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How to take your pets on holiday

By April 1, 2011November 8th, 2018No Comments

Flickr: JeanninePC99

You may have noticed our funny April Fool’s joke which we played – suggesting that Netflights were going to start arranging flights for passengers where their pets could travel in cabin with their owners. While the idea of Petflights, with exclusive pet meals, a dog gym, toilet facilities and appropriate entertainment is a great idea, it’s not likely to take off anytime soon! However, that’s not to say that you can’t take your much loved pet away with you – here is the Netflights advice for travelling with animals. Please remember, for all flights, pets must be booked onto a flight in advance or they will not be allowed to travel.

Pet Travel Scheme

In order for domestic cats and dogs to travel easily, it is advised that you organise your travel via the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). PETS allow animals to travel outside of the UK and then return without the need for a lengthy quarantine period. In order to join PETS, the animal must:

• Firstly be fitted with a microchip
• Then be vaccinated against rabies
• Wait 21 days from the date of their first rabies vaccination before travelling to another European Community country.
• And not have visited any non-approved countries for at least six months before they enter the UK at any point.

In order to travel under PETS, the following conditions must also be met:

• Cats and dogs must have a blood test to confirm that the rabies vaccination has protected them from a European Union approved laboratory. This needs to occur 6 months before the animal can re-enter the UK.
• Animals should also be issued a pet passport with all relevant information from their vet.
• Cats and dogs should be treated for tapeworm and ticks at least 24 hours before, but no more than 48 hours before travel back to the UK.
• All animals must travel on a PETS-approved route or service.

Cabin vs Cargo

While most airlines will state that any pets must travel as cargo in the hold, some do allow pets to travel in the cabin of your flight. Lufthansa and Germanwings are two European carriers which allow animals to be transported in the cabin, although there are size and weight restrictions. Continental Airlines allows pets to travel in the cabin within the USA. Animals transported in the cabin do need to be kept in their travel container at all times, and these containers must be kept under the seat in front of the passenger carrying the animal.
Other airlines carry pets in the hold of the plane; these are warm, dark areas where the travel containers are carefully secured as to ensure all animals have a safe, comfortable flight.


Pets must travel in containers which are large enough for them to lie down, sit, stand up and turn around comfortably. If the container is not large enough for your pet to do this, they may not be allowed to board the flight.
Containers may be either plastic or wooden, although plastic containers are more common. They must be approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and meet the following requirements:
• Food and water bowls must be attached to the inside of the front crate door and be refillable from the outside of the container without opening the door.
• The container must have ventilation on all four sides.
• The container must have LIVE ANIMAL stickers on the top and sides of the container in letters at least one inch tall.
• The container should not have wheels; any container which does should have the wheels removed.
• For more information about pet containers, contact your vet or the airline.

Countries Participating in PETS

Currently, pets can travel on the PETS scheme to the following EU countries:

Austria Estonia Hungary Netherlands
Azores Faroe Islands Ireland Poland
Balearic Islands Finland Italy Portugal
Belgium France Latvia Reunion
Bulgaria French Guiana Lithuania Romania
Canary Islands Germany Luxembourg Slovakia
Ceuta Gibraltar Madeira Slovenia
Cyprus Greece Malta Spain
Czech Republic Greenland Martinique Sweden
Denmark Guadeloupe Melilla

As well as to these non-EU countries:

Andorra Fiji Russian Federation
Antigua & Barbuda French Polynesia St Helena
Argentina Guam St Kitts & Nevis
Aruba Hawaii St Pierre & Miquelon
Ascension Island Hong Kong St Vincent & The Grenadines
Australia Iceland San Marino
Bahrain Jamaica Switzerland
Barbados Japan Taiwan
Belarus Malaysia Trinidad and Tobago
Bermuda Mauritius United Arab Emirates
BES Islands (Bonair, Saint Eustatius and Saba) Mayotte USA (mainland)
Bosnia-Herzegovina Mexico Vanuatu
British Virgin Islands Monaco Vatican
Canada Montserrat Wallis & Futuna
Cayman Islands Saint Maarten
Chile Singapore
Croatia St Lucia
Curacao New Caledonia
Falkland Islands New Zealand
Liechtenstein Norway

Please check to see if there are any additional requirements before departing for your flight with the relevant authorities.

Unaccompanied Pets

Some airlines allowing pets to be transported as cargo on flights which their owner is not travelling on; many airlines suggest that if you are considering this, you make arrangements through a pet travel agent who can arrange all bookings, documentation, collections, deliveries and containers for you. This is essential for some airlines as they do not organise the transit of live cargo with the public.

Guide and Assistance Dogs

PETS also allows guide and assistance animals to travel without needing to be quarantined; the method is the same as for pets, but most airlines allow guide and assistance dogs to travel with their owner in the cabin. However, the airline must be notified as far in advance as possible and not all routes are approved. Check with your airline for more details.