Travelling with your pets is a fantastic experience that people and four-legged friends can experience together. Whether by car or plane, there is a lot to consider and prepare for when travelling with your dog. Especially with flights (air travel), there are various conditions and guidelines that you have to know. But if you inform yourself well in advance and follow all the necessary tips for a smooth holiday with a dog, cat, or another animal, the event will be an unforgettable adventure for people and dogs alike. In this article, we will cover all aspects of travelling with dogs: from dog health requirements to practical recommendations on the way to the destination.
Is flying with a dog or cat allowed?
The question of whether flying with a dog or cat is allowed depends on the travel regulations of the destination country and the respective airline. In Germany, for example, TUIfly and Eurowings allow pet owners to take a pet with them under certain conditions. It is therefore important to find out in advance about the regulations of the destination country about entering the country with animals worthy of protection, and to check your animal’s vaccination protection.
It is also advisable to compare different airlines and check which conditions apply to taking pets (dogs) with you. Most European airlines offer special programs if you wish to continue travelling with your pet. Since 2004, an EU pet passport has been required for travelling with animals within the EU. In addition, identification with a microchip and a valid rabies vaccination has been required within the EU since 2011. There are also a few points before and after the flight that you as a pet owner should pay attention to. Because there are no generally applicable regulations for the transport of animals in aeroplanes.
Can I take my dog on long-haul flights?
Whether you are allowed to take long-haul flights with your dog depends on the airline and the travel distance. Many airlines in Europe allow pet owners to take their dogs with them under certain conditions. However, most such flights are equally strenuous for humans and their four-legged friends. Therefore, it is imperative to study all relevant information in depth and to keep in mind precautions in case of the worst.
In advance, you should find out about the entry regulations of the destination country and the vaccination protection of your animal. Also, check whether your pet is in good enough health to survive the trip and whether any vaccinations are required.
Another important factor when travelling with a pet is the right means of transport – from the right companion to the transport box or bag – this can already avoid a lot of stress. In an emergency, you should always ask a veterinarian to determine whether a long-distance journey is suitable for your four-legged friend – especially if you are extremely tense and nervous, you should always refrain from taking the animal with you. If everything is properly prepared, nothing stands in the way of a smooth flight!
How much does it cost to fly with a dog or cat?
The price of flying with a dog or cat depends on various factors such as body weight and travel distance. As a rule, the costs are between 60 and 169 euros per animal and direction. In some cases, however, the price can be significantly higher, depending on the fare and airline. It is therefore advisable to compare the conditions and fares of several airlines to find out which offer is the most suitable. In addition, pet owners should also consider that their four-legged friends may be carried as normal passengers and do not necessarily have to be placed in the cargo hold.
1. Price for the cabin
The price of flying with a dog or cat in the cabin (passenger compartment) depends on various factors, such as the size and weight of the animal. As a rule, owners are charged between 60 and 169 euros per animal and direction. However, some airlines may charge even higher fees. Therefore, passengers should compare different offers when booking a flight to minimize the costs of travelling with a pet.
Dog in the aeroplane cabin:
- Small dogs up to 5 kg are usually transported directly in the cabin.
- Some airlines make exceptions and also allow a weight class of 6 to 8 kg in the cabin. However, larger four-legged friends have to travel in the cargo hold.
- The transport box must also not exceed certain dimensions (45 – 55 cm x 35 – 40 cm x 20 – 25 cm) and it is advisable to register the transport as early as possible, as only a limited number of pets (dogs) are allowed in the cabin.
- There are also restrictions on the number of animals in the cabin per flight – so book and notify the transport early.
- Pay attention to the respective entry regulations.
- Present a health certificate/health certificate and vaccination card for the animal.
- Unfortunately, countries with pet quarantine regulations are not acceptable.
2. Price for cargo space
The price of flying with a dog or cat in the cargo hold is usually more expensive than in the passenger compartment. It usually costs around 295 – 399 euros per animal and direction, but again the tariffs vary depending on the airline.
Dog on the plane – Eurowings:
Eurowings charges around 60–119 euros per animal and direction, depending on the size and weight of the animal. However, there may be exceptions depending on the size of the dog, destination and type of flight. For larger dogs, it is only possible to ship them as cargo in special cages. The costs for this are between 199 and 299 euros. It is advisable to ask Eurowings Airlines directly about the current prices and regulations, or to check the airline’s website.
Air travel with a dog – TUIfly:
The cost of taking a dog with you on TUIfly depends on various factors, such as the size and weight of the dog, whether it is transported in the cabin or the hold, and the route booked. With TUIfly Airlines, the price per animal and direction is usually 59 – 169 euros.
Air travel with a dog – Lufthansa:
Lufthansa levies prices for flying with pets, which vary depending on the route and the weight of the animal. For domestic flights, the cost ranges from 30 to 45 euros, while for international flights it can range from 70 to 200 euros. It is advisable to ask Lufthansa Airlines directly about the current prices and regulations, or to check the airline’s website.
