Traveling with your pet in the EU? Air travel VS a Road Trip OR both?

Posted by Andrea ,Jan 10, 2023
Traveling with your pet in the EU? Air travel VS a Road Trip OR both?


Decisions, decisions! If you are preparing to relocate within the EU, you will no doubt at some point be feeling totally overwhelmed. Your loved ones including your beloved pet will experience the ripple effect of your stress and be spying out boxes and bags and wondering why are they non stop with the spring cleaning, it was fun but now it’s starting to freak me out! And that’s way before the actual departure date. There is a lot to consider. Maybe it’s not so dramatic and you are off on a holiday but would rather take your pet along than spend your time away worrying about your baby in a kennel or at home mostly alone.

The deciding factor on how you are inevitably going to get your pet to the desired destination is your time and budget. There are pet travel companies specialising in a door to door ‘cargo hold’ service, which may be the most practical ‘and expensive’ approach and certainly worth investigating. I cannot personally recommend any, so I won’t. If door to door service is not on your horizon keep reading. The hassle of pet air travel in cabin and in the cargo hold is a rigorous feat. The last thing you want after all that effort is to have your pet being quarantined or re-exported at your own cost. 

Firstly you will a need a pet passport, jet set styling with your pet is possible via The Pet Travel Scheme ("PETS") which is a system that allows pets to travel freely between member countries without undergoing quarantine.  A Pet Passport is an official document that records information related to a specific animal. The effect is to drastically speed up and simplify travel with pets between member countries if the regulations are followed. See here who are the member countries?

 Basic requirement for the pet travel scheme for entry or re-entry into the UK include:

Your pet being microchipped (if your pet has a pre-existing microchip, it is a good idea to check the location of the chip in case it has moved over time. Your vet can do this for you).
Your pet must have received a rabies vaccination (a minimum of 21 days before travel).
The correct paperwork must accompany the pet. You can apply for a Pet Passport at your nearest official veterinarian (ask at your practice for your nearest one). They will need to fill out the relevant sections. Make sure that it has all been filled out accurately to prevent hold ups during the flying process.
In the case of pet dogs, they must be wormed within 24- 48 hours of travel. Make sure your vet stamps the date in the passport!

Once that is sorted, you must  ensure you have an approved airline pet carrier and check your route is an authorised one.

Some airlines will allow In cabin pet travel within the EU, while others only allow your pets in the cargo hold. Sadly pets cannot arrive or depart from the UK In-cabin! The only exception being if you have a registered assistance dog or guide dog,
British Airways will gladly have your best friend in cabin free of charge.

 An alternative could be to travel via the Eurotunnel in or out of the UK with connecting flights depending on your travel plan. In Cabin pet friendly airlines include Lufthansa and KLM. In Cabin pet travel is exclusive to smaller pets up to 8kg for both airlines including the weight of your airline approved pet carrier.

You will need to access your dogs size, most airlines require that they can stand up and turn around in the carrier. Puppies are required to be at least 8 weeks old to fly. The carrier will be stowed under the seat in front of you. Once you are airborne you can pull the carrier out into your leg room and offer treats and assuring pats. A carrier that allows you to see down into to it at your feet and has a zipper would be ideal.

Carrier must be made of water-repellent material (in case of accidents), it must have padding, and it must have at least two large ventilation panels. 
If your pet only sees the carrier when it's being taken to the vet, it will not be regarded as a cozy den. Spend some time in the weeks before your first flight taking your pet in the carrier on short trips. Leave it out so your dog or cat can get used to the smells and curl up for naps in it.

If possible, book a non-stop flight, if you have a lay-over make sure it is at least one and half hours to give your pet some relief from the pet carrier. Airlines limit the number of in cabin pets on any given flight. Call reservations at least 48 hours before departure and let them know you are travelling with your pet. You will need to allow at least 90 minutes before boarding to get through the check in procedures with your pet. 
If jet setting with your pet is not an option and you have the luxury of time, plan the scenic route all the way - here are some tips for a winding road trip with your canine or feline.

Andrea is a writer, digital marketer and content creator with a passion for all things related to pets. Her expertise lies in the realm of pet travel, she explores topics such as pets in the workplace, adventurous trips with canine companions, and pet travel within the EU. Andrea collaborates with Street Vet to help dog owners find ideal dog strollers for their beloved companions.