Flying Vueling with a dog

Flying Vueling with a Dog: Schnitzel Flies to Paris

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.

Schnitzel in Bag
Schnitzel in his pet-carrier. He’s actually quite happy to climb in it!

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.

Dog Catching Train to Airport
Catching the train to Barcelona Airport with Schnitzel

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.

Dog at Eiffel Tower
Schnitzel after his arrival in Paris

Our Verdict?

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.

4 thoughts on “Flying Vueling with a Dog: Schnitzel Flies to Paris

  1. Thank you for this great article.
    We have Tilly. A 4.2 kg Schweenie ( Shitzu & mini Dach cross).
    At present we drive from Manchester UK to Alicante via the Tunnel ( great for pets ) but would love to fly with her. Does anyone know what the best route would be please ?
    Best wishes
    Peter

    1. Hi Peter,

      Tilly sounds like a real sweetie! Unfortunately, dogs aren’t able to fly in the cabin in the UK, and I haven’t heard of any plans to change this rule. If you were okay with checking her into the hold, while Vueling doesn’t offer this service, other airlines such as British Airways do.

      If you didn’t want to this, another alternative would be to take a train to Newhaven via London (about 4hr), take the DFDS ferry across to Dieppe (about 4hr), then the train to Paris (about 2hr), then take the direct Vueling flight from Paris Orly to Alicante. I’ve written about the DFDS ferry in this post. It’d be a long day or two, but your best option if you wanted to leave your car behind.

      Hope this helps,
      Shandos

      1. Hi Shandos
        We have frequent traveller tickets for the Channel tunnel ( £40.00 per crossing + £18.00 per dog ). We want to leave our vehicle at an airport then fly from as near to Calais as possible. Then to Alicante or Murcia airport. It’s a great drive to the Costa Blanca but a 1500 mile round trip. Veuling could be a great alternative. Whatever happened to trains that you could put your car in ?
        Best wishes
        Pete

        1. In case anyone has the same question, as we discussed on FB, both Vueling and Brussels Airlines fly direct from Brussels (the closest major airpot to Calais) to Alicante airport. Brussel Airlines also allow pets in the cabin, all their info is on this page: https://www.brusselsairlines.com/en-be/practical-information/travel-info/before-the-flight/luggage-info/travelling-with-animals/default.aspx. Ryanair also fly direct but don’t allow pets.

          Alternatively, Paris is a bit further away, of which I can only find Vueling that flies direct and allows pets in the cabin. They only fly from Orly, which I thought was a great airport when I passed through. I thought Air France (which allows pets in the cabin) might fly the route, but they go via Amsterdam. The same with KLM.

          Peter – Enjoy your time in Alicante!

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