There’s so many things that we’re able to do here in Europe with a dog, that we couldn’t do in Australia, including flying with our dog in the cabin. Just like when we flew from Australia to Europe with our dog, dogs aren’t allowed in the cabin on shorter domestic flights in Australia. But here in Europe (outside of the UK and Ireland), many airlines offer the option to fly with small dogs in the cabin, including Vueling.
Initially, we were looking to take the train from Barcelona to Paris (about a 6 hour journey), but when we found all 2nd class seats were sold out and the 1st class tickets were quite expensive, we looked at flying instead. I haven’t found a comprehensive list of what airlines allow dogs in the cabin. I know most budget airlines (such as Ryanair and Easyjet) don’t allow dogs in the cabin. But then I found out about Vueling. Vueling Airlines is the discount subsidiary of Iberia and is based in Barcelona. And since last year they allow dogs in the cabin for a small fee!
Can Your Dog Fly in the Cabin with Vueling?
The main consideration of whether your dog can fly in the cabin with you on Vueling (and most other airlines) is weight. The maximum weight of your dog plus their carrier is 8kg. Additionally, they must be in an approved, non-rigid pet-carrier that doesn’t exceed 45x39x21cm in dimensions.
We already had a soft pet-carrier that we had bought Schnitzel for travelling on trains. It roughly matched the maximum dimensions, but we weren’t sure whether it was “approved”. In reality, when we turned up to check-in to our flight, they barely looked at the carrier.
It’s also a requirement to travel with their immunisation records (for a domestic flight) or their passport (for international flights). Again in reality, this wasn’t checked for us. Perhaps if we had been flying in or out of the European Union this would have been checked.
For full details on Vueling’s requirements, click here.
How to Book Your Dog’s Flight with Vueling and Ticket Costs
To book your dog on your Vueling flight, firstly just select your flight and enter your contact details as normal. Then at the 3rd step (“Customise your flight”, where you also have the option to book luggage and seat selection), at the bottom of the page there is the option to “Add a Pet”. Just check the box, and you’ll be notified of the price. Only a single pet is able to be added per passenger.
Ticket prices for pets travelling on Vueling are quite straight-forward. On domestic flights a pet costs €25, while on international flights and flights to and from the Canary Islands a pet costs €40.
One important note when booking the flight, is you have to book a Basic fare (the cheapest fare). This is probably because with an Optima fare (the next most expensive one) seat selection if included (as well as check-in luggage). When flying with a pet you cannot select your seat in advance or check-in online: you have to check-in at the airport in person.
Finally, only 2 pets are allowed per flight. While it’s unlikely you’ll come up against this limit, either book in advance or be prepared to be flexible about the exact flight.
Arriving at the Airport with Your Dog
As noted above, when flying with your dog you’ll need to check-in in person at the airport. Allow extra time for this when arriving at the airport.
When we flew out of Barcelona airport, we found the check-in queue to be very long. Luckily though, the line moved fairly quickly, with good control at the front of the line. Additionally, we found that our dog, Schnitzel, attracted lots of attention from other passengers in the line. Chatting to people about being able to fly with him and letting him be patted took up a lot of the queuing time!
We breezed through check-in, with little attention being paid to the fact we were travelling with a dog. When next passing through the security check, Schnitzel walked through with one of us, while his carrier bag went in the screening machine.
Finally, before boarding the flight, we looked for an outdoor area. At Barcelona Airport there’s an outdoor area with a few cafes, just past the McDonald’s (mainly for smokers, of course). We encouraged him to do his business, even though it was a short flight.
Flying on the Plane With Your Dog
While Schnitzel was allowed to walk around the airport on a leash, while on the flight he had to stay in his carrier bag at all times. As we were about to head on board, we zipped him up and carried him on.
On board the flight, your dog in their pet-carrier needs to go on the floor. Either in between your legs or under the seat in front of you – the main reason for the small maximum dimensions of their carrier bag.
We partially put Schnitzel’s bag under the seat in front of us. It was quite tricky to do so, as we discovered for the first time that it had a piece of velcro-strip on the bottom. Quite handy to stop his bag moving around once it was in position, but making it tricky to slide into place! Luckily though, our flight wasn’t that full, and we had an extra seat in our row to spread out over.
On the flight, Schnitzel only gave a single quiet bark. We were worried about him barking, particularly on take-off, but he was very quiet, and most people wouldn’t have realised there was a dog on the plane. A toddler a few seats behind was far noisier! Luckily, also, it was only a 2 hour flight, meaning it was over quite quickly and he didn’t get restless.
Flying with Schnitzel in the cabin was a great experience, and one that we’ll be happy to repeat. It was quite cheap, in particular flying with Vueling Airlines, and easier than we expected. We recommend flying with Vueling to anyone travelling around Europe with a small dog.