So you’re planning your next family reunion somewhere exotic and you want to whisk your beloved furry friend with you too, while it’s not often that we see pooches on planes, it is possible. We’ve got the latest on the best way to fly with pets, so you can enjoy a stress-free flight with your four-legged companion…
The health of your pet
Before we get into how you can take pets along with you on a flight, you need to understand that flights can be a little daunting for them. You should only consider travelling with your pets if it’s unavoidable or a short flight, since there’s a possibility they could fall sick or (most likely) remain agitated during the whole flight.
Generally, it is advised to not put your pets under this type of pressure until and unless you are changing home permanently or leaving for more than a month. Two weeks in the Caribbean? It’s a no go.
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Your pet would need a health certificate on both arrival and departure, which must be valid for the entire trip. If the certificate expires half way through your holiday, you will have to visit a local vet for a fresh health certificate before boarding the return flight.
The expiration limit of the certificate is 30 days.
Some airlines also require a behaviour certificate stating that your pet is well behaved and won’t cause any kind of nuisance – so it’s best to check with your desired airline prior to booking a flight.
Although the airlines don’t ask/force you to submit any certification at the time of booking or upon departure, it’s wise and responsible on your behalf to carry them in case of any emergencies or hindrances.
The procedure of flying with a pet
Flying with a pet isn’t all sunshine and rainbows unfortunately; some airlines can be very strict with which species/breed they are happy to allow onboard. So be sure to check the rules and regulations in advance. Additional things to consider include…
- Visit the Vet
Your pet’s health should be your number one priority when you’re thinking of flying with them. So a pre-boarding trip to the vet is recommended for any tips and advice required for during the flight.
- Prep your pet
Your pets must be aware of what to expect before they fly – well, in the best way that they can be, since it’s unlikely they’ll understand when you tell them you’ve booked their seat! It’s a little effort, granted, but it’s wise to take them to the airport facility if possible at least once before you travel, so they don’t panic amongst the crowds on the day of your flight. Also, if they’re not already, make sure that your pet is familiar with their carrier box, perhaps you can give them a little training beforehand for easy handling?
Many airlines allow only a handful of pets on their flights, so you’ll have to register them as soon as possible to ensure they get a ticket. This can be done online or by calling them directly to book your spot (please bear in mind that this rule does not apply to emotional or support animals e.g. guide dogs).
The cost of flying with your pet varies from airline to airline. There are certain factors that need to be considered, including the weight of your dog or carrier they’re kept in, and how far your destination is. You can get an estimation of the cost online or by calling your airline.
- At the airport
When you are travelling with a pet, you’re advised to reach the airport a few hours earlier than usual. If your pet is going to fly with you in the cabin, then you both need to go through the security check, which can take some time.
Or, if your pet is going to fly in the cargo, then you need at least a buffer of 2 hours, since the flight and cargo terminals can be different at the airports you are departing or arriving at. If you can get access to this prior, a mental map of both airports is a good idea to avoid getting lost, or delays.
The carrier in which your pet is going to be kept should be large enough to ensure their easy movement. They should be able to stand, turn and lie down without any discomfort – and, of course, have access to proper ventilation.
On arrival at your destination, you should immediately take your pet for a walk to ease any bodily tensions they’ve accumulated on the flight. If you were to leave your pets for a long time at the cargo facility for any reason, please note that they will be sent away to a vets or another facility and considered abandoned.
- Other preparations
Try to attach a picture of your dog on the carrier box they are kept in, make sure the picture is recent and that same picture is in your phone too. This can come handy when you need to identify your dog and makes the process much easier for the airline staff, too. It’s a nice idea to pack some snacks and give it to a member of the cabin crew for your pet to indulge in during the flight – especially if there’s any delays.
Tips and tricks
- Aim to book a continuous flight to reduce the lock-in time of your pet.
- Check beforehand if your pet exceeds the weight limit.
- Don’t try to take your pet out while in-flight.
- Always check the rules of the destination beforehand as your pet might have to go through quarantine.
- Find out if the age of your pet is suitable for travel in cargo/cabin.
Best airlines to fly with your pet
With all being said, we have a list of the most popular pet-friendly airlines around the world to help you choose your flight easily.
- Air India
- Air Canada
- Air France
- Turkish Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- American Airlines
- Open Skies (British Airways)
So, if you’re planning to take your pets in the air, you need to be extra careful while choosing the flight and destination. The key thing to remember is to try and keep things as smooth as possible to ensure your pet avoids any mishaps or discomfort. Want to book your holiday in advance? We offer cheap flight tickets for over 150 airlines, providing plenty of choice on destinations. Book your flights with us today or give us a call to plan your next pet-friendly escape.