July 2014 Author’s Note: The article below outlines the detailed transition to the new Mexican pet travel and aviation requirements back in 2012. Please view our Pet Travel Tips for up-to-date regulations and required documents for Mexico, the United States and Canada. Have questions? Feel free to leave a comment or question below.


Many foreigners bring their beloved pets with them to Mexico each winter. Unfortunately, the new “no pets in cabin” policy recently put into place by several airlines could drastically change the way we all travel to and from Mexico.

Taco the Dog (shown above) always hangs out in our suitcase
so we don’t forget to bring him with us when we go “home”
to Rincón de Guayabitos, Mexico!

The airline agents we spoke with say that they are obeying an old Mexican government regulation that is based on laws dating back to 1950, 2004 and 2007. The SAGARPA and SENASICA offices in Mexico City informed us that it was a new international aviation regulation. There is also plenty of speculation by online sources that say that the airlines want to cash in by requiring pets to travel in cargo, which costs more than in-cabin pets. Either way, it seems the blame game is going in circles here.

After searching the net for hours, speaking to several airlines including the International Airport in Mexico City, SAGARPA and SENASICA, our local Mexican consulate, the Humane Society International, as well as emailing back and forth with three Mexican rescue organizations, we could still not find anyone who had (or had seen) a copy of this new policy in writing. Even the SENASICA (Mexico’s National Health Service for Food Safety and Food Quality) website, which was updated in April, states that pets are allowed to travel to Mexico from the US and Canada. This raises the question, who really did decide to implement this rule and why?

Regardless, people need to be aware that the majority of airlines now prohibit pets from flying in-cabin. Here is the breakdown:

Airlines that no longer allow in-cabin pets:

  • Air Canada** (see June 15, 2012 Update below)
  • Alaska
  • American
  • Delta
  • Frontier* (as of June 9, 2012)
  • United
  • US Airways

Airlines that still allow in-cabin pets:
(as of the publication date of this article)

  • WestJet** (see June 15, 2012 Update below)

Airlines that allow pets in cargo:
Keep in mind that many of these airlines enforce embargo dates due to hot weather and have special restrictions based on breed, kennel size, weight, etc., so be sure to check with your airline for specific requirements.

  • Air Canada – $270 CAD/USD per direction
  • Alaska – $100 USD each way
  • American – $175 USD per kennel
  • Delta – $200 USD one-way
  • Frontier – $150 USD each way
  • United – $189-679 USD each way, prices are based on weight
  • US Airways – Not allowed as of March 1, 2012
  • WestJet – $50 CAD/USD each way

So if you are planning to travel to or from Mexico, be sure to contact your airline before you head to the airport. You might also want to consider driving instead of flying so you don’t have to leave Fido, Taco and Panchito behind.

Feel free to share or republish this story, but please give credit to JaltembaBayLife.com and/or add a link to this page.
JaltembaBayLife.com © 2012

Article Updates:

Because information is changing so quickly, we are adding updates as information becomes available. Please scroll down to view the latest post…

June 8, 2012 Editor’s Note – We have posted a copy of the AICM’s pet policy below in the comments.

June 8, 2012 Update – We called the FAA, US State Department, US Department of Transportation, the TSA and the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, and none of these government agencies know anything about the policy change. However, they have all basically said that each airline can implement their own policies. I will post as we learn more.

*June 9, 2012 Update (1:30pm) – Frontier no longer allows pets to fly in the cabin. My husband was suppose to fly from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to the US today on Frontier. Even though he had all the proper paperwork for Taco the Dog and we called yesterday to confirm that he could fly with him, he was turned away at the airport. The agent booked him on next week’s flight and told him that the only way he could fly then is if he presents a) a letter from his doctor saying that Taco is an “emotional support animal” and b) a copy of the Frontier “Therapeutic / Emotional Support Animal Medical Authorization Form” (to view the form, scroll down to “Traveling with a Service Animal”). Two counter agents, a desk clerk and a Frontier supervisor at the PV airport all informed him that there was a new US law that was implemented on Monday. I spoke with a Frontier agent in the US to confirm this, and he told me that the policy change is due to a Mexican embargo.

June 9, 2012 (4:40pm) – I just received a call back from a Frontier supervisor in the US. She informed me that this new policy was put into place by the DGAC and is effective as of June 7, 2012. The DGAC offices are closed until Monday, but I will call back then and post an update as I learn more.

