Complete Guide to Air Travel with your Boston Terrier

If you are wondering whether you can take your Boston Terrier with you to another state, look no further! The answer is absolutely yes! Traveling with your pet is hassle-free, and becoming more and more popular with the widespread use of service dogs, emotional support dogs, and just loving our pets. 

The process of figuring out to fly with your Boston can be intimidating, but it shouldn’t be challenging to accomplish. We have compiled a guide of all the things you need to know about flying domestically with your Boston Terrier to make it easier for you. 

Complete Guide to Air Travel with your Boston Terrier. Boston Terrier Society.

Can I Take my Boston Terrier on the Plane With Me?

The short answer, yes. Many things go into considering if you can take your Boston Terrier with you on the airplane, including where you will keep them on the aircraft. 

Can My Boston Terrier Ride In The Planes Cargo?

Your Boston cannot ride in cargo, because she might be in danger! It is against most airline regulations to have brachycephalic dogs in the cargo area, which is your Boston Terrier. Brachycephalic means that the nostrils are smaller, the airway is tighter, and the pallet on your Boston is long and soft. 

To sum it up, Boston Terriers have short noses. You can’t take a short-nosed dog in cargo because it might be difficult for them to breath. 

Riding in the Cabin

Boston Terriers are great cabin dogs because they can fit under the seat in front of you while in a carrier, and do so comfortably. If you are worried about your Boston Terrier being in the cabin, make sure to give her lots of toys and comforting blankets/beds so that she doesn’t feel nervous. 

What airlines allow dogs on the plane?

It’s essential to do your research about your flights if you want to take your fur baby abroad. Many different airlines allow dogs on the plane, but they all have various regulations:


  • Your Boston Terrier must be 10 weeks old to fly domestically.
  • No weight limit, but your Boston Terrier needs to fit comfortably in a carrier underneath the seat in front of you.
  • Additional $125 cost in North America. 

For more info, look at Delta’s Pet Policy.

Air Canada

  • Your Boston Terrier must fit comfortably in a carrier underneath the seat in front of you. 
  • Must weigh no more than 22 pounds, including carrier.
  • Additional $50-$100 cost plus taxes each way, depending on destination. 

For more information, check out Air Canada’s Pet Policy

American Airlines

  • Your dog must be over 8 weeks of age.
  • Must weigh no more than 20 pounds, including carrier. 
  • Additional $125 cost each way. 
  • No in-cabin pets on flights longer than 12 hours.

For more information, check out American Airlines Pet Policy.


  • No weight limit, but must fit comfortably in a carrier under the seat in front of you.
  • Additional $95 cost each way. 
  • Not international

For more information, look at Southwest’s Pet Policy

If you are curious about an airline that’s not on our list, go to their website and find their pet policy. You can also simply Google “airline name, pet policy” and it should let you know what to expect for your flight! 

Complete Guide to Air Travel with your Boston Terrier. Boston Terrier Society.

Which Airline is the Most Pet-Friendly?

Traditionally, Delta has the best reputation with pet-owners. They are really great at making sure that your dog is comfortable regardless of if they’re in cargo (Non-brachycephalic dogs) or in the cabin, and they are good at keeping their pet spots under a strict limit. As long as you pay a pet fee, you know that your pet is guaranteed to go with you on the flight. 

They also tend to be on the low side for pet fees (only $125 for North American flights) and are really relaxed about weight limits (no weight limit as long as your Boston Terrier fits in a carrier under the seat in front of you). 

How Much Does it Cost to Fly With my Dog?

Generally speaking, the cost to fly with your dog can be anywhere from $100-$200 depending on the flight you take, the length of the flight, and the airline you purchase it through. The cost can also be dependent on the pet spots available, so choosing a more extended trip with fewer spots for animals can mean that your Boston Terrier’s ticket is more expensive. 

You should also remember to book your ticket and pay your pet fee in advance, as each airline limits the number of pet spots available on a single flight. The longer the trip, the fewer pet spots there are on the plane for animals. Not having your dog with you can be a deal-breaker, so be sure to call the airline and ensure there are enough spots before booking your ticket. 

All Paid, What Next?

A passenger that pays the pet fee to bring their Boston along with them is allowed to bring the dog on board in a carrier. The dog generally must be placed in a carrier under the seat in front of them. 

Do I Have to Buy a Separate Seat for my Boston Terrier?

You do not have to buy a separate seat for your Boston Terrier. You should keep in mind your Boston will have to fit under the seat in front of you. And most airlines require them to stay under the seat for the duration of the flight. This means the carrier has to be within the airline’s regulations and dimension size. Your Boston Terrier will need to be comfortable with not having a ton of space, and you will need to be comfortable paying the pet fee. 

If your Boston doesn’t do well in a carrier for prolonged amounts of time, make sure to take them out periodically to sit on your lap (as long as they hold still) or reach into their carrier to pet them occasionally. 

Get your Boston used to their crate

If you have never carried your Boston in one of these pet carriers before I would recommend getting them used to it. You should familiarize your Boston with the crate they are going to be sitting in for a least an hour, no matter where you are flying to in America.

Can my dog sit on my lap during a flight?

