Like to travel with your pets? You’re not alone. Over half (58%) of travelers have flown with their pets this past year. Airfarewatchdog surveyed over 1,000 travelers to understand how they prefer to travel with their pets and which airline they think treats pets best.

The Pet Travel Experience

The main reason travelers bring their furry friends along on their travels (47%) is they simply can’t or don’t want to leave them behind. Emotional support was the 2nd biggest reason for transporting pets (28%), with moving ranking third with 16% of the vote.

After a string of pet-related tragedies in recent years, it’s no surprise that most travelers don’t feel comfortable flying their pets in cargo. Only about a third (29%) says they have done so. In fact, more than half (54%) of travelers feel there should be an entire section on planes dedicated to pets. Travelers listed priority boarding for pets as their most wanted amenity, followed by a dedicated section of the cabin for pets, and the ability for pets to travel cage-free.

Despite all the pet mishaps in the news, most travelers (over 81%) report having only positive travel experiences, with 44% saying they’ve had exceptional travel experiences. Of those surveyed, almost 50% of travelers said they have put off travel because they feel worried about bringing along their pets.

If you want to ensure a safe and pleasant travel experience for your pet, make sure to check your carrier’s pet policies well in advance of your flight. Our Pet Travel Checklist can help you prepare for your trip.

The Best Airline for Pets 2020

Southwest was voted the best airline for pets by almost 30% of travelers. Delta came in at 2nd place with 23% of the vote, despite a well-publicized incident last year involving the death of an 8-year old family dog.

“According to DOT data, Delta flew 57,479 animals last year, of which two deaths were reported,” said Tracy Stewart, Content Editor at Airfarewatchdog. “There have certainly been more pet disasters in the news recently, but the fact is that in most cases the process of traveling with pets goes off without a hitch, and passengers are pleased with the experience. We're also seeing more people flying with pets that have been certified emotional support animals, which means they're flying alongside their owners in the cabin rather than unsupervised in cargo.”

American Airlines came in third, followed by Alaska. United and JetBlue both tied at 10%. In last place were Frontier, Spirit, and Allegiant.

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