Cargo hold or cabin? The weight matters
Passengers who want to take a dog/animals in the cabin or the cargo hold can usually choose between the cargo hold or the cabin. If the animal weighs less than 8 kg and can be easily transported in a suitable carrier bag, travellers can fly with their four-legged friends in the cabin. However, in terms of price, it is usually expensive to carry dogs in the hold. Therefore, passengers should compare different offers to achieve the best possible result for their trip.
Travel documents for pets – Which documents do I need for a flight with a dog?
What do you need to fly with the dog?
Pet owners who want to let their four-legged friends travel by plane usually need vaccination against rabies and a pet ID card or EU pet ID card. In Germany, the card is issued by the veterinary office and can be obtained from any veterinarian. It contains information about the animal and its state of health and must be issued no earlier than 30 days before the trip.
According to the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection (BMELV), the responsible authority in the destination country may have further regulations regarding the animal. For this reason, we recommend pet owners find out about the respective travel regulations of the destination country.
Find the right transport box for the plane
Choosing the right carrier is important if you plan to take your dog with you on a plane trip. A safe and comfortable carrier is essential to keep your dog comfortable during the flight. It is important that the crate conforms to International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations and has enough space for your dog to stand up, turn around and lie down in a comfortable position. It is also important that the box is adequately ventilated to ensure fresh air flow.
If you plan to transport your dog in the hold, the crate should be equipped with a water and food bowl. Plastic boxes are usually easy to clean, but aluminium boxes are more stable. It is also advisable to get the dog used to the crate before the trip to avoid stress (Tips for stress-free flying). Invest in a quality carrier to ensure your dog has a comfortable journey during the flight.
How do I find the right size for my dog crate?
Before you buy a dog box, you should calculate its dimensions exactly. The IATA regulation states that the dog must be able to move comfortably and without restrictions in the box.
- The length: For the length, measure the dog from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail and add half the front leg length – this gives you the required length of the box.
- The width: The width should be twice the width of the dog – better a little more than too little.
- The height: For the height, you measure from the floor to the tip of your ear and make sure there is sufficient distance to the lid – since manufacturers often only give external dimensions, it is advisable to make comparisons before buying or to make pro owners.
Furthermore, it should be remembered that your four-legged friends can easily get in and out of the box, have an uninterrupted field of vision, and that there is always adequate circulation.
How do I train my dog to travel on an airplane?
To prepare your dog for the journey on the plane, you should contact experienced dog trainers. However, it is important to start getting your dog used to the carrier a year before the trip. The box should be a safe and familiar place for the dog where it feels comfortable. Over time, you should increase the amount of time he has to stay in the box and also train in darker places. Patience and creating a stress-free environment are key to ensuring a successful and enjoyable flight for your dog.
What is a flight with a dog and cat like?
Many airlines have certain regulations for flights with dogs and cats. Traveling with animals can sometimes be a challenge, especially when it comes to taking them on a plane. It is important to find out in advance about the rules and regulations of the selected airlines, which may vary depending on the breed(s) and size of the animal.
In most cases, small dogs and cats have the advantage that they can be transported in the cabin, provided they do not exceed the maximum weight of 8 kg for animals and carriers and are housed in an escape-proof bag. However, larger animals must be transported in the aircraft hold.
It is important to inform the airline well in advance of travel plans with animals and to book the animal as early as possible, as many airlines have a limited number of animals in the cabin. It is also essential that the animal has a health check and vaccinations, and it is recommended to consult a veterinarian before traveling. Long and intensive training with the transport bag or box is also necessary to ensure that the animal remains safe and stress-free during the flight.
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Which dogs and cats shouldn’t travel on a plane?
If you are planning to take your dog or cat on a plane, you should find out about the airline’s restrictions and rules in advance. Some dog breeds (breeds) that are considered attack dogs are barred from certain airlines (are not allowed on board) and must be transported in the cargo hold, which can be stressful and dangerous for the animal. Certain cat breeds, such as the Persian, Scottish Fold, or Himalayan cat, which suffer from life-threatening short-headedness, should also not travel by plane.
High temperatures and stress can lead to serious health problems and may even be life-threatening. It is therefore important to find out in advance about the regulations and risks associated with transporting animals on the plane to ensure that the flight is as safe and stress-free as possible for your four-legged friend.
Ban on entry and transit with puppies under 15 weeks
Why flying with puppies under 15 weeks is not a good idea? The entry and transit of puppies under 15 weeks of age to EU countries, including Germany, is prohibited. This is because the primary vaccination against rabies can only be carried out from the age of 12 weeks, and it takes a further 21 days for effective vaccination protection to build up. In order to protect the health of the puppies and prevent the spread of rabies, puppies must not be allowed to enter the country until they are 15 weeks old. Pet owners should ensure they comply with these regulations before traveling with their puppies.
