Given that it’s an island, the easiest way to travel to and from Ireland is by flying. This includes if you’re travelling with a dog, especially a dog small enough to fly in the cabin. While the United Kingdom has a strict ban on pet dogs flying into the country in the cabin, there is no such prohibition in the Republic of Ireland, although not all airlines offer the option. Find out more about flying to Ireland with a dog.
Are Dogs Allowed to Fly To Ireland?
Like many people, I used to have the erroneous belief that dogs aren’t allowed to fly in the cabin or as checked baggage on flights into the Republic of Ireland, the same as for the United Kingdom. However, this is not true about flying to Ireland with a dog (or at least not true these days, perhaps the rules have changed).
Dogs don’t need to fly as cargo into the Republic of Ireland. They can fly in the cabin or larger dogs can fly as checked baggage, if the airline allows.
According to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, “it is up to the airline to decide whether to carry the animal in the cabin or as excess baggage” (as previously stated on the Department of Agriculture website). There is no obligation to use a cargo handling company, it is “a matter for the airlines to decide how the pet is carried”.
What About Flights Out of Ireland?
Dogs are also allowed to fly out of Republic of Ireland in the cabin or as checked baggage. There is no need for dogs to fly as cargo when leaving Ireland.
However, there is one caveat that applies for dogs flying out of Dublin Airport. Since July 2021, pets have no longer been able to fly as excess baggage on flights departing the airport. However, this is due to an “upgrade” of their baggage system, not a rule change.
As of early 2023, this issue has still not been rectified, and there is no indication when it will be, or even if it will ever be fixed. The alternative for larger pets departing Dublin Airport is to fly as cargo, which is not affected by the baggage system restrictions.
Note also that pets are still fine to arrive at Dublin Airport flying as excess baggage. Plus pets can both fly into and out of Dublin Airport in the cabin.
Are There Any Pet-Friendly Airlines in Ireland?
There are two main Irish airlines: Aer Lingus and Ryanair. Neither airline is pet-friendly, with neither airline allowing pets in the cabin or as excess baggage, whether on flights within Ireland or to and from Ireland.
Aer Lingus is the flag-carrier airline of the Republic of Ireland. Only trained service dogs are allowed in the cabin, subject to certain conditions. Previously they flew pets as excess baggage on selected flights, but Aer Lingus now only flys pets as cargo, booked through IAG Cargo.
The Irish budget airline Ryanair does not permit pets to fly at all. Only guide and assistance dogs are permitted to fly on selected routes. There is no option to fly pets as cargo.
Which Airlines Fly Pets To and From Ireland?
So, given that neither Aer Lingus or Ryanair permit pets to travel in the cabin or as excess baggage on flights to and from Ireland, which airlines can you use to travel to Ireland with a pet? In particular, which airlines allow pets in the cabin to and from Ireland?
It can be tricky to find a suitable airline. For instance, quite a European airlines specify on their website that they don’t fly pets in the cabin on flights to and from Ireland, the same as flights to the UK. While other airlines don’t specify whether they do, meaning you need to contact the airline directly to find out the latest policy, with policies sometimes changing.
These are some pet-friendly airlines that currently fly pets to and from the Republic of Ireland, based on information on their website and reports from recent travellers:
Aegean Airlines (Greece): Start planning for a Greek vacation, with Aegean Airlines having no restrictions on pets in the cabin or hold on flights to and from Ireland. I’ve flown with Aegean before with my dog and been quite pleased with their service.
Air Canada (Canada): If you’re travelling from Canada, the best option is Air Canada. They specify online that pets are permitted both in the cabin and hold on flights to Dublin, although not flights to Shannon. Pets are also allowed in both the cabin and hold on any flight leaving Ireland, except for in the hold on flights departing Dublin due to the baggage system issue. Just ensure the flight doesn’t have a stopover in the UK.
Air France (France): I’ve heard reports that Air France allows pets to travel in the cabin and hold on flights to and from Dublin, although there is no mention of this on their website, other than to check with the embassy for the requirements of pets flying into Ireland. Note that Air France does not fly pets in the Business cabin on intercontinental flights.
Air Transat (Canada): Fellow Canadian airline Air Transat also allows pets on flights out of Dublin, but not to Dublin. Otherwise, pets must fly as cargo on other flights to and from Ireland.
Delta (USA): If you’re travelling from the USA, the best option is to fly with Delta. I’ve heard multiple reports from people flying between various airports in the USA and Dublin with Delta. United Airlines doesn’t allow pets in the cabin both to and from Dublin.
KLM (Netherlands): While there is no indication on their website whether or not they allow pets on flights to and from Ireland, I have heard multiple reports that pets are allowed on KLM flights to and from Dublin. Make sure it is an actual KLM flight, not a codeshare.
Iberia Express (Spain): Their website states that pets are allowed in the cabin on flights to and from Dublin, plus as excess baggage on flights to Dublin (but not leaving Dublin due to the restrictions of the baggage system).
Vueling (Spain): Their pet policy states that pets can be booked in the cabin on its flights to and from Ireland by calling its service centre or at the airport on the day of the flight, subject to limits on the total number of pets. (Vueling doesn’t fly pets as excess baggage.)
If you’re planning on flying with your pet in the cabin, check out my guide to European airlines and American airlines that allow pets in the cabin, including tips on weight limits and what airlines are the most generous.
Let me know which airlines you have used to fly to and from Ireland with a pet!
What About Flying to Ireland from the UK?
While there are a handful of airlines that will fly pets in the cabin out of the UK, I am not aware of any airline that flies pets in the cabin from the UK to Ireland. This is partially because virtually no British airlines allow pets to fly in the cabin, as well as no Irish airlines, as discussed above.
The same issue applies for flyings dogs as excess baggage to Ireland. The only option available is to fly dogs as cargo, also in the hold, with one of the few British or Irish airlines that allows this.
The easier alternative is to instead take a ferry with your dog to Ireland. There are multiple ferries that permit pets on board, including with foot passengers. And as of 2023 an increasing number have better facilities for pets, including pet-friendly cabins on many of the Stena Line ferries.
Requirements to Travel to Ireland with a Dog
Before flying to the Republic of Ireland with your dog, make sure you tick off all the requirements for dogs to be transported to the country. At a minimum, pet dogs require a microchip, an up-to-date rabies vaccine done at least 21 days ago, and an EU pet passport or EU pet health certificate. Check out my guides on travelling from another EU country or from outside of Europe to an EU country.
Additionally, pets travelling to Ireland also require a worming treatment, done between 24 hours and five days of arriving in the country. It should be recorded in your pet’s passport or on their pet health certificate. The only exception is for dogs travelling directly from Finland, Malta, Northern Ireland or Norway (but no longer the rest of the United Kingdom).
Additionally, if you are flying directly to Ireland from outside of the EU, an additional step is required.
Preparation for Flying a Dog to Ireland from Outside of the EU
If you are flying directly to Ireland from outside of the EU or a list of related countries (Andorra, Gibraltar, Greenland and the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican City), there is an additional requirement for dogs.
You need to provide advance notice of your intention to bring your pet to Ireland, at least one working day in advance. You need to fill out and email this form, or email the details of your arrival, to the relevant email address. Pets can only fly to Cork, Dublin and Shannon Airports.
On arrival, your pet will be met and undergo compliance checks. This will usually be carried out at the port or airport. A fee will apply (approximately €50), except for pets arriving from Great Britain. For full details, see this page.
Before boarding your flight, you may be required to present confirmation from the airport that your animal has been booked in for the compliance checks. Keep this handy along with the rest of your paperwork.