Spirit Airlines Pet Policy

By: Kathryn Anderson Updated: April 17, 2020

Spirit Airlines Pet PolicyWith proper preparation, the necessary documentation, and a well-behaved animal, your flight can be a stress-free experience. All the information you need on Spirit Pet Policy when traveling with your pet can be found below.

Boarding with Animals: What Assistance Animals Are Accepted for In-Cabin Flight?

Man holding luggage and dog boarding with a pet for Spirit Airlines Pet Policy

Spirit Airlines pet policy allows a number of animals in the passenger cabin, with some restrictions. The rules are slightly different when it comes to Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals, but when it comes to pets, Spirit Airlines pet policy allows, within the aircraft cabin on all domestic flights:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Small household birds

In fact, the only place animals are allowed to fly on Spirit Airlines is inside the cabin, no animal is ever placed in the cargo hold with the checked baggage.

Emotional Support Animals

According to Spirit Airlines pet policy, Emotional Support Animals are permitted on Spirit flights, but the airline requires some documentation and has some restrictions on the species of animal allowed.

When flying with an emotional support animal or psychiatric service animal, Spirit Airlines requires passengers to contact them via phone at least 48 hours prior to their flight so your pet can be added to the air waybill, and to check in for their flight 90 minutes before the typical check-in time.

Unfortunately, the Spirit Airlines pet policy does not accept as emotional support animals or in general:

  • Ferrets
  • Reptiles
  • Rodents
  • Spiders

They do accept other “unusual animals” as long as they are of an appropriate size, are allowed in the destination country, do not cause a disruption in the cabin, and do not pose a risk to anyone on board.

If your life could be improved by an ESA, see if you qualify by taking our simple 5-minute prescreening test now.

Service Animals

According to Spirit Airlines pet policy, Service Animals are accepted on Spirit Airlines, as long as they are trained to assist the individual with a diagnosed disability.

When traveling on Spirit with a service animal, the airline requires either identification cards, written documentation of the medical need for the animal, or a reasonable assurance by the individual with the disability. Service dogs may stay on the floor of the aircraft, or on the lap of the owner, as long as they do not block the aisle or another seat.

Documentation: The 2 Main Forms You Will Need Before Arriving at the Airport

When traveling with any animal; pet, service, emotional support, or otherwise, it is highly recommended to keep all required documents on you at all times to avoid disruption in your travels. Different animals require different documentation, so it is advised to be prepared ahead of time with the proper paperwork.

ESA Letter

When traveling with an emotional support dog, Spirit Airlines pet policy does state that passengers will require a copy of an ESA letter that meets the following guidelines.

The letter must be written on the letterhead of a licensed medical health professional, that is specifically treating the owner of the animal for a mental health disability. The disability of the ESA owner must be recognized under the DSM IV, and the letter must state that the animal is needed for air travel or at the destination.

Finally, the letter must state the medical health professional’s license date and type, as well as the location of issuance.

Service Animal Documentation

When traveling with a service animal, Spirit requests one of the following; service animal identification cards, written documents affirming the medical need for the animal’s presence, or a credible verbal account by the passenger with the disability in regards to the animal’s validity.

Other (Optional) Documents

Though Spirit does not require any additional documentation, when traveling at any time with a pet it is advisable to have further documentation on hand for use. Many states require certain shots, so a current shot record is a must-have while traveling. It is also advisable to have a health certificate from a licensed veterinarian on hand as well.

CertaPet’s Spirit Airlines ESA Fact Sheet

To get all the information and more in one place, we created an emotional support animal fact sheet when cruising in the sky with your ESA. Easy to download so you don’t have to forget anything!

Cargo Travel: The 4 Main Facts to Know When Checking-In Your Pet

If unprepared, traveling with your pet can be an extremely stress-inducing experience. If the proper requirements are not met, you may even be ejected or barred entry to your flight. It is incredibly important to know the expected costs, breed/species restrictions, carrier restrictions, and possible safety concerns associated with traveling.


The only type of animal that will incur a fee is a “pet”, Emotional Support and Service Animals will never require a fee when flying. When traveling with a pet, the fee is $110 each way.

