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Air Canada

The Air Canada pet policy for 2023 includes various options for flying with dogs or cats in the cabin and hold. Details of the Air Canada pet travel policy for international and transatlantic flights with your cat or dog are included. Air Canada is one of the few airlines that flies pets in the cabin, or in the hold as checked baggage, from the United Kingdom (UK). For pets flying in the cabin, and in the hold as checked baggage or cargo, any dog or cat must be at least 12 weeks old. The cost of flying your pet in the Air Canada cabin or hold varies, and, as with all pet friendly airlines, it’s more expensive to fly your furry friend as cargo. Air Canada‘s pet travel rules do not permit pets on certain flights, or to specific international destinations. Certain dog breeds are not permitted to travel either in the cabin or hold as checked baggage, but in some cases they may fly as cargo. Read on for full details of the Air Canada international pet policy, including transatlantic flights with cats and dogs. You can check out pet travel reviews for Air Canada to find out what their pet policy is like in practice. Remember to leave an Air Canada pet travel review if you’ve flown your cat or dog with Air Canada!

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Dogs & Cats in the Cabin of the Plane
Dogs & Cats flying as Checked In Baggage
Pets flying in Cargo Hold
Assistance Dogs in Cabin
Psychiatric Service Dogs in Cabin
Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) in Cabin
Air Canada Pet Policy 2023

Does Air Canada Allow Pet Cats & Dogs in the Cabin?

Air Canada welcomes cats and dogs to fly in the passenger cabin, provided that they’re small enough to stand, turn around and lie down in their pet carrier under the seat in front of you. Only cats and dogs are allowed to fly in an Air Canada cabin. You may take your pet on:

  • Flights operated by Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge
  • Air Canada Express flights operated by Jazz.

Your pet within their carrier will count as one standard piece of carry-on baggage. If you’re taking a pet stroller or car seat with you on your trip, it must be transported as checked baggage.

Note that you can’t take a cat or dog in the Air Canada passenger cabin if you are:

  • an unaccompanied minor
  • seated in an exit or bulkhead row
  • needing the use of a medical device that has to be stowed underneath the seat
  • flying in Premium Economy, as the layout doesn’t have space for a pet carrier
  • travelling on a Boeing 737 MAX 8 (7M8) aircraft

Maximum Pet Carrier in Air Canada Cabin Dimensions

The maximum pet carrier dimensions depend on the aircraft used for your flight. On each Air Canada aircraft model, pet carriers can’t exceed:

  • Boeing 787-9 aircraft
    • H 20 cm (8″) x W 40 cm (16″) x L 43 cm (17″)
  • Boeing 787-8 aircraft
    • H 20 cm (8″) x W 40 cm (16″) x L 35 cm (14.5″)
  • Boeing 777-300ER & 777-200LR aircraft
    • H 21 cm (8.25″) x W 38 cm (15″) x L 43 cm (17″)
  • Airbus A321, Airbus A220, Airbus A320, Airbus 319 & Boeing 737 MAX 8 (7M8)
    (Note that when flying a pet in the cabin on these Air Canada narrow bodied aircraft, your cat or dog must travel in a soft pet carrier)
    • H 20 cm (7.75″) x W 40 cm (15.75″) x 43 cm (17″)

IATA Regulations for Cats & Dogs Flying in the Cabin

While you need to ensure that your pet’s travel crate meets the maximum dimensions set by Air Canada to fly in the cabin, remember that you must also adhere to the Live Animal Regulations (LAR) set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). This includes calculating the minimum inner crate dimensions allowed by the IATA LAR for your cat or dog to fly in the cabin. In addition, the airline pet travel carrier must adhere to the IATA LAR, in terms of ventilation, design etc.

If you’re new to pet travel, check out 8 IATA Compliant Airline Pet in Cabin Carriers.

Pet in Cabin Price

  • Within Canada or USA – 50 CAD/59 USD
  • International Flights – 100 CAD/119 USD

Does Air Canada Allow Pet Dogs & Cats in the Hold as Checked Baggage?

Customers can take up to two pets in the same airline travel kennel to travel as checked baggage baggage in the Air Canada hold.

Note that the following conditions apply:

  • Only fully weaned puppies or kittens from 12 weeks to 6 months can be placed together in the same kennel
  • Both animals must be of the same species (no cat and dog together)
  • Two pets travelling in one kennel are counted as two pets regardless of combined weight. A maximum weight of 45 kg is permitted for your pet(s) and their travel kennel combined

You can fly a pet in the Air Canada hold as checked baggage if your flight is:

  • operated by Air Canada or Air Canada Rouge
  • an Air Canada Express flight operated by Jazz

The maximum linear dimensions (length + width + height) is 292 cm (115″), while the heaviest weight permitted for a cat or dog plus their travel carrier is 45 kg (110 lb).

IATA Requirements for Pets Flying in Hold

For the safety of your pet during air transport, the airline travel kennel must meet the legal requirements of the Live Animal Regulations (LAR) set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Therefore, in addition to ensuring that your cat or dog in their travel crate adheres to the maximum weight and dimensions set by Air Canada, the minimum inner kennel dimensions defined by the IATA LAR must also be met.

