The United States’ Department of Transportation is easing up on a ban against dogs on commercial flights.
Beginning October 18, 2019, dogs will be allowed to travel in domestic passenger vehicles on flights of up to 7,400 miles with a maximum 20-pound combined weight. (Up to 10,000 miles of travel under certain conditions is a permitable maximum.) In-cabin pets will also be allowed.
However, the restrictions also include limitations for veterinary and tourist visas and international passenger flights.
Affected flights are international flights with a total takeoff weight of more than 8,070 pounds and a cabin weight less than 10,000 pounds. Pets are required to be in carriers that meet current specifications for cargo size and weight.
Most airlines already accept pets in passenger vehicles, but implementation of the new guidelines means travelers will need to keep a close eye on the paperwork while en route.
“Once pets have the proper medical documentation, flight plans will be reviewed to be sure we can still accommodate pets,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in a press release.
New regulations go into effect on October 18, 2019. Shutterstock
“As we have seen over the past several years, pet owners continue to push the boundaries of pet travel and we have listened to their concerns.”
U.S. aircraft and airports have capacity constraints, but state DOT inspectors will work with airline employees to determine whether additional aircraft, terminal space or cargo can be made available to accommodate pet transport.
The DOA said the announcement was due to a public comment period from April 13, 2018, through September 11, 2018.