Dog on the Plane — Owner's Guide

Reading time 🕗 7 minutes | January 11, 2024 | Author Karolina Lesicka | Editor Klara Krysiak

Do you love your dog and dream of traveling with them? Are you hesitant about whether flying with a dog (especially in the cargo hold) is safe? Our step-by-step guide will explain what happens to your dog from the moment you hand them over to us at the airport. We'll also provide tips on how to prepare well for a plane journey with your dog and what to remember.

Can a dog fly on an airplane?

If you are reading this guide, you are probably wondering if you can take a dog on a plane. Of course, you can! Furthermore, with the growing trend of traveling with pets, there is also an increasing concern for their comfort and safety during the flight. On our flights, dogs can travel both in the cabin and in the cargo hold — it all depends on their dimensions, weight, and the availability of the service on the particular flight and in the chosen compartment.

How much does a plane ticket for a dog cost? You will see the exact fee when making a reservation, although you can view approximate prices on the website for pet in cabin or animal in hold.

Do you want to know how to travel with a dog with a flat muzzle? Some brachiocephalic breeds of dogs are subject to restrictions on transport in the cargo hold. Before purchasing a ticket for your four-legged friend, it is worth checking the information regarding restrictions on transporting dogs due to their breed.

Other permitted animals on the plane:

  • Cat — in the cabin or in the cargo hold, depending on the dimensions and weight of the animal, as well as the availability of the service on the particular flight and in the chosen compartment* (online sale and direct).
  • Ferret — the service is limited in online sales, so contact our Contact Center directly for details.

Transporting a dog by plane - rules for traveling on board

  • How many kilograms can a dog fly by plane? A dog can travel on board the plane when its weight (including the carrier) does not exceed 8 kg.
  • How to transport a dog by plane? Your dog must travel the entire journey in a special carrier, so make sure to choose the type and quality carefully. The most important thing is for the carrier, in which the dog will spend several hours, to provide it with freedom of movement. Dogs on the plane must be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down.
  • During takeoff, landing, and in case of turbulence, the crew will ask you to place the carrier under the seat in front of you. Follow these guidelines — after all, it's about the safety of your dog and the other passengers!
  • Keep in mind that the number of animals on a particular type of aircraft is limited, so when booking a ticket, you should check the availability of the service. At least 12 hours before departure, you need to enter such information into Manage My Booking, and then make sure that the service has been confirmed.

Dog on the plane on the lap

Dog on the plane on the lap

Familiarize yourself with the requirements for transporting dogs weighing less than 8 kg.

Book a seat for the dog in the cabin

Podroz-zwierzat-na-pokladzie-2

Dog in the cargo hold

The ticket has been purchased, the decision has been made – your dog will fly in the cargo hold. If this is the first time for both you and your four-legged friend, below are some pieces of information that will dispel your doubts.

The cargo hold is not as intimidating as it may seem – we prioritize the comfort and safety of our four-legged passengers. Airlines also have special procedures for loading and transporting animals, and the conditions inside the cargo hold are closely monitored, adhered to, and checked. So, your dog will not be accepted and will not fly in an aircraft that is not suitable for this purpose.

Booking a flight for a dog in the cargo hold

Booking a flight for a dog in the cargo hold

Familiarize yourself with the requirements for transporting animals over 8 kg.

Book a space for your dog

A woman and a man playing with a dog at the airport

How does transporting a dog to the cargo hold look like?

When transporting dogs to the cargo hold, we aim to minimize the time between loading the aircraft and placing the dog's carrier in the cargo hold.

While waiting for loading, we strive to limit harmful external factors that could affect the dog's well-being, such as excessive exposure to sunlight, rain, frost, or other adverse weather conditions. Dogs awaiting loading are not exposed to direct sound from engines and other high-volume machinery operating at the airport.

How does the cargo hold in an airplane look like?

The cargo hold is nothing but the airplane's luggage compartment. If your dog weighs more than 8 kg, and you can't part with him for the duration of your trip, you'll need to reserve a spot for him underneath the aircraft.

