Are Dogs Allowed in Airports?

Are Airports Dog Friendly? Are Dogs Allowed In?

Are dogs allowed in airports? Dogs are generally permitted in U.S. airports, but some are dog-friendly than others. Service dogs have the most unrestricted access inside airports. However, more airports are making an effort to be more friendly to travelers arriving with their dogs.

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Most airports have indoor or outdoor relief areas for dogs. You may even find some of them past TSA security checkpoints. Some of the most dog-friendly airports include New York JFK, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Reno Tahoe.

Official Dog Policy for Airports

The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, has jurisdiction over airports in the United States. FAA policy requires dogs to be in carriers, except when going through security or in pet relief areas. Federal regulations also require dogs traveling by plane to have health certificates that include proof of a rabies vaccine.

Service dogs do not have to remain in carriers as other dogs do. However, these dogs must still pass through security, including being subject to a pat-down if you refuse to take the dog through the scanner. You will need to take your dog back through security if leaving for a potty break is necessary.

Dog Policy from Select Airports

Detroit Metro has pre and post-security relief areas, minimizing the time pet owners spend leaving to find a relief area. Denver International Airport, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, and New York JFK also boast boarding facilities, in addition to relief areas.

Positive Reviews From Customers Who Were Happy With Airport’s Dog Policy

As frustrating as certain aspects of air travel can be, some airports make this process much less stressful for pet parents and their dogs. Travelers that found these features at airports helpful cited convenience as a major factor.

Jaderust” cited the ease of security policies that are in place when dropping off or picking up a dog in the airport. She finds that these policies make flights go a lot more smoothly.

Negative Reviews From Customers Who Were Unhappy With Airport’s Dog Policy

Many airport travelers are unhappy with airports’ dog policies, for differing reasons. Many owners have complaints about mandatory crating required outside of relief areas, feeling that it is needlessly stressful. Others have also expressed concerns about service or emotional support dogs being present on flights if they have allergies.

Thesongsinmyhead” found the process of flying with a dog being transported as cargo needlessly burdensome. The issues that this traveler cited included paperwork delays that persisted until she was seated on the flight, making their trip needlessly stressful.

Wesleeptheylive” has allergies and is against dogs being in airports or on planes unless they are service animals. This person has cited the number of pets that the owners treat as service animals.

Michele, who traveled through Denver International, complained that there were accessible places for dogs to potty, but that the outdoor smoking area was difficult to find. She felt that the relief areas made the airport dirtier.

Does Airport’s Dog Policy Vary By Location?

Although all airports in the U.S. must follow FAA policies, a few airports have had to modify their existing policies on service dogs. Additionally, the Department of Transportation recently allowed airlines to decline transport for service dogs that are not leashed, under control, or that demonstrate aggressive behavior.

Another change that the Department of Transportation brought about was ending requirements for airlines to take emotional support dogs on flights. Psychiatric service dogs are still allowed on all flights. The decision of whether to allow dogs on flights that are not trained service animals rests with the airlines rather than the airports.

Tips For When Going to Airports With A Dog

When resolving the issue of are dogs allowed in airports, you will also want to think about some helpful tips to make things easier for your dog. Here are some of the most important:

1. Make Sure Your Dog Will Fly Without Complaint

Dogs with anxious temperaments may end up more stressed if accompanying you on a flight. Also worth noting is that some airlines won’t fly dogs that are noisy during flights. You don’t want to take the risk of an airline ban because of your dog’s behavior.

2. Check the Requirements for Carriers

Airlines have strict requirements for carrier or crate sizes. One of the worst things an owner can do is put a dog in a carrier that is too small, which often causes more stress. The carrier must fit under a seat, but also be comfortable for your dog.

3. Walk Your Dog Before Going to the Airport

A good walk will help your dog use up some of its excess energy. When a dog has had exercise, it is more likely to spend the flight napping. Also, minimize the amount of food and water your dog has before the flight, and make sure the carrier has a pee pad.

Final Thoughts

Although FAA regulations require dogs to be traveling with their owners to enter airports, many airports have facilities that help make traveling easier. Relief areas make it easier for dogs to take bathroom breaks before flights, and many airports also have outdoor play areas. Taking your dog to the airport can be less stressful than you may have imagined with the amenities at many airports.