Flying with Dogs United Kingdom

Which UK Airlines Allow Pets Onboard?

Pets on UK airlines

Unlike elsewhere in Europe, most airlines in the UK don’t allow pets to fly in the cabin or even as check-in baggage. While most flag-carrier airlines in Europe and even many European budget airlines allow pets to fly in the cabin, this is not allowed on most UK airlines, due to government regulations. So, what are the rules when it comes to flying with pets in the cabin and as cargo, for each of the ten UK airlines?

Last Updated: 25th February 2019 (removed FlyBMI)

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Do Any UK Airlines Allow Pets in the Cabin?

Unfortunately, no UK airline allows pets to fly in the cabin (at least any airline that flies in and out of commercial airports). The only animals that are permitted to fly in the cabin are registered assistance dogs. The rules and processes are slightly different for each airline, but check out these guidelines from British Airways for an example. Assistance dogs may still not be allowed on all routes (for example, only on international routes flying to approved airports). Additionally, emotional service dogs are specifically excluded by at least British Airways, Thomas Cook Airlines and Wizz Air UK.

This restriction also applies to airlines from other countries flying into the UK. No pets are permitted to fly in the cabin on any flight into the UK, or even as checked baggage. However, there are a small handful of airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin or as checked baggage when leaving the UK. (Many airlines simply don’t allow pets in both directions.) I’ve listed them in this post.

Note: Some small airlines that can only fly less than 20 passengers, that I didn’t include in this article, may allow pets to travel in the cabin. An example is the Skybus to the Isles of Scilly, off Cornwall, England. Click here for more details.

which airlines allow pets in cabin uk

The popular destination of Tenerife

Do Any UK Airlines Allow Pets as Checked Baggage?

The regional Scottish airline Loganair allows pets to travel as checked baggage on most domestic flights, and pet dogs and pet cats to also fly as checked baggage on most international flights, as long as regulations permit their arrival at the destination. (Otherwise they need to fly as cargo – it isn’t clear, but this probably applies when flying into the UK.) The advantage of flying with a pet as checked baggage is that you can simply drop off and pick up your pet at the passenger terminal.

The Irish flag-carrier, Aer Lingus, also allows pets to travel as checked baggage on flights within Ireland and Britain. Read more about their policy.

Which UK Airlines Accept Pets as Cargo?

Out of the remaining nine UK airlines, just over half of them allow pets to travel as cargo, both on domestic flights and international flights in and out of the country. This includes: British Airways, FlyBe, Thomas Cook Airlines, TUI Airways, and Virgin Atlantic. In contrast, all pets except for assistance dogs, are never permitted on flights operated by these un-pet-friendly airlines: Eastern Airways, EasyJet, Jet2 and Wizz Air UK.

Note that if you are transporting your pet as cargo on a plane, usually you will need to book separately for your pet through the cargo company that handles the airline’s cargo. Plus, you will need to drop off and pick up your pet at the cargo terminal, which is usually not adjacent to the passenger terminal. Allow extra time and be aware of the procedures.

Pet Policy for Every UK Airline

British Airways
Eastern Airways
EasyJet
FlyBe
Jet2
Loganair
Thomas Cook Airlines
TUI Airways
Virgin Atlantic
Wizz Air UK

British Airways

Pets Allowed Onboard? Cargo only

The British flag-carrier airline, with extensive international connections, British Airways doesn’t allow pets to travel in the cabin, or as checked baggage, except that recognised assistance dogs are allowed in the cabin. All other pets, including emotional support animals, need to travel in the climate-controlled hold as cargo. This can be booked through IAG Cargo. The one exception is on flights operated within Europe by SUN-AIR under the British Airways brand, where pets in a very small carrier up to 6kg are allowed in the cabin, except for on flights to the UK. Click here for full details.

Dogs on planes UK

A British Airways plane in Barcelona

Eastern Airways

Pets Allowed Onboard? No

A small airline headquartered at Humberside Airport in North Lincolnshire, Eastern Airways does not permit any pets on board their flights, other than guide-dogs for passengers for disabilities. For further details on their baggage policy, click here.