June 12, 2012 Update – I have been corresponding with MVZ. Joel Antonio Arrioja Pérez, Jefe de Departamento de Operación de Inspección Fitozoosanitaria (Head of the Department of Plant and Animal Health Inspection Operations). Here is his response to my emails…

Dear Allyson Williams,
In relation to your questions I can tell the following:

Q: Who actually put this new policy into place? The DGAC or the individual airlines?  A: Is the DGAC which performs the indication to the airlines by the airlines of the Obligatory Circular knowledge.

Q: Do you know why it was put into place?  A: Is for the improvement of the conditions of safety for users.

Q: Do you have a copy of the new policy? And if so, can you email it to me?  A: The Obligatory Circular CO AV-07.8/07 may consult her on the link: http://www.sct.gob.mx/informacion-general/normatividad-en-la-sct/transporte-aereo/disposiciones-relevantes/

Q: Do you know if the Canadian airlines will implement this policy as well?  A: Could not confirm if airlines implemented the Obligatory Circular will have to check with them.

Again confirm you that: from the health point of view, there are no restrictions for the trip, for the entry or exit of dogs and cats and they can enter the country complying with the relevant requirements.

Then I give the SENASICA website http://www.senasica.gob.mx, as well as the direct link http://www.senasica.gob.mx/default.asp?id=602 detailing information for travelers, with the purpose of informing users about our activities.

MVZ. Joel Antonio Arrioja Pérez

Jefe de Departamento de Operación
de Inspección Fitozoosanitaria

Subdirección de Inspección en Puertos y Aeropuertos
Dirección General de Inspección Fitozoosanitaria
Municipio Libre 377 piso 8-A, Col. Sta. Cruz Atoyac,
Delegación Benito Juárez, México, D. F. C.P. 03310
Tel. 01 (55) 59051000 ext. 51126

Email #2:
Q: I just want to clarify one more thing… is the DGAC enforcing the regulation now after 5 years and the airlines are now required to implement it? Or are the airlines implementing it on their own?  A: Is correct is the DGAC which gave the instruction and did knowledge to the airlines that they give it to inform its customers and implement such disposal. An apology don’t know because so far it is applying this policy and not when it was established. I am referring to the fact that pets can not travel in the cabin or baggage, is not a health by the SENASICA disposition as they have publicized it airlines.

The DGAC Circular Obligatoria mentioned above dates back to June 1, 2007. Policy 2.1.2 is outlined on page 3. It states:

2.1.2. La combinación de pasajeros y animales vivos en la cabina de pasajeros no se debe permitir, excepto en el caso de perros lazarillos y otros “animales de servicio” que acompañen a una persona discapacitada, quien deberá respetar los lineamientos del numeral 4.3 de la presente Circular.

This translates to: The combination of passengers and live animals in the cabin should not be allowed, except guide dogs and other “service animals” accompanying a disabled person, who must comply with the guidelines of section 4.3 of this Circular.

June 13, 2012 Update – In response to the new comments below… yes, both WestJet and Air Canada are still allowing pets to fly in cabin and neither have heard about the new policy. In speaking with the FAA again today, they reminded me that individual airlines “can decide what type of passengers they are carrying”.

June 15, 2012 Update (7am) – Finally Some Answers – Okay folks, we finally have some answers. I corresponded with MVZ. Joel Antonio Arrioja Pérez again yesterday and he confirmed that the DGAC did indeed implemented this policy, not the airlines.

I also received an email from an airline passenger (who wishes to remain anonymous) who provided me with a copy of the “unofficial translated version” of the circular which I quote below. Thanks to a little internet sleuthing, I was able to get my hands on the original DGAC Circular dated May 10, 2012 (in Spanish). The sections that pertain to pets are outlined here in English…

