It doesn’t matter if you are planning a hiking adventure or going to spend Christmas with your parents, traveling with your four-legged friend can be challenging. To avoid arriving at the airport and being faced with a nasty surprise, make sure to know the exact policy of your airline. Below are some basic regulations of big European Airlines.

Pets traveling by Air France

Whether your furry friend can travel with you in the cabin or has to go with your luggage depends on its weight. In-cabin passengers can go up to 7.7 kg including their career. The carrier should measure 45cm x 24cm x 28cm and be big enough for your pet to stand up and turn around in. The carrier has to have a waterproof bottom and adequate ventilation.

Pet’s and carrier that is more than 7.7 kg and up to 75 kg have to be check-in. This has to be done a minimum of two hours before your flight. Should you have a layover, count in extra time, because you will be required to claim and check them in again. If you happen to be a little more exotic and your pet is not a cat or a dog, they will have to be checked-in regardless of weight.

Guide and Comfort dogs do not have a weight limit and in both cases may travel with you in the cabin. Make sure you notify the airline a minimum of 48 hours in advance!

British Airways fliers

Unfortunately, British Airways isn’t as friendly as Air France when it comes to pet travel. Cabins are 100% pet free regardless of weight. The only exception to this rule is a guide and certified assistance dogs. Comfort dogs are sadly not included in this exemption, so if you rely on your pet to fly, you may have to consider another carrier. Animals are handled by IAG World Cargo, the sister company of British Airways.

Cats, Dogs and the bunch on Lufthansa

The German carrier is similar to Air France with a few dimensional differences. The box has to be 55cm x 40cm x 23cm, watertight, bite proof, and in combination with its furry content weigh no more than 8 kg. Again, the only animals allowed in the cabin are cats and dogs, with the added restriction of a maximum of two animals per passenger. Larger animals, as well as other breeds, are required to go into the cargo hold. Special regulations apply to what they classify as fighting breeds, so even if your Rottweiler couldn’t hurt a fly, make sure to check if these rules apply to you. Guide and service dogs are allowed in the cabin regardless of size but have to be registered well in advance.

Restrictive Ryanair

If you thought British Airways were tough, Ryanair is not your choice for pet travel. No live animals are permitted to fly in the cabin, nor in the cargo hold. The only exceptions are guide and assistance animals, but these have to be able to provide a pet passport or an official veterinary health certificate. All in all – for your pet, Ryanair is a little restrictive.

Other Airlines           

Obviously, there are plenty of other Airlines in Europe alone that you can choose from. Some of them include KLM, easyJet, Flybe, Turkish Airlines and Thomas Cook to name a few. Whichever airline you travel with, make sure you have a good look at their policies first. If in doubt just give them a call. Better safe than sorry.