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Can Hamsters Go on Planes?

Last Updated: 30.03.20


If you like your house to be a colored one and you want your pet’s cage to really catch the eye, we wrote an article about pink hamster cages so make sure to check it out after you’ve finished with this guide.

You sometimes need to travel, and when you do that, you might want to take your hamster with you. But can you take your hamster on the plane? The short answer to that is yes, although there are some things to consider, so let’s see what these are.


Should you bring your hamster on the plane?

You should know that the Humane Society of the United States, an organization meant to protect animals, advises that the best way to transport animals of any kind is with a vehicle. Pets should be transported by air only when absolutely necessary.

This means that you can take your hamster on a plane, but only if you have no other choice. Before you do that, however, make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules and guidelines that the airline imposes for pet travel. Do that before purchasing your ticket.

Pay attention to what the regulations say, as not many airlines allow you to travel with small pets like hamsters. Also, some of the airlines that let you do that will require you to have your pet stay in the baggage compartment, and that’s something most pet owners are afraid to do.

If you have to leave your pet in the baggage compartment, make sure you have it checked by a veterinarian before the flight. He or she will be able to offer you more information on how to keep your pet comfortable while it travels by air. You will also receive advice on whether your pet is in a good health condition or not so you can decide if it can travel in the cargo area.

Most pet owners don’t feel at ease when their pet has to travel amongst luggage, and if you’re one of those people, you would feel a lot better traveling by car.



Hamster-friendly airlines

Taking into account that more than 2 million pets are transported every year across the United States by plane, some airlines know that allowing the transport of animals can bring profits to them and also let the passengers bring their beloved little friends on their trips.

One of the best-known airlines in terms of low transport fees and laid-back regulations is Frontier. It allows most common pets including dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbis, or guinea pigs, to be transported for $75. What’s best is that the airline allows you to keep the pet with you in the cabin. So you don’t have to worry that your pet is uncomfortable in the cargo cabin.

You will need an appropriate carrier, of course, but that’s no problem. You should check its guidelines for more information. Delta is another pet-friendly airline and it offers some alternatives. It doesn’t transport hamsters all the time, and when it does, it can only accommodate the small pet in the cargo cabin.

The same can be said about United Airlines, which only transports hamsters in the baggage compartment. However, it can transport your pet all-year long, but for a high price of $250. If you want a lower price and the possibility to carry your pet in-cabin, try WestJet. It can transport your hamster for only $50, but it doesn’t cover too many routes in the US.

No matter what transport company you choose, make sure to read the regulations well before you buy your ticket. Also note that besides airlines, each country has its own rules about animal transport, so check the regulations in the countries you’re going to visit when you want to go abroad.


Ensuring the flight is safe

There is one small thing left to do before you actually get on the plane. And that is determining if your pet carrier can fit under the seat. Finding out that the carrier is too large to be placed under the seat in front of you can be really demotivating. Check with the airline, call them, and find out if the dimensions of your pet’s cage are suitable.

Most airlines have a policy regarding the cage to be of a certain maximum size and they may also require it to be soft or hard-sided. The cage should also be leak-proof and well ventilated.

Hamsters can get stressed during flight or when you move them from one place to another and that’s why it is safer to book a non-stop flight if you can. Transferring planes is a stressful situation for you and your pet as well, and avoiding that rush between planes is a relief for both of you. This also reduces the likelihood of losing track of your pet’s main cage, if you take it with you as luggage.


On the plane

Pets, including hamsters, will get bored during the flight, or worse, they can get too stressed. So to keep them calm, you must give them something to do. You should also consider the sleeping schedule of your hamster and book a flight based on that schedule if you can, so the rodent sleeps most of the flight.

Furthermore, if you have the possibility, choose a place that is quieter. That is most often in front of the wings. You would still need to give your pet something to do and something that hamsters love doing is eating. So you can consider the flight a good opportunity to offer your hamster some treats. It’s a special occasion, so spoiling it a bit shouldn’t be too bad.

The carrier you are using will most probably not be the one that you keep your pet in for most of the time, so make sure you make it feel and smell as close to the cage you use for your hamster at home. Use both old and new beddings and if possible, take some toys or parts from your pet’s usual cage and place them in the carrier.

It’s very possible that the carrier you will need to keep your pet within is too small to accommodate a wheel. Your hamster will thus be unable to exercise too much. But at least make sure you put plenty of toys there, to keep it occupied.

Don’t forget to keep your hamster hydrated. You can offer it water, fruits, and vegetables every time you feel it’s needed, especially if you feel that the cabin is hot.



Before and after the flight

For a peaceful and quiet flight for both you and your hamster, you will also need to take all the necessary efforts to ensure that your pet feels comfortable before the flight too. On the ride to the airport, you should keep it in a well-ventilated cage. You can put your hamster’s cage on the front seat and buckle the seatbelt on it.

When you travel for many days you can use a small trick to make your hamster feel comfortable. Always keep it in the small carrier, and when you reach your hotel rooms or the places where you’re going to stay, put the small carrier inside the big cage.

Your hamster will use the small carrier as a sleeping and resting place, while it will have the whole big cage at its disposal for exercising. Using this trick will make your hamster sleep every night in the same spot and it will ensure the animal won’t feel irritated by constant changes in its environment.




Irina Ionescu

As a long-term learner and animal lover, Irina helps her readers find the best products and accessories for their pets, as well as the latest training techniques, tips & tricks on how to handle animals.

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