2.1.2. The combination of passengers and live animals in the passenger cabin must not be permitted except in the case of guide dogs or other “service animals” accompanying disabled persons, who must abide by the guidelines of sub-item 4.3 of this Circular.
?4. Transport of animals in passenger aircraft.?
4.1. Animals must be transported in cages or appropriate containers, which, in turn, must be placed in pressurized and air-conditioned compartments. The pilot in command must be informed when live animals are transported and of the cargo hold in which they are located.
4.2. If the aircraft is not equipped with pressurized and air-conditioned cargo holds, animals may be transported in a cabin next to the passenger cabin but separated therefrom by a bulkhead, provided the other guidelines of this Circular are followed.
4.3. Guide dogs and service animals.?
Notwithstanding the provisions of this Mandatory Circular, a guide dog or seeing eye dog and other service animals may be transported in the passenger cabin accompanied by a disabled person provided that the following requirements are complied with:
4.3.1. The guide dog or seeing eye dog must have been trained and the disabled person must have been instructed in dog handling and care. According to such considerations, the dog must remain at the side of its owner during the flight. The disabled person must be seated in the front row, preferably in a window seat in a section next to the cabin dividing wall. If assistance is necessary, the personnel of the licensee or permit holder must provide such assistance in a calm manner. The cabin crew must request any passenger they find trying to stroke the dog to refrain from doing so, so as to prevent the animal from becoming distracted.
4.3.2. Service animals may be allowed in the passenger cabin in accordance with the policies and procedures approved by the Aviation Authority, stipulated for such purpose for permit holders and licensees, provided that such animals do not represent a risk to the health and safety of passengers or crew, such as snakes or other reptiles, rodents, spiders, ferrets, among others, or animals such as ponies, pigs and monkeys which, given their size, dimensions or health restrictions of the competent Mexican authorities or the authorities of the States where permit holders and licensees operate, are not allowed in the passenger cabin.
4.3.3. The same requirements set forth in sub-item 4.3.1. of this Mandatory Circular apply to service animals.
4.3.4. During the boarding of disabled persons assisted by a guide dog or seeing eye dog, the cabin crew must direct the passenger to his/her seat in order for such person to provide instructions to the animal.
Appendix “A” states these definitions:
4. Service Animal: Any animal individually trained or capable of assisting a disabled person or any animal where it is demonstrated by documentation that such animal is necessary for the emotional well-being of a passenger.
14. Permit holder: Corporate entity or individual, in the case of the national or foreign, private commercial air service to whom the Ministry of Communications and Transport grants a permit to carry out its activities, including the provision of scheduled international air carrier services, and national and international non-scheduled and private commercial air carrier services.

**June 15, 2012 Update (9am) – I just called both WestJet and Air Canada. The Air Canada agent said that pets are no longer allowed in the cabin effective as of June 13, 2012. The WestJet agent I spoke with said they are aware of the new law, and while they have not implemented it yet, he expected that they would be soon.

June 16, 2012 Update – Before I go any further, I just want people to understand that I am just one gal who adores her Mexican rescue pups who wanted to share information about this new policy with neighbors and friends who live in Rincon de Guayabitos, La Penita and Los Ayala (Jaltemba Bay), Nayarit, Mexico and who happens to own a community website with a means to do just that. At no point could I have ever imagined that this article would be read by so many people. With every passing day it becomes more and more apparent how much this new policy is impacting those of us who travel to/from Mexico.

I am willing to continue to work on this effort, but I’d like to ask for your help. If any of you have made contact with Mexican government officials who seem willing to listen and to help, please email their contact information to me at Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com.

My plan is to contact the US and Canadian corporate airline offices on Monday to see if the airlines would be willing to allow pets back in the cabin “if” we can get this law changed. If not, there is no reason to pursue this any further.

In the meantime, for anyone who is scheduled to travel out of Mexico in the next few weeks, I highly recommend that you post on your local community forums to see if you can find someone who might be willing to drive your pet across the border. For anyone traveling to Mexico, I suggest that you research pet boarding facilities near you and/or find someone who can care for your pets while you travel. Here are the requirements for traveling with pets to Mexico if you plan on driving… Pet Travel Tips

June 19, 2012 Update (11am) – I finally got through to the Mexico Tourism Board. The gentleman I spoke with said that they have not yet received an official statement, and as far as they are concerned, the bulletin only affects pets flying within Mexico. They are very concerned and hope to resolve this as quickly as possible. He suggested that everyone contact the following offices:

Mexico Tourism Board
Call Center: 1-800-44-MEXICO (1-800-446-3942)*
E-mail: contact@visitmexico.com
*You can call this number direct from the US. Their office is collecting names, phone numbers and email addresses.

