The Spirit Airlines pet policy 2023 includes options for flying with small dogs or cats in the cabin, but no pets are allowed to travel in the aircraft hold as checked baggage or cargo. For cats and dogs to fly in the cabin, they must be at least 12 weeks old. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are no longer accepted under the Spirit Airlines ESA pet policy 2023 due to changes in US laws. However, trained and registered Assistance & Service Dogs, including Psychiatric Service Dogs, may fly in the cabin free of charge. If you’re importing a dog to the USA, your dog’s age and vaccine requirements depend on the risk of rabies where your trip starts. There’s currently a ban on dogs being imported to the USA from more than 100 high risk rabies countries. Check out pet travel reviews for Spirit Airlines, or leave a review if you fly your pet in the cabin with Spirit! Read on for the full Spirit Airlines pet policy for cats and dogs in 2023.
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Table of contents
- Does Spirit Airlines Allow Dogs & Cats in the Cabin?
- Does Spirit Airlines allow Pets in the Hold as Checked Baggage or Cargo?
- Spirit Airlines Assistance & Service Dog and Emotional Support Animal (ESAs) Policy
- Pet Travel Documentation & Vaccines
- Spirit Airlines Excluded Pet Flight Routes
- Are Pets Safe on Planes?
- Related Pages
|Dogs & Cats in the Cabin of the Plane||✅|
|Dogs & Cats flying as Checked In Baggage||❌|
|Pets flying as Cargo||❌|
|Assistance Dogs in Cabin||✅|
|Psychiatric Service Dogs in Cabin||✅|
|Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) in Cabin||❌|
Does Spirit Airlines Allow Dogs & Cats in the Cabin?
The Spirit Airlines pet travel policy accepts small dogs and cats to fly in the cabin within their pet travel carrier.
In addition, except on flights to and from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, Spirit Airlines accepts the following pet species in the cabin:
- Small Domestic Birds (eg. canaries, budgies, parakeets)
The travel bag or kennel must also meet the Spirit Airlines specifications outlined in their pet travel policy. The maximum dimensions for your cat or dog’s travel carrier are L 18″ x W 14″ x H 9″, and the combined weight of your pet inside the carrier must not exceed 40 lbs (18.14kg).
On the flight, the travel bag will be stowed underneath the seat in front of you, you can’t remove your cat or dog during the flight for safety reasons.
One pet travel bag is permitted per passenger to fly in the Spirit cabin as carry on luggage, with a maximum of six pet carriers allowed on each domestic flight.
But, if you’re flying with two small pets of the same species, and comparable size, they can fly in the same travel carrier.
In addition, the following rules apply when flying your pet in the cabin with Spirit Airlines:
- Pets must be able to stand and sit up, turn around normally and lie down in a natural position in their kennel, without touching any side or the top of their travel bag.
- Only soft-sided, collapsible kennels are allowed and need to be secure, padded, made of water-repellant material and have nylon mesh ventilation on 2 or more sides.
IATA Regulations for Cats & Dogs Flying in the Cabin
While you need to ensure that your pet’s travel crate meets the maximum dimensions set by Spirit Airlines to fly in the cabin, remember that you must also adhere to the Live Animal Regulations (LAR) set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This includes calculating the minimum inner crate dimensions allowed by the IATA LAR for your cat or dog to fly in the cabin. In addition, the airline pet travel carrier must adhere to the criteria set by the IATA LAR, in terms of ventilation, design etc.
If you’re new to pet travel, check out 8 IATA Compliant Airline Pet in Cabin Carriers.
Cost of Flying a Pet in Cabin with Spirit Airlines
It costs $110 each way to take your pet as additional carry on baggage with Spirit.
Does Spirit Airlines allow Pets in the Hold as Checked Baggage or Cargo?
Spirit Airlines doesn’t accept pets as checked baggage, or cargo in the hold, as the holds of their aircraft aren’t suitable for transporting live animals.
If your cat or dog is too large to fly in the cabin, check out other airline pet policies.
You can also read about the differences between flying a cat or dog as checked baggage or cargo in the hold. Be aware that the latter is always significantly more expensive.
Spirit Airlines Assistance & Service Dog and Emotional Support Animal (ESAs) Policy
As of 11 January 2021, the Spirit Airlines pet policy no longer recognises Emotional Support Animals (ESAs), therefore no new ESA reservations will be accepted. Emotional Support Animals are now subject to the standard Spirit Airlines pet travel policy.
Only professionally trained Assistance & Service Dogs (SVANs) can fly in the cabin free of charge if they meet the requirements. A service animal is defined as a dog that’s individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability, including but not limited to:
- Visual impairments
- Hearing impairments
- Mobility impairments
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Trained Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSVDs) are therefore permitted to travel with Spirit Airlines on international flights to and from the USA.
Pet Travel Documentation & Vaccines
Spirit Airlines Excluded Pet Flight Routes
Due to government pet travel rules, you can’t fly your cat or dog in the cabin to certain countries. These rules are in place in some pet friendly destinations that are currently rabies free, in order to protect their borders. For example, when flying to the UK (Scotland, England, Wales & Northern Ireland), all pets arriving on a plane must travel as cargo in the hold.
At present, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has extended the ban on dogs travelling to the USA from more than 100 high risk rabies countries. If your dog has visited any of these countries in the last six months, the same rules apply.
Rabbits and birds aren’t allowed on Spirit Airlines flights to and from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Are Pets Safe on Planes?
If you’re worried about your furry travel companion’s wellbeing when flying, check out our comprehensive post regarding pet safety on planes. While in the USA, a monthly report is provided for airline pet incident rates, there isn’t an equivalent in Europe at the moment. Note that even the airline pet incident reports submitted in the USA are only for cats and dogs flying in the hold, and don’t include any in cabin events, therefore there isn’t any data for Spirit Airlines.
No doubt, at some point your trip will involve a car ride, so have a look at our 12 Essential Pet Car Safety Tips too. Should your cat or dog suffer from motion sickness, we’ve also compared some of the treatments, strategies and medications for pet travel nausea.
It’s important to be aware that you can’t sedate or tranquilize your cat or dog for their flight.
In addition, to protect your pet’s health and wellbeing in a new country, be sure to keep your cat or dog safe from vector-borne diseases. In particular, Heartworm from mosquitoes and Leishmaniasis from sandflies pose a serious pet threat in Southern Europe.
And don’t forget the all important Essential Pet Travel Accessories!
Prior to booking, always view the Spirit Airlines pet travel policy on their website for any recent changes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, some airlines are frequently amending their rules for pets on planes.
Have a safe and wonderful trip, and remember to leave a pet travel review for Air France if you fly your pet cat or dog, in the cabin or hold!