Can French Bulldogs Fly on Airplanes? Yes!

Thinking about traveling with your French Bulldog? Learn what airlines accept French Bulldogs, the best pet carriers for your Frenchie, and everything else!

Flying with a French Bulldog

There has been a lot of debate recently over whether brachycephalic breeds (flat-faced) such as the French Bulldog should be permitted to flying on airlines. This stems from the tragedies that have happened on flights, including the most recent United Airlines one.

Should you be worried about traveling with your Frenchie?

Not exactly, however, you should take the necessary precautions before you board that plane. Just keep in mind that traveling with a French Bulldog requires special care and considerations.

Preparing for the flight can reduce the risk of any possible complications.

Table of Contents

What Airlines Accept French Bulldogs?

Be sure you contact the airline to see if they have any restrictions on specific breeds such as French Bulldogs. Unfortunately, we may see more airlines banning French Bulldogs from flying on the airlines in the near future due to the recent number of tragedies involving the deaths of brachycephalic breeds.

Airlines typically charge a pet fee ranging from $100-$200. When booking your flight, make sure you contact the airline and tell them that you are traveling with a French Bulldog in the cabin. The earlier you make your reservation, the more likely you are to secure a spot for your pet.

Can French Bulldogs Fly on Planes in Cabin?

This answer is different for each airline, but typically yes, French Bulldogs can fly in the cabin of a plane.

It’s the only place I’d let my Frenchie fly!

Frenchies on a Plane
Frenchies on a Plane

Just Say No To Cargo

While many airlines have banned French Bulldogs and other flat-faced dogs from transporting in the cargo area of the plane, there are a few that still allow it.

You should NEVER let your French Bulldog be transported in the cargo area of the plane.

You should ONLY fly with your Frenchie in the cabin with you.

Even if the airline has an option for your Frenchie to fly under in the cargo area, don’t do it!

There have been numerous cases of French Bulldogs dying when traveling in the cargo area.

Before the Flight

You’re going to need to fasten your seatbelts because preparing to fly with your Frenchie is a load of work!

Booking your flight

Time of day

You definitely want to look for a flight either early in the morning or later in the evening. It’ll be during these times where the airplanes wont be excruciatingly hot (especially in the summertime).

Don’t spend all day traveling (if possible)

When booking your flight, if possible, try to book a non-stop flight or one with the least flight changes. One flight is probably more than enough for our Frenchies, let alone three!

Try to keep the whole duration of your traveling as short as possible.

Does the airline know your Frenchie is coming?

We recommend you make your reservations well in advance to secure a spot for your pet.

Airlines limit the number of pets allowed on a single flight so book your flight early to avoid any inconveniences.

If you live in a warmer area, try to book your flight for the early morning or late at night. In cold climates, choose a mid-day flight. We also recommend that you choose a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible so you can get off as soon as you land. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the back of the plane when it lands and they turn off the air conditioning!

Veterinarian Checkup

Before flying with your French Bulldog, you’re going to need to make a trip to your vet.

Not only does your vet need to check if your Frenchie is healthy and all, but they’ll also need to make sure they have all the necessary vaccines depending on where you’re traveling to.

Certificate of Good Heal

In order for your Frenchie to be allowed on the plane, they must receive a Certificate of Good Health from their veterinarian within ten days of traveling.

This document states that your pet is free of any infectious diseases and have their vaccinations up-to-date.

Traveling International with your French Bulldog

If you are traveling out of the United States to other countries, you may be required to have their document certified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

You should also contact the respective Foreign Consulate or Regulatory Agency as there may be other health requirements to be met.

Locate an Emergency Clinic

You’re going to want to make sure you know where the 24-hour emergency clinics are in the area that you’re traveling to.

In an emergency, you do not want to be wasting precious time looking for the closest vet hospital; just a few minutes could mean the difference between life or death!

Use a site like www.vetlocator.com to help you find one.

Find the local vet clinic at your destination
Find the local vet clinic at your destination

Getting Everything Together

FrenchieWiki Pre-Flight Checklist

An Airline Carrier

These are our favorite pet carriers for Frenchies. It can be difficult trying to find a carrier that is the right size for your Frenchie. These 5 carriers are the best of the best.

Frenchie Airline Carriers

The best carriers for traveling with your French Bulldog.

Be sure to check out our complete review of the Top 5 French Bulldog Airline Carriers!

How to Choose a Carrier for your French Bulldog

Most important of all, you’re going to need a pet carrier. When looking to purchase one, make sure it meets the following specifications.