SCT (Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes)
Contact Form: http://www.sct.gob.mx/index.php?id=16

I am also in communication with the Deputy Director General at the DGAC. I have emailed the SCT, SECTUR and Sra. Gloria Guevara, the Secretary of Tourism. I will post as soon as I have more information.

June 19, 2012 Update (1:30pm)  For anyone traveling with pets in the next few months, Charlene Angelo has kindly taken the time to put together a chart with options and restrictions for pets in baggage vs. cargo, as well as handy airline links. You can access it here… Traveling with Pets by Air.

June 21, 2012 Update – Policy Change – I am absolutely thrilled to share an email I just received from Lic. José Armando Garcia Nuño, Dirección de Política Intersectorial, Dirección General de Planeación Estratégica y Política Sectorial, Secretaria de Turismo (SECTUR). It reads…

Mrs Allyson,

I send an apology for to answer your call and email a little late, however, I am here for talking with you about the animals in the aircraft passenger cabins.

Yesterday, we had a meeting with the Aeronautic Authority on this case for talking about the concern of you visitors by the prohibition of get pets on airplanes.

At the meeting we were able to obtain good news, which I inform you:

• They going to change of the article one hundred seven (107) of the regulations of the law, where the regulation is established on the transportation of animals allowed in the passenger cabins. Today, the Aeronautic Authority has already a proposal for a reform to the article of the rules of which shared and will be analysed.

The Aeronautic Authority published an official circular where inform about of the current authority decision and where they report the possibility that in the month of September is already counted with this reform allowing, in some way, raise animals to the passenger cabins.

In this moments The law should be applied without exception. But we hope that the reform to law going to ready on September.

Finally, I say today I tried to talk to you by phone but it was not possible.
Best regards.

After receiving this email, I called and spoke with Sr. Garcia directly. He informed me that the document is currently be reviewed and that it should be finalized by next week. He confirmed that the revised policy will allow pets to fly in the cabin on both national and international flights, and that it should be in place by September 2012. He agreed to email a copy to me, which I will post at soon as I receive it.

This is really good news Folks!

June 22, 2012 Update – No more news as of today, but I just want to remind everyone to please continue to register your complaints with the Mexican Tourism Board, SCT and SECTUR (listed below) just to make sure we continue to be heard. I will keep you posted as more information comes to light.

June 25, 2012 Update (11:30am) – Revised Circular – I received an update from Lic. José Armando Garcia Nuño this morning. The new Circular, CO AV-07.8/07 R2, is dated June 21, 2012 and has been posted on the SCT website. In his email, Sr. Garcia stated that “the Aeronautical Authority has published document (Circular compulsory) that allows airlines to transport pets in the passenger cabins. Airlines must meet the mandatory circular immediately as soon as they are notified. The airlines must allow pets climb into the passenger cabins, immediately.” He also wanted to remind me that “this new document is NOT a new regulation, simply is a document that clarifies the doubts with regard to the Law on Civil Aviation.” He clarified this statement in another email by saying “The document that now lets upload pets to the airlines is a temporary measure. He is currently working on reforming article 107 of the law of Civil Aviation.”

I have been informed by a group in Cozumel who is working closely with the airlines that “this circular was sent to all airlines on Friday.” Obviously, the airlines will need a little time to re-implement this policy, update their websites, etc. I will post as I learn more.

June 26, 2012 Update – Since yesterday, I have been inundated by emails and comments from people who say that the airlines are not aware of this new revised circular. I will do my very best to compile a list of airline contacts in the next few days. In the meantime, please be patient.

In addition, I just learned earlier today that there are new document requirements for pet travel to Mexico. Ironically these changes were implemented in the past few weeks, but have absolutely nothing to do with the DGAC circular. I am in contact with the proper authorities and will post this information as soon as possible.

June 27, 2012 Update (9:20am) – Airline Contacts – Below, you will find an airline contact list for the customer relations/care departments courtesy of Andrea Sekula, Cozumel and Karen Warne, Zihuatanejo. We all ask you to please keep in mind that it is going to take some time for the airlines to translate the new document, run it by their legal departments, re-implement the new policy, inform and retrain their staff and get the information back up on their websites. This is not going to happen over night folks.

