Updated: May 2, 2022
When considering to fly your puppy home, first make sure the airline you choose allows you to carry-on dogs and check what age the puppy needs to be in order to fly. You will need to call your airline to make a reservation for your puppy because most flights have a limited number of pets (usually 2) allowed per cabin. I recommend that you call your airline prior to making your flight reservation. Most airlines can reserve the ticket for you and your pet over the phone if space is available. Here is a list of airline policies, and definitely ask them about any recent changes while you have them on the phone. I also recommend that you call and reconfirm 24 to 48 hours before your flight that you’ll be traveling with your pet.
You’ll need to bring a soft pet carrier with a zipper on each end to take the puppy into the airplane cabin. You’ll want a soft one that will squish under the seat, like this one. When you’re seated you can unzip the end and let them stick their head out.
When you arrive at the Hartsfield-Jackson International airport, you will need to take the train to the main terminal where you will check in at the ticket counter for your airline to get tags for the pet carrier (that’s when you pay the pet fee). We will plan to meet you at the curb on the level outside the ticket counter for your airline (please send us your flight information). Once you have your puppy “ticket” on the puppy carry-on bag we will say goodbye (and take a “Gotcha Day” picture) and you will take your new puppy through security. At security, put the carrier on the belt to be X-rayed, and carry the pup with you through the people scanner (removing their collar). Once you are through security screening, put on the pup’s collar back on (there’s a leash in the puppy take-home bag). Proceed downstairs to take the train back out to your gate area.
***Potty Breaks: Do NOT let your puppy use the dog potty areas because we don’t want them exposed to places other dogs have been. For potty breaks inside the airport—use the family/handicapped restrooms and set pup down with a potty pad on the floor (pee pads included in take-home bag). You can give your puppy a little bit of food or water prior to flying, but don’t be surprised if they refuse in this new environment.
Before you get in line to board your plane, put the puppy in the carrier. If the airline attendants ask for any paperwork, you can show them the health clearance paperwork in your puppy’s take-home folder. When on the plane, place the pet carrier under your seat; and you can open the zipper and pet and reassure them (they can stick their head out, but don’t open it so wide that they can escape).
Best of luck on your first of many adventures!