Step by Step Guide to Flying With Your Dog

french bulldog at airport

french bulldog in gucci
[ drawing by @fine_frenchie ]

Traveling with your dog can be a smooth, easy process as long you are prepared and know what to expect. I can’t imagine most of our trips without our dogs–they bring so much joy (to us and to others!) and are totally part of the family. We’ve already decided a long time ago we won’t have children, so we literally treat our frenchies like our kids. They go everywhere with us!

I try to travel with my dog(s) as much as I possibly can, especially if it’s a domestic flight. We flew international with Weston + Fira last year and it was definitely a process but not as hard as I thought! Just make sure to give yourself extra time to get every step done and not stress yourself out.

To find out how I pack for dog-friendly travel, check out my post here.

First, choose your airline…

Most airlines have a weight limit—Virgin America and Jetblue, along with a few others, have a 20 pound limit, including the weight of the carrier. The carrier weighs about 1.5-2 lbs. Fira is 14 lbs so we never have a problem and she fits very comfortably inside the Sherpa Carrier. American Airlines, Delta and United have no weight limit, as long as your pup fits comfortably inside a carrier underneath the seat in front of you.

To bring your dog in-cabin, most airlines charge $100-125 each way for a “pet ticket” and all you need to do is bring them in an airline-approved carrier (Sherpa Medium) as a carry-on. To read specifically about flying with a french bulldog, go to

If your dog is over 20 lbs or doesn’t fit in a carrier, they must go in cargo (bottom of the plane)—cargo is not available for flat-nosed breeds, such as pugs, french bulldogs and shih-tzu’s.

What to bring…

About a week before you fly, make sure to go to your vet and get a health certificate. This certificate just says that your pet is up to date on shots and is healthy to travel. It will take less than 10 minutes at the vet and they usually charge $50-80 (however much the vet charges for an office visit).

Some airlines don’t require a health certificate anymore so be sure to check with your airline.

During security, you’ll add their collar/leash in the bin to go through the security machines and then carry them through the x-ray with you. They do a swab test on your hands and that’s it!

Bring treats, extra poo bags, disinfectant wipes (incase they accidentally poo inside the airport–it happens!) and their favorite bone/toy they like to chew on.

If our flight is early in the morning, we skip the breakfast so they fly on an empty stomach and can be comfortable. Most airports now offer pet relief areas once you get past security and to the gates. Fira has even used a pet relief room that had a grassy patch and a flush button! When we “flushed,” the mini fire hydrants turned into sprinklers and cleaned the area. Cool. (American Airlines; Miami Airport)

Happy flying!

Other Related Posts:

How I Pack Lightly + Travel With My Dog

Traveling To Paris With Your Dog: everything you need to know


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  1. Super helpful tips as we are flying our frenchie with us to Colorado in a couple weeks! Praying for a smooth flight and a happy calm puppy!


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