People planning to travel to or from France by plane with their pet should be aware that different airlines impose different conditions of carriage.
The Direction générale de l’Aviation civile (DGAC) advises that passengers check these conditions before buying their flight ticket, and inform the airline that they are planning on travelling with their animal as some companies only allow a certain number of pets on each flight.
It is often possible to add a pet to your flight online by managing your booking after paying for the basic ticket.
It is also advisable to call the airline at least 72 hours before the flight to confirm that your pet will be travelling with you.
Most airlines will only allow dogs or cats so if you wish to travel with a bird or a hamster, you need to check with the carrier in question.
Dogs included within Category 1 on France’s dangerous dogs list – such as pit bulls or mastiffs – are not allowed to travel by plane.
Snub-nosed dog breeds such as boxers and bulldogs should only travel if a vet decides that it is safe to do so as they often suffer from respiratory difficulties.
You must also make sure that the animal has a valid European pet passport or equivalent, and that it has had all of the necessary vaccinations and/or checks for the country you are visiting.
Some airlines will allow small animals – as well as guide dogs – into the cabin. You can find out whether this is the case by getting in touch with the airline. You should ask too for the maximum permitted animal weight.
Pets not allowed in the cabin will have to travel in the hold, not with the luggage but with a pressurised, heated and ventilated space where their cages are not allowed to move about.
The cage in which your animal travels must have ventilation holes and be big enough that the pet can turn around and lie down comfortably. You may want to fix feeders or animal water bottles to the inside, but avoid bowls which can spill their contents.
You can also label the inside of the cage with the name of the animal, their microchip number, your name, telephone number and destination address. It should be noted that chains are not allowed when travelling by air.
Individual airline rules
Air France-KLM states that an animal must be more than 15 weeks old and have had all required vaccinations up to date in order to travel.
Dogs and cats who weigh less than 8kg – including their carry case – may travel in the cabin.
Rigid cages are not allowed in the cabin so this bag must be of a specific type: sealed but with ventilation holes and not exceeding 46 x 28 x 24cm in size. This bag is considered as extra hand luggage and so will be chargeable.
For travel in the hold, the animal must be contained within a rigid cage with ventilation holes.
Each passenger may only travel with one animal, and pets are not allowed in Business class cabins on intercontinental flights.
Snub-nosed dogs and cats may not travel in the hold, Category 1 dangerous dogs are banned and those in Category 2 – such as Rottweilers and Tosas – are only permitted on freight flights.
Passengers will be charged:
€80 for putting an animal in the hold and €40 for bringing one into the cabin on domestic flights
€75 for the hold and €30 in the cabin on intra-Caribbean flights
€200 in the hold and €55 in the cabin for European and Europe-North Africa flights
€75 in the hold and €55 in the cabin for flights to certain overseas territories
€400 in the hold and €125 in the cabin for all other flights.
Small dogs, cats and domestic birds can travel in the cabin on Delta flights, normally for the price of a single ticket, to be paid at check-in.
The animal must be capable of travelling calmly in a carry case placed under the passenger’s seat.
They must also be at least 16 weeks old if travelling to the US.
Passengers may only carry one carry case each. Snub-nosed dogs and cats are not permitted.
The charge for pets is generally around €200 on international flights.
Ryanair only accepts guide dogs and other assistance dogs, and even these animals are banned on flights to or from Morocco and Israel.
EasyJet only allows guide dogs to travel on its planes, and not on flights to or from Egypt, Israel, Kosovo, Montenegro, Morocco or Turkey.
Guide dogs can travel free of charge on British Airways flights, although only a limited number of them can come into the cabin.
Any pets getting on board must be in the hold, and their transport is organised by a service called PetAir UK. Prices depend on the animal size and type.
It should be noted that emotional support dogs are classed as pets by British Airways and so cannot travel in the cabin.
Vueling will take dogs, cats, birds (except birds of prey) and tortoises in the cabin, but they must be carried in a soft case whose dimensions do not exceed 45 x 39 x 21cm and which does not weigh more than 10kg with the animal inside.
These pets are only allowed to travel if they will not disturb or prove dangerous to other passengers. Therefore, if they are likely to have accidents during the flight – for example – they should not travel.
Guide dogs are allowed on Vueling flights and are subject to different rules.
It should be noted that no animal is allowed to travel in the hold of a Vueling plane.
Vueling charges €40 for pets on domestic flights and €50 for international flights.
Transavia allows pets older than three months and 21 days to travel on board its planes. In the cabin, pets must be in a flexible carrier under the seat in front of the passenger, and should not be moved during the flight.
The carrier should measure 40 x 30 x 24cm maximum and should weigh no more than 8kg with the animal inside. It should also be fully closeable, with air holes and plastic windows allowing you to see the animal.
For a single flight, the price of bringing a pet on board is €45.
Pets can also travel in the hold in a rigid cage at a cost of €70. However, Transavia will only take two hold animals per flight, so it is advisable to book as far in advance as possible.
It should be noted that snub-nosed animals can only be transported in the cabin.
‘Fighting dogs’ such as mastiffs or pit-bulls may not travel in the cabin or in the hold.
Have you flown from France with a pet? How did the airline involved handle the travel? Share any tips and your experience via firstname.lastname@example.org