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Pet Friendly Airlines UK

How We Ensure A Safe And Easy Journey - Airlines & Routes We Use

Airline travel for pets is easily as safe as for humans, but unlike us, all pets travelling by air are health checked within the final few days prior to travel.  Health problems through airline travel are extremely rare and most pets are over the journey and settled into their new surroundings within a couple of days of landing. We understand that your pet is an important member of your family and we are here to support you during the whole process. Choosing the right airline for your pet requires experience, and we will help determine the options that are available for your destination, breed of animal, and size of travel kennel. Of course, the reputation and safety record of the airline is also important and not all airlines are licenced to carry pets, so our more than 35 years’ experience in shipping pets can be vital when it comes to booking pet travel to worldwide destinations. 

Direct And Indirect Flights

In most cases, a direct flight is the best option as it gets your pet from one airport to another quickly, and with only one up and down. There are times we will recommend an indirect flight; this may be the only route we can use for pets, be a very long flight that needs a stopover for refuelling anyway, or simply be down to your budget. You can be sure that if we offer an indirect option for pet transport, the transit facility is first class and provides the very highest welfare standards for all the animals it looks after. 

Stop overs usually offer the pets a chance to come out of their travel kennel, relieve themselves and stretch their legs, so it is not always a disadvantage for pets to travel via Amsterdam, Dubai, Frankfurt, or any other great pet transit lounge that we may suggest for your dog, cat or bird.

Some pets do better when just getting the journey over and done with, there are no hard and fast rules, so we prefer to talk to you about the behaviour and confidence of your pet and make those kind of decisions together with the owners who know them best.

Pet Friendly Airlines in UK

We use a variety of pet friendly airlines to ship our customers pets across the world. Airlines include:

  • British Airways
  • Emirates
  • Qantas
  • Air New Zealand
  • Lufthansa
  • KLM
  • South African Airways
  • Air Canada
  • TUI Group
  • United
  • Thai Airways
  • Iberia
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Aeromexico
  • Kenya Airways
  • Royal Brunei Airlines
  • American Airlines

Which UK airlines allow pets in cabin?

The main 3 airlines that allow pets in the cabin are: KLM, Lufthansa and TUI. This only applies for very small pets that weigh less than 8kg and would have to be booked direct through the airline, without the assistance of a pet export company like Fetchapet. The pet would need to be placed in a soft bag that’s small enough to fit under the seat in front of the owners and would usually have to remain in the bag for the duration of the flight.

In our opinion, it is much safer and more spacious for pets to travel in the cargo hold, in a rigid and safely strapped down travel kennel, that is the size of a first-class sleeper seat made to measure for the individual pet. The cargo hold environment is strictly controlled, pressurised and airconditioned, is quiet and the lights are dimmed for the duration of the flight.

More about Pet Air Travel

Pets travel in the livestock hold where it is pressurised and air conditioned just like the passenger cabin. This is not attended during the flight as animals settle better when left to sleep away from all the hustle and bustle of the passenger cabin. The lights are dimmed to near darkness during the flight and come on in conjunction with the seatbelt lights so if your pet is alert during take off and landing but able to sleep in a dark cosy bed during the flight.  It’s basically a first-class sleeper seat!

Check in, loading and unloading onto the aircraft are the times most difficult for your pet as it is all very new to them. It really helps if you have a crate you can use to help your pet see it as a safe place and bed.  We can supply the actual travel kennel in advance, along with the bedding (this can be laundered), or you can use one that suitably encloses them just to get them used to being shut inside.  Don’t forget most journeys are not much longer than a night’s sleep, so if we can make the crate into a bed this is the best we can do to prepare them. It is a relatively simple thing to do, and we are happy to explain how to go about it after a chat with you about the type of personality your pet has.