You can calculate the minimum inner space permitted by the IATA LAR, in addition to learning about the required construction, design etc for the pet in hold travel crate.

IATA dog crate calculator pet kennel dimensions formula airline approved cat dog carrier

Should you need a new travel kennel, check out 4 Popular IATA Compliant Pet in Hold Crates.

Restrictions for Pets Flying in the Hold

As with all ethical airlines, Air Canada doesn’t transport snub nosed (brachycephalic) breeds of cats and dogs in the hold. This is due to these breeds being susceptible to increased risks of respiratory issues when exposed to extreme heat, or stressful situations.

Be aware that if your itinerary includes a flight operated by one of Air Canada’s codeshare partners, you can’t travel with a pet in the hold.

Due to high temperatures, no animals are allowed to fly in the baggage compartment to the following destinations on these dates:

All YearAruba, Belize, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Doha, Dubai, Jamaica, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago
1 March to 31 OctoberIndia
1 April to 30 NovemberSt Lucia, St Maarten and Turks & Caicos Islands
1 April to 31 OctoberEgypt
1 May to 1 SeptemberBermuda, Dominican Republic and Mexico
1 May to 31 OctoberBahamas and Cuba
1 May to 30 NovemberHawaii and Puerto Rico
15 May to 31 OctoberUS States – Atlanta (ATL), Austin (AUS), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Fort Myers (RSW), Houston (IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), Miami (MIA), Nashville (BNA), Orlando (MCO), Palm Springs (PSP), Phoenix (PHX), Sarasota (SRQ), Tampa Bay (TPA), West Palm (PBI)
1 July to 31 AugustGreece, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy and Japan
1 to 30 SeptemberMorocco
Air Canada Hot Weather Restricted Pet in Baggage Hold Routes

Further restrictions that apply to pets flying in the hold are listed in the table below.

1 November to 31 MarchCats and dogs weighing less than 4.5 kg (10 lb) are not accepted in the baggage compartment of any Air Canada aircraft.

Pets are not accepted on the following aircraft:

Embraer 175 (E75)
Embraer 190 (E90)

It isn’t recommended to transport animals as checked baggage on Air Canada Airbus A319-100, A320-200 and A321-200 aircraft, as the cargo compartment isn’t heated so temperatures can be as low as 2 °C (36 °F).

Cats and dogs aren’t accepted in the baggage compartment of Boeing 737 MAX 8 (7M8) aircraft due to minimal heating in the cargo hold.
Air Canada Winter Pet in Hold Restrictions

Air Canada Pet in Hold Price

  • Within Canada or USA – 105 CAD/120.75 USD
  • International Flights – 270 CAD/318.60 USD

Air Canada Pet Cargo

Should your pet have to be transported as cargo, you must contact Air Canada Cargo no more than 30 days, but no less than 7 days, prior to departure.

AC Animals is Air Canada’s specialised solution for all animals travelling as cargo, and all bookings must be made directly with them. They offer:

  • Priority 1 Service
  • Specially trained staff to care for your pet
  • Designated holding facilities at select stations for your furry friend’s comfort
  • Dedicated pet transport vehicles for safety, as well as comfort
  • Designated agents to handle all bookings and pet travel queries
  • A kennel facility in Toronto for comfort stops when in transit
  • Easy pricing for the transport of dogs and cats within Canada, or between Canada and the US
  • Veterinary consultation services

Air Canada Snub-Nosed Cat & Dog Breed Policy

Snub-nosed (brachycephalic) animals, such as French Bulldogs, Pugs and Persian Cats, can have trouble breathing during the flight, due to high temperatures and stress. To ensure their well-being, most snub-nosed (brachycephalic) animals may not be transported in the hold. This means that these pets can only fly in the Air Canada cabin, they aren’t allowed to travel as either checked baggage or cargo in the hold of the plane.

When flying with a snub-nosed pet in the cabin, remember that you need to add 10% to your IATA compliant pet carrier calculation.

Air Canada only transports the following cat and dog breeds in the passenger cabin of the aircraft However, if the dog breed is also on the Air Canada strong dogs list, they can’t fly in the cabin.

Snub-Nosed Dog Breeds

  • Affenpinscher
  • American Bully
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer (All breeds)
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Bulldog (All breeds)
  • Cane Corso
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chow Chow
  • Dogue De Bordeaux
  • English Toy Spaniel (King Charles Spaniel)
  • Japanese Spaniel (Chin)
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Mastiff (all breeds)
  • Pekingese
  • Pinscher
  • Pit Bull
  • Presa Canario
  • Pug (all breeds)
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Shar Pei
  • Shih Tzu
  • Teddy Bear (also known as Shichon or Zuchon)
  • Tibetan Spaniel
  • American Longhair
  • American Shorthair
  • British Longhair
  • British Shorthair
  • Burmese
  • Exotic
  • Himalayan
  • Persian
  • Scottish Fold
  • Scottish Straight
  • Selkirk Rex

Strong Dog Breeds Air Canada

The following breeds, classed as potentially dangerous dogs, aren’t permitted to fly in the cabin, but they may fly in the hold as checked baggage or cargo in a reinforced crate. See an example of a pet travel crate for strong dog breeds in 4 IATA Compliant Pet in Hold Kennels.

