If you’re planning on flying with your cat or dog soon, you’ll be happy to hear that we’ve compiled complete airline pet policies for pet friendly international airlines in 2023. Airlines that accept cats and dogs have different rules for pet travel depending on their internal procedures. In addition, cat and dog friendly airlines must adhere to the laws set by individual countries, as well as International Air Transport Association (IATA) rules. So if an animal aviation adventure awaits, we’ll give you the lowdown on which airlines are cat and dog friendly in 2023. In general, when flying with a commercial airline large dogs are unable to travel in the cabin, unless they are trained and registered Service or Assistance Dogs. Due to difficulties with breathing, snub nosed cat and dog breeds are only permitted to fly in the cabin, and not the hold of the plane. It’s important to note that there aren’t any ethical airlines that allow snub nosed cats and dogs to fly in the hold.
To get you up to speed on flying with pets, you’ll also find the following pet travel blogs useful:
Our detailed airline pet policies for 2023 include an at a glance chart, together with a comprehensive explanation of their pet travel policy.
You’ll notice that each cat and dog friendly airline policy for 2023 includes:
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
If you’re new to pet travel, you might be trying to figure out where pets travel on an aircraft. Small pets, in general under around 8kg, can travel in the cabin with you when allowed by an airline. But, there’s a few airlines that allow cats and dogs of up to 10kg while in their pet carrier.
When flying with a small pet in the cabin, your cat or dog will travel inside their travel bag which is placed under the seat in front of you. So, your little travel companion is at your feet for the duration of the flight.
Larger cats and dogs aren’t allowed to travel in the cabin, with the exception of Assistance and Service Dogs. In this case, your pet can usually fly in the hold of the plane as checked baggage. But, in some cases your pet may be required to travel as cargo instead.
In any case, if your pet flies as checked baggage, or cargo, they’ll be transported in a safe, temperature controlled environment. When travelling as cargo, the airline either has their own cargo arm to manage the logistics, or they use a specialist pet travel courier.
Of course, whether your cat, dog, ferret or other animal can fly in the cabin with you very much depends on the dimensions and weight of your pet inside their carrier, as well as your chosen route. Some airlines don’t permit:
If you’re the owner of a large dog, and you can’t bear to transport them in the hold of the plane, you’ll be wondering if there are any airlines that allow large dogs to fly in the cabin.
Unfortunately, commercial pet friendly international airlines around the world have one rule in common – only small cats and dogs are permitted in the cabin.
The maximum weight for your dog to fly in Europe in the cabin is usually around 8 kg – 10 kg, which includes the weight of the dog kennel. However, in the USA, some airlines allow up to 14 kg for cats and dogs in the cabin.
So, unless you have access to a chartered plane, your large dog will have to fly in the aircraft hold as either checked baggage or cargo.
It’s also important to remember that airline pet policies are restricted by the laws in each country. For example, an airline may permit pets to fly in the cabin, but can’t do so if the regulations in the destination country don’t allow animals to enter in the cabin of a plane. This is the case in countries such as Australia and New Zealand, as well as each country in the United Kingdom (Scotland, England, Wales & Northern Ireland).
Other laws that effect an airline’s pet travel policy include Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). In this case, if a dog breed is banned in a particular country, the airline won’t accept the listed breeds for flights to that destination.
So, it’s important to check out the pet travel laws for the country you’re visiting to ensure your cat or dog can enter by plane.
In addition to adhering to local rules for worldwide countries and territories, it’s important to be aware that cat and dog friendly airlines in 2023 also have to obey the International Air Transport Association (IATA) policy for pet travel.
The IATA sets the Live Animal Regulations (LAR), which cover criteria for the security, welfare and wellbeing of all animals travelling by plane. Since us humans are animals, the IATA is also responsible for our safety when flying too!
For cats and dogs on planes, your chosen travel bag or crate for flying your pet in the cabin or hold must comply with IATA criteria. The IATA sets rules for cat and dog airline travel crates to ensure that your pet is safe during the flight, and that they have ample space inside the kennel.
You can calculate the size of the IATA approved pet travel kennel required for your cat or dog.
So, airlines must stick to laws set in your destination country, as well as the rules for transporting animals, as outlined in the IATA LAR.
But, what regulations to pet travellers have to adhere to when flying with a cat or dog? Of course, you have to be sure that your pet is healthy, and that they meet all the requirements of the appropriate pet travel scheme. However, pet owners also have some responsibilities if they fly their pet in the cabin or hold.
One of the most important, is ensuring the pet travel crate that you purchase meets both airline and IATA specifications.
There’s no universal pet crate dimensions allowed across the board with pet friendly airlines. While the IATA rules are to ensure your pet has enough space inside their travel crate, airlines have their own policies regarding the sizes they allow in the cabin and hold. So, airlines set their pet crate size policies based on the space available aboard their fleet.
Therefore, when you purchase the pet travel crate, you have to meet the minimum inner dimensions allowed by the IATA, as well as the maximum dimensions accepted by the airline.
