If you’ve ever tried to move or travel by flying with a pug, Boston terrier, French bulldog or other snub-nosed breeds, you know these guys are up against far stricter restrictions than other pups. It can be very frustrating!
The reason for this is that brachycephalic (snub-nosed) breeds are far more susceptible to heat exhaustion and breathing abnormalities, which can be exacerbated by traveling if certain precautions aren’t taken. In the summer of 2018, United Airlines banned pugs, french bulldogs, and more than 25 other breeds from flying with them, making options a lot more limited. Many more have seasonal restrictions around flying these breeds because of heat sensitivity. Now, with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, travel for snub-nosed pets has gotten even more restricted as airlines are canceling their pet programs altogether.
Since breed restrictions can change abruptly and are different for every airline, this blog post will be regularly updated with the latest on both domestic and international airline rules, as well as the airlines that are pug-friendly and allow other snub-nosed breeds. And here are our tips for flying and traveling safely with pugs and other snub-nosed dogs!
Domestic Airlines & Ground Transport Options
The only domestic airlines that currently fly snub-nosed breeds in cargo are:
Aloha Air Cargo
- Amerijet (aside from seasonal heat-related restriction Amerijet has on English Bulldogs)
- Hawaiian Air
- Pacific Air Cargo
Even these airlines have very limited routing between the Mainland US, Hawaiian Islands, some Caribbean islands, and Puerto Rico, so it’s still difficult to move cross-country with these breeds. This doesn’t include airlines like Southwest and Allegiant, which don’t have specific restrictions but will only fly pets in-cabin, and most in-cabin rules require pets to be small enough to fit in a carrier under a seat, excluding many snub-nosed dogs.
The following major domestic airlines DO NOT allow flying pugs or other snub-nosed breeds at any time:
- Alaska Air
How About Flying to or Within Hawaii?
As mentioned above, Hawaiian Airlines is accommodating to all snub-nosed breeds! The airline will allow these pets to fly as long as they travel in a crate that is one size larger than needed. This extra space helps improve air circulation. Aloha Air is another snub-friendly Hawaii airline, but currently only allows these breeds to fly between the Hawaiian islands.
Ground Transportation Could be YOUR Best (or Only) Option
Because domestic airline restrictions are getting stricter for pugs and other snub-nosed breeds, we’ve been helping more clients move their snubs by ground transport—even if it’s a cross-country move. You can reference the IPATA directory for qualified pet ground transport vendors. If you hire PetRelocation for a domestic move, we have our own network of trained ground transport partners.
International Airline Regulations
The international airlines that allow flying pugs and other snub-nosed breeds year-round are:
- Amerijet (aside from a current heat-related restriction Amerijet has on English Bulldogs). Note: Amerijet mostly flies from the U.S. to the Caribbean and South America.
- British Airways for snub-nosed breeds other than pugs, bulldogs, Pekingese, and their cross-breeds (Note: British Airways has heat embargoes restricting dogs from flights out of hot places like Phoenix and Dallas Fort Worth).
- KLM allows snub-nosed dogs other than English Bulldogs, Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers to travel in cargo.
- Lufthansa, Etihad, Gulf Air, and Copa also fly snub-nosed breeds in the winter months or under certain temperature conditions only.
The following major international airlines DO NOT allow flying pugs or other snub-nosed breeds:
- Swiss Air—was previously known for accepting sensitive breeds but changed their rules to ban these breeds, including pugs, on January 1, 2019.
- British Airways—does not accept pugs, bulldogs, Pekingese, or their cross-breeds, but will accommodate other snub-nosed breeds in a larger kennel.
- Emirates Airlines— previously flew snub-nosed pets other than bulldogs between the months of October and April, but as of December 2020, placed a permanent embargo on snub-nosed animals.
- Korean Air— does not accept most breeds considered snub-nosed as of January 2021.
If you’re planning for an international move with your dog, it could also be helpful to read the stories of some snub-nosed pups we’ve transported by air:
- Peppa and Rolo, two pugs move from Malaysia to the UK
- Charlotte the Pug from the US to the UK
- Logan the Frenchton from South Africa to Canada
- Panda the Japanese Chin from Miami to Hong Kong
- Zoey the Boxer from mainland US to Puerto Rico
This post was updated on November 23, 2021
The information contained in this post reflects cargo regulations from airlines we have experience working with and may not include all cargo regulations pertaining to snub-nosed breed restrictions worldwide.