EasyJet

Pets Allowed Onboard? No

The largest airline in the UK based on passenger numbers, the low-cost airline Easyjet services over 820 routes to 30 countries. Unfortunately, you can’t take your pet along on that discounted flight, with no animals allowed apart from recognised registered guide and assistance dogs. Click here for their policy.

FlyBe

Pets Allowed Onboard? Cargo only

FlyBe is the largest independent regional carrier in Europe, operating from the two main hubs of Manchester and Birmingham airports in England. No dogs are permitted in the cabin or as checked baggage. (Just assistance dogs on all domestic routes and on international routes departing from five airports.) But pets can fly in the hold as cargo, on flights from selected airports. Cargo operations are handled through Air Logistics Group. Click here and here for more information.

which airlines allow pets in cabin uk

Ironbridge Gorge, near Birmingham

Jet2

Pets Allowed Onboard? No

While Jet2 used to permit pets on-board, this airline no longer allows any pets to fly on their flights, except for registered assistance dogs on all UK domestic flights and international flights where permitted, booked through their Assistance Team. Jet2 is based out of Leeds Bradford Airport. Click here for further information on their policy.

Loganair

Pets Allowed Onboard? Checked baggage or cargo

A regional airline based in Scotland servicing 28 destinations in the UK, Channel Islands, the Republic of Ireland and Norway, Loganair is the most pet-friendly of all the UK airlines. This is the only airline that permits pets to travel as checked baggage, both on domestic flights and international flights where permitted. (It isn’t explicitly stated on the website, but this probably excludes flights into the UK. However, domestic flights are defined as those in the common travel area of the UK, including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and the Republic of Ireland.) On international flights, pets other than dogs and cats and where the rules don’t permit pets to travel as checked baggage, they can travel as cargo.

Note that there are some exceptions, including three types of aircraft (probably due to being too small), and bookings are subject to available space. You need to complete a form at the airport, plus there is a charge of £50 one-way. Additionally, assistance dogs accompanying disabled passengers can travel in the cabin. For their pet policy, click here, plus for further details, click here.

pet friendly airlines uk

John O’Groats in the north of Scotland

Thomas Cook Airlines

Pets Allowed Onboard? Cargo only

While mainly providing flights to Thomas Cook tours, Thomas Cook Airlines also provides direct customer bookings on a seat-only basis. And while pets aren’t permitted in the cabin or as checked baggage, they will be accept for travel as cargo in the cargo hold. Cargo bookings are handled through AIA Cargo. Additionally, assistance dogs are welcome in the cabin, as long as requirements are met and ideally you have booked at least 48 hours before your flight, although emotional support dogs are not allowed in the cabin. Click here for their pet policy.

TUI Airways

Pets Allowed Onboard? Cargo only

Formerly known as Thomson Airways, TUI Airways also mainly operates flights on behalf of tour operators. Additionally, pets can be carried on most TUI flights in the cargo hold, which is noted as being temperature and pressure controlled. The booking should be made through AIA Cargo. When it comes to assistance dogs, it needs to be registered through one of five types of charities. For further details, click here.

Note that TUI Airways in the UK is not the same as TUI in Europe, that does allow animals up to 6kg to be carried in the cabin and larger animals to fly in the hold as checked baggage.

Virgin Atlantic

Pets Allowed Onboard? Cargo only

A full-service airline flying to destinations scattered around the globe, Virgin Atlantic doesn’t permit pets to fly in the cabin or as checked baggage, but does transport pets as cargo. Bookings are organised through Virgin Atlantic Cargo, and pets are transported in a secured, heated and air-conditioned compartment. Bookings are permitted to and from selected destinations, with some restrictions on time of the week from some destinations (e.g. no pet transport on flights leaving the UK on a Saturday or Sunday). Some destinations also require the use of an agent, and there are certain breeds not allowed on board for health or safety reasons. Alternatively, assistance animals are permitted to travel in the cabin. Click here and here for their full pet policy.

