During the holiday season, we want nothing more than to spend it with loved ones. But very few are within close proximity of all their family members and friends. That’s why the holiday season is one of the high-peak travel times. And the holidays wouldn’t be special without our beloved, furry companions. If your holiday travels require flying, you may want to double-check your airport of choice for departure or layover. Upgraded Points, a travel company that provides insider strategies on maximizing travel points and rewards, came up with a list of the most pet-friendly airports in the United States based on a point system for best pet accommodations, primarily pet relief areas and overnight boarding. Here is their top 10:
10. Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW): 6.75
There are four designated pet relief areas located inside security, as well as multiple areas for pet relief outside entry doors on the lower level. While the spaces aren’t anything special, the sheer number of relief areas can be a comfort to pet owners! And if you plan on staying overnight at DFW or need overnight care for your pet while you’re away, Paradise 4 Paws is a premier pet resort for cats and dogs located outside security near the airport. Paradise 4 Paws is staffed 24 hours, so pets can be picked up and dropped off any time day or night.
9. Denver International Airport (DEN): 7
Denver’s pet relief rooms are conveniently located post-security in the centers of concourses A, B and C. Each features turf flooring with a drainage system and an artificial rock. To bring the outdoors in, each room has a wall mural featuring Colorado’s great outdoors. There is also a pre-security outdoor pet relief area. Paradise 4 Paws, a premium resort for dogs and cats, is an on-airport pet boarding facility featuring more than 25,000 square feet of space with 24-hour service that includes day and overnight pet stays.
8. Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL): 7.25
The Pet Park at Dallas Love Field is large enough for any animal to stretch, run and relieve themselves. It’s located at the end of the Baggage Claim Hall on the upper level, and there is a smaller pet relief area on the lower level as well. There is also a small animal relief area inside the secure portion of the terminal.
7. Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO): 7.5
Reno-Tahoe International Airport has opened an indoor pet relief area located post-security on the second floor of the terminal. In addition, the airport has two outdoor dog parks to serve their four-legged passengers. The two “Bark Parks” are fully fenced with ADA accessibility, running water, mutt mitts to clean up after dogs, a fire hydrant and a canopy for inclement weather. RNO also offers a super popular Paws for Passengers program that features 25 service dog teams to help welcome and send off passengers throughout the terminal.
6. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS): 7.75
Austin’s airport has a “Dog Walk” that is landscaped and lighted, and includes a pet drinking fountain, dog waste pick-up bag and trash bins. While this is located pre-security, there is also a pet relief area in the outdoor patio post-security as well. In addition, AUS teams up with a local wellness company to offer a quarterly event where you can pet therapy dogs in the airport. Hopefully you’re lucky enough that your trip can coincide with this! Bark and Zoom is located on airport property. They will valet your car (for a very reasonable rate) in a covered parking lot and shuttle you over to the terminal. This facility is equipped with outdoor play yards and dogs-only swimming pools – basically a vacation for your pet while you are on vacation.
5. Minneapolis St.Paul International Airport (MSP): 8.25
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport maintains pet and service animal relief areas at both terminals. Terminals 1 and 2 each house one post-security indoor pet area featuring faux grass, a fire hydrant, and a sink. There are two outdoor areas as well. Located on property, Now Boarding is an affiliate of the Animal Humane Society. They provide boarding, training and grooming services for your pet! Even better, they will pick you up from the terminal and return you to your pet and vehicle for free.
4. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX): 8.5
There are eight indoor animal-relief stations at LAX! These are all located beyond security screening checkpoints in each of the terminals. In addition to the indoor stations, there are three outdoor stations. This brings the total number of pet relief stations at LAX to 11, more than any other U.S. airport.
3. Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): 9
Sky Harbor has nine areas for pets to stretch their legs, drink water and take potty breaks, three of which are located post-security. The remaining pre-security areas are fully gated and located outside of Terminals 2, 3 and 4. To make the areas a little more special, they’re even decorated with native plants!
2. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL): 9.5
To accommodate guide dogs and passenger pets, ATL provides indoor post-security relief areas in every concourse that help make your trip as seamless as possible. In addition, there’s a 1,000-square-foot dog park located pre-security. This fully fenced-in park offers biodegradable bags along with benches. An additional pet relief area is located on the arrivals level of the International Terminal as well. Pet Paradise offers an onsite 24/7 boarding facility, so if you have to leave your pets behind you won’t be away from them any longer than absolutely necessary.
1. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK): 10
JKF is definitely the airport to beat when it comes to pet-friendly amenities. Multiple terminals have access to post-security pet relief areas, so you’re never far away from one without having to leave the secured area of the airport. Terminal 5 has a 4,000 square foot outdoor garden patio (aka, the “wooftop”) that’s open to all passengers and their pets. Located after security, the large terrace features tables and chairs with seating for up to 50. The ARK at JFK provides animal care and veterinary services for pets, horses, birds, livestock and exotic animals. Located off of the runway, the ARK provides 24/7 access, ensuring the safe handling and efficient delivery of ALL of your animals. JFK Terminal 8 has a service animal/pet relief area located post-security. In addition, American Airlines has installed a pet relief area at the terminal’s departures level that includes a 1,000-square-foot patch of natural grass for your pets to stretch their legs before or after a long flight. Terminal 4 has a post-security 70-square-foot pet bathroom complete with artificial grass with built-in drainage, a replica fire hydrant, wash sink, bag dispenser and waste receptacle.