Listed below are several options for how to travel with puppies to get them safely from our home to yours.
How to Travel With Puppies Option #1 – Drive
You or a family member can drive to our home just outside of Birmingham, AL and pick up your puppy. We’ve had people to drive over a thousand miles one way to get a puppy from us, from as far away as Massachusetts, Maine, Nebraska, and Arizona.
How to Travel With Puppies Option #2 – Fly, Rent a Car (or Use Uber), Carry Your Puppy in the Cabin with You
You or a family member (or a friend) can fly to either the Birmingham airport (BHM) or the Atlanta airport (ATL). Then, you can rent a car to drive to our home to pick up your puppy. If you fly, you can carry your puppy on board with you. Your puppy can ride at your feet in a soft carrier.
People have flown to pick up puppies from us from as far away as Oregon, Washington State, New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. In fact, we’ve sent dozens of puppies to California and New York alone. None have been shipped. All have flown in the cabin of an airplane with their families.
An 11 week old puppy is still small enough to ride as carry-on with most airlines. There is no reason to check your bag and have him fly underneath.
1/2 Hour From BHM and 2 1/2 Hours from ATL
We are about 25 miles from the Birmingham airport and about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the Atlanta airport. Many people choose to fly to Atlanta and rent a car to drive to Alabama. There are direct flights from most anywhere to Atlanta. However, those who’ve flown directly to Birmingham have had no trouble with making connections when there was no direct flight. Your puppy will stay with you and can be carried through the airport.
Concerns Families Might Have with Puppies Flying in the Cabin
We have been sending puppies home safely in the cabins of airplanes for well over 10 years. About 40% of our puppies fly out of state. We have sent well over a 100 puppies home in a plane. We think we’ve sent close to 150 flying home. Of those puppies, only two of them have had any trouble whatsoever with their flight. One of the families missed their connection. The other had a backpack carrier that was too large. Both of these families were able to book flights on other airlines and make it safely home with their puppies.
Many families are nervous about the process initially. However, almost all have reported to us once they were home that their flight experience was a good one.
Most, if not all, airlines will have certain restrictions that families are concerned about.
Some airlines have a weight limit of 20 pounds for the combined weight of the puppy and the carrier. Most carriers weigh 4 pounds. Most of our puppies are under 15 pounds at 11 weeks. Almost all are under 16 pounds. Further, less than a handful of the over 100 families that have flown with our puppies have reported that their puppies were weighed at all.
We keep our puppies growing slowly for health reasons. In the past, we have had a few puppies that were over 16 pounds (under 17 pounds) when sent home at 12 1/2 weeks. I am hesitant to say that we will never have an 11 week old puppy over 16 pounds. However, I don’t think we have had any at all in the past.
Other airlines have height limits. Airlines that go by height rather than weight require that the puppy or dog be able to stand up and turn around in the carrier. I can tell you with a great deal of certainty that none of our puppies will meet that criteria, not even at 8 weeks. In fact, that criteria is so small, that our puppies are two big to meet that criteria even at 3 or 4 weeks of age. My daughter has two 4-pound toy poodles and neither of them are even close to being able to stand up in the small carrier that is required for in-cabin travel. No full grown dog of any breed would meet this criteria. Few toy-breed very young puppies would meet it.
Therefore, airlines with stand-up-and-turn-around requirements rarely, if ever, check the size of the puppy. If you keep your puppy in the carrier, the experience of all our past families has been that airline employees don’t even look beyond the carrier to see the puppy inside.
Ever Changing Policies
We used to keep up with airline policies and make recommendations to families. However, in the past few years, policies are changing so often that we cannot keep up with current requirements of all the different airlines. Therefore, families will need to be responsible for meeting the requirements of their own airline.
We do not generally provide health certificates. No airline (to our knowledge) currently requires a health certificate for in-cabin flight. However, Delta required one for some time in 2017 and 2018. They reversed this policy in late 2018. All airlines do require health certificates for pets to travel as cargo, but we don’t allow our puppies to leave us this way.
If someone wanted a health certificate for whatever reason, there would be an additional charge. It requires us to make an additional trip to the vet. See our Payments and Policies page for more information.