Are you considering traveling with your cat by plane? How exciting! From experience, we can vouch that flying with a cat is easiest with an airline that allows your cat to travel in the cabin.
We’re firm believers that domestic or international travel with a cat doesn’t have to be stressful, but can actually be heaps of fun.
But what can be daunting is figuring out the logistics of flying with your cat. Which is why we’ve created this handy guide on airlines that allow cats in-cabin. (Note: This article does NOT talk about cargo travel or shipping a cat).
Here’s a quickfire overview of what you need to know about flying with your cat in-cabin:
Which Airlines Allow Cats In-Cabin?
In a rush? Here’s a summary of what you should know:
- A large number of airlines do allow cats to travel in-cabin, as long as they meet the set requirements
- The cost of traveling in-cabin with your cat will vary depending on the airline
- You will need a high-quality cat carrier to transport your cat in for the flight
- Most airlines require your kitty to be at least 8 weeks old to fly
- Some airlines don’t permit cats to travel in-cabin internationally
- Your cat can’t have a strong odor, be unhygienic or be disruptive on flights
- Limited spots may be available for pets on flights, so make sure you book your kitty’s place well in advance
Some airlines that don’t allow cats to fly in-cabin do allow them to fly in the hold. However, I completely understand if you’d prefer to travel with your fluffy kitty close-by, rather than booking them into the hold, as I’m exactly the same with our fluffy boy Yoda.
So, without further ado, let’s checkout which airlines allow cats in-cabin and all the technical requirements you need to know in advance.
Airlines that allow cats to fly in-cabin
Below, we’ve created a handy table of the top airlines that allow cats to fly in-cabin.
All details are believed to be correct at the time this article was published, however we would still recommend checking out each airline’s up-to-date pet policy (just so you can confirm it’s possible before booking your tickets!)
|Airline||Cost Each Way (USD or otherwise specified)||Carrier Size||Domestic||International||Other Details|
|Aegean Airlines||20 to 30 EUR domestic / 50 to 60 EUR international|
(NB: depending on time of year, prices may vary)
|55 x 40 x 23 cm||✔||✔||A maximum of one pet per passenger, and only if you’re not traveling with an infant as well.|
|Aeroflot||$87 and up (depending on carrier size)||44 × 30 × 26 cm (hard) / soft should not exceed 126 cm in total||✔||✔||Pets between 8 weeks and 6 months of age can be transported both in the passenger cabin|
|Air Canada||$50 within Canada / $100 international||27 x 40 x 55 cm (soft) / 23 x 40 x 55 cm (hard)||✔||✔||Your cat carrier will count as one standard item towards your carry-on allowance. Only one cat per passenger. You cannot travel with a cat if you have a Premium Economy ticket.|
|Air Europa||$55 within Europe / $165 long-haul||55 x 35 x 25 cm||✔||✔||Prices are subject to possible tax surcharges in certain countries.|
|Air France||40 EUR domestic / 30-125 EUR international||46 x 28 x 24 cm||✔||✔|
(NB: but not in the business cabin on intercontinental flights)
|Each passenger is permitted to travel with a maximum of one animal.|
|Air India||Varies depending on flight||18″ x 18″ x 12″||✔||✔|
(NB: but it depends on your flight, so you’ll need to check)
|Pets will be carried at an additional charge and will not be included in the Free Baggage Allowance, even if the passenger has no other baggage.|
|Alaska Air||$100||43 x 28 x 24 cm (soft) / 43 x 28 x 19 cm (hard)||✔||✔||A passenger may travel with up to 2 cat carriers in the main cabin. But only if the adjacent seat is purchased by the same customer.|
(NB: charges vary depending on flight)
|28 x 40 x 20 cm||✔||✔||In-cabin for cats only applies to specified flights, so check with the airline before booking. Pets cannot fly in the cabin to South Africa and no pets are accepted on flights to or from the United Kingdom or Ireland.|
|American Airlines||$125||Depends on the flight||✔||✔|
(NB: no in-cabin pets on transatlantic flights or flights longer than 12 hours)
|On certain planes, due to limited under seat space, carry-on pets are not permitted in First or Business class.|
|Breeze Airways||$75||18″ x 13″ x 9″||✔||❌||Pet carriers will count as the passenger’s carry-on item and must fit under the seat directly in front of you.|
|CopaAirlines||$25 domestic / $125 international||33 x 43.2 x 19cm (hard) / 11 x 18 x 11 cm (soft)||✔||✔|
