If you are a pet owner and want to travel on an airplane, then it’s certain that you will want to bring your beloved pet with you. Pets can travel on business class but there are certain rules you need to follow and apply some useful tips.
Sometimes is not possible to bring your pet on the business class cabin on some international flights because there isn’t space under the seat in front of your seat to place your pet.
You can travel with a small cat or dog on business class flights. Rules related to traveling with pets on an airplane vary depending on the air company. These rules should be followed so that your air travel with your pet is both safe and pleasant. But there are some uniform rules that didn’t change often.
So here are the rules for those who want bring their pet on business class:
- Book your flight over the phone. It’s recommended to do it 14 days because each airplane has a limited number of pet slots.
- Make a separate reservation for your pet
- It’s important to make the reservation of your pet’s flight soon after you have booked your flight. It should be done at least 48 hours before your flight.
- Check in at the airport desk
- Arrive at the airport at least 3 hours before your scheduled departure time because pet check-in require some time.
- You can bring a total of two pets on domestic business class and first class fights. Some airline companies allow up to 4 pets per flight if they fly in the main cabin while other allow up to 7 pets per flight.
- Your cat should be 8-weeks old.
- Some airline companies don’t allow you to sit in an exit/emergency row or on a seat that doesn’t have storage space under it when you are traveling with pets.
- The carrier for your cat flight should agree with the following IATA rules for traveling with pet on an airplane.
- The total weight of your pet and kennel/carrier combined should not be over 75 kg (165 lbs).
- Two adult animals that are similar in size each weighing up to 14 kg (30 lbs), can travel together in 1 kennel. This rule also applies for 3 animals that are up to 6 months old. They should be from the same litter and also weigh up to 14 kg (30 lbs) each.
- Some airline companies such as Delta for instance allow you to bring one pet carrier on your business class flight.
- If you have female cat with kittens, the company allows you to bring a cat with an unweaned litter if the litter is ten weeks to 6 months old.
- You can bring two pets in one carrier if they are of the same species and between 10 weeks and 6 months old.
- Pets in general cannot fly on the front of Boeing 787-9 and Boeing 787-10 aircraft.
- In the winter season your pet may not travel in the hold on certain aircraft models.
- Your cat should be transported in a carrier.
- Your pet’s carrier/travel bag counts as one of your carry-on items on the airplane.
So, these are the specific requirements that carriers for pets should meet. One of them is that the carrier should be leak-proof. Also, your animal shouldn’t be able to escape easily from the carrier/travel bag.
The pet’s carrier should have proper ventilation on both sides. Some air carriers require that the weight of your pet and the carrier should not be more than 20 pounds. So carriers allow the total weight of the pet and the carrier to reach 40 pounds. It’s good to contact your company in advance and ask about this.
When planning your flight, don’t forget to ask your air company staff what is the maximum size for the pet carrier allowed onboard as the size can vary from company to company.
The carrier for your pet should have a standard maximum size of 46 x 28 x 24 cm (L x W x H). It should be enough big so that your pet can stand up, turn around and lie in an easy way. The total weight of your pet, its carrier/kennel or travel bag should be maximum 8kg.
Your pet should be at least 10 weeks old.
Your pet’s carrier should be placed under the seat in front of you.
You are not allowed to let your pet out of the carrier or the travel bag during the flight.
When going from a gate to gate at the airport, your pet should be in the carrier.
You should know that in the case of emergency on business class cabin, airline companies aren’t responsible for the pets’ condition so your pet may not receive immediate medical help.
Some airline companies may not allow pets onboard business class flight if the pets are ill or they have aggressive behavior towards travellers.
When traveling on an airplane with your cat, it’s important to be prepared. Before going to the airport take all of your pet’s main documents. Take with you certificates and identification tags in case airport agents require them.
If you plan to travel with your pet on business class, it’s recommended to choose a window or aisle seat.
Make sure to prepare your pet for the flight. Help it get used to the kennel/carrier you are going to carry it in. Your pet should have around 5 days before the flight to do this.
Do not let your cat to drink or eat for 2 hours before departure.
It’s not recommended to tranquillise your pet for the flight. Your pet’s temperature will lower during the flight and your pet will need some time to get used to its new surrounding. Always consult a vet before tranquillising your pet.
Get a health certificate from your vet 10 days before your flight’s departure. This should be done for each flight.
Flight and transfer fees
Some airline companies may require additional fees for traveling with cats and dogs of $75-$200 each way on domestic and international flights depending on the destination.
If you travel with 3 or more pets, remember that in such cases they are categorized as cargo. And because your pet is a check-in baggage, you will have to pay an additional tax of EUR 150 (or USD/CAD 200) for the animal’s care during the transfer.
Some airline companies offer animal hotels on their business class flights, where pets are given food and water and cats get fresh litter boxes.
Traveling in the hold
During your pet’s check-in you should have with you filled out checklist for transporting your pet in the hold. You can choose to take your pet to the check-in desk to be checked like a regular luggage or bring it to a separate cargo drop-off location of the airport.
During the flight the airport staff isn’t usually able to give the pets traveling in the hold food or water. If you have a Persian cat, know that they can have trouble breathing during the flight because of high temperatures and stress.
Most animals with snub noses may not be transported in the hold to avoid health issues for them but they can be put in the cabin or as cargo.
If you want to transport your cat to the hold, its carrier/travel bag needs to meet several rules:
- The cat kennel should have a fiberglass or rigid plastic shell. Airlines don’t allow kennels made of wood, metal bars or welded wire mesh.
- The kennel’s wheels must be removed before the flight. If they are retractable they must be taken off or blocked with duct tape.
- The carrier’s door should be equipped with centralised locking system that fastens the locks at the bottom and at the top of the carrier’s door.
- The 2 parts of the kennel must be joined by bolts. A locking system of other type is strictly forbidden by air carriers.
- There should be a blanket, newspaper, or other absorbent material on the floor of the kennel.
- The kennel must have either two fixed food bowls or one fixed food bowl with compartments for food and water. Most pet shops or specialist shipping agents offer such kind of kennel.
- Don’t forget to put a label to the side of the kennel with your cat’s name and feeding instructions written.
- The combined weight of your pet and kennel is more than 75 kg (165 lbs).
- The cat kennel is larger than 292 cm/115 inch.
- To transport your pet as cargo, you should ask your airline’s cargo agent. Your pet isn’t on the same flight as you are.
- Prepare your travel documents and health certificates.
- Don’forget to plan your pet’s vaccinations, travel documents and other important things in advance.
- Contact the embassies of the countries of departure, transfer and arrival to learn which documents are required and what are their rules for flights with pets.
- Also, it’s good to check if the authorities of the country you are traveling to allow the transportation of pets as cargo.