Which UK Airlines Allow Pets Onboard?

Unlike elsewhere in Europe, most airlines in the United Kingdom don’t allow pets to fly in the cabin or even as check-in baggage. While most European airlines, both flag-carriers and even many budget European 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 dog and other pets in UK, both in the cabin and as cargo?

Needing to travel in or out of the UK with a dog? Check out my guide to options for travelling between the UK and Europe with a dog or travelling to the UK from outside of Europe 

NOTE: Due to the current COVID-19 situation, many airlines have temporarily suspended or modified their pet transport options, especially in the hold. Check directly with each airline for their current arrangements and be prepared for changes. 

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive commission if you make a purchase using the links.

Flying with a dog UK
Which airlines will fly your dog?

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 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 seven UK airlines, just under 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, 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.

Flying with a Dog on UK Airlines

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.

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 far north of Scotland, home to Loganair

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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Flying with a dog UK

33 thoughts on “Which UK Airlines Allow Pets Onboard?”

  1. 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
    • 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
      • 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.

        Reply
  2. Thank you, your information is great. We travel a lot between uk and Switzerland and always drive because of our dogs. I see that Swiss air take dogs and I guess this should be ok on the way out. However, this silly uk ruling that does not allow dogs into the uk is rather annoying. Do you know the procedure for getting them back? Do you have to book them on separately as cargo and where would I drop off? Thanks

    Reply
    • Susan – To return to the UK with a dog, you would need to book them as cargo. Sometimes this is an internal division of the airline, sometimes it’s a separate cargo company. Check with the actual airline, they should have the details on their pet transport page. Generally this involves dropping them off at a separate freight facility, somewhere else at the airport. Ideally you still have a rental car at this point, as often this is not close to public transport, although Switzerland might be better than other countries. Often you’ll need to drop your pet off about 3 hours before the flight (you’ll be informed the exact time when booking), and there’s a delay of an hour or so before you can pick them up after the flight. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  3. Hi, I’ve moved from the UK to southern Spain and want to visit my family over Christmas back in the UK and wondered if I could fly with my small dog instead of a 3 day drive through Spain and France and using the ‘chunnell’?

    Reply
    • Unfortunately it’s not possible to fly with a dog into the UK unless the dog is in cargo, with the extra costs and hassles that that entails. Returning from the UK, there are a few airlines that allow dogs to fly in the cabin, although not many. And how do you get there in the first place!

      One alternative option is to fly to Amsterdam with your dog in the cabin, then take the overnight Stena Line ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich, which then connects to the UK rail network. The ferry has kennels for dogs, which are accessible during the journey plus you can watch the “security cameras” on a TV channel in your cabin.

      I’ve covered more of these options here: https://travelnuity.com/travelling-with-a-dog-from-the-uk-to-spain/. I would have also recommended Brittany Ferries with your car, but they don’t usually operate in November/December.

      Reply
  4. Hi we flew from LAX to Paris with our small dog in the cabin Then the train to Calais then a U.K. Taxi company brought us to U.K. Very easy

    Reply
  5. Thank you for this, it has only made my life more complicated!! lol! We are relocating to Turkey in May, to actually help our friends who have lived there for 16 years to run the cat sanctuary they have set up (Turunc Cats) Our cat is ready to go by May, but finding an airline that flies to Dalaman and allow a cat to fly is proving difficult. Any ideas? Thanks Simon

    Reply
    • Simon – Have you also looked at airlines that fly indirectly to Dalaman, such as via Istanbul? I’m not familiar with Dalaman, but I do believe Turkish Airlines and Pegasus allow small pets to fly in the cabin (and larger ones in the hold). The other option is to travel overland to Dalaman from another airport in Turkey.

      Reply
    • Hello Simon,
      We live in both Istanbul and London. We have a small dog, as long as the wight matches the rules you can use Turkish Airlines from UK to any airport in Turkey in cabin. The problem is coming from Turkey to UK.

      Reply
  6. Hi, I understand that the regulation is to not allow pets into the UK in the cabin, but what about flying from the UK to the EU? Any advice on how to travel with my pet rabbit from Manchester to Vienna? We are relocating and therefore the rabbit needs to come with us. I’m really struggling to find a way to do it. Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Some non-UK airlines will fly pets in the cabin when leaving the UK. For instance, when checking the pet policy for Austrian Airlines, https://www.austrian.com/Info/Flying/TransportationAnimals.aspx?sc_lang=en&cc=US, they only mention not flying pets in the cabin on the way into the UK. However, they don’t mention allowing rabbits. I would contact them directly to double check their rules in this case, especially with the current situation. There are some European airlines that should do this, but I don’t know which ones and a stopover might be necessary. The other alternative is flying your rabbit in cargo, but I know I always try to find a in-cabin option first.

      Reply
  7. Hello, I am relocating to the UK and looking for options how I can bring my chug (pug/chiwawa) to the UK. The problem is that due to her breathing difficulties she cannot travel in the hold of the plane so I am looking for any possible alternatives.

    Reply
    • Check out my post on all the transport options to the UK. I recommend flying to Paris or Amsterdam, then taking a ferry or taxi across.

      Reply
  8. Thank you for this post. It is super helpful and equally frustrating. It makes zero sense to not allow small animals on board especially for short flights….and especially with Brexit. My husband and I are wanting to buy a house in Italy and would need to take our cat…with the new visa restrictions that may make it impossible if we have to return for a specific amount of time to UK throughout the year. 🙁 Are there any government petitions or actions in play to get this stupid restriction changed? I would definitely sign up for that fight. I refuse to traumatize my pet in cargo or being shipped with a pet shipper.

    Reply
    • I haven’t heard of any plans to have this changed. A while ago there was a petition to change the rules on the Eurostar (that doesn’t allow pets onboard), but that ended up going nowhere. I’m not hopeful of any changes in the next few years, but maybe in a couple of years time once things settle down…?

      Reply
  9. What is the reason behind these restrictions in the UK? It makes no sense that so many other countries treat the matter very differently. Exactly with Brexit some people will need to travel a bit more frequently. Brexit on itself it’s already a pain! Makes the case to leave the UK even stronger…

    Reply
    • Gabriella – I think it dates back to when the UK has stricter rules for importing pets, requiring quarantine, so people were less likely to fly with their pets. Although I also think there’s a cultural element. I live in Australia, and both Australia and New Zealand have similar prohibitions. It would be great for this to change!

      Reply
  10. IWe plan to move to Cyprus to live within the next 12 months. We need to get our 62kg Bullmastiff over there. Its my one big concern. I have looked into traveling with a Transport company through Europe by road, but dont seem to be able to get from Italy to Cyprus. Or anywhere else in Europe to Cyprus by boat.There is a freight carrier that does take some passangers but not animals
    I am stuck for any other way, other than fly. He will have to go Cargo due to his size. I have looked at Cruises etc. Any suggestions anyone, would be great. Thanks. We have had various flight prices of £1800, £2000 and £3600.

    Reply
    • Lynn – I’ve looked into the ferry situation for Cyprus. I’ve been able to track down a ferry that operates between Turkey and Northern Cyprus. This is their FAQ page confirming they accept pets: https://www.akgunlerdenizcilik.com/en/faq-tips/ (scroll down). They’ve included links about the rules for pets travelling to both Northern Cyprus and Turkey. (On this second ticketing page, https://www.akgunlerbilet.com/online_bilet.php?lang=en, they mention no tickets required for pets, they just need to stay in their cage, and there’s no pet-friendly cabins.)

      I’ve also written a post about travelling to Turkey with a pet (https://www.travelnuity.com/dog-friendly-turkey/). The rules are quite variable (and often not enforced), but I strongly recommend getting a rabies titre test for your dog beforehand.

      The problem though is that it’s illegal for humans to enter Cyprus via Northern Cyprus (see: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cyprus/safety-and-security), and you can be refused entry and/or fined. The same rules are very unlikely to apply to dogs. I would speak to a pet transport company about whether it’s feasible for them to transport your dog to Northern Cyprus (or at least Turkey), then cross over from Cyprus to be reunited with your dog and bring it back across the border.

      Reply
  11. Hi I have a small/medium weshi aprox 8.5 kg , all my family live in Canada, how can I fly with our dog, we have our son in a wheelchair and is ours sons and daughter dog, how can we take our dog with us, can he be classified as emotional support dog and if so how do we get certificate to fly with us and which airlines as when I checked most fly with pets, but as I am reading you say we r not allowed, any flights internationally any suggestions as it’s Quebec close to the united states borders of New York or Maine, thanks

    Reply
    • Franca – I’m assuming you live in the UK. I believe Air Canada fly dogs in the cabin on flights leaving the UK, but you’ll need to check the maximum size of dogs in the cabin. Alternatively, pets can fly in the hold. For returning to the UK, pets generally need to fly as cargo. For a dog to travel as an emotional support dog, you need a letter from a doctor, which is usually only a USA thing. Even still, most (if not all) UK airlines don’t recognise emotional support dogs. If you still have questions, I recommend heading to my FB group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dogfriendlytravelrtw.

      Reply

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