Why Don’t More Airlines Allow Pets in the Cabin?

When taking your pet abroad you want them to be by your side every step of the way, including on the flight. But even though some airlines do allow pets in the cabin, as long as they adhere to the policies, there are still many airlines that don’t allow pets within the cabin of the aircraft.

Air travel for dogs and other pets is a fiercely debated topic amongst pet owners with some stating they would simply never transport their pet like cargo, while others explain that sometimes it cannot be avoided.

It’s estimated that two million pets travel on commercial flights each year and airlines cater to animal-friendly travel with special programs. But, why don’t more airlines allow pets in the cabin?


One of the top reasons for concern is the cleanliness of aeroplanes. They aren’t the cleanest of places and can, therefore, carry many germs and illnesses, such as Parvo, that can be picked up by pets and can sometimes be deadly and easily transmitted to others.

Pets that are most at risk when it comes to this are young puppies that have not yet had their vaccinations and therefore it’s recommended that puppies younger than 14 weeks of age are kept off flights.

It’s stressful for them

Flying can be an extremely stressful and terrifying experience for dogs, cats, birds and other pets. They are likely to be very confused and won’t understand what’s happening which can get them worked up. They can sense pressure changes, the noise can be a lot more intense for them and temperature extremes can be potentially dangerous. There’s always a lot of commotion on board a flight with everyone finding their seats and putting luggage in the overhead compartments and this can really upset pets as they won’t be used to all those people and the unusual environment.

They can be an inconvenience to other passengers

Some airlines have said that they won’t allow dogs in the cabin because they can disrupt other passenger’s flight. An unsettled barking dog in the cabin is going to get complaints and can be annoying to those on board.


Some travellers can have severe allergies to pets and in a confined space this can make the situation worse. Many airlines encourage passengers with severe pet allergies to contact them before the flight to request not to be seated near another passenger with a pet. However, some airlines just don’t allow pets in the cabin and to ensure that no passengers suffer from an allergic reaction while on board. Airlines must choose to put the needs of their human passengers first.

Individual airline rules

Each airline has its own set of policies and costs when it comes to pets travelling onboard the aircraft. Some do allow pets in the cabin while some only allow them in the hold and others don’t allow pets at all. British Airways, for example, don’t allow pets to fly in the cabin unless they are an assistance dog. Then they can travel with their owner free of charge. All other animals must travel in the hold for an extra cost which usually depends on the size of your pet.

Some airlines, such as TUI, will allow pets of a certain size to travel in the cabin of the plane. If your pet weighs less than 6kg then they are welcome in the cabin, however, they do not offer the option of carrying animals in the hold.

If you’re planning on flying with your pet it’s vital to check which airlines do and don’t allow pets in the cabins and make sure you check what the specific requirements are.