Pet Traveling Tips For Airport Screening

U.S. Transportation Security Administration airport pet inspections
Pet airport screening
U.S. TSA Denver
Denver (Vax Before Travel)

With year-end holiday travel accelerating, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects a measurable increase in pets brought to airport security checkpoints in 2022.

Recent TSA data indicates airport activity is fast approaching levels last seen in 2019.

Traveling through the security checkpoint with your pet can be easy when you know what to expect, confirmed the TSA on December 14, 2022.

The TSA says small pets will be screened and should travel in the aircraft cabin with their owners.

Below is what pet owners can expect:

  • All pets should be brought to the security checkpoint in a hand-held travel carrier. Remove the pet from the carrier just before the beginning of the screening process.
  • Place the empty travel carrier so it can be x-rayed.
  • Never place a pet in the x-ray tunnel. The x-ray at the security checkpoint is used to screen passengers' personal property and carry-on luggage only.
  • If possible, carry the pet during the screening process.
  • Alternatively, a pet can walk through the screening process if the owner has the pet on a leash.
  • Once the screening process is complete, owners should return the pet to the travel carrier at the re-composure area away from the security checkpoint. This location helps ensure the pet's and other passengers' safety.

"TSA recognizes that for many pet owners, their animals are an extension of their family, and they want to travel together," said TSA Deputy Federal Security Director for Colorado Anne Cross in a related TSA press release.

"Becoming familiar with the screening procedures and how to clear security quickly and easily is the first step to embarking on a great trip with your pet."

Other helpful travel tips to make your trip thru security as easy as possible include:

  • Acclimate the pet to the process of traveling by familiarizing it with the travel carrier in the days leading up to the trip. This familiarization will help ensure the pet is more relaxed as it travels through the security process and the airport.
  •  Be on the lookout for "working" K9s and handlers at the airport. Areas where it is common to see a working K9 at airports, may include a security checkpoint or in the terminal concourse.
  • Please be screened at an alternate checkpoint if you encounter a working canine.
  • Know your pet's temperament and ensure that you can maintain control of it in a busy and potentially crowded transportation environment.

Pet travel restrictions vary by airline, so please check with your air carrier before traveling with your pet.

For information on traveling with service animals or for other special circumstances, please reach out to the TSA Contact Center by calling 866-289-9673 or by emailing [email protected].

Furthermore, when visiting Europe with a pet, an E.U. Pet Passport is a universal document issued by an official veterinarian in the European Union (E.U.).

The passport is issued when a pet is taken to an E.U. veterinarian and vaccinated. However, E.U. Pet Passports cannot be obtained in the U.S.

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