By Mel Lee-Smith
Published: 11/18/2020, edited: 10/26/2022
Planning a trip to a destination in the USA? If you’re flying with Spirit Airlines, your dog may be able to fly with you.
However, there are several rules and pet travel guidelines you’ll need to consider before buying a ticket for your pup. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about flying with a dog on Spirit Airlines.
Flying within the United States with your pupper is obviously a whole lot simpler than boarding an international flight. But there’s still a lot to consider before you book a domestic flight, so let’s take a closer look at the Spirit Airlines pet policy and how it affects your dog.
Spirit Airlines allows domesticated dogs, cats, birds, and rabbits to travel in the cabin. Birds and rabbits are prohibited on flights to and from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
You’ll need to crate your pup for safe and secure air travel, and the crate you choose is subject to inspection and approval by Spirit Airlines. The container’s dimensions must be no greater than 18 x 14 x 9 inches, but it’ll also need to be large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around while inside the crate. The carrier must also be able to fit underneath a plane seat, and your dog will need to remain in the carrier at all times during the flight.
Spirit Airlines only allows soft containers in the cabin. Carriers that allow your dog to stick their head out of the container are not permitted. Finally, the combined weight of your dog and their carrier must not exceed 40lb — only 1 carrier is allowed per person, with a maximum of 2 pets permitted per container.
Contact Spirit Airlines if you’re unsure whether your crate satisfies TSA requirements.
Health Requirements and Documentation
In most cases, you won’t need to provide a health certificate to Spirit Airlines to allow your pet to travel in the cabin. However, a certificate will be required if you’re flying to the United States Virgin Islands. If you’re flying to Puerto Rico with your pup, you’ll also need to provide a rabies vaccination certificate for your fur-baby.
In its terms and conditions, Spirit Airlines also specifies that pets cannot be ill or in physical distress. Before booking a ticket, speak to your veterinarian to find out whether it’s safe for your pet to travel by air, and to get advice on how to ensure that your dog stays calm and comfortable during the flight.
Booking Procedures and Fees
If you’d like to book a ticket for your doggo, Spirit Airlines does not require you to provide advance notice — but this is recommended.
That’s because there’s a limit on the number of pets Spirit allows on domestic flights. Unfortunately, there’s a little confusion as to what that limit is. The airline’s pet policy page states that a maximum of 6 pet carriers are allowed on any domestic flight, while the bookings page mentions that a maximum of 4 pets are allowed in the aircraft cabin. Either way, you’ll want to get in early so you don’t run the risk of missing out.
You can add your dog to your flight reservation by contacting the airline’s Reservations Center. You’ll need to pay $110 per pet carrier, each way, to fly with your pup.
On the day of your flight, it’s also important to be aware that you’ll need to allow a little extra time to check-in at the check-in counter. Spirit Airlines does not allow passengers traveling with dogs to access curbside or self-service check-in, so arrive early to be sure of making it to the boarding gate on time.
When you’re choosing a seat, note that you’re not allowed in the first row or an emergency exit row. Otherwise, you’re welcome to sit wherever you’d like.
Exemptions and Other Considerations
According to the Spirit Airlines pet policy, your dog “should” be at least 8 weeks of age and fully weaned if you plan on flying with your pup. Pets are classified as one-plus-one carry-on luggage, and you’ll need to present your dog for security screening before you’ll be able to make it to the boarding gate. Of course, be sure not to put your pup through the X-ray tunnel — as this handy TSA guide to traveling with pets explains.
You’ll also need to make sure your pup is properly prepared to be a calm and well-mannered passenger for the duration of the flight. The airline’s pet policy stipulates that animals must be “harmless, inoffensive, odorless, and require no attention during the flight.” Any animals that cause a disturbance before the plane leaves the gate will also be removed from the aircraft, so you’ll need to ensure that your pooch doesn’t engage in any barking, aggression, or other undesirable behavior.
For more information on safe airplane travel with dogs, check out our tips and tricks for flying with your pup.
Spirit Airlines does not transport pets in the cargo hold at any time. If you’re searching for an airline that allows dogs to travel in the cargo hold, consider other options.
Unfortunately, Spirit Airlines does not allow dogs on international flights, with the exception of service animals.
If you’re flying internationally with a service dog, you may need to provide special documentation for your animal. Documentation requirements vary between destinations, while you may also need to consider vaccination, microchipping, blood test, and quarantine requirements.
Contact Spirit Airlines directly to find out what you need to do to satisfy all regulations when flying overseas with a service animal.
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