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Editors' Choice Awards 2010: Most Pet-Friendly Airline for Checked Pets

by SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Choice Badge: Most Pet-Friendly Airline/Checked Pets
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 23, 2010. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: airfare, Alaska, baggage, Delta, pet travel.

Winner: Alaska Airlines

Animal lovers whose pets are too large to fit under the seat in front of them must check their four-legged friends before they board. So which airline takes the best care of our animals? For the Most Pet-Friendly Airline for Checked Baggage, we looked at only the airlines that allow pets to be transported as checked baggage, and evaluated them for cost and mortality, injury, and loss numbers. Airlines that don't allow pets to travel as checked baggage were automatically disqualified.

Based on these criteria, Alaska Airlines came out on top. In 2009, the airline saw zero deaths, five injuries, and zero losses. Some airlines reported up to nine deaths the same year. We considered these numbers to be the most important factor when choosing an airline, and even though Alaska reported five injuries, the highest number among the airlines, the fact that not one life was lost put it at the head of the pack.

Plus, in a price comparison with the other airlines, Alaska is the cheapest to fly, charging only $100 each way, whereas some airlines are charging $250 each-way to check your pet. If you must check your pet, Alaska is our top pick for safety and cost.

Honorable mention here goes to Delta. Coming in second for mortality rates, the airline reported three deaths, zero injuries, and one loss in 2009. We believe these numbers are more important than cost, so even though the airline charges $200 each way, we gave it runner-up status.


We also have to mention the only airline exclusively dedicated to pets, Pet Airways. It only allows pets onboard, and is similar in its pricing to buying an airplane ticket for a human. However, its sole mission is the safety and comfort of your pet during flight, so it deserves a nod in this category.

Your Turn

Do you agree or disagree with our winner in this category? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

See All Editors' Choice Winners

Most Customer-Friendly Airline | Best Free Airline Perk | Best Coach-Class Experience | Best Value Airline | Best Value Destination | Best Hotel Loyalty Program | Best Rental Car Loyalty Program | Best Travel Rewards Card for Domestic Use | Best Travel Rewards Card for Overseas Use | Best Travel Rewards Card for ATM Use | Best Airline Website | Best Use of Social Media | Most Pet-Friendly Airline for Checked Pets | Most Pet-Friendly Airline for Carry-On Pets | Most Eco-Friendly Airline | Best Airport for Layovers | Best Airport for Connections

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