Travelling With Your Pets? Here’s What You Need to Know Before You Book That Flight

Taking a trip with your furry friend can be a fun adventure. However, flying with pets requires careful planning, from understanding airline policies to ensuring your pet’s comfort during the journey.

As a pet owner, the last thing we want is for our beloved pet to go missing during a flight. We’ve heard stories of pets getting lost or not being properly checked into the cargo. It begs the question, should we check our pets in as cargo or can they come with us in the cabin if we buy a ticket? To help you navigate this, here’s a guide that pet owners should know before booking the next flight.

1. Understand Airline’s Pet Policy

It is important to check with your airline before your trip to understand their specific rules and regulations regarding traveling with pets.

Usually the pets allowed in cabin are dogs and cats, weighing less than 8kg. Majority of the airlines actually transport pets as cargo and only certified service pets can be allowed in the cabin. There is usually a fee to bring a pet in the cabin, which can range from $50 to $200. If your furry friends are too big, they will need to travel in the cargo hold.

However, there may be restrictions based on the pet’s size, breed, and the availability of space on the flight. For some airlines, they may require a health certificate from your veterinarian for your pet.

To book a pet-friendly cabin with certain airlines, like Singapore Airlines, reach out to their reservations team. During the flight, your furry friend must stay in a carrier placed under the seat in front of you.

2. Invest in a Compliant Pet Carrier

Airlines usually have specific carrier requirements. The carrier should be well-ventilated, leak-proof, secure, and big enough for your pet to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Label the carrier with your contact information and a sign saying “Live Animal.” Typically, airlines will provide you with a list of criteria for your pet carrier.

3. Health Checks and Vaccinations

Before travelling, ensure your pet is fit to fly. Schedule a check-up with your vet to confirm that your pet is healthy enough for air travel. Most airlines require a health certificate issued by a vet within a certain timeframe before travel.

4. Choose a Direct Flight

Direct flights are generally less stressful for your pet as there are fewer disturbances and changes in environment. If possible, opt for a non-stop, direct flight to minimise travel time and potential mishaps during transfers.

5. Minimise Stress

Air travel can be stressful for pets. Try to keep their routine as normal as possible in the days leading up to the flight. To help your pet remain calm during the flight, make their carrier comfortable. Include a familiar blanket or toy, and consider using a pheromone spray to create a soothing environment in the carrier.

6. Pack essentials

Pack essentials like food, water, a leash, waste bags, and any necessary medications. Some airlines might require you to attach food and water dishes to the inside of the carrier.

7. Consider Your Pet’s Needs

Plan for your pet’s bathroom needs, especially for long flights. Some airports have pet relief areas where you can take your pet before and after the flight.

8. Keep them hydrated

Before the flight, try limiting your pet’s food intake to prevent air sickness. However, it’s important to keep them well hydrated. It’s not recommended for your furry friend to fly on a full stomach. On the day of the flight, feed your pet a little less than usual, at least 4 to 6 hours before the flight.

9. Arrival Check

Upon arrival, check your pet immediately. If anything seems off or if your pet becomes ill after the flight, consult a vet immediately.

Travelling with pets by flight can be a complex process, but with careful planning, you can ensure a safe and comfortable journey for your furry friend. Always remember that every pet is unique, so consider your pet’s personality and health when deciding whether to bring them along on your travels.

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