Traveling with Pets on Southwest Airlines Flights

When the holiday season approaches, some pet owners prefer to entrust their pets to the care of friends or relatives, while others can’t imagine traveling without a furry friend.

Traveling with a Pet: Flight Booking

The air carrier Southwest Airlines allows the transport service of pets on board its planes, such as the cat and the dog whose minimum age on the day of travel is eight weeks. The total number of animals accepted in the cabins is limited to 6. Before planning a flight, you should call the US carrier’s help desk to let them know your pet’s carrier. For this, you must call 1.800.435.97.92, 48 hours in advance.
Southwest Airlines accepts the carriage of two dogs and cats on board its cabins. A prerequisite is that the animal is in a specially equipped container or carrier.

The weight of the animal should not generally exceed 17 pounds. Large animals travel in the luggage compartment. As for the dimensions of the cage, it must be 36.5 ” or less (17 L, 9.5 H, 10 W).

The main requirements that Southwest Airlines imposes for transporting animals in the cabin. After booking your ticket, call the airline’s call center and let them know you plan to bring a pet with you.

Characteristics of containers for transporting animals

Owners who decide to travel by Southwest Airlines plane with their pets should take care to prepare the flight in advance. And this preparation includes not only the purchase of a ticket for your four-legged or feathered friend, but also the vaccination of the animal , the preparation and collection of all necessary certificates and documents and, of course, the purchase of a container for transporting the animal.

Animals are only transported in containers that meet certain requirements, with the exception of guide animals and, in some cases, assistance dogs.

Over the years, the rules for transporting animals of all kinds such as cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, …, on an airplane have been developed for the safety of passengers and the animals themselves. These rules were amended several times, and later the Unified Rules of the International Air Carriers Organization (IATA) were created and their implementation is mandatory. However, despite the existence of such rules, each country has its own laws and airlines may introduce their own additional rules and restrictions.

The size of the transport containers and the material from which the animal transport containers are made are also strictly stipulated.

Before proceeding with the selection of a container for transport, we advise you to familiarize yourself with the requirements of the airline you have chosen when transporting an animal.

There are only two options for transporting animals. Animals can be transported either in the cabin or in the hold (simultaneously with you or on special flights).

It depends on a number of factors:

– The legislation of the country from which the flight departs and the legislation of the host country of the flight;

– Airline rules;

– Type of animal, its size, its weight.

All requirements for transport containers are aimed at ensuring the safety of passengers, since the animal may behave aggressively during the flight, and ensuring the safety of the animal during the flight and creating maximum comfort conditions for the animal. ‘animal.

Closed containers are used for transporting animals. The container must have a strong and stable construction capable of supporting the additional load placed on top during transport in the luggage compartment and not sag under the load.

The container must have a design that will not allow the animal to escape, protrude its legs or part of its body outside the container. The container inside should not have voids, gaps in which the claws, paws of the animal can get stuck.

Other conditions to respect to make your pet travel in comfort:

– The container can be plastic or wooden

– The plastic must be non-toxic and the wood must not be chemically impregnated with toxic substances.

– The container must not have sharp corners inside, all corners must be rounded for the safety of the animal.

– The container must necessarily have a door that closes securely and excludes the possibility of its accidental opening from the outside or inside.

– The dimensions of the container are chosen according to the size of the animal. The animal in the container must be free to stand, sit, lie down, be able to turn around.

– The bottom of the container must not allow moisture to pass through and must have edges. The bottom should be covered with moisture-absorbing hygienic products (special diapers, putty). The use of straw for these purposes is prohibited due to the ban on its importation in many countries.

– Containers, without exception, must have at least three ventilation holes! different sides. Ventilation openings should be small and prevent the animal’s legs or other body parts from sticking out. Otherwise, the ventilation openings must be covered with a net.

– The sides of the container must have protruding sides that protect the walls in the event of impact and promote air ventilation (there is no possibility of blocking the ventilation holes with other goods).

– All containers must have handles (belts) for carrying, if necessary, removable wheels for transport, for large containers – padded straps for a forklift with a thickness of at least 5 cm.

– For long flights, containers should be equipped with a drinker and a feeder. In this case, the water tank must be firmly fixed. The design of the drinker should prevent the flow of water. The drinker and feeder should be fixed inside, while it is possible to replenish food and water from the outside without opening the container.

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