Lora McLaughlin Peterson has shared a handy step-by-step guide to bringing pets on a flight as carry-on luggage
A TikTok influencer has revealed a handy hack for bringing pet pooches into an aircraft cabin.
If you buy your dog an airline ticket, you can place the animal in a ventilated pet carrier (which also accommodates cats) that slots under the aeroplane seat, a recent TikTok video by Lora McLaughlin Peterson explains. ‘These guys count as one of your carry-ons,’ she reveals.
The 52-year-old globetrotting mum-of-three tells MailOnline Travel that most of the larger airlines in the U.S allow non-service animals – ‘meaning ticketed dogs which are regular pets’ – to travel in the cabin with their owners as carry-on baggage.
Los Angeles native Lora, who has been flying with her pets for seven years, reveals that airlines charge around $125 (£110) per dog for a one-way ticket.
In the TikTok video, Lora can be seen measuring her ventilated pet carrier to ensure it’s the right size for the cabin
Lora’s dogs Tippy and Tiger are ‘seasoned cross-country travellers at this point’. She says: ‘They really should have a frequent flyer program for pets!’
Former CBS news correspondent Lora and her family book the airline tickets for their dogs when they’re reserving their own plane tickets. She explains: ‘There are capacity limits for ticketed dogs and their carriers only fit on certain planes.’
In the TikTok video, Lora can be seen measuring her pet carrier to ensure it’s the right size for the cabin ahead of her Delta Air Lines flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta.
Lora reveals: ‘Over the years, on rare occasions, we have had flights changed on us because the dog carrier wouldn’t fit under the seat.’ She notes that to be allowed into the cabin, dogs ‘need to be around 20lbs (nine kilos), or less’.
The video sees Lora zip her dogs into their respective carriers ahead of a Delta Air Lines flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta. Dog carriers only fit on certain planes, Lora reveals
The airlines charge around $125 (£110) per dog for a one-way trip
Next, the footage shows Tippy and Tiger getting zipped inside their respective carriers before they’re wheeled through the airport.
Rules are in place once the dogs reach the security gates. Lora explains: ‘You must remove them from their carriers and hold them while you walk through the metal detectors while their [carriers] go through with your bags.’
The social media star, who has built up a huge following as a ‘hack expert’ and currently has 187,000 followers to her name, warns that you’re not allowed to take dogs out of their carriers while flying.
What happens if the pooch needs the bathroom mid-flight? ‘Luckily, we’ve never had that issue. We restrict their food and water before a flight so they don’t have the urge,’ Lora says.
However, she notes that airports offer designated sites for ‘pet relief’ that they use before take-off and once their flight has landed. She says: ‘It’s something we never noticed before, but once you’re in this “pet travel world”, all of a sudden you start noticing all of these little things you’d normally just walk by.’
The realisation that smaller dogs could go in the cabin dawned on Lora when she owned larger dogs. She explains: ‘They would have to travel in cargo, but we noticed we’d see smaller, non-service dogs in the cabin. One of the reasons we went with little dogs is… for ease of travel for both the dogs and us. It was really hard on our larger dogs and us to put them in cargo.’
What is the journey like for the pooch? ‘They are fine as long as they can see us. They also like the attention they get from other travellers. It’s really cute,’ says Lora.
In the video, Lora’s dogs get wheeled through the airport in their cases. At security, dogs must be removed from their carriers and held as you walk through the metal detectors, Lora reveals
On the left, Lora slots the dog carrier under the aeroplane seat. The dogs ‘like the attention they get from other travellers’, Lora reveals
‘Most folks are surprised you can buy an airline ticket for your pet,’ says Lora
In general, the dogs garner a ‘really positive’ reaction from other travellers. ‘Pets can be calming, so most folks are happy to see them and ask to pet or even hold them,’ she says.
The reaction on TikTok has been one of surprise, Lora reveals.
‘Most folks are surprised you can buy an airline ticket for your pet and are very interested in travelling with their furry friend,’ she says.
This is one of many travel hacks that Lora has up her sleeve – her viral ‘one-step pack and unpack travel hack’ TikTok video shows her filling a wardrobe divider with folded clothes and collapsing it into her carry-on suitcase. When she arrives at her destination, she simply takes out the divider and hangs it up, she reveals.