Traveling with pets on planes | Rules, guidelines about carriers

A VERIFY viewer had two questions about the rules for travelers flying with their pets.

ATLANTA — For many people, pets are family, and they travel together on trips.

VERIFY viewer Gary asked us to verify if is it now required to zip tie a pet carrier closed? Gary also wanted to know if a pet is confined to the carrier from the time of check in until reaching the final destination?

11Alive looked into the rules for travelers flying with their four-legged friends.

THE SOURCES

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

QUESTION #1

Is it required to zip tie a pet carrier closed?

THE ANSWER

No, it is not required to zip tie your pet into a carrier during travel.

This is false.

WHAT WE FOUND

According to TSA, during security screening, pets must be removed from carriers and be leashed or hand-carried by the owner through the checkpoint. The carrier must be sent through the X-ray.

After you make it through security, here’s what we learned from the airlines.

Delta Air Lines sent a statement saying it does not require zip ties for pets traveling in the cabin. Southwest Airlines responded to our question with a link to its pet policy. There was no mention of a zip tie. We also received a link to United Airlines’ pet policy; it also didn’t mention any zip ties.

We reached out to Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines and American Airlines — which did not respond. 11Alive found no mention of zip ties in their pet policies online.

So, no, it is not required to zip-tie your pet into a carrier during travel.

QUESTION #2

Is a pet confined to the carrier from check-in time until reaching the final destination?

THE ANSWER

Yes, pets are required to remain in their approved carrier during their flights. 

This is true.

WHAT WE FOUND

Here’s what we were able to determine by answering VERIFY viewer Gary’s questions about pets on the plane.

Delta Air Lines’ statement said pets must remain in a carrier that fits underneath the seat in front of the customer for the duration of the flight.

Southwest Airlines’ pet policy says pets must be secured in a pet carrier at all times — that includes in the gate area, during boarding and deplaning and for the entire flight. Your pet carrier must be stowed under your seat, and your pet could be denied transportation if the rules are not followed.

United Airlines’ pet policy says pets must remain in their carrier with the door closed and placed under the seat at all times. 

As mentioned previously, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines and American Airlines did not respond to our questions. However, their policies online says pets must remain in a carrier for the entire flight.

So, yes, it’s true that pets are required to remain in their approved carrier during their flights. Travelers should check their specific airline for any additional rules and guidelines.

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