How To Travel With A Pet Rat On A Plane (Guide)

Flying with a pet rat on a plane might not be as common as with other pets, but it is possible! Most of the airlines, unfortunately, will not allow pet rats in the cabin, but you can bring them as cargo or even use their live cargo shipping programs.

All of this might sound very confusing right now but fret not. We’re gonna go through everything you need to know so you can be prepared to bring your rodent friends with you on a plane!

In general, pet rats have to be shipped as cargo to travel on a plane! This can cost you an extra fee that goes from 90$ to 130$, depending on the airline. Extra documents, along with a sturdy, properly labeled carrier are a must, but always consider contacting the airline to know more.

There are some extra tips I’d like to recommend when traveling with a pet rat on a plane. So be sure to continue reading!

I’ll mention some airlines that allow pet rats and we’ll also go over what is and how live cargo shipping works!

Airlines That Allow Rats

You might need to move or even take a long vacation where you need to take your rodent friends with you. If you’re flying on a plane, the first thing you should do is check which airlines allow bringing pet rats.

Most airlines will allow bringing pets in the cabin or as cargo, but not all of them will accept pet rats. In fact, it is pretty much impossible to bring your rodent friends with you on the plane as carry-on baggage.

You’ll have to ship your pet rat as cargo. Note that you should contact the airline as early as possible since some of them will only allow a strict number of animals per day.

Not only that but expect a fee that goes between 90$ to 130$, each way. This is pretty much the standard prices, although it can go lower if you do find an airline that lets you bring pet rats as carry-on baggage.

I’ve found a few airlines that allow pet rats, but do not hesitate to contact and ask other airlines that suit you better:

  • Alaska Air Group (link to their website): Alaska Air Group is probably the airline that will allow most kind of pets, including pet rats. As I mentioned before, rodents are not allowed to ride in the cabin with you. Click on the link for more information, including contacts to know more!
  • Delta Air Lines: Delta will allow pets, as long as they go well accommodated, they also offer live cargo shipping, which I’ll talk about in more detail further down.
  • Frontier Airlines: it’s not entirely clear if Frontier will allow pet rats, they do say guinea pigs and hamsters are allowed in the cabin, so I’d say it’s worth to contact them and ask if it’s possible to bring pet rats!
  • United Airlines: you’re allowed to ship your pet rat through their PetSafe program since you cannot bring your rodent friends into the cabin with you.
  • American Airlines: it is possible to ship pets through this airline, although only to certain destinations.

These are some of the airlines that will allow traveling with your pet rats. Still, I advise you to check any airline, even contacting them to clarify if it’s possible to ship pet rats on their travels.

Furthermore, it is recommended to contact the airline, even if it’s one of the ones mentioned above.

Each of them has different rules, different prices and have a limit of how many animals can be carried per day. 

Of course, these rules change all the time. Some airlines might change and end up accepting pet rats either in-cabin or as cargo. So keep an eye out an inquiry with different airlines!

Tips For Flying With A Pet Rat

There’s a lot to think about when bringing your rodent friend in a plane, so I’ll break it down here the most important tips to have in mind!

Find A Sturdy Airline-Certified Carrier

The first tip I want to give is to get the sturdiest airline-certified carrier, like the Aspen Pet Traditional Kennel (link to Amazon). Feel free to buy one for cats or dogs, and then you can add a smaller carrier inside for your pet rat.

Some people will do this, by screwing the smaller carrier to the bottom of the bigger one. This way, you’re more certain that your pet rat will be safe and won’t be able to escape.

Before buying a carrier, be sure to read or ask what are the regulations of the airline you chose. When transporting pets as cargo, there are specific rules about how ventilated the carriers should be and even their size.

Remember that while on high altitudes, the air doesn’t circulate as much, so ventilation in the carrier is very important! 

Be sure that it is impossible for your pet rat to escape and do label everything! Airlines will be careful with pet cargo, but accidents happen. It’s actually possible for them to lose not only baggage but live cargo as well.

If everything is properly labeled, it will be much easier to find your cargo. Hopefully, nothing of the sort will ever happen to you, but it’s always good to be prepared!

