Bunny on the Runway: Can Rabbits Travel on a Plane?

Written by: Ellyn Eddy

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Can rabbits travel on a plane

Rabbits don’t have wings, but that doesn’t mean they can’t fly! Most rabbits find extended car travel stressful. So when you have a long way to go with a bunny in tow, you might wonder if flying is an option.

Can rabbits travel on a plane? Can your rabbit ride in the cabin with you, or does it have to ride in the baggage hold? Is airline less stressful than car travel for bunnies?

Never fear! We’re here to clear the air and answer your questions about flying with a rabbit on an airplane.

Can Rabbits Travel on a Plane?

Some airlines allow rabbits to fly in the cabin of a plane with their owners. Others allow rabbits to travel in the cargo hold. Every airline has its own policies regarding ticketing, health certificates, and approved carriers for rabbits. Before booking your flight, check the most current pet regulations on the airline’s website.

How to Fly with a Rabbit on an Airplane

1 – Weigh Your Travel Options.

Travel of any kind is stressful for rabbits. In a car, there is the risk of overheating and GI stasis from extended periods of not eating or drinking. In a plane, you have pressure changes, busy environments, and loud noises, which your rabbit may find terrifying.

Leaving your rabbit home with a pet sitter is a safer option than bringing him on vacation.

But maybe you need to travel with your rabbit. Maybe you’re going to college for the year, or moving across the country. In that case, your rabbit may handle a short plane ride better than several days’ journey in the car.

How to Fly with a Rabbit on an Airplane

2 – Research Vaccinations, Quarantines, and Import/Export Regulations

If you are taking a domestic flight in the United States, your rabbit will probably not need vaccinations and not need to be quarantined upon arrival.

However, laws change quickly, and with the RVHD2 outbreak continuing to spread in the US, individual states could pass restrictions on transporting rabbits.

It would be wise to vaccinate your bunny against RVHD2 before traveling and to bring your vaccination documentation to the airport.

If you are taking your rabbit on an international flight, make sure to thoroughly research rabbit import and export laws, vaccination requirements, and quarantine requirements for rabbits in the nation where you’ll be landing.

Research Vaccinations, Quarantines, and ImportExport Regulations

3-Choose a Rabbit-Friendly Airline.

While a handful of US airlines allow rabbits to fly with their owners, the majority do not. Let’s look at a few airlines that have clear policies regarding flying with rabbits.

Which Airlines Allow Rabbits to Fly?

Frontier, Spirit, and Alaska Airlines are the most rabbit-friendly airlines in the United States as of January 2023. These airlines allow your rabbit to ride in the cabin with you.

Delta, United, and American Airlines may allow rabbits to ride in the cargo hold but not in the cabin.

Which Airlines Allow Rabbits to Fly

International airlines that allow rabbits to fly include Air Europa, Finnair, and WestJet.

Frontier Airlines Rules About Rabbits

Frontier Airlines’ Family and Pet Policies (accessed January 2023) state that rabbits may be carried on flights within the United States.

  • Maximum carrier size is 18″ x 14″ x 8″
  • Soft-sided carrier is recommended.
  • Rabbit must stay inside the carrier at all times.
  • “We ask that you do not provide food or water for your pet while on the aircraft.”
Frontier Airlines Rules About Rabbits

Disclaimer: Airline regulations are subject to change. Thoroughly read Frontier Airlines’ complete and current policies regarding traveling with pets before booking your flight.

Spirit Airlines Rules About Rabbits

Spirit Airlines’ pet travel regulations (accessed Jan 2023) says that it allows small domestic rabbits on flights except those going to/from Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.

  • Spirit does not require health certificates for rabbits. (But you should probably get one as a precaution.)
  • A maximum of two rabbits may share the same carrier.
  • Rabbits must be 8 weeks old.
  • The combined weight of pets and carrier must not exceed 40 lbs.

Disclaimer: Airline regulations are subject to change. Thoroughly read Spirit’s complete and current policies regarding traveling with pets before booking your flight.

Alaska Airlines Rules About Rabbits

Alaska Airlines’ pet policies (accessed January 2023) say that “Small pets are accepted for travel in the passenger cabin, subject to availability, for a fee of $100 1 each way. “

  • After booking your ticket, you must call reservations to secure a spot for your pet.
  • Hard-sided carriers must be “size 50,” with dimensions of 17″ x 11″ x 7.5″
  • Soft-sided carriers must be  17″ x 11″ x 9″
  • Two rabbits may share a carrier as long as they are entirely contained in the cage.

Disclaimer: Airline regulations are subject to change. Thoroughly read Alaska Airlines’ complete and current policies regarding traveling with pets before booking your flight.

4 – Book Your Flight and Your Rabbit’s Ticket.