How bad is flying for dogs and cats?
Why flying with a dog is not a good idea?
Flying can be a stressful experience for both dogs and cats. Putting the animal in the cargo hold can be a particularly taxing experience. Traveling in the hold of an airplane can expose dogs to different sources of stress. These include unusual smells, stuffy air, unusual background noise as well as waiting times and delays.
A long-haul flight can be particularly stressful as the animals are confined in cramped conditions for long periods of time. The heat or cold in the hold can also be uncomfortable. The fact that the animals are separated from their owners can also cause anxiety and stress. It is important that the dogs are adequately groomed and reassured before the flight to minimize their stress. A contingency plan should also be prepared in the event of an accident or delay to ensure that the animal can be cared for quickly and appropriately in an emergency.
Overall, flying for dogs and cats is not necessarily the best option for transportation, but it should be well-planned and executed to minimize stressful conditions and ensure the safety of the animal.
Flying with dogs and cats – what to do if your flight is delayed?
In the event of flight delays, pet owners should be particularly careful. Because long waiting times can become stress factors for the animal, especially if it is left to its own devices. It is recommended to check the policies and restrictions of the airport and the airline involved hours before departure in order to meet the requirements for traveling with a dog and to assess the possible risks. Therefore, in anticipation of a possible delay, it is advisable to do the following:
- If a delay is unavoidable, the human caregiver should try to stay with their pet and contact airport staff.
- If this is not possible, the contact details of the owner should be attached next to the transport container and the staff should be provided with the information.
- In addition, all behavioural measures should be established and discussed, including the amount of time and care the animal will require.
- In any case, it’s wise to make sure you have enough food and water for the trip.
- Find out about the flight delay and its reasons to better estimate how long you will be in the airport.
- Try to find a quiet place for your pet to rest.
- Consider alternatives, such as a later flight or other transportation option, if the delay is too long.
- It is important to be flexible and act quickly in the event of a flight delay to ensure the animal’s safety and welfare.
Last but not least
When flying with a dog, however, there are a few things to consider, otherwise, the holiday can come to an abrupt end at the flight counter. In most cases, small animals are only allowed to be flown in the cabin, but appropriate transport boxes are very important to minimize the stress factor for your pet. Also, find out about airline carry-on size restrictions, so you can purchase a bag before it’s time to fly. For example, Germanwings only allows dogs that fly in hand luggage.
The most important tips for flying with dogs and cats in the hold (luggage hold)
Taking a dog on vacation is a great way to create quality time and memories with your pet. For those who want to travel for the first time, here are some tips:
- Make sure your four-legged friend is healthy enough to fly and has the required vaccinations.
- Be prepared for emergencies and unforeseen events.
- Determine the right passenger class or the right offer for long-haul flights – especially if there is more than one stop or the journey takes longer than 17 hours.
- Be aware of additional fees when flying internationally or intercontinental, and find out about special regulations if necessary.
- Provide more comfortable temperatures in the cargo hold by taking into account the travel time and season; Avoid travelling in summer unless necessary.
- Bring a carrier with bottled water on board to ensure the longevity of humidity and temperature in the cargo hold while providing greater comfort for the animal.
- Bring a specially designed blanket or other textiles for the animal to lie down on the cargo hold floor – ideally soft materials with no sharp edges or seams.
- Find out about the requirements and regulations of the flight and destinations before booking.
- Book early to ensure your pet gets a seat in the hold.
- Before the flight, give your four-legged friend enough time to get used to the transport cage and familiarize it with the luggage.
- Make sure the cage is the right size for the animal and that it has enough space to lie down and turn around.
- Place a blanket or pet’s favourite toy in the cage to calm them down.
- Photo: Take photos of your dog and be sure to take them with you! So you can remember your vacation later.
- Don’t forget the basic rules of proper behaviour in foreign countries or cities – always keep your four-legged friend in sight and make sure he doesn’t bother others.
There are also other things to think about like tranquillizers for nervous animals or boarding kennels within EU countries if you’re visiting friends and don’t want to travel alone. In any case, one should be sure not to forget the correct procedure at the check-in counter.
How can Flightright help you?
You are stuck at the airport because of a flight delay? Your flight has been canceled, or you have been removed from the passenger list? In each of the situations described, you have a right to compensation as an air passenger.
According to the EU Passenger Rights Regulation, passengers are entitled to compensation in the event of a delay, cancellation, overbooking, or missed connection. You can claim up to 600 euros of compensation per person (minus commission fee). This compensation is independent of the ticket price. Flightright enforces your right for you. If necessary also in court.
As experts on the subject of air passenger rights, we enforce your right to compensation against the airline! Flightright’s air passenger rights experts are also happy to help you with ticket reimbursements