I understand that these are FAA regulations on pets flying in-cabin on a commercial plane: https://www.faa.gov/travelers/fly_pets/cabin_pets

Let's say I wanted to design a new type of commercial aircraft that is specifically designed to accommodate pets in cabin. For example, built-in kennels for small pets in the cabin, or leash/harness hookups for larger dogs to sit by their owners, etc. Would I start with the new design, or would I follow existing FAA regulations on new aircraft design regarding pets in cabin?

I'm not saying this is feasible or that I personally have the skills required to design a new aircraft, I'm just trying to understand. For context, I own a software company that builds tools for travelers with pets. Thank you

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ As pointed out in Ralph J's answer, I think that you may have made your question overly ambitious by limiting it to designing a new aircraft. Airliner construction and interior design are two separate functions, and it is common for airline interiors for existing aircraft to be redesigned either by the manufacturer or by airlines or by third party companies. I think your question would be improved by specifying airliner interior design instead of aircraft design, unless you feel that existing airframe designs will not accommodate the ideas that you have in mind. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2023 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ You mentioned pets but probably a larger issue that is looming is the greatly increased number of service dogs in use, now that more people are using service dogs for emotional support, as evidenced by an increased number of dogs in grocery stores and restaurants, etc. How many of these are actual service dogs is hard to determine since apparently in many jurisdictions stores are only allowed to ask a dog owner if it's a service dog, they are not allowed to ask what type of service dog or require any proof or documentation. On airplanes service dogs do not have the same restrictions as pets. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2023 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ Great point about service animals as well $\endgroup$
    – LJC
    Oct 21, 2023 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ IATA (operators association) regulates live animals transportation, and IATA Live Animals Regulations (LAR). $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Oct 22, 2023 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


Designing a new aircraft is an unimaginably expensive & time-consuming process. Getting approval to install hardware like kennels in an existing aircraft is merely an expensive & time consuming process.

Unless there is something about your concept for kennels & such that (a) cannot be accommodated in existing aircraft, and (b) will be so popular that you can recoup all the design & development cost of a whole new airframe, then modifying an existing design is certainly the better way to go.

  • $\begingroup$ Add to the Degree of Difficulty - Humans that are allergic to pet dander. $\endgroup$
    – WPNSGuy
    Oct 21, 2023 at 16:24
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you Ralph J and Steve Pemberton for the context around airliner interior design; I did not realize that was an option. That is incredibly helpful and yes, I can definitely see how it would make much more sense to modify an existing design. Really appreciate the insight. $\endgroup$
    – LJC
    Oct 21, 2023 at 16:42
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    $\begingroup$ WPNSGuy - I noticed in the FAA document that the OP linked to that they pretty much dismissed pet dander objections, saying "You will still be exposed to pet dander on every flight, even without any pets in the passenger cabin. This is because most allergens are carried into the cabin on the clothes of other passengers." Seems pretty dismissive though since I would assume that there is a big difference between sitting next to someone who owns a pet, and sitting next to someone who has a terrier on their lap. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2023 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ @StevePemberton the fact that airlines don't require passengers to be decontaminated for all known allergens before they're allowed to board a flight, and airports don't do so at the checkin desks, pretty much proves the FAA's point :) $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Oct 22, 2023 at 13:46

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