Once you’re sure that your airline of choice allows rabbits, book your flight as early as possible. Most airlines only allow around 10 pets per flight, on first come, first serve basis. 

Tips for Booking A Flight with Rabbits

On some airlines, you can claim your pet when you book the ticket. On others, you’ll have to call after booking your flight to let them know about the extra passenger.

Tips for Booking A Flight with Rabbits.

  • If you’re traveling in a warm season and your rabbit will be flying in the cargo hold, avoid booking a flight during the hottest part of the day. Rabbits can quickly develop heat stroke in cargo.
  • Airports tend to be busiest early in the morning. Since you may need extra time to get your rabbit through security, consider avoiding flying at busy times.
  • Choose direct flights and avoid layovers if possible. Rabbit owners often report that their bunnies tolerated one flight without harm, but did not handle layovers with multiple flights and changes in pressure well. 
  • Pick an aisle seat near the center of the plane. Your rabbit will be least affected by pressure changes and turbulence in the center of the plane.
More Tips for Flying with a Rabbit - Rabbit on aisle

5 – Purchase the Right Transport Carrier.

If you plan to keep your rabbit in the cabin with you, most airlines prefer a soft-sided carrier, such as the Sherpa Airline Approved Pet Carrier.

However, many will allow a hard-sided carrier as long as it is within their size and weight requirements.

If your rabbit will be riding in the baggage hold, it must be in a rigid carrier with a solid top.

6 – Gather Paperwork and Health Certificates.

Although several airlines have policies that allow rabbits to fly, airline personnel don’t see many rabbits and may not know the regulations.

Come prepared with a printed boarding pass and keep copies handy of airline policies, health certificates, proof of vaccination, emotional support animal documentation, and any other documents you have that may be useful.

You should also be prepared to prove that rabbits are not rodents and that the CDC rabies policies do not include rabbits.

7 – Pack for Your Trip.

You’re almost ready to go!  The final step before heading to the airport is packing all your bun will need to stay comfortable on the flight and at your destination. 

Our article on “how to travel with a rabbit” has a complete bunny vacation packing list. You won’t need to bring most of these items on the flight.

On the plane, you should bring the following items for your rabbit:

Note: if you are traveling to Hawaii or an international destination, you may not be allowed to bring hay.

More Tips for Flying with a Rabbit

Here are some general tips for making your trip through the airport with a bunny go as smoothly as possible.

  • If you can, avoid taking your rabbit out of its carrier when going through TSA. The foreign environment and loud airport noises may scare your rabbit, causing him to jump from your arms. 
  • Write your phone number in your rabbit’s ear with a dry-erase marker. If your bunny does escape, anyone that catches your rabbit can reunite you with your bun. (The marker will wipe out easily after the flight.) 
  • Ask your vet about giving your rabbit a light sedative before the flight. Many vets feel that the risk of the sedative outweighs the risk of the flight and may recommend a calming herbal formula or homeopathic anti-stress supplement instead.
  • Rather than fly with your rabbit, you can hire a pet transportation agency to oversee its safe passage to your destination.
  • Find additional support and advice at the Fly with Your Pet Facebook Group.
More Tips for Flying with a Rabbit

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Safe for Rabbits to Fly on Planes?

If you keep your rabbit in the cabin, flying on an airplane is relatively safe for rabbits. Ask your veterinarian to examine your bunny before you fly and let you know if flying poses any extra risk to your rabbit.

Flying in the cargo hold is much louder, scarier, and more stressful for rabbits. Tragically, some bunnies do not survive this terrifying experience.

Can You Bring an Emotional Support Rabbit on an Airplane?

Airlines are not required to allow emotional support animals on an airplane in the United States. So pick a rabbit-friendly airline, like the ones listed above, for your flight if you can.

That said, there are anecdotes of persistent passengers who were able to get their emotional support rabbits on flights that normally only allow cats and dogs. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Does American Airlines Allow Rabbits?

As of this writing, American Airlines does not allow rabbits to travel with their owners in the plane’s cabin. American Airlines allows rabbits to be transported as cargo, but for your pet’s safety, we don’t recommend going this route.

allows rabbits to be transported as cargo

Delta and United Airlines also allow rabbits in the cargo hold but not in the cabin.


Rabbits are hardcore homebodies; most of them would rather not hop on a plane. We hope this article helped you weigh the risks as you decide whether to bring your bun-bun on your next adventure.

When you fly with rabbits, preparation is key to a smooth journey. Do your homework, choose a rabbit-friendly airline, and begin making plans well in advance of your trip. Then please come back and share your best rabbit travel tips in the comments!

Ellyn Eddy


Ellyn has been rescuing, raising, and writing about rabbits for two decades and loves to help others discover the joy of rabbit care. Her favorite rabbit color is black. She thinks the cutest part of a bunny is the fluffy space right between its ears.

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