Fresh Fruit

You know how important it is to have your pet rat on a healthy diet, as I’ve talked about in this article here.

Fresh fruit will keep your rodent friend hydrated and fed. This serves not only during the trip but if the carrier gets lost as well. I recommend leaving enough fresh fruit that will last at least 3 days!

And there’s a good reason for this.

Remember to give Fresh Fruit to your pet rats when traveling by plane!

If by any chance, you find an airline that allows you to bring your pet rat into the cabin, they won’t allow you to feed them, however.

Even if it’s a long flight, your rodent friend will stay comfortable without food and at least they’ll be in your company.

Leaving the fruit is mostly a precaution, just like the labeling, in case the carrier is lost. Again, hopefully, nothing will go wrong, but it’s good to not skip this step.

If everything goes well and the flight goes according to plan, your pet rat will have some food to entertain themselves with!

Travel With Mild Temperatures

Temperature is hard to control. Still, I recommend avoiding traveling in hot summer days or harsh winter days. Pet rats can’t tolerate high or cold temperatures very well.

So if you live or are going to a place that is too warm/cold, try to travel at times where the temperature is more comfortable.

Early mornings and evenings are usually the best times to travel and where the temperature isn’t at it’s highest or lowest peak.

Another thing to have in account is that you’ll have to deliver your rodent friend sometime before the flight. This means they’ll be in different rooms at different temperatures.

If you travel at a time where the temperature is mild, the differences won’t be as great as with summer or winter. Around these seasons, rooms will have their aircon set to temperatures that are drastically different from the outside.

Direct Flights

Booking a direct flight to your destination lowers the risk of your rodent friend getting lost. I know this sometimes isn’t possible, especially if you’re traveling far, but if you have the option, go for direct flights.

Even if the luck isn’t on your side and the carrier does get lost, it’s much easier to figure out at which point it happened and where to find your pet rat.

Direct flights have other advantages. For example, pet rats are very nervous and stress isn’t good for them.

Traveling is something that will be fairly new for them and not their usual routine. A direct flight means less time in transit, going from room to room and from plane to plane.

All these extra steps are stressful and tiring for us. And for a pet rat, who doesn’t even understand what’s happening, it’s even worse. 

Even though a direct flight will be more expensive, the risks of the carrier being lost are lower. And it will also be less stressful for your rodent friend so I always recommend that option!

Be Sure You Have All The Documents

Airlines usually require certain documents that you need to bring with you and show at the airport. Depending on the airline you choose, they might ask for different documents.

Check their websites, where they usually offer detailed information on their regulations and what you need to bring with you. If you have any doubts, don’t be afraid of contacting them.

It’s always better to be 100% certain than arriving at the airport and something is missing. Any question you might have, they’ll be able to help you and give you the information you need.

Never be afraid to ask for help, especially if it’s the first time doing this. Traveling by ourselves can already be stressful enough at times, and I believe that your pet rat safety and comfort is a priority.

So if you’re in doubt, contact the airline. Contact other people you might know and even forums online so you’re sure you’re well prepared!

Consider Live Cargo Shipping

Although this tends to be somewhat expensive, this is a very viable and safe option. Most airlines have this option and this means that your pets will be cared for by professionals.

They’ll be cared for through the journey and the transit times will be lower.

The problem with shipping your pet as cargo is that the airline will have the minimum care. This means that the people handling the carriers are pretty much the same that deal with the baggage.

Even though they’ll have some care with live cargo it isn’t the same as with live cargo shipping programs.

In this case, pets will fly in boxes specifically designed for them to go through the journey. Even in adverse conditions. These boxes are chew-proof and contain a gel source of hydration.

Some airlines might supply these carriers, others might not. Before doing any research about where to get them, I recommend to contact and inquiry the airline you’re planning to use.

Tell them the details! How many pet rats you’re bringing with you, their sizes and when you’re planning on traveling.

The airline will be able to tell you everything you need as well as any fees you need to pay. And they will also inform you of the safety measures they have in place.

Even though live cargo shipping is usually more expensive, you can ensure that your pet rat will travel safely and comfortably!

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