We spray our travel crates with adaptil or feliway; these are products that mimic the natural pheromones dogs and cats produce to help them feel safe and secure in a new or unusual environment. They do not have any sedative effects as tranquillisers are never used for airline travel. They can cause all sorts of complications, including slowing the heart, so pets should always be supervised by a vet when sedated, and also, sedatives would not last long enough to cover the whole journey leaving animals to wake up in a completely strange environment.  It’s much better to accept a small amount of stress and have a healthy pet arrive than allow risks that could have disastrous consequences for the animal. 

Learn more about our pet travel crates

Food and water

Pets should not be fed within 6 hours of check-in, this may seem like a harsh rule to pets with big appetites like Labradors, but it means the risks of bloat, toileting in the crate or vomiting are significantly reduced.  Remember your pet does not have access to outside the crate and nothing upsets them more than messing in their bed, even puppies usually avoid doing this. What does not go in does not come out! They always have access to water via a bowl with a funnel fixed to the outside for filling without disturbance. Airline travel dehydrates them a little, just like it does us, and they only drink enough to stop thirst and rarely urinate in the travel crate. If they did or some water spilled, we have that covered for you.  We use an absorbent puppy pad on the floor that mops up any spillages and the bedding on the top is designed so liquids fall through and leave the top layer dry and comfortable for your pet. It is also the most supportive type of bedding we can use to ensure maximum comfort for your dog or cat throughout the whole journey.

Delivery times for your pet

Pets must be delivered to the airline 4 hours before the flight, so check in times can often be early in the morning, i.e the British Airways flight from Heathrow to Seattle leaves at 09:35, so check in must be by 05:35 at the latest. The advantage of this is that your pet will arrive in the destination country early in the day, so the arrival clearance procedures can be completed within normal working hours.

We don’t charge anything extra to meet you with your pet for early or late departures, all the major airlines operate 24 hours a day and don’t make any extra charges for out of office hours deliveries, so neither do we. Fetchapet will also collect your pet on the day of travel if you live within 2 hours of the airport and want to keep your pet with you until the last possible time that you can.  If we can collect en-route to the flight our collection price is stated in your quote and the time does not affect the price.

You can also deliver to Fetchapet or have your pet collected in advance and housed with us so that you can get yourselves to your new home and then just go to the arrival cargo terminal with only the collection of your pet to consider. You will also have to take the pets travel crate away from the airport, and if you have several pets or a very large dog, this can mean you need to take bulky items in your vehicle as well as family members and luggage.

However your dog gets to the airport, he/she will enjoy a last walk on UK soil with us.  Heathrow has a canal-side footpath that we use to ensure that the dogs relieve themselves just a few minutes before check-in.  Gatwick also has green areas right near to the cargo terminal where we can ensure dogs relive themselves at the last possible opportunity.

For cats its more difficult to ensure they go to the toilet, but we do always carry spare bedding and a spare crate just in case of any accidents.  Cats tend to be very good at waiting to go to the toilet, are used to being in a carrier and usually get grumpy about it just like when they go to the Vets in a crate. Cats travel very well even on very long flights, but let’s face it, 24 hours sleep to a cat is just a nap!

Airline staff who handle the animals all have to have up to date specialist IATA training to ensure all the welfare needs of the pets they carry

If your plans change

Pets travel as cargo, and usually this means if the pet doesn’t travel then charges are not made for the flight. If your plans change and you need to reschedule, we will change the flight for you once free of charge and after that, we would charge you a small admin fee for our additional time.  You would never lose the money spent on the flight if your pet was not exported. The only things that could cost you extra is for any time specific documents or veterinary tests and treatments that have already been done and would now expire before the new travel date.  If you cancelled completely, you would be charged for our time depending on how much work had been spent on the pet shipping file.

We are here to help

With International pet travel, the variables are significant, and need consideration based on the individual pet and destination so the help and guidance offered by us with our over 35 years’ experience can be vital to ensuring your pet has a safe and smooth journey to a new home.

Please contact us for any help and advice you need, we are always happy to help and are the pet travel company owned and managed by an animal behaviourist, so we have all the knowledge and skills needed to ensure your pet travels to the destination with the least amount of stress possible.

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