Carrier requirements

Lots of ventilation

The carriers listed above are also ventilated on three or more of its panels which is more than enough for keeping your French Bulldog at a comfortable temperature.

Airlines require carriers to be leak-proof and ventilated on at least 2 sides.

I recommend having 3-4 sides ventilated.

Must be comfy

The carrier must be large enough for your Frenchie to stand, sit, and lay down naturally. They should not be crammed in the carrier and must have enough space to turn around while standing.

Avoid adding any extra, bulky items such as heavy blankets or towels in the carrier when flying. Items such as these can increase the risk of breathing problems and also can make your Frenchie hotter. If you must, use a thin blanket for them to lay on.

Reducing Carrier Anxiety

Crate training with your carrier is the best way to reduce anxiety and stress while traveling. We recommend purchasing your carrier at least a month before your flight.

It’s already uncomfortable enough to be under the seat in a completely new environment. Don’t buy your carrier last minute; you want to give your Frenchie some time to get adjusted to the carrier at home.

Guaranteed on Board Program

Compliant with Most Airlines

Sherpa makes pet carriers in small, medium, and large that are all part of the Guaranteed on Board Program, which means they are compliant with most major airlines’ specifications and if you are denied boarding, they will refund the cost of the carrier!

I recommend the large size for any adult Frenchies.

Sherpa On Wheels
  • Mesh panels for ventilation
  • Machine washable
  • Padding carrying straps

Traveling with your pet is easy with the Sherpa Ultimate on Wheels Pet Carrier.

This stylish yet functional carrier makes traveling a breeze with four swivel wheels, padded handles, and a detachable pull strap, allowing you to glide your pal across the floor with ease.

It’s approved for use on most major airlines, so your pal can keep you company throughout the entire journey!

If you plan on traveling with your French Bulldog often, I also recommend the Sherpa on Wheels Pet Carrier, which is similar to original one, with the addition of wheels, a handle, and an additional ventilation panel.

I can tell you from personal experience that carrying your dog around is exhausting especially after a long day of traveling. This carrier is also part of the Guaranteed on Board Program and should be good-to-go for most airlines!

Frenchie Flying Checklist

Checklist

Download our pre-flight checklist

Essentials

Health

Health certificates

Vaccination records

Necessary medications and supplements

Dog First Aid Kit
  • This 49-piece kit offers solutions for your dog’s emergencies—includes a variety of first aid tools and essentials.
  • From a minor accident to an emergency, the wearable first aid kit can provide relief without cutting your dog’s adventures short.
  • Complements the RSG Activity Belt and County or Townie Harness.
  • MOLLE-compatible. Add ID clips or patches for a customized look.
  • Offers peace of mind to pet parents who want to be prepared for the unexpected.

Don’t let the unexpected ruin your adventure—be prepared with the Kurgo RSG Dog First Aid Kit.

The 49-piece emergency kit includes a handy first aid guide for pets, sting relief pads, cleansing wipes and a host of other indispensable emergency solutions.

International

Pet Passport

Check Destination Country’s Requirements

Other

  • Treats
  • Toys and things for them to chew to keep them distracted
  • Keep in mind that some toys may not be allowed through some security checkpoints! Bring a simple, no-frills toy that you don’t mind losing. These KONG toys can be filled up with peanut butter and keep your French Bulldog busy as your travel. It’s also a great snack!
  • Dog wipes
  • Potty pads
  • Waste bags
  • A flashlight if you plan on traveling through the night and need to take your French Bulldog to potty where there aren’t designated areas. Some are outdoors though and

On the day of the Flight

Photoshoot!

In the event that your Frenchie got lost, you’d want to have recent photos to help others in locating them. We recommend taking photos prior to traveling, preferably the day of your trip

Arrive Early

Make sure you arrive at the airport early; you don’t want to miss your flight because you had to take your pup out for a potty break.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m traveling, I like to have some time to hang out and let my Frenchie get comfortable with her new surroundings.

While I’m waiting for it to be time to board, I also will play with my Frenchie to tire her out as much as possible; I don’t want her to even have the energy to be anxious on the flight.

Board Late

When it comes time to board, I’m usually one of the last to get on the plane.

You don’t want to be one of the first to board and have to sit on the plane for 10-30 minutes without air conditioning.

The cabin of the airplane can get as high as 86° F. when waiting on the runway.

Being the last one on the plane also means you can avoid dealing with other people cramming in the aisle while you stand there lugging around your Frenchie.

hi
hi

During the flight

During the flight, I sometimes will let my Frenchie stick her head out of her carrier. I’m sure that this goes against the airline’s rules, but I’ve found that most flight attendants could care less as long as you are respectful about it.

