What are the rules when it comes to buying an extra seat on an airplane for your dog? Here's the low down on extra seats and pets.
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Can I buy an extra airplane seat for my dog?

Whether you’re new to traveling with your dog or a seasoned dog voyager, you’ve probably heard a lot of stuff about what’s allowed and what’s not. That’s probably because airline policies are constantly changing, and because rules differ from one company to another. Unfortunately, the confusion over rules is not helped by all of the misleading information and photos easily found on online.

I’ve heard more than a few people suggest that they’ve been able to fly with their large dogs in cabin if they just fork over the money for an extra seat. But it’s not that simple. So what are the rules when it comes to buying an extra seat on an airplane for your dog? Here’s the low down.

Heads up: This article is about flying with pet dogs – not service dogs. Service dogs are not considered pets – they’re working dogs – and they have their own set of rules when flying.

Boogie the pug looks out the window of a plane.

What dogs are allowed to travel in the cabin of an airplane?

It depends on the airline.

Every airline has their own size allowances. Some companies don’t have specific weight allowances, while others allow bigger dogs in cabin. The most common size allowance for dogs in cabin is 20 pounds – the dog and carrier combined must weigh that amount or less.

You can read about airline cabin sizing limits here.

Can I buy an airplane seat for my dog?

It depends on the airline, but if you’re flying a major public airline the answer is typically no.

Passengers are usually able to purchase an extra seat for themselves if they deem it necessary – you might want the extra space, feel more comfortable, or want a row to yourself. To book two seats, customers can either book online or call reservations directly, depending on the airline.

But booking another seat doesn’t mean your dog can sit in it. You will still have to abide by the airline policy, meaning that in all likelihood your dog will have to remain stowed in a carrier under the seat in front of you.

But I’ve seen photos of dogs sitting on airplane seats on Instagram!

I’ve seen them too! Heck, I’ve even taken those photos (see above).

But dogs sitting on airline seats during a flight on a major public airline is technically not allowed, even if the dog is a service dog and even if they’re still in a carrier.

Here’s probably what happened:

  • The dog in the photo was placed on an empty seat before take-off or after landing.
  • The owner removed the dog from their carrier and placed them on the seat when the flight attendant wasn’t looking.
  • The owner removed the dog from their carrier and placed them on the seat with permission from the flight attendant.

I admit, I’ve been lucky enough to have flown with very nice flight attendants who didn’t mind when my dog sat in my lap or on an empty seat next to me. But this is a bonus and should not be expected. It is technically against airline rules.

These Airlines Don't Allow Dogs

Which airlines allow you to buy an airplane seat for your dog?

You may have noticed some semi-private airline companies popping up in the last few years. These small companies fly to limited locations, typically in smaller-sized planes. Their size allowances for dogs are usually more generous, and some of them allow you to purchase seats for your dog!

Here are a few options:

JSX: If you have a medium or large dog, you can purchase an extra seat, and your dog will be permitted to lay on the floor directly in front of the adjoining seat. As long as your dog is leashed, well-behaved, and the seats are adjacent window (C) and aisle seats (B), you’re all good.

Aero: For medium and large pets between 20 and 65 pounds, you can purchase an additional seat at full price.

Tradewind Aviation: Pets of all sizes, including large-breed dogs, are welcome to fly in the spacious cabins of Tradewind Aviation’s Citation CJ3s and Pilatus PC-12s. There’s a limit of one party with pets per flight, and an additional seat must be purchased for dogs over 100 pounds.

Surf Air: If a Passenger wishes to travel with an Animal that weighs more than twenty (20) pounds (a “larger animal”), the Passenger must notify Surf and purchase a separate Single-Use Flight Pass for the animal at least two (2) days before the flight. If a Single-Use Flight Pass has been purchased for a larger animal, and if requested by the Passenger in writing at the time the Passenger books the flight for the animal, the animal may occupy a seat so long as it is harnessed. 

BLADE: For dogs heavier than 25 pounds, the owner must purchase an additional seat.

You can read more about these semi-private airlines and their pet policies here.

A dog sits in an airport.

Can I buy an airplane seat if I’m traveling with two dogs in cabin?

It depends on the airline.

These major airlines allow you to travel in cabin with more than one dog.

There are some airlines that allow you to purchase a second seat when traveling with more than one dog, but please note that your dogs must still remain in a carrier that’s stowed under the seat in front.

If you’re flying with more than one dog, you can purchase additional seats on the following airlines:

JetBlue: In order to bring a second pet, a second seat and pet fee must be paid.

United: If you want to bring aboard an additional pet, you’ll need to buy an extra ticket for that pet and pay an additional $125 each way.

Can I buy a seat for my dog on an international flight?

If you are traveling with more than one dog in cabin, you can purchase an extra seat on an international flight with either JetBlue or United. The second dog must be stowed in a pet carrier under the seat in front.

You can purchase a second seat on an international flight for personal reasons, but not solely for your dog.

Boogie at the airport.

Can I buy a seat for my dog in first class?

Many airlines allow dogs to fly in first class, but they cannot sit in their own first class seat. The dog must remain in a pet carrier.

Can I buy a seat for my large dog on an airplane?

No. Airline policies for dogs in cabin are all correlated to size, whether it’s a weight limit or a carrier size.

There are airlines that allow dogs over the typical 20 pound limit (see a list here) but they tend to be semi-private with limited destinations.

Can I buy an airplane seat for my cat?

The rules for cats tend to be the same as the rules for dogs. They must remain in a pet carrier stowed at your feet. They cannot sit on an airplane seat, even if they remain in their carrier.

Empty airplane.

Frequently asked questions: airplane seats and dogs

Can I buy a seat for my dog on American Airlines?

No. Your pet must stay in the kennel and under the seat in front of you for the entire flight.

Can I buy a seat for my dog on Delta Airlines?

No. When flying Delta, your pet must be able to fit in a small, ventilated pet carrier that fits under the seat in front of you.

Can I buy a seat for my dog on Southwest Airlines?

No. Your pet must be stowed under the seat in front of you.

Can I buy a seat for my dog on JetBlue Airlines?

Yes, if you’re traveling with a second pet. Passengers traveling with two pets must purchase a second seat and pay an extra pet fee.

Can I buy a seat for my dog on United Airlines?

Yes, if you’re traveling with an additional pet. United will let you buy an extra seat if you’re traveling with more than one dog – you’ll need to buy an extra ticket for the pet and pay an additional $125 each way.

Learn more about flying with your dog here.

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2 Comments

  1. This is great information to have! Our last dog was a service dog so it’s helpful to know the actual rules as our next dog will not be “working” for a living! Have to admit, the idea of having a dog occupy a seat next to you… could make flying interesting for those individuals that think their dogs are well behaved… and they AREN’T! 🙂 Could make life interesting!

    Found you on Dog Blogger Society on Facebook

  2. Fantastic article…Thanks for sharing such an amazing content with us.I really enjoyed your blog.God bless you.Keep it up.

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