The HSUS recommends that you do not transport your pet by air unless absolutely necessary. According to the Airline Transportation Association, more than 5,000 animals are killed, injured, or lost on commercial flights each year. Our beloved pets face risks including excessively hot or cold temperatures, poor ventilation, scarcity of oxygen, and rough handling.

The airline industry treats live animals as mere baggage, transporting them in cargo holds not truly designed for life support. In the past, airlines have neither responded appropriately to reports of animal injuries, nor provided accurate information to the flying public.

In response to the problems associated with pet air travel, Congress passed the Safe Air Travel for Animals Act in April 2000. The Humane Society lobbied extensively for this law. Although the U.S. Department of Transportation has yet to adopt regulations to implement the law, many airlines responded to the law's passage by announcing restrictions on accepting pets as cargo.

If you plan to travel with your pet by air, follow these suggestions from The HSUS:

  • If you plan on bringing your pet with you on vacation, consider driving to your vacation destination. (Neither Amtrak nor Greyhound allows pets on board.) If this isn't possible, consider leaving your pet behind under the card of a pet sitter or boarding kennel.
  • If you are relocating across the country or must otherwise transport your animals, consider using a company whose primary business is to transport animals. Here is a list of animal transport companies.
  • If you must travel with your pet on a major airline, read our tips for safe pet air travel. And remember: While finding alternative transportation or boarding for your animal might be inconvenient, the inconvenience will seem minor when you consider the risk of losing your companion forever. Above all, when making travel decisions, please consider what is best for your pet.

    Copyright © 2001 The Humane Society of the United States All rights reserved.