in their arms as they pass through the security screening device. The pet carrier/cage will go through the x-ray machine with all the other small items and baggages. The dedicated airline employees and TSA hold the right to search the pet carrier thoroughly.

Always remember to plan in advance for your pet’s requirements and personal needs. Make note of the pet relief area availability and locations at the airport. Southwest airlines will strictly not delay the flight due to your pet, they will take off their flight as per the scheduled time of departure.  

Southwest Pet reservations

If you wish to book a space for your pet in a Southwest Airlines flight then, call on the southwest airlines pet reservation number for reserving a seat. There is no guarantee of seats for the pets as the seats are limited. Southwest airline follows the first-come-first-service pattern so the passengers/customers are advised to make bookings for their pets as early as possible. The fee and charges for pet reservation service will be collected at the Southwest Airlines ticket counter/kiosk and the fee and charges for this service are non-refundable. If the passenger fails to use the pet booking/reservation, the fee will not be carried over to any of the future travel credit account. The passengers/customers travelling with their pets need to check-in at the Southwest ticket kiosk/counter.  After checking-in, the pets are allowed to onboard the flight.

Passengers/customers are advised to book their flight tickets through the online mode or through the airport booking counter/kiosk. As per the Southwest airlines pet policy, pets are not allowed to travel along with their owners. If you have any further queries regarding the pet reservations with Southwest airlines then, just give a ring on the Southwest airlines pet reservation number. 

Tips & Tricks for Flying with a Dog

Southwest airlines pet policy for Emotional support/service support and Law Enforcement animals

Southwest airline understands that an emotional support animal may provide mental support to a passenger/customer for his/her disability. The Southwest pet policy for emotional support animals states that passengers may take along his/her emotional support animal in the flight but the animal must meet the set requirements and standards of Southwest airlines.

  • All passengers travelling with their pets must present before all the required documents and certificates.
  • The Southwest airline only accepts a cat or dog as an emotional support animal.
  • The allowance is of only one emotional support animal per passenger/customer.
  • The emotional support animal must be put in a carrier/cage that can fit under the passenger’s seat.

All passengers/customers wishing to travel with their emotional support animals must present before all the necessary certificates and documents(documents should not be older than one year on the actual travel date) on the letterhead of a medical doctor or a licensed mental health professional who provides a diagnosis for the mental health-related disabilities.

The letter must comprise of the below-mentioned four points:

  • The customer/passenger suffers from an emotional or mental disability identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
  • The assessment is provided by a licensed medical doctor or mental health professional, and the customer/passenger is undergoing through his/her treatment.
  • The type and date of medical doctor’s or the mental health professional’s license and the state judiciary under which it is issued.
  • The passenger needs a dog or cat as the emotional support animal for the entire flight or for any activity at the destination.

The emotional support animals are welcomed to travel on the flights of Southwest Airlines to/from all the destinations including domestic as well as international, but some of the international destinations follow the rules and regulations of that specific country.

Southwest Airlines pet cargo

Southwest airlines pet policy is a bit different from the other airline’s pet policies as there is no Southwest pet cargo facility or service offered. Southwest airlines do not ship any pets; they do not accept any pet reservation as a piece of checked baggage or the cargo shipment.

Southwest pet fee

The Southwest pet fee is $95 for a single side flight which a customer/passenger needs to pay at the airline’s ticket booking counter/kiosk. The mode of payment for Southwest pet fee must be through a credit card, cash, and Southwest gift cards. All the pet reservation fees and charges are non-refundable.

Passengers/customers are not allowed to use their Southwest points for making the payment of the pet reservation fees and charges. But the points may be used to purchase a Southwest gift card($100 gift card for 10000 points) and then, passenger/customer can use the gift card for making payment.

Related Pages

Leave a Reply
One thought on “Southwest Airlines Pet Policy
  1. Betty lindblom on Reply

    Do I have to carry proof of vaccinations of my dog when flying. I called southwest and let them know I was flying with my three year old Maltese and they said it wasn’t necessary to carry these papers

Leave a Reply