Traveling with your dog by airplane. What you should know?

My trips with Alice started 3 years ago, once Alice arrived into our home and family. At that time I was already traveling a lot due to my work and relationship so when Alice appeared in my life I knew that I will never have to travel alone again! 

Since then our adventures began! During these few years Alice had traveled by airplane 23 times. 

So as you can see, Alice and I are real travel buddies and we want to share our experience and traveling tips with you!

Alice always travels with me in the airplane cabin, inside the special carrier bag, which has to be placed underneath the seat in front of me. All dogs and cats are allowed to travel in the airplane cabin if their weight together with carrier bag is no more than 8 kilograms. 

In this blog post I will write specifically about this type of traveling. Regulations (and advices) for pets traveling by cargo are different. 

The regulations presented in this blog post are for European trips only.  

So, let’s start: 

At the moment there are no changes due to COVID-19 for pets traveling in the airplane cabin. 

  • First of all your dog needs to have a pet passport and be vaccinated against rabies to be able to travel. The vaccination has to be valid throughout the whole trip. Rabies vaccination should be performed once a year, usually the vaccine is combined with others, such as: canine parvovirus, leptospirosis etc. It’s one vaccine per year against all diseases that dogs are in danger to get. But in order to be able to travel, your dog needs just the vaccine against rabies. Other vaccinations is your personal choice. 
  • Before every trip you have to take your dog to veterinarian clinic for a simple check up, which usually takes no longer than a few minutes. Veterinarian doctor has to make sure that the dog is healthy and able to travel. Then the veterinarian has to put a stamp in a pet’s passport approving that the check up was successful and the pet is in perfect conditions to travel. As complicated as this may sound, we have done it many times and I assure you, it takes literally 5-10 min. 

IMPORTANT! The veterinarian’s check up has to be attended no longer than couple of days before the trip, I always take Alice 24 hours before the departure. 

  • Not all airlines accept pets. Low cost airlines, such as Ryanair does not accept pets, so you should do a little Google research to find out which airlines accept pets in cabin and are suitable for you regarding your destination. Travel agencies can provide you this information as well. Here are a few airlines that we have traveled with, which accepts pets: Lot Polish airlines, Air Baltic, KLM, Lufthansa, Air Europa, Brussels airlines. 
  • We always travel within Europe, however regulations traveling to Finland, Ireland, Malta, UK or Norway are slightly different (but only slightly). Dogs traveling to these countries need to be  wormed against Echinococcus multilocularis. 
  • Travel fee for the pet usually varies between 50-70 Euros for international flights. If the flight is local the fee is usually no more that 10 Euros.
  • Organizing the trip. We always book our flights in the travel agency, in that case there is an option to pay the whole price for the flights and pet fee before the trip. The agency also contacts the airline to get an approval for pet in cabin, because the rule is that it can only be  2-3 dogs in the airplane cabin. That is why the approval is necessary. Once you get the approval by email, have it with you just in case. However, the fee for pet in cabin can also be paid at the airport. 
  • The carrier bag for your dog. The carrier bag has to be big enough for the dog to feel comfortable inside and move freely, however it has to be small enough to fit underneath the passenger’s seat in front of you. I have chosen ,,Sherpa’’ carrier bag. These bags are approved for traveling by airplane. Since the first trip we are still traveling with the same bag, so I can definitely recommend it and assure you that the quality is really good. The bag is comfortable for me to carry and Alice also seems comfortable inside. I ordered it through Amazon, this is the link: ,,Sherpa’’ carrier bag for dogs
  • Take the food bowls (or at least one of them) and your dog’s food and put it in the pocket of the bag. I always have Alice’s food and the bowls in her bag because our trips usually take the whole day, so she has to be fed. Once I pass the security check I always buy a small bottle of water to have with me and I offer some water for Alice once in a while. 
  • Place one puppy pad inside of the bag and take one or two more to put in the pocket of the bag. Alice is trained to do her “business” on the puppy pad, she is using it in the house as well. When we travel she almost never does it inside of the bag, even though the puppy pad is there. Usually we have connecting flights, which means that we have to spend some time in the airports. In that case I find some place aside, where there aren’t so many people, I place the pad on the floor and I remove Alice from her bag… she immediately knows what to do. 
  • Time to exercise! If you have a long trip, connecting flights and hours of waiting in the airport together with your dog, do not forget that while being in the airport you can clip on the leash and walk around with your dog! Alice is always very happy about this part. 

So these are in my opinion the most important things that anyone traveling with dogs in airplane cabin should be familiar with. 

I hope it was helpful! 

If you and your dog are travel buddies as well, comment and let’s share our experiences!

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