Latest Updates:

June 27, 2012 Update (12pm) – NEW Pet Travel Requirements – Please be aware that there are new requirements and documentation needed to travel with pets to Mexico (and no, this had nothing to do with the DGAC Circular). I have contacted SAGARPA and my local USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services offices for clarification, and I have compiled the information here:

Airlines that Now Allow Pets in Cabin!
The re-implementation of this policy has happened very quickly, so please keep in mind that some airline employees may not be aware of this change.

  • WestJet – never changed policy
  • US Airways – announced June 26, 2012, effective immediately
  • American – announced June 27, effective July 1, 2012
  • Frontier – announced June 28, 2012, effective immediately
  • Alaska – announced June 28, 2012, effective July 2, 2012
  • Air Canada – announced June 28, 2012, effective immediately
  • Delta – announced June 29, 2012, effective immediately (only in Economy cabin)
  • United – announced July 3, 2012, effective immediately

Fees for In-Cabin Pets (added June 29, 2012)

*These fees are for one way. Keep in mind that in most cases, your in-cabin pet carrier counts toward your carry-on baggage allowance. Please contact your airline for specific information about how to book your pet, maximum kennel dimensions, kennel weight and other restrictions.

July 3, 2012 Update – United is Now Flying Pets – United Airlines has indeed re-implemented their pets in cabin policy as of today. I called to confirm, and the cost is $125 USD each way.

Thank YOU! – I want to personally thank each and every one of you who called and emailed your complaints and concerns about the policy change. In basically one month, not only did the Mexican government revise their pet policy, but all the airlines re-implemented their policies to allow pets to fly in the cabin to/from Mexico as well. In the scheme of things, this was a really fast turnaround. Together, we made a difference!

For anyone who isn’t aware, there is a slight change in documentation (and verbiage) needed to travel with pets to Mexico. You can find all the details on our Pets Travel Tips (Requirements) page.

I have received hundreds of emails, many of which are simply thank you notes. As I said above, I did not do this alone. There were many others involved as well. For anyone who wants to do a little something to say thank you to all those who worked so hard on this effort, may I suggest that you make a donation to a local pet rescue organization, of which there are hundreds in Mexico. If you are so inclined, you may make a donation to my local group, Jaltemba Bay Animal Rescue. You can also learn about my connection with this amazing organization by reading “From a Volunteer’s Perspective“, an article I wrote about my volunteer experience last year.

July 5, 2012 Update – Pet Travel Tips Answered – I have been on the phone all day with three USDA-APHIS offices and emailing back and forth with my contact at SAGARPA to find out more about the new documents needed to travel with pets and about the rabies requirement in order to answer all your questions. Here is what I found out…

VS 7001 Form: The USDA offices have all confirmed that the VS 7001 Form is no longer required to enter Mexico or to leave the US. However, they did mention that some airlines may require it, so you need to call to find out. (Note: An International Health Certificate is required for many countries, so you may want to check with your local USDA-APHIS office for details.)

Letterhead Certificate: I have attached a copy of the Letterhead Certificate I received from the USDA on our Pet Travel Tips page (link below). Based on my correspondence with the Head of the Department of Plant and Animal Health Inspection Operations at SAGARPA, I have added a few very important additions (see my notes on the form). He said that with these additions, the form met Mexico’s import requirements and more, so it should get you into and out of the US, Canada and Mexico, no matter where you are going to or coming from.

Rabies: I have heard that Mexico now accepts and offers a 3-year rabies vaccine, but I cannot get confirmation in writing from anyone I spoke with. While the USDA Letterhead Certificate states that “The animal/s has/have been vaccinated against rabies within 12 months prior to exportation,” the SENASICA website no longer requires that rabies is given in that time frame.

Please visit our Pets Travel Tips page for more information and a complete overview of the new requirements and links to these documents.

Who to Contact:

Here is a list of people, organizations and websites to contact. If you prefer to contact an airline in writing, you can find their mailing address on the links below. Simply explain that you are referring to the revised Circular CO AV-07.8/07 R2 from the Mexican Aviation Authority (DGAC) dated June 21, 2012 in which Article 4.3 now permits pets to travel in cabin to and from Mexico.

Helpful Links:

Helpful and informative links submitted by readers of this blog…

Note: I have broken the comments into several pages because we have received so many of them. Please scroll back so you don’t miss what people are saying.