(NB: Monday through Friday)
|Pets are not accepted on flights where the departure itinerary originates on Friday and the arrival is on Saturday morning.|
|Delta||$125 within North America / $200 international||Depends on the flight||✔||✔||Carrier must fit comfortably under the seat in front of you. It must be leak-proof and well ventilated on both sides.|
|Frontier Airlines||$75||18″ x 14″ x 8″||✔||✔||The pet carrier must fit underneath the seat in front of you. There may be certain seats that cannot accommodate your pet container, but Frontier will work with you to get a seat assignment with space.|
|Hawaiian Airlines||$125 domestic / $35 within state of Hawaii||16″ x 10″ x 9.5″||✔||❌||Carriers must be soft-sided and leak proof. And the animal and the carrier may not exceed 25 pounds total. More details about restrictions can be found here.|
|Iberia||$45 Spain / $60 Canaries, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East / $180 America and Asia||45 x 35 x 25 cm||✔||✔||Your cat carrier should be strong, ventilated, with a waterproof floor.|
|Japan Airlines||Approx $150 each way |
(NB: charges vary depending on destination)
|45 x 35 x 25 cm||✔||✔||You’ll need authorisation from the booking office, granted that your cat meets the specified criteria for cabin travel.|
|JetBlue||$100 to $125||43 x 31 x 21 cm||✔||✔||Only one cat is allowed per customer, and your cat must remain in its carrier while at the airport and on the plane. For members signed up to the JetBlue rewards program, you can earn 300 extra points each time you travel with your cat.|
|KLM||EUR 75 to EUR 400||46 x 28 x 24 cm||✔||❌||You cannot bring a pet in the cabin if you fly Premium Comfort Class or Business Class on an intercontinental route.|
|Lufthansa||50 EUR domestic / 60 EUR international within Europe and 80-110 EUR international outside Europe||55 x 40 x 23 cm||✔||✔||Each passenger is permitted a maximum of two animals.|
|Norwegian Airlines||47 to 64 GBP online / 55 to 77 GBP at the airport||43 x 31 x 20 cm||✔||✔||Paperwork must be complete prior to international travel and cabin travel is only allowed within Schengen and/or EU|
(NB: only in Prem Plus and Eco cabin)
|45 x 30 x 24 cm||✔||✔||OpenSkies can refuse to transport an animal due to illness, aggressive behavior, poor kenneling, or extreme temperatures at origin, transfer, or destination airports.|
|SAS||$60 to $159||40 x 25 x 23 cm||✔||✔||Animals are not permitted in SAS Business and on charter flights with SAS.|
|Southwest||$95||43 x 34 x 21 cm||✔||❌|
(NB: with emotional support and trained assistance animals may be allowed, but not to/from Jamaica)
|Only one cat is allowed per customer, and your cat carrier will count towards your carryon item.|
|Spirit Airlines||$110 per pet||45.72cm x 35.56 cm x 22.86cm||✔||❌||Cats cannot carry any strong odor, must be clean, and not be disruptive.|
|Swiss International Airlines||$60 or more||55 x 40 x 23 cm (soft)||✔||✔||A maximum of two animals (dog or cat) for one passenger. Your carrier must be clean, escape-proof, and scratch-proof.|
|TAP Air Portugal||$48+ domestic / $185+ intercontinental||40 x 33 x 17cm|
(NB: Only malleable containers are accepted in the cabin)
|✔||✔||The health requirements and the mandatory documents you need depending on the origin and destination of your flight. The animal to be transported must be at least 10 weeks old.|
|TUI||47.60 EUR domestic / 40 EUR international||55 x 40 x 20 cm (soft only)||✔||✔||Cat’s head must not protrude from the carrier. Your cat must also be microchipped and have the blue EU animal passport.|
|Turkish Airlines||70 TRY and upwards||23 x 30 x 40 cm||✔||✔||Cats and dogs or cats and birds are not permitted on the same plane, whether or not they are separated by cabins.|
|United Airlines||$125 + $125 for each stopover (of 4+ hours within the US or 24+ hours outside the US)||46 x 28 x 28 cm (soft) / 44 x 30 x 19 cm (hard)||✔||✔|
(NB: but it depends on your flight, so you’ll need to check. You’ll also need to call 1-800-864-8331 to add a pet to your reservation)
|Cats are not permitted to fly to/from/through: Australia, Hawaii or Micronesia with UA.|
|Vueling||40 EUR domestic / 50 EUR international||45 x 39 x 21 cm (soft only)||✔||✔||Cat carrier must be no heavier than 10kg with the pet inside. Your cat must be microchipped and have a passport.|
We most often use Delta, American Airlines, United, or TAP or fly our cat in-cabin. ✈️
- Flying to Mexico with Your Cat
- What Is a Pet Passport & Does Your Cat Need One?
- What Documents & Vaccinations Do Cats Need to Fly?