Generally speaking, no. Your Boston Terrier will need to stay in her carrier or crate the duration of the flight. However, if your Boston Terrier needs some attention throughout the trip, it is alright to take your dog out and love them for a short amount of time as long as they sit still. You can also be reaching into your dog’s carrier to give them lots of attention while flying.

If you want your dog to be closer to you, consider getting a small enough carrier to put on your lap. Touch will not only make your Boston Terrier feel loved, but you also get to see what she is doing during the flight and make sure she is not panicked or scared. 

Airline Policies Regarding Taking Your Dog Out Of The Carrier

You should check with specific airlines for their policies on dogs, however, because airlines such as Southwest, American, and United do not allow dogs to be removed from under the seat in front of you. 

If you are worried your Boston will not do well being stuffed in the carrier the whole time you might want to book a flight that allows you to take your dog out of the carrier or at least have her on your lap while in the carrier. 

Some specific airlines that do not mention that your Boston Terrier will have to stay under the seat in front of you the entire flight are Delta, JetBlue, Frontier, Alaska, Spirit, Virgin America, and Continental. Try to book with these airlines if you are concerned about your pet being able to be close to you, and make sure to check their rules and regulations in advance to be sure it works for you and your Boston Terrier. 

What Can I Give my Boston Terrier Before Flying to Calm Them?

If your dog is anxious, be sure to take all the precautions of flying before you are in the air. If your dog doesn’t do well traveling in the car, they probably won’t do well on the plane, so you’ll need to go above and beyond to make sure they are safe and happy on the long flight.

You should check with your vet before giving anything to your Boston Terrier, and you should also discuss the possibility of traveling by air with your Boston, as certain health conditions or levels of anxiety will not allow for Bostons to travel safely. 


You should never sedate your dog while in flight, as this can cause motion sickness, dehydration, and anxiety attacks. It is very dangerous to take a sedated dog on a plane.

There are plenty of alternatives to sedatives that you can look into, such as medication, natural anxiety relievers, and specific scents and herbs you can give your dogs. 


Complete Guide to Air Travel with your Boston Terrier. Boston Terrier Society.
Emily, Sofia, and Bella at the farm.

Boston Terriers are okay to take Benadryl, as long as you are giving them the right dosage. Your dog should only be taking about 1mg for each pound they weigh. 

For a short while, Emily and I were giving Bella, our Boston, Benadryl to help with her separation anxiety when we would leave her home alone for the day. Benadryl could be an option for your Boston when traveling. Consult with your vet to see if this would be an option for you and your Boston.

I would suggest that you try to give your Boston Benadryl in advance so that you know how they react to it. Generally, it makes dogs a little bit calmer and less anxious, but all dogs are different. 

If you don’t want to give your dog Benadryl, or you tried, and the side effects weren’t what you wanted, try to take your dog to the vet and see if he can prescribe you medication for taking your dog on an airplane. 

Other Options

If you don’t want to be giving your dog medication, or your vet advises against it, it might be best for you to look into alternatives to medicine. 

Have your Boston get used to their crate

One of the best things you can do for anxious Bostons is to let them get used to their carrier and travel in their carrier. Putting them in the car with you in a carrier whenever you have the opportunity can be a great way to get them used to carrier travel. 

Calming spray

If you want something for when you’re on the flight, you can spray the bedding of their carrier with Adaptil, which are man-made canine scents that generally calm anxious dogs.

Adaptil is relatively inexpensive and could be great to have around the house to help your Boston cope with leaving for the day or car travel. Check out the current pricing on Amazon, Adaptil

Something they are familiar with

You can also add in an old t-shirt that smells like you, or their favorite toys, so they feel more at home in their carrier.

Herbal ideas

If you want to try something more herbal that you can give to your dog, lavender, and chamomile generally soothe dog’s anxieties while flying. Always check with your vet before providing any of these to your dog.

What do I do if I can’t take my Dog on a flight?

Remember that you know your Boston best, and if you think she cannot handle the flight, then you should listen to that. Leaving her at home with family or friends might be a better option, although it might not be your preferred option. 

There are two alternatives to flying. So don’t be crushed if your Boston for whatever reason can not go on the flight with you. You might want to consider traveling by train or car. 

Traveling via car with a Boston is somewhat similar to flying but a lot less stressful in my opinion. Be sure to check out my article on, How To Plan A Road Trip With Your Boston Terrier, for tips on car travel.

Final thoughts…

You should always check with your specific airlines as well as your veterinarian before going on any flight with your Boston Terrier. Overall it can be effortless and rewarding to take your Boston on trips with you. You will no longer have to worry your furry friend is miserable and alone at home while you’re relaxing on your vacation. 

Remember that your Boston Terrier can fly with you (not in cargo). However, they should be able to follow the rules and regulations of each airline for in-flight behavior. And she should feel comfortable with travel or have a medication or method for coping with it. 


Donnie Gardner

Donnie Gardner is the owner of the Boston Terrier Society. He has been raising Bella the Boston since 2010. He resides in Kansas with his wife, daughter, and Bella. His favorite activities are hanging out with family, traveling, running (but has bad knees), and reading non-fiction books.

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