A few years ago I drove from one side of the country to the other with my dog. I had originally planned to fly for our month-long visit, but at 10kg, my pooch ended up being a bit too heavy to legally fly under my seat in his carrier and I wasn't willing to fly him as cargo. And so: #FatTucker and I went on a cross-country road trip.
Flying with pets is complicated. If you have a non-tiny dog or a plus-sized feline, then you either have to agree to have him or her fly cargo (which can be dangerous and stressful for your furry friend) or have them fly as a service animal. (Side note: there's a special place in hell for people who lie about their non-service pets just to get them on board. Don't do it. )
If you're a pet parent looking to fly internationally with your furry friend, the group Comparethemarket recently compiled data from international airlines on their pet policies and came up with a list of the best and worst options out there.
Keep in mind, you can't just hop on a plane with your pet and fly to any country you want. Long before your travel day you'll want to look into what the laws for that particular country might be. Some will let your furry friend in as long as he has certifications of certain vaccinations, while others might require a quarantine period or not let your animal in at all.
That said, according to the report these are the airlines with the best pet policies based on cost and whether or not pets are allowed in the cabin (for safety, you want them in the cabin whenever possible):
- Air France
- British Airways
- Thomas Cook
- Turkish Airlines
- Aegean Airlines
- Air Europa
And these are the ones with the worst, in part because they typically don't allow fur friends to fly:
- Balkan Holidays
If you're planning an international journey and already know your pet is legal to fly, then you might want to start your flight search with the "best" options so you know both you and your four-legged pal will arrive safe and happy. Comparethemarket also has a lot more details on its site about each airline and its requirements as well as the cost involved for your pet's ride on each.
And if you do decide to book an international journey with your pet, make sure to contact the airline before your travel day, ideally when you book the flight. Even if your pet meets all the requirements, flights will often only allow a certain number of animals on the plane and only seated in certain areas (presuming your friend is flying in the cabin). You want to make sure you're good to go as early as possible so you don't have any unexpected surprises come vacation time.