Many airlines do not allow breeds like the Brazilian Fila, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, American Pit Bull, American Staffordshire Terrier and Pit Bull Terrier.
Cats and dogs under eight weeks old are usually not allowed to travel.
Any animal other than a dog or cat (such as snakes, rabbits or rodents) will not be permitted onboard or in the hold.
No carriage for pets that have given birth in the last 48 hours before the flight.
Cages within the hold will have weight and height restrictions e.g. Singapore airlines have a max cage height of 0.56m on flights operated by the A330.
Pets may not be allowed to travel as freight in the hold if you are not on-board the same flight.
So you've decided to take the plunge and take your significant furry other with you on your big trip. Your holiday will certainly get off to a ‘ruff’ start should your pet get turned away at the airport. To avoid barking up the wrong tree, check in advance that your chosen airline will fly pets.
The following is a finite list of Australian serving airlines that will carry pets. Each will have a different set of guidelines and rules for pet travel so be sure to do your homework before you book.
Air New Zealand allow domestic pets, cats and dogs, (excluding any transported for profit e.g. racing greyhounds) and small caged birds to travel as checked-in baggage on all domestic services within NZ. For any other type of animal visit their cargo section.
British Airways allow registered assistance dogs to travel in the cabin while all other pets must travel in the cargo hold, except OpenSkies flights between Paris and New York where cats or dogs under 6kg/13.2lb are accepted in the cabin.
Cathay Pacific will not allow pets, other than service dogs to travel within the cabin. All other pets must travel as cargo. Breeds not allowed to travel at all include the Himalayan, Persian or Exoctic cat, or Boxer, Pug, Mastiff and more. The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has very strict regulations regarding the import/transhipment of dogs. Dogs cannot be brought into or transit through Hong Kong unless a Special Permit to do so is obtained in advance from AFCD. Additional prior approval from AFCD is also required for in-cabin transport of a Disability Assistance Dog.
Etihad like most airlines, do not allow you to travel with pets within the cabin either. Guide dogs to lead the blind are permitted however, for flights from Abu Dhabi to USA and vice versa only. Typical breed restrictions apply. They do accept the carriage of falcons in the main aircraft cabin provided that all the necessary documents have been obtained. All other pets are accepted only as manifested cargo and are not permitted within the aircraft cabin or checked baggage.
Qantas also require pets to travel as freight. You can visit their Q-GO Pets website for more information. They allow Dogs (excluding racing greyhounds), cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, domestic fish (with no aeration requirements and that are not intended for resale), and domestic birds (maximum 4 birds per cage, that do not need a permit), to travel. They do not allow any animal classed as a dangerous dog (including pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosa and Brazilian Fila) on any of their aircraft. Just like us, your pet should be fit, healthy and able to cope with being confined for an extended period.
Singapore Airlines allow cats and dogs to travel on the same flight as you in the air-conditioned cargo hold underneath the passenger cabin. Carriage of pets in the aircraft cabin is not permitted, with the exception of service dogs.
Virgin Atlantic only allow pets to travel within the hold. The animal must be held in a container compliant with the airline’s guidelines. The pet can’t be a snub or pug nose breeds like Pekingese or Persians, or any dog listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act. Don't forget their Flying Paws scheme - this means your furry friends can now earn Flying Club miles!
Virgin Australia will only take pets who travel as cargo, not within the cabin. They also will only take non-aggressive, healthy animals, over 8 weeks old that follow all quarantine rules. A maximum of 2 cages per flight is permitted. Certain breeds such as Bulldogs are restricted. If travelling into Tasmania, your dog must be treated for the Hydatids Tapeworm prior to arrival. You can even earn frequent flyer points when travelling with pets with their Velocity Frequent Flyer Programme or with their partners jetpets.
Having travelled to over 40 countries, studied tourism management and worked as a flight attendant for over three years, Natalie knows more than a thing or two about travel! She’s an adventure-lover, whose favourite trips have been trekking Machu Picchu and volunteering in an animal shelter in the Amazon. Qualified in Tier 2 General Insurance General Advice and specialising in travel insurance for the last five years, she in passionate about helping travellers get the most out of their holiday.