Wizz Air UK

Pets Allowed Onboard? No

A fairly new operation, Wizz Air UK is a subsidiary of the Hungarian budget airline, Wizz Air, operating flights to and from Luton Airport. Just like with its parent company, pets are not permitted on Wizz Air UK flights. The only exception is for guide dogs accompanied by the required documentation. Emotional support animals are also explicitly excluded. Click here for more details.

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UK Airline Pet Policies

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    GSE Solutions
    January 15, 2019 at 2:26 am

    Thanks for sharing your blog post! I regularly travel for business and sometimes feel bad that I’ve had to leave my pooch at home. Although our pets aren’t allowed to fly with us it’s interesting to read a blog that is written for both travellers and pet-lovers! Willow at GSE Solutions.

    • Reply
      Shandos
      January 19, 2019 at 7:51 pm

      Great to hear! Thanks Willow

  • Reply
    Pet Travel Lover
    May 27, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Thanks for this list. I’ll be sure to share it my friend’s website. He offers exactly this type of information for U.S. airlines. https://www.dogsonplanes.com/airlines/

    • Reply
      Shandos
      May 27, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Thanks!

      • Reply
        Sharon
        July 18, 2019 at 6:08 am

        Hi, looking to travel from Scotland to Gran Canaria with 3 small / medium dogs, any ideas if this can be achievable?
        Kind regards
        Sharon

        • Reply
          Shandos
          July 18, 2019 at 11:38 am

          Iberia Express flies to Edinburgh and Gran Canaria, and transports dogs in both the cabin and hold when leaving the UK (although keep in mind you’ll need to find another route if you return to the UK). I would call up and double check, in case the information on their website is out of date.

          However, you may have an issue due to number of pets you have. There is a restriction on 2 pets in the hold. Hopefully at least one of your dogs can travel in the cabin, or else if there’s two of you, then fly on separate flights. Here’s their full pet policy: https://www.iberiaexpress.com/en/general-info/passenger-information/before-you-go/travelling-with-pets.

  • Reply
    Lisa
    July 6, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    How can I travel from Amsterdam to Belfast with my malteser?

    • Reply
      Shandos
      July 9, 2019 at 11:10 am

      Sorry for the delay in replying Lisa – this is a tricky one!

      Firstly, dogs can’t fly in the cabin flying into the UK, they can only fly as cargo. Additionally, for dogs travelling to Belfast, ideally they travel first to the rest of the UK or to the Republic of Ireland, otherwise you need to apply for an Import Authorisation (see the final section in https://travelnuity.com/taking-a-dog-to-northern-ireland/).

      One alternative may be to firstly fly to Dublin then take the train to Belfast. The Republic of Ireland doesn’t ban dogs from flying in the cabin, but many airlines still don’t permit it, the same as flying to the UK. I couldn’t find any airlines that clearly specify online they allow dogs in the cabin on flights to Ireland, but I would try talking to KLM – they didn’t mention either way and they’re usually pretty dog-friendly. Once in Dublin, the Irish Rail service from Dublin to Belfast allows small dogs to travel for free.

      The final (and slow) option if you want to avoid flying cargo, would be to take the overland route to Belfast. A ferry to England (either the DFDS Ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle, with dog-friendly cabins, or the Stena Line Ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich, with kennels), then trains in England (dogs are allowed for free), then a ferry to Northern Ireland (I cover all the ferries in this post: https://travelnuity.com/taking-a-dog-to-northern-ireland/). Or after taking a ferry to England, Aer Lingus will accept pets within the UK and Ireland as checked baggage, rather than cargo, if you’re happy with this option.

      Hope this helps!

      • Reply
        Shandos
        July 9, 2019 at 11:11 am

        Also – don’t forget that your dog will need a worming treatment between 24 hours and 5 days of arriving in the UK/Ireland, recorded in your pet passport.

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