The Most Pet-Friendly Airlines

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- The most pet-friendly airline in North America is one that should hold that title forever, literally: Pet Airways, a new airline dedicated solely to transporting your furry friends.

That honor comes from Petfinder.com, a pet adoption website that looked into how the major carriers stack up in making the skies friendlier for nonhumans. The site also gave the nod to Pet Airways as the best airline for specifically transporting big dogs such as mastiffs and Great Danes, as it has a maximum height allowance of 34 inches. The pets have a plane all to themselves and travel in the main cabin rather than in a cargo hold.

Which airlines should you use for your four-legged friends? PetFinder.com takes a look.

Still, the airline flies out of only 10 cities, and some people might not be inclined to put their dog on a plane unaccompanied. Fortunately, some traditional airlines also qualify as pet-friendly. JetBlue ( BLU) gets praise from PetFinder for the amenities it provides to pet owners as part of its JetPaws program, which includes a travel "petiquette" guide and an e-booklet guide to pet services in the destination city.

Frontier Airlines ( FRNT) likewise gets high marks in the survey. The site notes that Frontier allows the greatest variety of pets in the cabin, including rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and birds. And if you have a big family of pets along for the ride, every member of your group is allowed to bring a small pet carrier with them, for up to 10 total pets.

Finally, there are a few picks for budget-conscious pet owners. WestJet, a Canadian carrier, allows small pets to travel in the cabin for $50 each way. And for travel within the U.S., your best bet is AirTran ( AAI), which allows dogs, cats and birds in the cabin for $69 each way.


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