Pet Travel Questions

Here are a few frequently asked questions for your pet's trip. If there you have an unaswered question about dog travel or cat travel please drop us a line or call- we're always happy to chat about moving your pet abroad.

"Where in the aircraft will my pet go?"

Pets are placed in “hold 5”, at the rear of the plane. It is part of the cargo area underneath the cabin, but it is separated and it is heated. It is kept at the same temperature and pressure as the cabin, since the captain is notified of animals on board, and will make sure of this.

"What will my pet be travelling in on the flight?"

Your pet will need to fly in a flight kennel made to IATA specifications, with enough room inside for the pet to stand up, turn around and lie-down in. Boxes can be made out of plastic or the appropriate kind of wood, and will need a water bowl and funnel for pet travel. We can supply you with a flight kennel or if you have your own, and it is suitable, we can fly your pet in that crate.

If you are travelling regularly with your pet then we would always recommend a plastic pet carrier - these are the easiest to store and the easiest to clean. However for big dogs these are just not suitable- get in touch with us and we'll put a price together to includ an appropriately sized wooden crate.

"Can I take my pet as excess baggage?"

Few airlines operate this procedure, which involves the owner checking their pet in with their luggage at the terminal. Basically the box with the pet in will be treated like a surfboard or bike and will be charged solely at a per kilo rate for excess baggage. This is normally arranged by the person on the flight, although we can help with supplying a flight kennel if required, or delivery to the terminal. Pets travelling as excess baggage also travel in the hold of the aircraft.

"Can I take my pet in the cabin?"

Pets are not allowed in the cabin with the passengers. This may be possible with internal flights in other countries but all pets entering the UK must travel as manifested cargo- some airlines may allows pets in the cabin or as excess baggage on flights out of the UK.

"Does anyone look after the pets?"

Pets are kept separate in the warehouse at the airline to keep them calm, and once they are put in the aircraft no-one is able to monitor them, since the hold is inaccessible. Pets are treated as a priority and should be put on last and taken off first. In the case of the long-haul flights with transfers the pets are checked at any refuel/transfer points and their water bowls are replenished. The pets are not let out- not only because they could run away, but also due to quarantine regulations. If the pets appear unwell they will be let out, but only as a last measure to allow veterinary access.

"Is it stressful?"

Whilst the initial part of the trip – arrival at JCS, separation from the owner, vet examination, X-ray, delivery to airline and subsequent delivery to the aircraft- is undoubtedly stressful for the pet, once they are in the aircraft and used to the noise, they will just tend to sleep through the flight. They will realise that not only can they not get out, but nothing can get into their crate, so they are safe. In the absence of stimuli the pet will “shut down” and sleep for the flight. Cats especially will not be bothered by the flight. Experience from working on imports at the Animal Reception Centre will teach you that pets getting off of a long-haul flight look better than their owners!

"Should I sedate my pet?"

Answer No! Sedation is not allowed:

  • The pet may wake up in the hold if not sedated properly for the duration of the trip, and that would be very stressful.
  • Sedation dehydrates pets.
  • Sedation at a vet’s is a complicated procedure based on weight and muscle mass- it takes more sedation to keep a greyhound still compared to a Poodle of the same weight- and during sedation for operations pets are monitored for the process. Add pressure to the equation and it’s almost impossible to work out the right dose.

There are some homeopathic sprays that can be used in crates to calm the animals, but the client should check with their vet to be supplied with one- the pet may not like the smell and it should be tested on the pet prior to travel in case of any side effects.

"Will the X-ray harm my pet?"

The X-ray used for security screening is less powerful than hospital machines, so it will not harm the pet. It is unavoidable - pets must be x-rayed.

"Can I put a litter tray in the flight kennel?"

It will not be possible for your cat to travel with a litter tray - this could cause damage to both the flight kennel and your cat. As you know, cats are very clean animals. If they must go in the box they will, but they will aim to sit in a different area.

"Food and drink?"

We would recommend that you skip your pet’s meal prior to the flight for your pet. If they are flying in the evening then we would recommend that they only have a light breakfast. They will be fine for the flight, even if it is a long one- it’s only us humans that need to eat all the time!

We will provide them with water for the flight in the form of an ice block in their water bowl (attached to the front of the crate). This avoids them drinking all of the water on one go, and means that the water doesn’t slosh around during check in, transit to the ‘plane and take off.

"Collars and leads?"

If you would like to leave your dog with a lead and collar it gives us the opportunity to give your dog a walk just before we take him or her to the airline. We will then attach the lead and collar to the outside of the box. Note: Please don’t put your best lead with your dog- whilst we will secure it to the box as well as we can, there is still the chance that the lead could be lost in transit.


You are welcome to put bedding in with your pet, as long as it’s not too bulky- the pet will need 3-4 inches clearance above its head to be allowed on the flight, including the bedding. Their own bedding will help to calm them down, or you could put a t-shirt or pillow case in with them with your scent on- this makes them feel at home during pet travel.


If the medication is necessary during the journey, it will not be possible to medicate the pet. You should check with your vet to make sure the pet can last the duration of the flight (and if the pet should fly at all).

If your pet requires medication, we are able to attach it to the flight kennel (accompanied by a vet letter stating the medication and the dosage) but we cannot guarantee that the medication will reach the destination. As a result, we strongly recommend that you source medication at the destination so that whoever collects your dog has the medication handy.

"Pre-flight Exercise?"

If possible, we recommend taking your dog for a long walk prior to travel. With evening flights, we might be able to fit this in with your check-in schedule, so please discuss this with a member of our staff.


If microchipping is not required for the trip, then we would strongly recommend that you have your dog microchipped. If the dog is microchipped, you should contact the microchip company and re-register the dog at your new address. If the worst happens and your dog gets lost, then it will make it easier for you to be re-united with your pet.

"Can I put a toy in with my pet?"

If the toy could be considered to be a choking hazard, then the toy can’t travel.

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