  • The cargo hold space is divided to separate species and breeds of dogs that would not tolerate traveling close to each other. When selecting a location, we consider the breed, size, and age of the dog to minimize fear and stress resulting from a new place and unfamiliar travel companions.
  • In our cargo holds, there are ventilation and airflow systems that provide dogs with a constant circulation of air. Before departure, we also check the door seals and their tightness.
  • We secure the crates and cages with straps to prevent them from moving during the flight and place them on special pallets made of boards (about 15-20 cm above the ground). This way, we protect dogs from cooling down and provide insulation from the ground.

Large dog on the plane

Before you purchase a spot in the cargo hold for your four-legged friend, remember that the maximum weight of the dog along with the carrier cannot exceed 99 kg.

Two dogs in crates alongside other luggage on a trailer at the airport

Animals in the luggage compartment - a few pieces of information that will make you stop worrying!

  • If there are animals in the cargo hold, no hazardous materials (such as dry ice or cryogenic liquids) are transported on the flight that could pose a threat to your dog's safety.
  • The sound level in the cargo hold is adjusted to the standards for transporting live animals.
  • The cargo hold is appropriately darkened to provide animals with a sense of safety and tranquility.
  • Trained staff experienced in animal transportation take care of your dog.
  • The captain, crew, and ground staff are informed of the presence of animals on the flight.
  • Immediately after arrival, the unloading of animals takes place as a priority.

How to choose a dog carrier for air travel?

Do you still have some time before your scheduled departure? It's time for a detailed inspection of your dog's carrier for the flight!

When planning a trip with your dog, make sure to choose a quality carrier — it's almost like choosing a travel class that affects the conditions your dog will experience in the air.

What to pay attention to when choosing a dog carrier for air travel?

  • Ventilation holes on all four sides — good air circulation is particularly important in the cargo hold of the aircraft.
  • Size adapted to the dimensions of the dog — meaning one in which your dog can comfortably stand, sit, lie down, and turn around.
  • The dog crate for air travel cannot be entirely made of wire — such crates are not suitable for air transport and are not accepted. Wire elements (if present) must be thick and tightly woven.
  • The carrier must not have sharp elements inside — these could cause unwanted injuries or minor abrasions during your dog's transport.
  • Secure closure — make sure the carrier has securely closing doors that cannot be forced open or opened under strong stress, posing a risk to yourself or the surroundings.

How to transport a dog on a plane to minimize its stress?

This is the last call! Make the most of the final days before your flight to prepare your dog as best as possible for air travel. Consult your veterinarian about their condition, ensure the carrier is properly equipped, and practice entering and exiting the carrier.

The woman is waiting at the airport with a poodle and bags

Flying with a dog - checklist of things to do before departure:

  • Ensure that all your dog's travel documents are valid, and vaccinations, examinations, and veterinary checks are up-to-date.
  • Consult your veterinarian well in advance and inquire if the use of sedatives for your dog is recommended. As an owner, you must know that such medications may adversely affect your dog's health during the flight. If you're unsure whether your dog's breed, anatomical structure, and psychological resilience allow it to travel by plane, it's worth asking about.
  • Practice entering and exiting the carrier with your dog before the flight to familiarize and accustom the animal to being inside it. This way, it won't feel foreign and will treat the carrier as a familiar place — a safe zone when you're not around.
  • Secure the water and food containers so that access to both doesn't cause your dog any difficulty. A top-opening bowl is best.
  • Make sure that collars, harnesses, or other items that your dog might get caught on or destroy are removed from the crate, and there's no fear of entanglement.
  • No later than 2 hours before departure, provide your dog with a light meal. Traveling with too full a stomach may harm it.
  • Take your dog for a long and enjoyable walk before the trip.

Summary

Do you love animals? So do we! Now you also know that we make every effort to ensure your dog's journey is as smooth as yours. Before you start browsing offers on our airline's website, read the key points from the guide once again, gathered in one place.

  • Reserve a ticket for your dog well in advance.
  • Choose a suitable carrier and assemble its equipment calmly.
  • Consult with a veterinarian and update necessary vaccinations.
  • Take care of your dog's well-being before the journey — feed him and take him for a walk.

You can find more tips and information in the Help Center under the Pet Transport section and on the IATA website: https://www.iata.org/en/programs/cargo/live-animals/pets/.

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