Across every airline, there’s a few standard requirements for flying with your cat in-cabin:
- Your cat carrier must be big enough for your cat to stand, turn around and lie down in a comfortable/natural manner. It must also have ample ventilation
- Your cat shouldn’t have a strong odor or be unhygienic
- Disruptive cats may be removed from flights
- You cannot allow your cat out of their carrier whilst at the airport or on the flight
- Your cat carrier must be able to comfortably fit under the seat in front of you
- There may be a limit of one to two pets per passenger
- Limited spots will be available per flight for pets, so it’s best to book in advance
Generally, most airlines also require cats to be a minimum of 8 weeks old before they can fly.
The required paperwork will largely vary, depending on where you’re flying, but as standard it’s best to have a health certificate from your veterinarian. Some destinations may also require a pet passport with proof that your cat is up to date on all their shots and vaccinations.
Also, if you’re flying with multiple airlines on your trip, you may also incur multiple separate fees for flying with your cat.
Is it safe to fly with cats in-cabin?
The short answer is yes! It is safe to fly with your cat in-cabin.
(We’ve done it countless times with our fluffy boy Yoda, so we feel pretty confident in making that claim.)
In fact, you can read our Ultimate Guide to Flying With Cats here, which details our personal experience of flying by plane with Yoda.
However, you know your kitty’s temperament best. If they’re extremely sensitive and already suffer from a nervous disposition, flying in-cabin may be a traumatic experience.
Your pet’s safety and well-being is always a top priority. So if you think they categorically won’t be able to handle flying, it may be best to arrange alternative modes of transport to reach your destination.
Yet by preparing for your flight well in advance, there’s also no reason why you can’t get your cat used to their crate. The more comfortable they are with being enclosed in a confined space for longer periods of time, the more prepared they’ll be to adjust to flying by plane.
Some vets may also suggest specific medication or sedation for your kitty, to help minimize the stress.
Where possible, try to book direct flights to your destination to minimize any stress. If long-haul, try to book late night flights as these tend to be quieter, meaning your cat is more likely to sleep.
You may also be asked to take your cat out of their carrier at airport security. This in itself can be a tense experience for kitty and fur-mum/fur-dad alike, but if you’re aware this is part of the process you can at least be better prepared.
How to prepare your cat to fly in-cabin
If your cat has never flown before, there are a couple of steps you can take to make the experience as stress-free as possible.
- Take your cat for a health check with your local veterinarian — and check that they’re qualified to issue international travel certificates
- Invest in a good-quality cat carrier — and ensure they’re within the maximum dimensions specified by your airline
- Practice crate training with your cat — aim for an hour per day, building a positive association to the crate with toys/treats etc.
- Take your cat for a test run — put them in their cat carrier and take them around town in the car as a dummy-run for your flight
- Prepare the relevant paperwork required for flying with your cat — and make multiple copies!
- Prepare their food, water and favorite toys in advance — don’t forget a pee pad for the bottom of the cat carrier too!
- Purchase a good quality cat collar, with an ID tag — make sure your name and details are up to date and easy to read on their tag
- Prepare your cat’s medication and emergency paper towels — for any illness or accidents during the flight
- Weigh your cat in their cat carrier — to ensure you’re under the maximum weight specified by your chosen airline
Remember to check whether your destination has any restrictions regarding flying with pets. Likewise, some destinations may require pets to quarantine on arrival. So do your research before booking any flights!
We definitely agree with the benefits of leash training your cat and familiarizing yourself with the airport you’re traveling to/from. Long story short, the more you can train, research and prep, the better the experience will be overall!
Best equipment for flying in-cabin with your cat
It can largely depend on personal preference as to what accessories and equipment you want to invest in.
However, as seasoned travelers, here’s our recommendations for the best equipment for flying with your cat in-cabin:
- Our soft cat carrier recommendation: Mr Peanut’s Backpack Pet Carrier
- Our car cat carrier recommendation (for getting to the airport): Beatrice Pop Up Travel Pet Carrier
- Our cat collar recommendation: Airtag Cat Collar
- Our pet pee pad recommendation: Pet Pee Pads
- Our cat travel treat recommendation: Pet Naturals Calming Chews
Best Airlines That Allow Cats In-Cabin
So, there’s a lot of info to take in when it comes to researching airlines that allow cats in-cabin.
Our favorite airlines for in-cabin travel with our cat Yoda has been Delta, United, TAP, and American Airlines. ✈️
With many airlines having similar, but not identical, specifications it’s essential that you research your chosen airline and are up to speed on their stated requirements.
If in doubt, we’d recommend you reach out to a customer service representative. Talking to an actual human about flying with a cat domestically or internationally can avoid any confusion or mistakes.
The moral of this article is that you really need to have all your t’s crossed and i’s dotted. Start preparing months in advance of your flight, so there’s no last minute panic or stress.
Have you ever flown in-cabin with your cat? How did you find the experience? Do you have any other tips to share? We’d love to hear from you!