How To Fly On Commercial Airlines With Your Pet In Tow [Infographic]

How To Fly On Commercial Airlines With Your Pet In Tow [Infographic]

One of the toughest aspects of moving abroad is working out what to do with your pets. Most people opt to give their furry friends up — but what happens when the’re beloved family members you can’t bear to part with? As it turns out, bringing your pet along on the flight isn’t as difficult as you might think. This comprehensive infographic explains everything you need to know — from acclimatising your pet to its airport-approved container to getting the relevant health checks.

Businessman image from Shutterstock

The below guide comes from accomodation site HotelClub. It includes an itinerary checklist, a timeline of important tasks to consider that cover transport, destination, accommodation, dining and pet activities. The accompanying blog post is also worth a look — you can find it here.

[Via HotelClub]


  • So the title says “How To Fly Overseas With Your Pet In Tow ” and the infographic/blog-post is about internal Australian flights. To fly overseas this infographic is woefully inadequate. ( I speak as someone who has flown pets between three continents and travelled with them to at least 36 countries. )

    • Thought the same thing. Wanting to take my dogs overseas but from what I have read it’s a nightmare dealing with customs (more so our own). Memeweaver which countries have you been to? Do you want to fulfil the actual purpose of this article and offer any advice?

      • I have travelled to almost every country in Western Europe (with the exception of Iceland and Malta) with one or other of my dogs. I’ve flown them between USA, Australia and the UK. They’ve been on buses, trains, ferries, gondolas, …

        1. if you’re even thinking of going anywhere else in the world, get the animal’s shots (particularly rabies) done ASAP because of waiting periods for shots to become valid for travelling. It used to be that you had to wait six months after a bloodtest (itself conducted 30 days after vaccination) before the animal could fly (so no animal < 6mo can travel). A microchip will be necessary in advance of that so that the vaccination record is matched to the chip number.
        2. Only certain routes are animal approved, and you’re never going to see your pet while in transit, so don’t even plan to be on the same flight or even airline. There’s no point.
        3. Let professional pet transporters deal with the final days of preparation for you. You’ll be busy enough – let them take your precious away for final flea/tick treatments, tests etc etc and to deliver the animal to the airport. You may even want to consider arriving a day ahead of your pet so you’re rested and have had time to dump your own luggage and arrange transport.
        4. Even with professionals – somehow they always manage to get one thing wrong – so be vigilant! I’ve done three sets of flights into Australia (from UK and USA) and two to UK. Getting into Australia is orders of magnitude more awkward, not helped by abysmally hard to follow documentation from our quarantine service, who tweak the rules in subtle ways on a regular basis but don’t draw your attention to them.
        5. Your animal is going to be caged for up to 24 hours – make sure they’re good socialised creatures who can be in public and comfortably travel in a car ahead of this time. Animal transport handlers don’t like having to deal with crazed Tasmanian devil-like monsters. I have always been complimented on how calm and friendly my dogs have been, even after back to back long-haul flights.
        6. Animals should not be sedated for flights. Sedatives may have detrimental affects at altitude including suppressing breathing in a situation where they’re not monitored.
        7. Don’t try to smuggle an animal across a border. Animal control agents will happily put the animal down without blinking.
        8. Pet passports apply within the EU and several attached countries. If flying to Europe I strongly recommend going to a vet within a day or two after landing and getting one using all the fresh paperwork you’ve been handed when picking up your pet. The pet passport will note the animal’s microchip and owner details and have a record of all vaccinations. If you’re travelling around a lot then you’ll hand it over with your own passport.
        9. I prefer going via the UK even if my ultimate destination might be elsewhere in Europe, and that means the animal will be processed through the Heathrow ARC (Animal Reception Centre). It certainly helps if you don’t have a language issue should something arise at the last minute. That would definitely be an issue in France where all communications with government officials are mandated to be in French. Also the charges for transport agencies are much higher in France than in UK.
        10. If you’re going to be coming back to Australia with your pets, keep in mind expiry times on vaccinations and check in with Australia’s rules/time-frames du jour.
        11. Crossing the English Channel with a pet (unless very small) is a bitch. Most ferries only allow them in cars (which is a nice comfortable way to travel for your dog) and the Chunnel train is the same (no dogs in the carriages). This is a pain because every other rail network in the UK and Europe allows animals, so if you don’t have a car to cross the channel find a friend willing to help you out!
        12. Be aware of different tick, worm or bug problems at your destination. When I moved to France for a few years I took my dog to the vet to get updates on his shots and information on local health issues. A few months later he nearly died from a tick-borne parasite. I asked the vet why they hadn’t told me about these when I asked – “Oh everyone knows about them!” (&*(^(*%*&^

        Other than those things you’ll have a great time. Public access is much greater for animals in most of Europe and so there is an expectation that they will behave. This forms a virtuous circle quite different to Australia where dogs are shunned and have fewer chances of socialisation. I miss regular trips on the London underground where station staff were full of smiles and I got to talk to lots of passengers. Wherever you go with a pet, people assume you’re a local and will talk to you – you’re no longer a faceless outsider.

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