Going on holiday is one of the best things a family can do together, but if you have to leave your pet behind, it can feel like someone is missing. Fortunately, many airlines now allow you to take your pet on the aircraft with you, so that you can all enjoy the summer sun together. Since there’s no single set of rules when it comes to flying with pets, we’ve gathered the animal policies of the ten most popular international airlines so you can find out the best one for you and your pet.
What does my pet need to travel?
If you’re travelling to Europe and planning to fly with your pet, then your pet will need a few things to pass through security and immigration control. They will need to be microchipped and have an EU Pet Passport, as well as a recent rabies vaccination and tapeworm treatment.
Whether your pet travels in the cabin or the hold, it will need a suitable flight carrier to make sure they are secure and comfortable on the flight. Depending on the size of your pet and your budget, the price of flying with your animals can range from £20 to £250. Remember to include a comfortable blanket plus plenty of water and snacks for the flight.
Individual airline rules
Airlines all have their own set of policies and costs when it comes to travelling with pets. Some allow them to travel in the cabin, while others will only carry them in the hold. Some won’t even take animals at all. The one thing they agree on is assistance dogs (guide dogs) being allowed to travel with their owners in the cabin. For other animals, here are the policies of the major European and international airlines.
British Airways don’t allow pets to fly in the cabin, apart from assistance dogs, which can travel with the owner free of charge. All other animals must travel in the hold of the plane and fees depend on the size of the animal, so you should get in touch with the airline before you fly.
Unless you have an assistance dog, which is allowed in the cabin, your pet will have to travel in the hold. Costs will vary according to the size of the animal but they are able to collect air miles with Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Paws scheme.
If you’re an Eastjet passenger then flying with your pet will be more difficult. Easyjet doesn’t permit any type of animal to fly either in the cabin or the hold of its aircraft and service animals are only permitted on selected flights.
No animals are allowed on any Ryanair flight, unless they are an assistance dog.
KLM will allow small cats and dogs to travel in the cabin, up to a total weight of 8kg – including the carrier – on most flights. If your pet is heavier, they can travel in the hold as long as they weigh less than 75kg. Costs depend on the size and weight of your pet.
You can take a small dog or cat in the cabin of a Lufthansa flight, up to a total weight of 8kg, including the carrier. Larger animals, including hares and rabbits, can travel in the hold.
Both airlines will transport dogs and cats as cargo in the hold but won’t allow them to travel in the cabin, unless they are an assistance dog. However, you can have a falcon in the cabin if you’re travelling between certain airports.
TUI (formerly Thomson) will allow pets weighing up to 6kg to fly in the cabin. Heavier animals will need to go in the hold.
The budget airline will only allow assistance dogs in the cabin of their aircraft and don’t offer the option of carrying animals in the hold.
Flybe will allow you to fly with dogs, cats and ferrets in the hold of their aircraft, but unless they are an assistance dog, they won’t be allowed in the cabin.