Southwest Airlines accepts pets inside their cabins. However, they do not accept pets as checked baggage or as cargo. This means you can not ship a pet somewhere without an owner via Southwest. One traveler can bring one pet container with him/her and every container can contain up to two small-sized pets that belong to the same species. Southwest charges a flat 95 USD per container and the fee is always refundable. However, they do not accept pets on international flights. You can travel with your pet via Southwest Airlines inside the United States only. Also, they do not require any physical documents to accept pets onboard.

Southwest Airlines Pet Policy Overview

Pets in the cabinSmall domesticated dogs and cats
Pets as checked baggageNot allowed
CargoNot allowed
International flightsNot allowed
Charge95 USD
Service dogsAllowed for free
Emotional support animalsNot allowed
Pets age8 weeks
WeightNot specified
ContainerSoft-sided or hard-sided
Container dimensions18.5 x 13.5 x 9.5 inches

Pets in the Cabin

  • Small dogs and cats are accepted inside of the cabin on Southwest.
  • While traveling with a pet, you can sit anywhere you want except the emergency exit row seats.
  • If kids are traveling alone, they can not take any pets with them.
  • In case the pet is showing any destructive behavior, they may be denied boarding. Pets should not also relieve themselves while onboard.


Southwest does not ship pets as cargo.

Carrier Guidelines

  • You can not keep the pet on your lap. It should remain inside its container throughout every phase of the journey.
  • One traveler can take only one pet container with him/her. Two pets can stay inside one container given that they are small enough to stay inside that container comfortably.
  • The pet should be able to move and stand inside the container without any problems.
  • It can be a soft-sided or a hard-sided container.
  • The container should be well-ventilated and the bottom of the container must be water-proof.
  • The container will be regarded as your one regular carry-on item.

Carrier Dimensions

Soft-sided and hard-sided kennels are accepted.

KennelLength  WidthHeight
Best Soft Sided Carrier17”10”9.5”
Hard Sided Kennel18.5”13.5”8.5″


Southwest charges 95 USD per pet container and you can take up to pets inside per container. The pets should be small enough to accommodate themselves inside the container without any problems.

If your flight is to or from the Hawaiian Islands and is dated between September 6 through June 30, 2024, you will have to pay only 35 USD per container. The airline ticket booth is where the pet fee should be paid.

The per fee is always refundable in case you cancel your reservation. Just call the number given below to ask for a refund.

Destination Restrictions

  • Southwest accepts pets only on domestic flights. You can take any pet with you inside of the cabin while flying to any international destination.
  • Southwest does not accept pets on flights to or from Hawaii.
  • These restrictions will apply on flights to Puerto Rico.

Aircraft Restrictions

Only six containers are allowed on each flight. This means, only six travelers can take their pets with them on each flight. So, ensure to make your booking as soon as possible.

Required Documents

Southwest does not require any specific documents to accept pets. But pets must be vaccinated properly to get on board.

Pet Relief Areas

There are relief areas for pets at almost all airports and destinations. So, make sure to take your pet to the relief area before boarding the plane.

Service Animals

Southwest accepts service animals onboard that are properly trained. Only dogs are accepted as service animals. Legally trained service dogs travel for free on every flight.

Emotional Support Animals

Southwest no longer allows emotional support animals onboard after the changes made by the Department of Transportation.

Cremated Pet Remains

  • Burnt pet ashes are acceptable as a carry-on piece. Cremated bodies cannot be permitted to hold luggage; they must be examined at the security gate.
  • We advise using a temporary carton or acrylic box given by the Crematory to transfer the ashes. This is to guarantee that the object can pass through X-ray scanning. If it cannot, it’ll be exposed for a visual examination.
  • Containers with remains are not permitted beyond the security barrier if they cannot be inspected.


As they allow only six containers on each flight, it will be wiser to make the booking as early as possible. You can make the booking by just calling their number.


Whilst the carrier is being X-rayed, you will walk past the scanning device holding your pet. All pet containers are liable for inspection. You can not get on the aircraft before other passengers.

How do I add a pet to my flight?

  1. Make your reservation as soon as possible and let them know about the pet.
  2. Purchase a suitable container and make your pet used to that container.
  3. Make sure the pet is properly vaccinated.
  4. Be present at the airport at the right time.


  1. Let them know about your pet while making your reservation. Otherwise, you may be late and the limit of six containers per flight may have already been reached.
  2. Purchase the container at least a few days ahead of the flight. Keep the container close to the dog so that it can get familiar with it.
  3. Make sure to take the dog to the relief area before boarding the plane. The dog can not relieve itself on the plane and the plane will not wait when the dog goes to the relief area.
  4. Southwest does not require any formal documents except vaccination documents. So, make sure that they are up to date.


How strict is the Southwest pet policy?

Southwest is quite flexible with its pet policy. They have a restriction of a maximum of six containers per flight, but they said they may allow more containers in certain situations.

How much does it cost to take a pet on Southwest Airlines?

Southwest charges a fixed 95 USD per container on every flight. There are no additional charges except the pet fare.

Can my dog sit on my lap on Southwest?

No, Southwest does not allow pets to stay on their owner’s lap. The pet should stay inside the container throughout every phase of the journey.

Can my dog fly in the cabin with me on Southwest?

Yes, Southwest allows pets to be inside of the cabins with their owners. Pets are not allowed to be shipped as checked baggage.

Contact Details

Call1-800-I-FLY-SWA 1-800-435-9792

Southwest Short Profile

Company NameSouthwest Airlines
Support Center1-800-435-9792
Social Media PagesFacebook
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