Flying Southwest with pup
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Thread: Flying Southwest with pup

  1. #1

    Default Flying Southwest with pup

    Wondering if anyone had any experience flying with their new puppy on southwest. Seems from my reading online that they will allow the medium size Sherpa dog carrier but just looking for any personal experience. The puppy will be 7.5 weeks old and even though they say 8 weeks, I talked to them today and they said they do not check anything.

    Flight it direct and only 1 hour and 45 minutes. We will also be purchasing an extra seat for our 1 year old so foot room will not be a problem. My only concern is the size of the medium sherpa and the size of the pup. The sherpa is 17x11x10.5. Will this be big enough to not cause any red flags by the airport folks? How big is a puppy generally during this stage? Thanks

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012


    I flew Southwest when I picked up my pup last summer. I flew from Salt Lake City and had no issues with the pup. You have to check in at the counter and pay for the pup there but that was a painless experience and they did not ask for any paperwork. I used a Sherpa about the same size as yours and it fit fine under the middle seat which has more room. FYI, I had to carry the pup through security and the bag went through the xray scanner so you may need to plan ahead since you also have a 1 year old to deal with. Also, good advise from my service dog friends was to get some piddle pads and use the family restroom when you are inside the airport. It worked great and gave me a place to let the puppy run around some during my 2 hour layover. Good luck.

  4. #3
    Senior Member helencalif's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    in the mountains at Lake Almanor, CA


    Here's another tip: buy a small puppy collar for the pup and have a dog tag engraved with your last name and phone number (cell number and carry your cell phone). If your pup gets away from you at any time, you will be glad to have some sort of ID tag on its collar. Take a leash with you, too.

    Since it is a direct, short flight, your puppy will not need food and perhaps not any water. You did not say what kind of puppy, but the med. size Sherpa should work for a Lab or a Golden Ret. who is 7.5 weeks old and "average" size for that age.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member Cleo Watson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Tylertown, MS


    Check to see if they require a current shipping certificate from the Vet. Most airlines require this and it has to be no more than a week old.
    A true friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.

  7. #5


    That is exatly what I was hoping to hear! Yes, it will be a yellow lab. Great idea on the collar with identification. I"ll also have my wife we me to help its our son and the pup. We all just wanted to be a part of the pick up of the pup plus we'll spend a few days prior in Seattle for a mini vacation.

    Thank you all very much! We are very excited.

  8. #6
    Senior Member Billie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    They do not require any documentation on a pup that age. My sherpa bag is: 10w x11h x 19l . I wouldnt have wanted one any smaller. My friend and I each picked up our pups in January via SW airlines. It was easy , for the most part,but we had a lot of stops and connections. The pups were good sports. The last leg of the trip was almost empty plane and the pups were allowed on our laps outside of the bags, but they were actually more comfortable in them. Make sure you have a rawhide and a stuffed toy in there for her, maybe even your old shirt that smells lke you, it will comfort her in the travels. How fun! Traveling with the pup is a pia but- a great bonding experience! Have fun!
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  9. #7
    Senior Member badbullgator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    somewhere between Boca Grande and Mims


    I have not flown with a dog on SW, but I do fly SW a lot and have seen many puppies and small dogs in the cabin. One observation I can pass on is get the smallest carrier you can that will fit the dog. They will make to put it fully under the seat and I have seen at least one person have to get off because the dog could not properly stowed.
    I have also noticed a huge variation in what flight crews do. One may be less strict while others take the rules to the extreme.
    For what it is worth one of the best seat mates I have ever had on a flight was a young woman with an 10 week old black lab. One of the worst, and one that I thought was going to lead to someone getting tossed off the plane was a yapping ankle bitter that did not shut up from the time it got on the plane till the time it got off. There is a reason I invested in good Bose noise canceling headphones.
    Views and opinions expressed herein by Badbullgator do not necessarily represent the policies or position of RTF. RTF and all of it's subsidiaries can not be held liable for the off centered humor and politically incorrect comments of the author.
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  10. #8
    Member Doug Burt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Auburn, WA


    When I went to pick up my puppy my wife bought me two baby blankets. This was our first dog together so I couldn't say to her what a dumb idea I thought it was not to mention embarrassing to show up at the breeders with pink blankets. As always she was much smarter than I am! Turned out to have worked great. I rubbed those blankets on Mom and let the litter mates play on them. She hardly made a peep during both flights. Med Sherpa worked great. I'm in the Seattle area if I can help in any way.

  11. #9
    Member laurelwood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Newnan, GA


    I'm a flight attendant. FAA regulations state that pets must be completely contained in an approved carrier (go for the smallest soft-sided carrier your puppy can stand up in) and remain stowed completely underneath the seat in front of you for all phases of flight (taxi, take-off, cruise and landing). Reality is that some flight crews will be very, very strict about those regulations and others will be a little more relaxed. Most puppies might whine a little at first but usually quiet down pretty quickly and are just fine.

    I travel with young puppies fairly often. Know that you will have to check in at the front ticket counter, and that going through security with a dog will often make you subject to additional search, so make sure to give yourself extra time to get to your gate. I always pack a supply of plastic bags, potty pads, unscented baby wipes and a towel or two- if your puppy does have an accident or get sick in the crate you can clean up the puppy, crate and yourself. Make sure you have a day's worth of food and a small bowl just in case of flight delays or diversions.

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Northwest Louisiana


    I flew SW from Dallas to St. Louis in December to pick up our new yellow Lab. It was a piece of cake and I can't say enough good things about SW! Did the round trip in one day, so I only had my purse and the Sherpa. When you make your flight reservations, tell them you will be returning with a puppy. Puppers gets a reservation, too! When you arrive at the airport, go directly to SW ticket counter with pup in Sherpa. You'll need to pay for pup's trip at that point. Also, previous poster is correct: you will need to remove pup from Sherpa and carry her through xray, while Sherpa goes through machine. They even swabbed my hands! (Get a mental picture of redheaded Irish girl trying to hold 15 lbs. of happy while getting her hands swabbed...) Replace pup in Sherpa and find a fun place to hang out and make new friends. As soon as folks realize you're traveling with a puppy, you will become VERY popular. You must check in a bit earlier when traveling with a pet, check your departure airport's time. I had a good bit of time and went to the Chili's in the STL airport. Told the hostess I was traveling with a pup and would be glad to be seated at a table where I could put my pup outside the restaurant rail. She replied, "No, girl! You bring your baby right on in here!" I was VERY nervous about the puppy started to whine during the flight. HA! She was asleep before we took off and remained that way most of the trip. She also slept most of the 3 hour drive from Dallas to our home. One of the flight attendants was a Lab lover and stopped by multiple times just to check on my new girl and me. Enjoy this experience, and give your new girl a hug from Louisiana! BTW, my pup was exactly 49 days one ever asked how old she was and there was no need for any health certificate.

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