Breed Restrictions

Spirit Airlines pet policy dictates that only allow dogs, cats, and small household birds are permitted to fly. “Household birds” does not include poultry, waterfowl, raptors, flightless birds, or game birds.

When traveling with an Emotional Support Animal, unusual breeds will be subject to certain restrictions. Any animal that could potentially harm flight attendants or passengers, is unreasonably large, would disrupt the cabin, or is not permitted in the destination city, will not be admitted as an emotional support animal.

No ferret, reptile, spider, or rodent, will be accepted on a Spirit Airlines flight, Emotional Support or otherwise.

Weight and Height Restriction of Airline Pet Carriers

When flying with pets, the animal must remain in a carrier during the flight, Emotional Support or Service Animals are allowed to remain on the lap as long as the seat is not equipped with inflatable seatbelts.

For those animals that must be contained within a carrier, the carrier cannot exceed the maximum dimensions of 18″ x 14″ x 9″ (L x W x H). The carrier must be placed under the seat in front of you and cannot be seated in the first row or an exit row.

Your pet carrier is considered a carry-on baggage, please note that you have a limited amount of carry-on luggage baggage allowance per person when packing for your flight.

Regarding Pet Safety

Obviously, your pet’s safety should be of the utmost importance, thus it should be noted that certain breeds are less suited for air travel. For example, snub-nosed dogs such as pugs or French bulldogs, are more prone to breathing problems, and should not remain in carriers for extended periods of time.

You should never place an animal in an overhead bin to prevent breathing restriction as well. Your pet should also be properly socialized to prevent any potential stress to the animal.

3 Top Tips As You Are Preparing to Travel with Your ESA

Small dog sitting inside a suitcase, preparing to travel with ESA Spirit Airlines

When traveling with an emotional support animal it is important to be as knowledgeable and prepared as possible. Read the following tips on traveling aboard Spirit Airlines (or any airline), to ensure you and your pet are ready for travel.

1. Prepare Your Pet!

Please make sure your pet is properly trained to travel under stressful conditions. Dogs that are not properly socialized, are aggressive or fearful of strangers or are not housebroken, should not be flying.

If you have not prepared your animal to travel, they will cause you more stress than relief when flying. Ensure that you take the proper steps to socialize your dog to a number of different people and situations, pairing reinforcement frequently to ensure your dog is associating these experiences with positive occurrences.

2. Prepare Your Paperwork!

Do not make the mistake of showing up at the airport without the required paperwork!

If you do not have the paperwork required, the airline will deny you entry to the flight. Avoid the embarrassment and discomfort of missing your flight by ensuring your paperwork is in order for your travels.

3. Call ahead!

Many airlines require passengers traveling with Emotional Support Animals to call prior to their flight, and Spirit does not offer an online check-in option for passengers traveling with pets. There are permissible limits to the number of animals allowed on board, and calling ahead may allow the airline to plan accordingly.

Even if you travel with another airline that does not require it, it would be highly advisable to do so, simply for peace of mind. Please be aware that the information you receive may not always be correct, so always check with an associate when you reach your gate, to inform them about any animals you may have.

Flying with Your ESA: Know the Special Requirements When Traveling with Spirit Airlines

When traveling with an Emotional Support Animal, it is important to know the restrictions for your destination location. On international flights, check the destination to determine their policy on Emotional Support Animals. You should also be aware of any potential route restrictions or special circumstances for flying. For example, household birds are permitted to fly on Spirit domestically but are restricted from flights to/from Puerto Rico and St. Thomas.

Where to Call or Visit for More Information on Spirit Airlines Pet Policy

For Spirit Airline’s pet policy, please visit their customer support page discussing pets.

On traveling with a service dog or emotional support animal please visit their customer support page discussing assistance animals.

Call 1 (801) 401 – 2222 for more information.

Taking a Different Airline? Check out More Policies Here

If you are traveling on another airline, their flight restrictions may vary slightly from those on Spirit Airlines. Please take a look at the following common airlines’ pages on traveling with pets.

Delta Pet Policy

Southwest Pet Policy

United Airlines Pet Policy

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