Can I Take My Turtle On a Plane?

Travelling is probably one of the most critical and stressful activities a man can do. However, it is widespread for pet owners to take their little friends with them. While cats and dogs are a little more popular so airports and airlines know how to handle them, turtles are slightly different. So, many of you wonder, can I take my turtle on a plane? 

Technically, yes. No airlines have specific reasons to ban turtles from coming on an airplane. However, there were cases when pet owners had to give their pets to some relatives before the flight because they were forbidden to take them on board. Therefore, before taking your turtle on an airplane, make sure you know everything there is to know about pet regulations. 

Can you Take Your Turtle on a Plane?

a plane wing seen from the cabin

Yes, you can take your turtle on a plane. However, while there are no regulations for turtles on planes and they aren’t forbidden, it would be a good idea for you to reach out to the airline and ask directly if there would be a problem if you took your turtle on their plane. There are no regulations for this kind of animal. Thus, the decision will be taken while your luggage will be searched. Therefore, you should be careful and ask in advance. 

Moreover, it would be a great idea for you to clarify about the container and other such things. It is better for you to be aware of how you should carry your turtle in order for the airline to consider it safe and allow it. They will, most definitely, ask about the size, species, and other specifications of your turtle. Depending on that, you can even be allowed to take your turtle in the cabin. However, in most cases, your turtle will be placed in a special place on the plane where all the pets are held. 

In most cases, your turtle will not be allowed to travel with you if the flight’s duration is more than 12 hours or if it is an international flight. In these cases, your turtle will be placed in the cargo department and you’ll see it on the departure. 

Also read: Why is my turtle always sleeping?

What Airlines Allow Turtles in Cabin?

Every airline has its own regulation regarding every aspect of the flight. While some of them only allow dogs and cats, others allow every kind of pet on the plane. Also, depending on the size, species, and other such parameters, the airline can forbid the departure of a pet even if their regulations say otherwise. Travelling with a pet is troublesome. Thus, here are three of the airlines that most surely allow pets to travel with you. 

Delta Airlines 

Delta Airlines is probably one of the most pet-friendly organizations out there. It doesn’t only allow practically any kind of pets on board but also gives a very detailed regulation on the carrier and other such important things. It is important to know how you should pack your turtle in order for it to be accepted on board. Thus, Delta Airlines and its strict but detailed regulations make your life easier.  The only thing you should know about this organization is that they don’t accept pets on flights longer than 12 hours. 


The only strict regulation Frontier has is that they don’t allow pets on international flights. Inside the country, you can travel with your pet with no major problems. Also, you should respect the carrier regulations. There were cases when a passenger had to postpone the flight in order to deliver the turtle to a relative. 


Like Delta Airlines, WestJet is known to be a pet-friendly airline. They allow small animals in the cabin, even the exotic ones. However, if you have a bigger turtle, you will be forced to give it to cargo. Also, your turtle will be checked first, especially if it is a special and expensive breed. The only regulation this airline has is about the species that have special needs such as air temperature or humidity. Such species aren’t allowed on board. 

Why are Turtles not Allowed on Most Planes?

a small turtle

While turtles may seem like inoffensive creatures, they are actually a bit dangerous to human society. Turtles, especially those without any vaccines or vet checks, are notorious carriers of Salmonella or other such dangerous bacterias. Therefore, they are very dangerous for old people, pregnant women, and kids, as their immune system is weak and unable to effectively fight the bacteria a turtle might carry. 

Also, remember that turtles are specific animals. They live in exotic habitats that cannot be built on public planes. Temperature, humidity, and other such parameters can truly affect a turtle and, in most cases, airlines just don’t want to take on the responsibility for your little pet. 

Lastly, turtles, especially exotic and expensive ones, are often the target of smuggling. Therefore, if the airline notices a rare species with little documentation, it will most surely be confiscated until further details arrive. 

Also see: Best Small Tortoise Species

Can you Sneak a Turtle on a Plane?

No, you can’t sneak a turtle on a plane. It is simply impossible to sneak something past all the controls and regulations an airport has in place. Even if you would manage to sneak past the first control, there is no chance your luggage won’t be searched with an X-Ray. There, the border police will definitely see the turtle and you’ll be in big trouble. 

Nevertheless, even if you managed to sneak the turtle on a plane or you know how to do it, don’t try to do such a foolish thing. You’ll have so much trouble if you’ll get caught, you can’t even imagine. It is better for everyone if you just declared the fact that you have a turtle and let the airlines decide where should it be held, in the cabin or cargo. 

Can you Take a Turtle on Delta Airlines?

Yes, Delta Airlines doesn’t have very strict regulations about turtles. If you have a regulated carrier that is fitting all the needs of the airline, it should be fine. However, there are a few steps you should pass first. 

First of all, if you have a big, rare turtle, make sure you have all the documents on it. It is important because due to the poaching and smuggling, rare turtles are often checked thoroughly. Therefore, you must be prepared to show all the documents and prove that it is your turtle. 

Secondly, remember about the carrier. It must fit all the regulations. Otherwise, your turtle can be simply confiscated because you couldn’t afford to provide the needed safety for it during the flight. 

Is it Safe to Take Your Turtle on a Plane?

Yes, if you have a good carrier and the flight isn’t very long, it is safe for the turtle to be on a plane. Of course, it is very stressful for a turtle to be on a plane. However, stress isn’t deadly. 

In order to achieve the maximal level of safety for your turtle, you need a plastic carrier with towels soaked in water. Turtles love high humidity and, without enough water, their skin can be damaged. Also, remember to buy a carrier with enough holes for your turtle to breathe freely. If the carrier doesn’t have holes, don’t be shy, make them yourself. 

Last but not least, remember about food. The best way to carry a turtle is by feeding it 4-5 hours before the flight. This way, it won’t contaminate the towels with excrements and will have the energy to last a flight. 


Now you know all about turtles and planes. Remember, don’t do anything stupid, especially if you have a turtle to take care of. Don’t try to sneak the turtle on a plane, it is foolish. Also, make sure the airline is accepting turtles on board before booking the ticket. Lastly, enjoy the flight and make sure your turtle does it too. 

Dorothy Razo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *