Europe Flying with Dogs

Review: Flying Vueling Airlines with a Dog

Flying Vueling with a dog

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 Vueling 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.

Vueling pet policy

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

It’s also a requirement of the Vueling pet policy for pets 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 the requirements for flying with a dog in the cabin in Vueling’s pet policy, click here.

How to Book Your Dog’s Flight with Vueling and Ticket Costs

Vueling flight

Vueling plane at Barcelona airport

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.

Vueling pets: 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.

Flying with a dog in Europe

The outdoor area at Barcelona airport

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

Vueling pet policy

Schnitzel at our feet in his carrier bag

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 Vueling 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.

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.

Click here to book a flight for you and your dog with Vueling

Vueling dogs: Dog at Eiffel Tower

Schnitzel after his arrival in Paris

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Vueling with a Dog pin

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  • Reply
    Peter Higson
    August 17, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    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

    • Reply
      August 17, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      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,

      • Reply
        Peter Higson
        August 18, 2017 at 3:02 am

        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

        • Reply
          August 18, 2017 at 4:49 pm

          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: 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!

  • Reply
    April 28, 2018 at 9:31 pm

    Came across this post as I’m sitting in Mallorca without my best friend Escobar, a Boston Terrier. Unfortunately he’s at the high end of the Boston Terrier size spectrum, and at 13kg he was rejected by Vueling at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. They actually weighed him and there was no arguing with them, even though he fits in a travel bag more or less within the required dimensions. Problem being that since he’s short snubbed, most airlines don’t accept him in the hold, and travelling in the cabin is in the majority of cases the only option. I’ve flown with him before in the cabin (Transavia – even though he’s over the 10kg weight limit, you can check in online and fortunately they don’t weigh him). Now doing a search for which airlines accept short snubbed dogs on flights from Amsterdam to Mallorca. Don’t want him to stay at home again!

    • Reply
      April 28, 2018 at 11:40 pm

      Joggie – that’s sad to hear. We’ve now flown with Vueling 5 times, and I think we’ve only had our dog weighed once. With Vueling, their weight limit for dogs is 8kg, so 13kg doesn’t come close if they check it. (Each airline’s weight limit differs slightly, but 10kg is probably the max.) I’m not aware of which airlines do or don’t allow snub-nosed dogs on flights, such as Amsterdam to Mallorca. Having a quick look online, KLM specifically doesn’t allow Boston Terriers in the hold or as cargo, while it seems Lufthansa recommends not to transport snub-nosed dogs as excess baggage but still allows it, with a larger size crate required.

  • Reply
    November 11, 2018 at 1:11 am


    This is super useful thank you. Can I ask what Schnitzel (beautiful pup btw) weighs? and how tall he is? I want to take my doxie with Vueling but they are super unhelpful and when I asked why its 8kg for a pet but 10kg for hand luggage the response I got was ‘because its our policy’!!! Great, not! I think I’ll look elsewhere even if I have to pay extra

    • Reply
      November 12, 2018 at 3:21 am

      Schnitzel is about 5-6kg (he’s put on a little weight lately) and 27cm high (head upright). Last time we flew with him including his bag and blanket, the total weight was 7kg.

      In my view, the key constraint when flying a dog in the cabin is that their bag fits underneath the seat in front (I always recommend a soft bag, to give you wiggle room between different planes) and that the dog fits comfortably in the bag. I’ve never come across an airline measuring the bag, but I think they use a weight limit to approximate this instead.

      A lot of the airlines in Europe have an 8kg limit in the cabin. I’m not sure I’ve seen a higher limit, but I have come across a few lower ones (that I haven’t flown). With hand luggage I’ve come across some airlines with a limit as low as 5kg. A hand luggage limit of 10kg is about what people can comfortably lift up to the luggage bins (and the maximum weight in case something accidentally falls out!) Pets only fit under the seat, so their limit is worked out differently.

      When flying, the airline has probably weighed my dog in his carrier about half the time. So, it is possible that heavier pets can sometimes fly – you just don’t know if they’ll weigh. I have heard the airlines do give some leeway (e.g. if your dog is 100-200g over), but I was contacted by someone whose pet was not allowed on board (although it was a 12kg dog, with a limit of 8kg – I think it was with Vueling).

      Best of luck with your travels!

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