The Guide to Flying Hawaiian Airlines With Pets

Neither the state of Hawaii nor the airline makes bringing a pet to the islands easy. And for good reason.
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Written by June Casagrande
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While Hawaiian Airlines’ pet travel policies are reasonable, the Aloha State has strict animal entry requirements that can include mandatory quarantines of up to 120 days.

And though it’s possible to take steps to get your dog or cat a shorter or perhaps waived quarantine, there’s no guarantee they’ll qualify. So it can be impractical to bring your pet along on a typical one- or two-week vacation.

However, it may be worth jumping through some hoops to bring your pet to Hawaii for longer stays or emergencies in which you can’t leave your dog or cat at home.

Here’s your guide to flying Hawaiian Airlines with pets.

Hawaiian Airlines pet policy

Very small dogs and cats can travel with you in the cabin on flights from all domestic destinations except:

  • Florida.

  • Massachusetts.

  • New York.

  • Texas.

Birds cannot travel in the cabin; they must travel with baggage in cargo.

Here’s what you need to know to travel on Hawaiian Airlines with your pet in the cabin.

Hawaiian Airlines pet carrier requirements

To fly in the cabin, your pet must be in a flexible, leakproof carrier that fits under the seat in front of you. The carrier must be big enough for the pet to stand, sit and turn around. Your pet and carrier must weigh less than 25 pounds combined.

Check the carrier requirements of the Department of Agriculture under the Animal Welfare Act because the carrier must meet those, too.

Other rules for pets traveling in the cabin

You must submit an animal health certificate from a veterinarian dated no more than 14 days before departure certifying your pet is healthy enough for travel.

Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old. The fee is $125 for travel to or from the U.S. mainland or $35 if traveling between islands.

The good news is your pet does not count as your carry-on. But your pet must be well behaved and not disruptive, and you can’t travel with your pet in an exit row, bulkhead row or first class.

What to expect at the airport

You are required to check in for your flight in person with a live agent at least one hour earlier than general check-in — no kiosk, mobile or online check-in.

When your plane from the U.S. mainland lands, you must wait for a service agent to begin the process of state-required screening or quarantine for your pet.

How to book your pet on Hawaiian Airlines

Book your pet’s flight when you book your ticket by calling Hawaiian Airlines Reservations at 800-367-5320.

The airline must have space available, so give Hawaiian a heads-up that you’ll be traveling with your pet by calling or messaging the airline through its Ask a Question page.

Service animals on Hawaiian Airlines

Qualified, trained service dogs can fly in the cabin outside a carrier, and there is no fee for them to fly. Your service dog must fit comfortably on the floor in front of your seat or in your lap if the dog is small enough.

Travelers with service dogs can’t sit in exit rows, bulkhead rows or first class cabins. And your service dog must be well behaved and not disruptive.

There are some steps you must take before you fly, too. You must submit a Department of Transportation (DOT) Service Animal Air Transportation Form at least 48 hours before your flight. And if your flight is eight hours or longer, you must also submit a DOT Service Animal Relief Attestation Form.

The good news is service dogs may be exempt from state quarantines provided they meet the requirements before you travel.

Note that emotional support animals do not qualify as service animals.

How Hawaiian Airlines pet cargo works

Some dogs, cats and birds can travel as checked baggage on certain domestic flights in Hawaiian Airlines’ pressurized, temperature-controlled cargo compartment. Pets are not allowed as checked baggage on Hawaiian Airlines international flights.

Due to extreme weather conditions, between April 15 and Oct. 15, no pets can travel as checked baggage to or from:

  • Sacramento, California.

  • San Jose, California.

  • Las Vegas.

  • Phoenix.

Certain short-nosed breeds of dogs and cats may have trouble breathing in the baggage compartment and in Hawaii’s tropical climate. Traveling to Hawaii with these breeds is strongly discouraged.

Dogs and cats must be at least 8 weeks old. Birds must be at least 2 weeks old.

Pets traveling as checked baggage on Hawaiian Airlines must be in a leakproof carrier big enough for the animal to sit, turn around and lie down comfortably.

The carrier must meet the Department of Agriculture requirements under the Animal Welfare Act. Carriers must fit within the airlines’ size and weight limitations. The maximum dimensions and weight allowed are 36 inches long by 25 inches wide by 28 inches high and 7O pounds, respectively.

If your pet and carrier weigh more than 70 pounds together, Hawaiian will refer them to the airline’s cargo department.

You should also:

  • Notify the airline at least 48 hours in advance of departure by calling 800-367-5320.

  • Submit an animal health certificate from a veterinarian dated no more than 14 days before departure certifying your pet is healthy enough for travel.

  • Check in for your flight in person with a live agent three hours before departure — no kiosk, mobile or online check-in.

When your plane from the U.S. mainland lands in Honolulu, your pet will be transported to a quarantine facility unless you’ve already qualified for direct release.

State of Hawaii animal quarantine requirements

There’s no rabies in Hawaii, and the state would like to keep it that way, so you’ll encounter tough quarantine rules if you want to bring your pet to the islands.

To learn about requirements and fees for the state’s quarantine and direct release programs, visit the Hawaii Animal Industry Division website.

Most pet-friendly airlines

In our most recent analysis on flying with pets, we ranked the major U.S. airlines on various factors including fees, types of animals allowed, whether you can bring pets in cargo and number of pets allowed per passenger, among other facrtors.

Here's how they stacked up:

If you want to fly Hawaiian with animals

Committed to protecting its rabies-free island ecosystem, Hawaii makes bringing Fido along on your beach vacation impractical.

But if you can comply with the state’s entry requirements, Hawaiian Airlines can get your pet across the Pacific in a plane’s temperature-controlled baggage compartments or, if your animal is small enough, in the cabin with you.


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