Question from a reader: What are the airlines’ rules for kennels to transport pets as checked cargo/baggage to and from Hawaii?
American Airlines provides the most specific details on which size of pet (dog or cat) kennel / crate they allow. According to their website:
Pets Traveling as Checked Baggage
The maximum size for checked kennels is a series 500 kennel with the following dimensions: 40″ long x 27″ wide x 30″ high. However, this size kennel is not accepted on the Boeing MD-80 (S80). Kennels checked on MD-80s must be able to fit through the cargo door while remaining in an upright position. MD-80 cargo doors are 29″ high x 53″ wide.
Series 700 kennels are not allowed on any aircraft.
The maximum weight of a checked pet and kennel (combined) cannot exceed 100 lbs.
Collapsible Kennels (those which can fold down flat) can not be accepted due to the risk of collapse during transport.
Pets Traveling as Carryon
The maximum size for cabin pet carriers is 23″ long x 13″ wide x 9″ high.
Other domestic airlines are likely to have similar guidelines, but they aren’t posted. I suggest calling your desired airline to check before booking a ticket.
Remember that the FAA also imposes runway temperature restrictions for pets. Generally, pets are only allowed to travel when the runway is not more than 85 degrees F and not less than 45 degrees F. An exception can be made to 20 degrees F, if a veterinarian certifies that the pet is acclimated to lower temperatures. No exceptions are allowed over 85 degrees (think Dallas in summer) or under 20 degrees (think Boston in winter).
Basic health requirements must also be met, including original proof of vaccination for rabies for pets departing Hawaii. For pets traveling to Hawaii, stringent health rules apply. Learn more about those from the state quarantine office. Due to state budget cuts, the inspection facility at Honolulu Airport has reduced its hours as follows:
Effective December 1, 2009 inspection hours for dog and cats at Honolulu International Airport (HNL) will be between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, including weekends and holidays. This information is particularly important for those who are qualifying their pets for direct release at the airport. Pet owners should be sure to arrange for their flights to arrive by 3:30 p.m. because it may take up to one hour for the airlines to transport a pet to the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility and animals not arriving at the facility by 4:30 p.m. will not be released at the airport that day. Pets arriving in the late afternoon and evening will be held overnight until inspections are completed the following morning. Pet owners who are connecting to neighboring islands should pay particular attention to the change in inspection hours. (An advisory was posted on this website on August 17, 2009 to advise pet owners of the probability of reduced inspection hours.)