  • Caucasian Ovcharka
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brazileiro
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Karabash
  • Mastiff (all breeds)
  • Pit Bull (all breeds)
  • Rottweiler
  • Wolf/Dog Hybrids

Also, remember that snub-nosed cat and dog breeds are only accepted to travel in the passenger cabin, to ensure their safety during the flight. So, if your dog is both a potentially dangerous and snub nosed breed, they’re unable to fly with Air Canada.

Air Canada Travel Policy for Assistance & Service Dogs 2023

You may travel with your Assistance or Service Dog in the cabin free of charge with Air Canada. It’s recommended that you make the request during booking and no less than 48 hours prior to departure. But try to make the reservation as far in advance as possible. All Assistance & Service Dog Reservations should be made with the Air Canada Medical Assistance Team.

Your Assistance or Service Dog must be fully trained and accredited by an authorised organisation or person, such as:

  • Assistance Dogs International (ADI)
  • International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF)

At airport check in, you’ll be asked for the original documentation for your Assistance or Service Dog, and they must also wear their identifying harness and vest. During the flight, your dog will sit between your feet.

If your Service Dog won’t fit comfortably at your feet, you can request additional floor space by contacting the Medical Assistance Desk at least 48 hours before departure. Additional floor space is free of charge for flights within Canada, but for all other flights, a fee is payable.

Air Canada allows one accredited Assistance or Service Dog in the cabin per passenger. An additional Assistance or Service Dog may also travel on flights to and from the US, provided that both dogs fit in the floor space at your feet.

However, be aware that some international countries don’t permit Assistance & Service Dogs to arrive in the plane cabin. Fortunately, this isn’t the case when flying in Europe or North America.

Does Air Canada Recognise Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) and Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSVDs)?

From 1 March 2021, Air Canada no longer recognises Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) as Service Animals. ESAs are therefore subject to the standard Air Canada pet travel policy. Only professionally trained Assistance & Service Dogs are allowed to travel in the cabin free of charge.

However, you can travel and from the USA with a trained Psychiatric Service Dog (PSVD). To travel with a PSD, you must complete the USDOT Application Form, attesting to the dog’s training and behaviour, and send it to Air Canada prior to travel.

Pet Travel Documentation & Vaccines

Air Canada is, of course, a Canadian transatlantic pet friendly airline, so for international flights to the EU, your cat or dog has to meet the EU Pet Travel Scheme criteria. This means that you’ll need to arrange either a Pet Passport or Animal Health Certificate, and ensure that your cat or dog is microchipped and vaccinated against Rabies.

If your cat or dog is flying from Canada to the UK or Ireland as cargo, your pet must meet the laws of your destination country:

You can check out the pet travel laws for entering Canada, or other worldwide destinations in 2023.

Excluded Pet Routes with Air Canada

Due to government rules, no cats, dogs or other animals may fly in the cabin to or from Hawaii. This is due to Hawaii having strict pet travel laws, which differ from the rest of the USA.

In addition, your pet can’t enter Ireland or the UK in the cabin of a commercial aircraft.

These rules are in place in some pet friendly destinations that are currently rabies free, in order to protect their borders.

Also check out the timetable above for restrictions on pets travelling in the hold to hot countries.

As already stated, some countries don’t permit Assistance & Service Dogs to arrive in the cabin.

Are Pets Safe on Planes?

If you’re worried about your furry travel companion’s wellbeing when flying, check out our comprehensive post regarding pet safety on planes. While in the USA, a monthly report is provided for airline pet incident rates, there isn’t an equivalent in many other countries at the moment. So, there’s no data available for incidents when flying pets in the hold with Air Canada. Note that even the airline pet incident reports submitted in the USA are only for cats and dogs flying in the hold, and don’t include any in cabin events.

No doubt, at some point your trip will involve a car ride, so have a look at our 12 Essential Pet Car Safety Tips too. Should your cat or dog suffer from motion sickness, we’ve also compared some of the treatments, strategies and medications for pet travel nausea.

It’s important to be aware that you can’t sedate or tranquilize your cat or dog for their flight, whether your pet, or pets, are travelling in the Air Canada cabin or hold.

In addition, to protect your pet’s health and wellbeing in a new country, be sure to keep your cat or dog safe from vector-borne diseases. In particular, Heartworm from mosquitoes and Leishmaniasis from sandflies in Southern European destinations pose a serious threat.

You might also want to check out 10 Pet Friendly Airlines in the EU and Pets in Cabin from the UK, as well as 7 Transatlantic Pet Friendly Airlines.

And don’t forget the all important Essential Pet Travel Accessories!

Prior to booking, always view the Air Canada pet travel policy on their website for any recent changes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, some airlines are frequently amending their rules for pets on planes.

Have a safe and wonderful trip, and remember to leave a review for your Air Canada if you fly your pet cat or dog, in the cabin or hold!

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