For long trips, the question of animal transport can often be tricky. This is even more so the case when travelling by plane. Let's take a look at air travel options for your dog!

When summer arrives, many owners want to escape on holiday with their pets in tow. In fact, for those travelling by air, many air carriers will allow you to transport your dog. Nevertheless, it is imperative that you follow certain safety standards.

There are two options for you to consider: inside the cabin or in the hold.

Let’s look at what’s required from you and your pet to be able to travel by air and better prepare for the journey.

Travelling with your dog in the cabin

In order to travel with your dog in the cabin, you will have to meet several requirements.

Firstly, your dog must not exceed 5-8kg, depending on the carrier. If your dog weighs more than this amount, they will need to travel in the hold.

Your dog must be up to date with their vaccinations and be at least two months old. Remember to arrive at the airport with all the necessary documentation, including their health booklet. Some carriers may also look for proof of ID, as well as a certificate of good health. It’s best to find out if your carrier will require this before you travel with your pet.

With regard to your pet being inside the cabin, and in order to ensure their comfort and security, you will be required to carry them in a cage or specific travel bag. Cages must be placed under the seat during travel, therefore it is important precise measurements are adhered to (typically 46 x 28 x 24 cm for bags and 46 x 28 x 20 cm for a cage).

Whether it’s a bag or cage, both options must allow you to securely lock your pet inside to ensure the animal’s safety. It must also have sufficient air flow to allow your animal to breathe properly. Note that you will only be able to travel with one animal per person and they will not be allowed to get out of the cage during the trip.

It’s imperative to check the travel arrangements of the carrier you are travelling with. If you wish to travel with category 1 dogs such as Pit Bulls or American Bullys, it is important to note that certain carriers refuse to transport these animals inside the cabin. To be certain, it’s worth contacting your carrier.

Travelling with your dog in the hold

If your dog does not meet the travel requirements for transportation inside the cabin, there is the option to have them travel in the hold. In order for your dog to travel in total security, you will need to ensure that you follow certain conditions.

Similar to travelling with your pet in the cabin, you will need to provide information about the health of your pet. The health book, including a list of current vaccinations, and a certificate of good health will be requested.

Next to consider is the transport cage. It will need to comply with the following standards set by the IATA (International Air Transport Association):

- The body shell must consist of fiberglass or rigid plastic only.

- The cage door must have a central locking system. This system must secure two locking points, both at the top and bottom of the cage.

- No crates with wheels. Where cage wheels are retractable, these must be locked.

- The hinges of the door must protrude by at least 1.6 cm.

- The body of the cage must be held together by bolts. Other locking systems are prohibited.

- For their comfort, the animal must be able to stand with their head touching the roof of the cage. They must also be able to lie down.

For any questions, consult the travel conditions of your carrier. They will tell you the steps to following, but also answer any further questions you may have.

Bon voyage!

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