The majority of cat and dog friendly airlines in 2023 have a one pet per passenger rule for flying in the cabin or hold, though some allow two cats or dogs. If two pets are permitted to fly with one passenger, it’s usually:
Also, you’ll notice restrictions on the maximum number of pets that can be accepted to travel on each aircraft. So, it’s always best to reserve your cat or dog’s space as soon as you book your own flight.
In some cases, airlines allow several pets to fly in the hold as checked baggage, but this varies across different pet friendly international airlines. For instance, Air Europa permits passengers to fly with five pets.
Should you be flying with more than the maximum number of pets allowed in the cabin or hold, you can opt to fly your furry friends as cargo instead.
Most cat and dog friendly airlines in 2023 allow snub-nosed (brachycephalic) breeds to fly in the plane cabin. Of course, your pet will have to meet the airline’s size and weight restrictions.
There’s no ban on sub-nosed breeds flying on a plane, however, ethical airlines don’t allow them to travel in the hold as checked baggage. This is due to breathing difficulties that they may encounter in the ventilated hold. Thankfully, a safety first approach has been adopted by most pet friendly international airlines in 2023.
Some airlines accept snub nosed cats and dogs as cargo in the hold. However, this isn’t recommended.
This regulation affects breeds including Boston Terriers, Boxers, French Bulldogs, Lhasa Apso, Pekinese, Burmese, Persian, Shar Pei and Shih Tzu.
However, be aware that some countries have implemented local laws in relation to importing snub-nosed cat and dog breeds.
For instance, if you’re travelling to, from or via Southeast Asia, you cannot take a snub-nosed cat or dog with you. There’s a year round travel ban on pet friendly international airlines allowing snub-nosed breeds to fly to the following countries:
Depending on your travel destination and route, snub-nosed dog and cat breeds, and any “mix” of these breeds, aren’t accepted for carriage by some airlines between:
In addition, weight restrictions set by the pet friendly airline will determine if your snub-nosed cat or dog is allowed to fly in the cabin. Most airlines allow pets of up to 8kg to fly in the cabin. So, if you’re flying with a brachycephalic breed that weighs more than 8kg, it’s likely you won’t be able to fly with your pet.
Some airlines, and countries, don’t allow certain dog breeds to travel, while others have strict safety requirements for breeds that they class as ‘dangerous’ or ‘fighting dogs’. This may mean that if you’re allowed to travel with one of the specified breeds, they’ll have to wear a muzzle, and be transported in a special kennel.
The affected dog breeds vary across country rules and airlines, but tend to include:
In addition to each airline’s pet travel policy for small cats, dogs, ferrets and other animals travelling in the cabin or large dogs in hold of the plane, we’ve included the policies for Assistance Dogs, Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) and Psychiatric Service Dogs. Be aware that cat and dog friendly airlines usually only allow pets weighing up to 8kg to fly in the plane cabin; therefore, the only large dogs permitted in the cabin are Service Dogs.
It’s important to note the difference between the these terms if you’re hoping to travel with an ESA in 2021. ESA aviation laws changed due to the decision in the USA to no longer recognise ESAs as Service Animals. However, countries such as Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland (the United Kingdom) have never recognised Emotional Support Animals.
As we regularly fly with our dogs Django and Arya, we’ve included our own personal opinions of any airline that we’ve used on our travels. Our encounters and perceptions have varied between different airlines. Many have been a pleasure to deal with, ensuring that travelling with our four-legged family members was a breeze. Others may be pet-friendly in name but, from our experiences, definitely not in nature! We’d also love to hear about your own experiences with any airlines on our reviews pages. Collectively, us pet travellers can build a trusted resource for specific pet friendly reviews of airlines, hotels and everything in between!
All airline pet policies are up to date for 2023, but please remember to check with the airline before booking or making any concrete plans. If you’re planning to fly with a dog or cat in the cabin or hold, it’s important to also clarify that your pet’s travel crate meets the airlines specifications.
Remember to also familiarise yourself with the pet travel rules for your destination, as well as any extra protection required for your pet’s wellbeing in a foreign country.
Here, you can learn more about the 2023 policies for the following pet friendly international airlines. You’ll find all the info you need for taking a small cat or dog in the plane cabin, or travelling with a large dog in the hold. Generally speaking, most airlines require pets weighing more than 8kg to fly in the hold of the plane. Airlines only allow large dogs to fly in the cabin if they are trained and registered Service Dogs.
Just click on the airline name to view their full cat and dog travel policy for 2023. You can also click on each country to view the applicable local laws for importing a cat or dog.
|Africa||Airline Pet Policy|
Airline Pet Travel Policy
Airline Pet Travel Policy
Airline Pet Travel Policy
Trinidad & Tobago
|Airline Pet Travel Policy|
Sky Express Airlines
|Holland (The Netherlands)|
Tap Air Portugal
Binter Caniaras Airlines
Swiss International Airlines (SWISS)
(Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland)
Airline Pet Travel Policy
Remember to leave a review once you’ve travelled with a cat or dog friendly airline!