A guide to travelling with your pet

Travelling with your pet can be an exciting experience but it will require planning. Read our guide on what you need to know before you travel…

Travelling with your pet can be an exciting experience but it will require planning. Read our guide on what you need to know before you travel…

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update - Please check the UK red list for the latest red list travel information. The red list will be reviewed every three weeks. You still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through as they can change at short notice, check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information or find out more here.

Josh Daniels
Head of Travel Insurance
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Posted 14 OCTOBER 2019

What does my pet need to travel?

Your pet will need a pet passport to travel. It carries a record of all your pet’s vaccinations to ensure that they’re fit to fly. It covers the EU and other listed countries. A pet passport will cost between £150-£250 for dogs and £25-£50 for cats. Without one, your pet could face months in quarantine and you may be charged a fee.

Under the Pets Travel Scheme (PETS)** you can travel abroad with your cat and dog. They’ll need a check-up at the vets, 21 days before travel. Your pet’s rabies vaccination will also still need to be valid. Pet passports are issued by most vets and are valid for their lifetime.

**After the UK left the EU with a deal, on 31st January 2020, a transition period, that will last until 31st December 2020, began. During this time, the current rules on travel remain unchanged. Depending on the negotiations between the UK and EU, during the transition phase, new rules may take effect from 1st January 2021.

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What do I need to consider before travelling with my pet?

Travelling with your pet will require careful planning. Although flying might seem like the fastest option, Peta.org advise to only travel with your pet by plane if you absolutely must. This can be if you’re relocating. They strongly advise against transporting your animal in the cargo area as it can be dangerous and even fatal. It’s always good to look into all your options for travel, such as by ferry. However, you will still need a pet passport.

Before planning your trip, make sure that you’ve considered your animal’s welfare. You can even get a second opinion from your vet. This can include questions about how your pet will adapt to a new environment and cope with the climate. It’s a good idea to consider what food, water and toys you’ll need to bring, as well as what exercise you can give them and how often.

Can I take my pet on the plane with me?

Selected airlines will allow you to travel with your pet but the regulations may vary, so you’ll need to check before you book.

For example, there may be restrictions on what day you can fly or where to. Some airlines don’t offer pet travel on weekends. Certain breeds are banned from travelling for safety reasons, such as a Pitbull and Staffordshire terrier.

Selected airlines may only allow pets in the main cabin if they’re an assistance animal, such as a guide dog. The Guide Dogs Association website also has advice about taking assistance dogs abroad.

Pets will travel either in the cabin or the hold, depending on the animal’s weight and size. If your pet travels in the cabin, they’ll need to be in an airline-approved pet carrier. This will need to fit under the seat in front of you and will have a weight restriction. This is the total weight of your pet and the bag.

If they’re not in the main cabin, they’ll travel in the hold - in a secure, ventilated compartment. Your pet may even be allowed to travel unaccompanied.

Your pet will need to go through airport security, so ensure it has a metal free collar and leash.

Which airlines are the most pet friendly?

If you’re considering flying with your pet, there are airlines that will allow you to bring your pet on the plane. Some of the most pet-friendly airlines include:

  • British Airways
  • Air France
  • Lufthansa
  • TUI
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Aeroflot
  • Air Europa
  • Vueling

What airlines do not allow pets to fly?

If you want to take your pet on holiday, you’ll need to find an alternative airline to the following:

  • EasyJet
  • Emirates
  • Flybe
  • Ryanair
  • Balkan Holidays

What is an airline approved pet carrier?

You can get a pet carrier online or from a number of pet shops, but it must meet the airlines requirements to be suitable to fly. It must have a waterproof base, adequate ventilation and zips to close the bag. Airlines will require your pet can stand and turnaround comfortably in the carrier. If your pet is travelling in the main cabin, the carrier must fit underneath the seat. It’s a good idea to get pet pads in case your pet needs to relieve itself. If your pet carrier doesn’t meet the requirements, you may not be able to board the plane.

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