The bigger airplanes usually have air vents on the floor which helps them stay cool, but you’re going to want to keep a close eye on them and their breathing. I always direct the upper air vents to my Frenchie.

When you Land

Finally, the worst is over. As soon as it is safe to do so, I’ll let my Frenchie poke her head out from her carrier and give her a drink of water.

When exiting the plane I try to get out of the jetway as soon as possible because they’re usually not air-conditioned either.

San Jose pet relief areas
San Jose pet relief areas

When you arrive, you should take it slow as your Frenchie is probably overwhelmed by the new environment. Go sit down and give them time to adjust while you wait for your bags. Place down a potty pad nearby especially if you notice signs that they have to potty such as sniffing the floor or turning in circles while sniffing.

Pet-Relief Areas

You should also look for the closest place for your Frenchie to go potty. Most major airports should have a designated pet-relief area due to a federal regulation the requires airports that serve more than 10,000 passengers annually to have one in each terminal.

PetFriendlyTravel.com has a great tool to find pet-relief areas in every airport in the United States! If you’re too far from one of these areas or your airport does not have one, you should use a potty pad instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Sedate my French Bulldog when Flying?

Sedatives and tranquilizers are not recommended when flying with pets, especially flat-faced breeds such as the French Bulldog.

The reason for this is that they can increase the risk of heart and breathing problems!

There are also all natural options to help with their nerves such as these Natural Calming Supplements.

It’s made from a mix of “flower essences” which are said to have calming properties.

Hemp Calming Stix Supplement
  • Works in 30-45 minutes
  • Helps calm your Frenchie naturally
  • Drug-free - contains suntheanine, melatonin, and hemp seed
  • Free of any GMOs, wheat, corn, soy, and preservatives
  • Promote healthy teeth, gums, and breath

Be sure to ask your vet about other natural options when you take them in for their health certificate and vaccinations.

The Importance of a Healthy Weight

French Bulldogs are already predisposed to many health conditions and obesity increases the risk of developing joint issues, heart problems, and makes breathing even harder for these little ones.

If you ever plan on traveling with your Frenchie in the future, make sure you are keeping them at a healthy weight.

That's enough exercise for a year
That's enough exercise for a year

What Airlines Accept French Bulldogs in Cargo?

Despite the risks associated with brachycephalic breeds flying in the cargo area of the plane, there are still a few airlines that allow this. These include:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Sun Country Airlines

I highly discourage transporting your Frenchie in the cargo area of the plane. Of the 122 deaths of dogs on airplanes in the past 5 years , about half were brachycephalic breed dogs.

You should always fly with your French Bulldog in the cabin area of the plane.

What Other Breeds are Banned by Airlines?

These following breeds, most of which are brachycephalic breeds, were recently banned by United Airlines. What does brachycephalic mean? Simply put, it means “flat-faced” or “shortened head”.

While we find these smooshed-faced pups absolutely adorable, they are notorious for breathing problems. For these breeds, it’s even more important that you keep them at a healthy weight to avoid worsening their airways.

These breeds have been banned from flying in the cargo area of most major airlines as of 2018.

  • American Bulldog
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • English or French Bulldog
  • King Charles Spaniel
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Pug
  • Shar-Pei

United Airlines Tragedy

In March of 2018, a black French Bulldog named Kokito was flying with United Airlines from Houston to New York. During the flight, a flight attendant asked Kokito’s owner to place his carrier in the overhead compartment.

Like the rest of us dog owners, Kokito’s owner was adamant about not putting her puppy in such a dangerous situation. The flight attendant insisted, stating that the dog was a “hazard” because someone might trip on it.

After some more arguing, Kokito’s owner finally listened to the flight attendant and put him in the overhead compartment. According to witnesses, the owner was busy dealing with her infant, taking her attention off of her Frenchie.

After a few hours of flying, the plane finally landed. Just as it is on any flight, the passengers were eager to get off the plane. As everybody was gathering their belongings, Kokito’s owner had realized what had happened. Other passengers on the plane reported “sobbing and gasping” and saw her collapsed on the floor as she realized the dog had died.

While this is undoubtedly one of the saddest tragedies to happen recently on an airline, I feel there is a lesson we all need to learn from this story.

Don’t let anybody tell you what to do with your dog, especially when traveling. Don’t let someone tell you that your Frenchie must fly under in the cargo area or in the overhead compartment; even if you aren’t allowed on the plane – you must put your pet’s life first.

Safe travels!


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