Travelling with Pets by plane, what you need to know

If you are reading this article, it means that you would like to receive more information about travelling together with your loved pet by plane in Europe or any other international destination. Many people contact us daily for needs relating to their move or simply their trip, seeking more information


If you are reading this article, it means that you would like to receive more information about travelling together with your loved pet by plane in Europe or any other international destination.

Many people contact us daily for needs relating to their move or simply their trip, seeking more information on the possibility that their flight and that of their pet may coincide.

Before getting to the heart of the article, it is however necessary to clarify a point: your furry friend can travel either by plane with you or on special cargo flights.

  •  In the first case, the procedure varies according to the airline company; there is a certain limit to the type of animals accepted on each plane and they can only travel inside IATA compliant pet kennels (the same as for the special cargo flights). Generally, it is possible for some animals (such as dogs, cats) to travel together with their mom and dad if they are under a certain weight (including their kennel). If the pet exceeds such a weight (or it is not possible to position it next to its parents), it will travel as check-in baggage and it will be handled at the terminal area of the airport (the same as for baggage). Moreover, it is not possible to check the status of the animal’s shipment in that it has not been associated to a code tracing its journey;
  • As regards the second case, animals who travel unaccompanied are handled as special cargo (not as check-in baggage). However, 99% of them travel on passenger flights, inside a pressurized, ventilated and air-conditioned hold of the plane. An extremely safe place, with an embarkation area dedicated exclusively to them, and the travel conditions are practically identical to those of passengers in cabins. In addition, they are assigned a unique tracking code so that it is possible to be updated on their travel status.

As you can see, special cargo flights are dedicated exclusively to the welfare of our little friends, which include a series of services that offer them a specific comfort. These flights need to be organized by a company specialized in the international shipment of animals, for a number of reasons:

  • A limited amount of time during which it is possible to organize the shipment;
  • The fulfillment of complex and lengthy bureaucratic paperwork;
  • The supply of a IATA compliant pet kennel, the only one which can offer your pet the proper safety and comfort;
  • The possibility to have access to reception and boarding facilities in the destination countries, through affiliated boarding structures, scrupulously selected among the IPATA members, based on strict quality standards.Travelling with your pet by plane, direct flights

Volo in aereo diretto

In direct flights, if the owner of a pet so desires, he may try to travel on the same flight as his furry friend.

In any case, it is good to know that while a passenger may purchase his/her ticket well in advance,  this is not the case for those animals travelling as special cargo.

Indeed, airline companies accept bookings with notice periods ranging between 10 to 15 days.

In any case, the best thing to do in order to organize and book a full service is to contact BLISS one or two months in advance (as specified in the FAQ).

The reason is owed to a series of circumstances which may take place, such as the change of an aircraft, the presence inside the hold of shipments requiring a temperature which is not compatible with your dog or cat (e.g. medicinal products), etc.

This is why we always advise our customers to purchase open tickets or, before purchasing them, wait for the airline company’s confirmation of their four-legged friend’s itinerary.

Travelling with your pet by plane, indirect flights

As for indirect flights, a pet’s owner surely will not be able to follow his/her furry friend through the entire trip.

Indeed, according to the IATA regulations on four-legged animals, when the plane transporting  animals travelling as special cargo stops in an airport, these animals must be transferred to a dedicated transit area, where they can receive, as a practice, the proper sanitary and veterinary assistance.

Always according to the IATA regulations, this assistance transit phase must last a minimum of 6 hours.

Moreover, it is necessary to consider that the animal must reach its final destination in such a time frame which makes it possible to guarantee the assistance.

It is for this reason that the animals departing from European airports, (such as, for example, Italy, Spain, Portugal) with destination Oceania or America, always make an overnight stay at the transit airport (such as Frankfurt, Amsterdam or London).

It is so because if the animal departed immediately after the 6-hour transit, it would reach destination at a time in which it would not receive any assistance, meaning that the airport of destination would not give its clearance to the embarkation of the dog or cat on a specific flight.

Why is it important to rely on a specialized company?

Whether you want to fly together with your furry friend or on a separate flight, in order to ensure a safe and comfortable trip as well as a trip 100% oriented towards the welfare of your pet, it is necessary to adopt the appropriate measures for the organization of the journey. For example: the bureaucratic paperwork required for the shipment of an animal abroad are quite complex and lengthy. These and other operations may be carried out exclusively by a serious, competent and trustworthy company, who will meticulously organize the entire journey.

Bliss Pet Services is a leader in the international shipment of pets and its presence at European level, with 4 offices in Germany, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland,  is very important. Relying on us for your furry friend’s journey means that you will be able to offer it a 5-star service for any destination worldwide!

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