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Can you take a Great Dane on an airplane? This is a question we see a LOT in our Facebook group. Most airlines allow small dogs that can fit under the seat in crates, but that is obviously not going to work for those of us with giant breed dogs. Is it possible to fly with a Great Dane?

Yes, it is! If you need to fly your Great Dane with you somewhere, this article is going to provide ideas and solutions.

How to Fly with a Great Dane


What Airlines Allow Great Danes?

There may be times when SOME airlines might allow you to purchase multiple seats to take a well-behaved Great Dane into the cabin.

Unfortunately, this requires you to do some leg work as policies are always changing. Fair warning, it is VERY UNLIKELY that you will find an airline willing to do this for you, but it never hurts to try!

Disclaimer: we do not recommend attempting this for any reason if your Great Dane is aggressive, fearful, nippy, or does not have up-to-date vaccines and medical records.

If you want to attempt this, consider the following airlines.

I’ve linked to their pet information pages (just click). None of them indicate that a large dog will be allowed in the cabin, but if you call and ask about purchasing an additional seat (or two) they may be willing to talk!

For airlines that do allow small pets (or perhaps large pets) to travel, there are nearly always additional fees and paperwork.

Of course, many airlines can accept a Great Dane if you are willing to adhere to their policies and practices regarding shipping your dog in the cargo hold. I’m covering more information about this below!

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Can My Emotional Support Great Dane Fly on a Plane?

Unfortunately, this is very unlikely.

The airlines have cracked down on dog owners bringing dogs on board, especially because there is an epidemic of pet owners with fake service dogs and emotional support animals that are out of control.

Fake service dogs and poorly trained emotional support animals put everybody at risk. Many incidents have happened on airplanes at the hands of people who got their big dog on board by pretending they were a service dog! Many airlines no longer allow emotional support animals for any reason.

A lot of emotional support and service dog organizations online are actually a scam, so tread cautiously here. They may tell you that purchasing a certificate and harness will mean that your pet can fly, but that’s nothing more than predatory marketing.

The practice of turning your pet into a “service dog” to get past airline rules is highly unethical and should never be done.

Only real service dogs (who provide a task-based service for a medical disability according to the ADA) are typically allowed on airplanes in the cabin. You can read more information about this HERE.

Keep in mind that if you do have a legitimate task-trained service Great Dane, most airlines still require you to file forms in advance. You cannot just show up to the airport.


The Best Way to Fly with a Great Dane

There is ONE way to fly with a pet Great Dane in the cabin safely, ethically, and legally.

Fly private.

Many private airlines (they typically fly out of small business airports in luxurious corporate style jets) will allow you to bring well-behaved pets on board!

Of course, this is a bougie option that comes at a price, but it’s the real deal.

You can book specific flights or if you are flexible, many private airlines will allow you to book discounted flights when they have to ferry airplanes from one location to the next. These are called “Empty Leg” flights and can be an awesome way to get your Great Dane from point A to point b!

Learn more about finding empty leg ferry flights for your pet HERE.

I did some research and found the following private airlines will allow Great Danes to fly! Just click on the links below to view:

  • EvoJets is very pet friendly and if you bring a pet with you, they will donate to charity!
  • NetJets is also pet friendly and will even provide a meal for your dog!
  • Victor is a charter management company that believes that pets are family, not cargo!

Many people think that private jet flights are extremely expensive, and they can be. But if you are willing and able to shop around, it can be an exceptional option! Not to mention, fun.


Is it Safe for Great Danes to Fly in Cargo?

The least expensive and most accessible option for getting Great Danes on planes is to follow airline policies about flying them in the cargo hold.

This option is best reserved for healthy, mild-mannered, well-behaved and confident dogs that will not be freaked out by the experience.

When your pet flies in cargo, they are kept in a crate which is handled by a lot of people and must be calm during the flight (which involves excessive noise, bumps, and unusual sounds). Because Great Danes are prone to stress-induced bloat, we do not recommend this option for most dogs.

Dozens of pets have been harmed each year from cargo flights. Statistics indicate that this is a minor problem, but it’s an issue nonetheless. This traveler shares a heart wrenching story

Only a handful of airlines allow live animals to be checked into cargo. Some airlines only allow military to do this (such as American Airlines), and among the airlines that do ferry pets? There are often breed and size restrictions.

All airlines that transport pets in cargo will require that dogs have had a veterinary check, are up to date on vaccinations, and have an airline approved crate.

This Impact dog crate is large enough and safe enough for Great Danes to fly in, and runs in the neighborhood of $3500. To meet most airline specifications, additional accessories have to be purchased for the Impact crate as well. Always check directly with your airline of choice on what their exact crate specifications are!

If you choose to send your Great Dane in the cargo hold, avoid flying in cargo on frigid cold or sweltering hot days (check the weather at both your airport and your destination) because your pet may be subjected to these extreme temperatures on the ramp.

Talk to your veterinarian as well. Many people believe that offering a sedative for the flight is a good idea however actual research (and many veterinarians) will tell you that it’s not. As a matter of fact, it can be very unsafe if not fatal! Do not dose your dog up on Trazodone or Benadryl before a flight.


How Do I Move Overseas with a Great Dane?

For dogs that MUST travel in cargo no matter what (example, overseas or military moves), we recommend flying on major airlines such as Alaska, Delta, and Hawaiian and working with a company that specializes in pet transportation.

The IPATA (International Pet and Animal Transportation Association) is an excellent resource. You can see their website HERE.

In addition to maintaining a list of good vendors, they also document known scams and have a wealth of information about how to choose a company to help you move your Great Dane overseas. Never work with a pet transport company that you found online (social media) or on craigslist!

When moving overseas or even from the U.S. to Hawaii, there may be laws in place about vaccinations and mandatory quarantine periods following travel. Some Countries may not even allow your pet to move with you, so check local laws and pet import regulations.

For long moves when your Great Dane will be confined to a crate for an extended period of time, it is important that they are comfortable in that environment. Spend several weeks acclimating your pet to their airline crate. If you put a noisy fan in the room it will mimic the sound of the airplane, too.


Can I Roadtrip with a Great Dane?

If you aren’t moving overseas and can’t get on a private charter flight, a roadtrip is the best option.

Great Danes can absolutely go on a long car ride and many of them absolutely love the adventure.

Most people who show Great Danes (and travel around the Country to do so) use large vans or RV’s with XXL dog crates inside. For long haul trips, it is best to choose a vehicle that can accommodate a large crate such as this one by Impact.

A lot of people ride around with their dogs loose in the car, but don’t realize how dangerous that is! If you do get in a wreck, even at a low speed, your dog becomes a projectile. This is dangerous for you and for your dog.

Many dogs (and humans) lives have been saved in wrecks where the pets were confined to an Impact crate!

As you travel across the Country, you will want to stop at a hotel to rest for the night. We recommend La Quinta as they seem to be the most accommodating towards large dogs.

Make sure to make lots of rest stops, bring LOTS of water, and use apps such as SniffSpot to find places where your pet can safely run off-leash to get a break from the car. Bring Fido is also a solid resource for finding pet friendly stores and restaurants along your route.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

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