This guide offers advice and recommendations for air travel with pets, covering tips and the top airlines for pet-friendly travel

Many pet owners face challenges when traveling with their pets, leading to reluctance. However, airlines are increasingly recognizing the importance of accommodating pets during travel, making it a more common practice. To ensure a stress-free and safe trip with your pet, thorough planning and preparation are essential.

There are several important factors you should consider before taking your dog on a plane.

The process of traveling with pets can be complicated, particularly for those who are new to the pet-traveling world. We have put together a guide to help you through the process and listed some airlines that are pet friendly.

Pets such as cats and dogs are usually placed into a pressurized, air-conditioned hold within the aircraft with the passengers. The pets are kept in kennels and containers that have been sized appropriately and provide a safe and secure environment. The airlines follow strict rules, which include providing containers suitable for animals that can move around freely. While some airlines help pet owners select the appropriate containers, others are left to their own devices.

You should always check the website of each airline to find out their specific weight and measurement limits.

In some cases, small dogs under 8 kg may be permitted to travel with their owner. This practice is different for each airline and it may not be best for your pet. Animals can find cabin travel noisy, distracting and with limited room to maneuver. Consider your pet’s well-being and comfort before choosing to travel in a cabin.

Pet spots are very limited on planes and cabins. Not all of them can accommodate pets. For a hassle-free process, and to avoid disappointments, it is highly recommended that you do thorough research before booking your pet’s ticket.

It is important to make sure your animal companions are in good health and ready to travel by plane. A veterinarian will conduct a thorough health examination to determine if your pet can handle air travel. Your pet may also need to receive vaccinations or treatments depending on where you are going. The microchip is recommended as it acts as a safety measure and can be used in the event of an unexpected separation.

Documentation is also a crucial part of traveling with pets. Your veterinarian can help you complete the paperwork including an Animal Health Certificate (AHC) or pet passport depending on your destination. Accuracy is important as these documents detail your pet’s vaccination history and medical history.

It is important to familiarize your pet well before the trip with their carrier. This will reduce any stress. You should make sure that your carrier is approved by the airline you are using. These requirements can vary. Some airlines offer a list of approved carriers at an extra cost.

Certain airlines will allow service dogs to fly in the cabin for free if they are traveling with a recognized dog. Emotional support dogs, however, are not usually included in this group and will have to travel in the cargo hold with other animals. Checking your airline’s policy on service dogs is important during early flight planning.

Costs of pet travel can be significantly different depending on airline, animal type, breed, weight, and size. To make an educated decision, it is best to compare the pricing of different airlines.

Consider these pet-friendly airlines:

  • British Airways British Airways will allow service dogs in the cabin for free. PetAir UK has partnered to provide care for other animals, such as cats, rabbits, and dogs.
  • American Airlines: American Airlines allows pets to travel on specific flights, and in certain destinations. American Airlines Cargo accepts pets as checked baggage or paid carry-on. All service animals that are fully trained can fly in the cabin for free.
  • Emirates Emirates has a pet-friendly, dedicated service named Emirates Pets that follows strict rules for animal care and transportation. There are facilities available at Dubai Airport for pets to be transported. There are breed restrictions and some service dogs can be carried in cabin.
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KLM will allow one dog or cat in the cabin of European flights if they are in a pet travel bag, kennel or can be contained in. The animal must not weigh more than eight kilograms. If they fit certain requirements, multiple pets from the same litter can travel together in the hold. Due to possible breathing problems, snub nosed animals are restricted.
  • Qantas Airlines : Only Qantas Freight Pet Travel Specialists are able to book pet travel with Qantas. Other animals will be transported in an area separate from the hold. Service dogs are allowed to travel with you in the cabin. Qantas allows Snub Nose breeds on flights subject to their policy.

Contact each airline or check their website for the most up to date information regarding pet travel conditions and prices.

Preparation and careful planning are essential when flying with your pet. Following these guidelines, and doing proper research will ensure that your pet has a comfortable and safe journey.