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travelling with pets

For many pet owners across the world, leaving pets behind when going on holiday is not an option. But, every airline has their own rules and regulations when it comes to travelling with pets. Some only allow animals to be transported in the cargo hold, others allow pets to be transported in the cabin. Some require special health certificates, others don’t. If you’re planning to travel with your pet keep reading to see the airline specific rules for flying with cats or dogs.

Unfortunatly, no airline offers in-cabin pet travel to and from the UK. To take your pet in and out of the UK, animals must go in the hold. There are some exceptions for assistance animals.

British Airways 

Pets allowed?: In the cargo hold only on BA flights
Price: Charges depend on the size and weight of the container. Prices will be confirmed a maximum of 14 days before travel
Container dimensions: Calculate the exact size container required for your pet here
Other important information:

  • A health certificate from the vet stating the pet is fit for air travel.
  • The pet will not be handled by the passenger but by British Airways World Cargo, which requires a special booking through British Airways World Cargo.
  • On the day of travel the pet needs to be delivered to the British Airways World Cargo office where the container will be approved and the passenger will be charged accordingly.

Aer Lingus

Pets allowed?: In the cargo hold only
Price: Approximately €160 (depends on the country of origin)
Container dimensions: Not specified
Other important information:

  • Pets are not allowed on short-haul flights (Ireland, UK, Europe) due to insufficient ventilation in the cargo hold
  • Pets can be booked on direct flights between Ireland and New York, Boston, Chicago and Orlando
  • Pets cannot be carried on flights to and from the UK and Europe
  • The animal must be at least ten weeks old
  • Certain breeds of dogs are not allowed to travel on Aer Lingus flights: Akita, Argentino, Fila Brazillero, Mastiff, Pitbull, Tosa

Virgin Atlantic

Pets allowed?: In the cargo hold only
Price: Depends on the size of the container
Container dimensions: Minimum size accepted on Virgin Atlantic flights is 53 x 40 x 38 cm
Other important information:

  • Only dogs and cats are accepted, except for snub or pug nose breeds like Pekingese or Persians, or any dog listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act
  • The pet’s booking will need to be made at least a week before departure
  • Pets must be checked in with Virgin Atlantic Cargo at least four hours before departure
  • Pets under sedation will not be accepted
  • Pets can fly to the following destinations: Barbados, Boston, Chicago, Cape Town, Dubai, Hong Kong, JFK, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, Orlando, San Francisco, Sydney, Vancouver and Washington

American Airlines

Pets allowed?: On-board or in the cargo hold.
Price: On board – €96 ($125). Cargo hold – €134 ($175)
Container dimensions: Maximum size for cabin pet carriers is 48 x 33 x 22 cm; maximum size for cargo hold containers is 101 x 68 x 76 cm
Other important information:

  • Pets travelling on-board require a reservation, pets in the cargo hold do not require a reservation.
  • Each plane allows a maximum of 7 pets on-board per flight.
  • Pets travelling on-board do not require a health certificate.
  • Pets traveling in the cargo hold require a health certificate within 10 days of originating trave/within 60 days of return travel on the same ticket/ within 10 days when return travel is on a separate ticket.
  • Pets must be at least eight weeks old for travel.
  • Pets must stay in their closed container under the seat in front of you at all times.
  • A maximum of two cargo hold pets per passenger are allowed.
  • Pets will not be accepted when the current or forecasted temperature is above 29.4 °C or below 7.2 °C at any location on the itinerary.
  • Snub-nosed dogs and cats will not be accepted in the cargo hold.


Pets allowed?: On-board or in the cargo hold
Price: Small animals – €35-100; medium €70-200; large €150-400
Container dimensions: Maximum dimensions of the container on-board are 55  x 40 x 23 cm. minimum dimensions of the cargo hold container are 60 x 45 x 40 cm; maximum 125 x 75 x 85 cm (depends on the size of the animal).
Other important information:

  • The animal will be transported on-board or in the cargo hold depending on the weight and size.
  • Pets are allowed in the cabin as long as the weight of the animal and container do not exceed 8kg.
  • Animals that cannot be transported on-board will be transported in an air-conditioned area of the cargo hold.


Pets allowed? Small dogs and cats are allowed in the cabin on some European routes if these requirements are met:

  • Your pet is at least 10 weeks old.
  • Your pet must be in a suitable travel bag with maximum dimensions of 46 x 28 x 24 cm. Your pet must be able to stand up and lay down comfortably.
  • Total weight of your pet and travel bag must not exceed 8kg

Pets are allowed in the hold if these requirements are met:

  • Your pet is at least 10 weeks old.
  • Total weight of your pet and kennel must not exceed 75kg.
  • Your pet must travel in a kennel that complies with the IATA rules.


Pets are prohibited on all easyJet flights with the exception of Guide Dogs.


Pets are prohibited on all Ryanair flights with the exception of Guide Dogs on certain routes.


Pets allowed?: On-board only.
Price: €25 each way on domestic flights. €40 each way on international and Canary Islands flights
Container dimensions: Maximum measurements of the container for Vueling flights are 50 x 40 x 20 cm, the sum of the three dimensions cannot exceed 110 cm. The maximum weight including the animal is 8kg.
Other important information:

  • Only one pet per person is permitted
  • Each plane allows a maximum of 2 pets per flight
  • This service is not available for flights to/from the UK
  • The container is transported on the floor or under the seat. Holding the container on one’s lap or removing the animal during flight is prohibited

All Airlines

Though each airline has their own set of rules regarding traveling with pets it’s important to know the following information that applies to all airlines:

  • Every airline that allows the carry of animals is required to follow the IATA Live Animal Regulations (LAR) as it is the global standard for transporting animals safely and humanely.
  • Before you book your flight it is important to consult not only the airline’s rules and regulations regarding animal transport, but also the country specific regulations. For example, to exit and enter the United Kingdom dogs and cats must have a Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), more commonly known as the Pet Passport, and an official veterinary health certificate.
  • The airline must be informed during the booking process that you will be traveling with a pet.
  • For airlines that do allow the transport of animals there are also rules regarding the container the animal travels in. All containers must meet the following requirements:
    1. The pet must be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably in the container.
    2. The container needs to be made of a durable material that cannot be bitten or torn. Wiremesh or fiberboard containers are not allowed.
    3. There needs to be sufficient ventilation on all sides. The ventilation holes cannot be large enough for the animals’ paws or nose to fit through.
    4. The door must be secured and unable to accidentally open.
    5. The container must have a water bowl and food container with a 24 hour supply.

airline containers for animals

What you need to bring your pet dog, cat or ferret to the UK

You can enter or return to the UK with your pet if:

  • Your pet has a microchip.
  • Your pet has a pet passport.
  • Your pet has been vaccinated against rabies.
  • Your dog has had tape worm treatment.

It’s important to follow these rules meticulously, as failure to do so could lead to your pet being put in quarantine for up to 4 months.

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