Flying with bunny requires more preparation than other types of travel.
In theory, you can bring a bunny on a plane but there are several things you need to think about before take-off. Check if the airline company you want to travel with allows you to bring the bunny in the cabin. Check also does your final destination requires quarantine or some vaccines for rabbits. Prepare your bunny for a trip by riding him in the car so he can get used to strange noises and movements. Also, let your rabbit sniff and get to know his travel carrier before you go. Make sure your rabbit eats well and drinks enough water before departure as he might be too scared to do during the flight.
Do Airlines Allow Rabbits To Fly In-Cabin?
Check which airlines will allow you to bring your rabbit with you in the cabin.
Here is the list of rabbit-friendly airlines ( USA, Europe)
- Alaska Air
- American Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- Westjet Airline
- Frontier Airlines
- Czech Airlines
- Air Europe
- Air North
Don’t let them convince you to leave your rabbit in the cargo part as this is not the safest place for your bunny. He will be packed there together with other animals, possible dogs that are barking. Also, the noise would be terrible for your sensible friend. You cannot be sure if the temperature will be fine, so your rabbit could run a risk of getting heatstroke. Not a good idea at all.
When you find a suitable airline company, check their pet’s policy. They usually charge some fee ( 90-200$) and you will be obliged to place your rabbit’s carrier under the seat in front of you.
Under special circumstances, on fairly empty flights and if you run into some rabbit-loving flight attendant, you might be allowed to take your rabbit out of the carrier and pet him in your lap. But don’t count on this, take this situation more like an exception.
Does Final Destination Have Special Requirements for Rabbits?
The final destination of your travel – when you start planning your trip, do think about the final destination. Does the country you go to, requires quarantine for pets or some vaccines are obligatory for rabbits in particular?
For example, the US doesn’t require vaccination for rabbits but some other countries might. For example, Japan requires quarantine for rabbits ( 3 days, 2nights ) while Mexico won’t allow entry of any rabbit including pet rabbits. Canada also requires quarantine for rabbits coming from any other country besides the USA. For those coming from the USA, permits, and quarantine is not necessary. That is why is very important to learn the rules and regulations of the particular country you want to visit with your pet rabbit.
Passports are usually not needed for rabbits in the USA nor in Europe, but if you go to some other continent check the local regulations there. They might be asking for your rabbit’s passport.
Do research on local rabbits rescues and reliable vets specialized for exotic animals on your final destination. It will be much easier if you have those contacts as a backup plan, just in case.
What If My Rabbit is ESA? Can We Travel On a Plane?
If your rabbit is ESA ( Emotional Support Animal ) then you will be allowed to hold your rabbit in your lap, most probably you will not pay any fee. But note that air companies could ask you to fill some forms or some report from your mental health professional that claims why you need ESA.
However, bear in mind, ESA or not, some rabbits might be too scared to come out of the travel carrier.
What Is The Best Air Travel Carrier For Rabbits?
When you find the airline company that will allow you to travel with a pet in the cabin, ask what are the allowed dimensions of the carrier. For this reason, I suggested you have a cloth travel carrier for flying with a rabbit. Cloth carriers are more adjustable but still, it is important to follow the rules regarding dimensions to avoid being kicked out of the flight as you have a carrier that is too large.
If you carry more than one rabbit, note that airline companies usually allow carrying two rabbits in the same travel carrier.
How To Prepare My Rabbit For Travel on a Plane?
Travel by plane means that you will be exposed to many strange noises and movements. They might not be strange to you but they are definitely very strange and rather scary to your bunny. To prepare your rabbit, before traveling by plane, take him for a car ride to get used to the movement and different sounds.
Let your bunny sniff and explore the travel carrier you plan to put him in. He will accept the trip with less anxiety if he is familiar with the travel carrier in which he feels comfortable.
No matter air company regulations require or not, you should visit your rabbit’s vet before the trip. It is advisable to check if your bunny’s heart and lungs are doing OK, that there are no respiratory issues or any other health problems.
Before the trip, you make sure your bunny uses a litter box, eats, and drinks as might be too scared to do that during the flight. Check if it is ok to bring some fresh veggies with you to offer your bunny. You should also bring water and hay as well as medications if needed.
I have heard some rabbit owner experiences that might be interesting to share here. A lady wanted to give some veggies (salad) from her meal to her rabbit but a very nice flight attendant stopped her. Why? She explained that some preservatives are used in those veggies which aren’t harmful to humans but could be for bunnies. So it is better not to share your meal with a bunny during the flight.
Be aware of the fact that you will have to take up the rabbit from the carrier in order to pass through security. Also, note that many people and a lot of noise at the airport could increase the level of stress in your rabbit. Think about natural tranquilizers to calm him/her a bit.
If you have a chance, choose the aisle seat far from the engine ( to minimize the noise if possible)
It might happen that your rabbit is too hot in his /her travel carrier. If that happens you can put some water on your fingers and moisten his/her ears, which should cool him/her down.
How To Take Care of My Rabbit After The Flight?
The recovery period for a rabbit after flying could be between 24-48 h. Observe him/her closely during this period. How long the recovery will last depends on how scared your rabbit was during the flight. Some rabbits are very curious so they even like to travel by plane. Of course, their recovery lasts very short.
After you reach the final destination, it is advisable to go straight to the place where you will be staying. Avoid any pit stops, meal breaks, going to the grocery, stopping by to see some friends first, etc.