dog listening with big ear

Flying with a pet doesn’t have to be stressful, but it will take some careful planning and research to ensure that both you and your pet have a happy and safe journey.


Each airline has different rules on flying with pets; some allow small animals in the cabin with you, while others require that all pets are placed in the hold for the duration of the flight. Before you book your ticket, make sure to check you know your airline’s policy on flying with a dog, cat, or other pet, and that you have obtained the proper documentation to allow your pet to enter another country (more on pet passports below). Your airline might also charge you a fee, or it might have a limit on how many pets are allowed in the cabin at any given time, so get in touch with your airline as soon as you know you’ll be travelling with your pet.


Here are a few tips for bringing your pet into the airplane cabin with you:


  • Before you think about flying with your dog or cat, consider whether it has the temperament to fly. If your pet is already quite nervous on land, it might not be the best air passenger. If you believe that flying will cause a lot of stress to your pet, or disrupt other passengers, it may be best to leave it at home while you’re away.
  • Your pet will most likely need a pet passport in order to fly internationally, and, if flying to or from outside the EU, a veterinary certificate. You must make sure your pet is up-to-date with its vaccinations and has been microchipped, so it’s best to speak with your vet about getting a pet passport as soon as you decide to travel with your pet as the process may take some time.
  • If your airline allows pets onboard the flight you have to make sure your pet and its carrier will fit under the seat. Most lapdogs and cats can fit comfortably under the seat, but each airline will have different rules.
  • A pet carrier counts as carry-on luggage, so you may not be able to bring any other hand luggage onboard with you, depending on the airline.
  • Make sure your pet has a collar with an ID tag and if you are travelling with a pet carrier make sure it is clearly labeled.
  • In most airports, the only time your pet will be allowed out of its carrier is when you pass through security. The carrier will have to be put through the x-ray machine, while you will carry your pet through the metal detector with you.
  • As you won’t be able to walk your dog or let your animal out of its carrier once through airport security, make sure to take it for a long walk or give it lots of playtime before it goes in its carrier. Always make sure to pack paper towels and wet wipes in case your animal has an accident in its carrier.
  • Pets require some special attention when flying, and it’s important to make sure they feel comfortable and safe. In order to do so, bring along some of your pet’s favourite toys or treats in your hand luggage. You may also want to bring along a blanket to wrap around your pet or its carrier if the airplane is cold.
  • Sedatives for your pet are generally not recommended, as they increase the risk of cardiac and respiratory distress.
  • Limit the amount you feed your pet the day of flying, as it might have a nervous stomach. Similarly, watch your animal’s intake of water before and during the flight. While it is important not to let your pet become dehydrated, this should be balanced with not giving it too much water in order to decrease the chance of an accident.


For more on what you can bring with your on your travels, check out our hand luggage rules guide as well as our hand luggage size and weight guide, or find your perfect flight here.

Please note, the information contained in this blog post is based on the best of our knowledge as at the date this post was created and is provided for your information only. It is not to be relied upon as reflecting the policies of all airlines and you should therefore refer to the policies of your airline before booking your flights and travelling.


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