How to Fly To Europe With a Pet In The Cabin

Apr 30, 2018

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Cheap fares to Europe are relatively easy to find, and more and more hotels are becoming pet friendly. But if you’re planning on taking your pet with you to Europe, you’ll need to choose your airline selectively. Some airlines don’t allow pets in the cabin — and among the airlines that do allow pets in cabin, some charge significantly higher fees than others or require much smaller carrier dimensions.

This guide covers the current options for flying with your pet in cabin between the US and Europe. Policies for pets traveling as checked baggage, pets traveling as cargo, service animals and emotional support animals are different and aren’t considered in this guide. Plus, since it’s best to minimize transit time when traveling with pets, only airlines offering direct flights between the US and Europe are included.

If you want to jump to a summary of the airlines that allow pets in cabin on at least some flights between the US and Europe, click on “Comparison Table” in the table of contents below. Otherwise, details are given for each airline in individual sections below.

In This Post

Aeroflot

Direct flights to/from Moscow (SVO): Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Washington (IAD)

Pets allowed: Most types except “potentially dangerous” dog breeds, brachycephalic dog breeds (such as French bulldogs, because of potential respiratory trouble), rodents and reptiles

Maximum carrier dimensions: 125cm (about 49 inches) sum of length, width and height for hard-sided carriers, 135cm (about 53 inches) sum of length, width and height for soft-sided carriers

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: 75 euros (about $92)

Air Europa

Direct flights to/from Madrid (MAD): Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), seasonal destinations

Pets allowed: Dogs, cats, some birds, fish, aquarium turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs and small rabbits

Maximum carrier dimensions: 55cm by 35cm by 25cm (about 21 inches by 13 inches by 9 inches)

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: 150 euros (about $184) departing Europe, $165 departing the US

Air France

Direct flights to/from Paris (CDG): Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Detroit (DTW), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Minneapolis (MSP), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Seatle (SEA), Washington (IAD)

Direct flights to/from Paris (ORY): New York (JFK)

Air France
Air France’s long-haul Premium Economy, which allows pets (Photo by Brendan Dorsey / The Points Guy)

 

Pets allowed: Dogs (except Category 1 and Category 2 as defined by the French Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry) and cats

Maximum carrier dimensions: 46cm by 28cm by 24cm (about 18 inches by 11 inches by 9 inches), must be soft-sided. Air France sells carriers on their website, although use of these carriers isn’t required.

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: 125 euros (about $154)

Restrictions: Pets can’t fly in the business class cabin.

Air Serbia

Direct flights to/from Belgrade (BEG): New York (JFK)

Pets allowed: Dogs and cats that aren’t dangerous or aggressive

Maximum carrier dimensions: 40cm by 30cm by 24cm (about 15 inches by 11 inches by 9 inches)

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: 85 euros (about $104)

Air Tahiti Nui

Direct flights to/from Paris (CDG): Los Angeles (LAX)

Pets allowed: Dogs and cats that weigh less than 5kg (about 11lbs)

Maximum carrier dimensions: 40cm by 35cm by 20cm (about 15 inches by 13 inches by 7 inches)

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: $150 when departing LAX, 150 euros (about $184) when departing CDG

Alitalia

Direct flights to/from Rome (FCO): Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK)

Direct flights to/from Milan (MXP): New York (JFK)

Alitalia
Alitalia’s US flights are mostly on the Airbus A330-200, whose coach class, with armrest that cannot be fully lifted, is seen here. (Photo by Alberto Riva / The Points Guy)

 

Pets allowed: Dogs, cats, ferrets and canaries

Maximum carrier dimensions: Varies by aircraft, but generally 40cm long by 20cm wide by 24cm high (about 15 inches by 9 inches by 7 inches). Soft-sided carriers can be slightly taller.

Maximum carrier weight: 10kg (about 22lbs)

Fee: $200 when departing the US, 125 euros (about $154) when departing Europe

Austrian Airlines

Direct flights to/from Vienna (VIE): Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (EWR, JFK), Washington (IAD)

Pets allowed: Dogs or cats

Maximum carrier dimensions: 118cm (about 46 inches) sum of length, width and height

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: 70 euros (about $86)

Brussels Airlines

Direct flights to/from Brussels (BRU): New York (JFK) and Washington (IAD)

Pets allowed: Dogs and cats

Maximum carrier dimensions: 118cm (about 46 inches) sum of length, width and height, must be soft-sided. Brussels Airlines sells approved carriers at BRU for 45 euros (about $55), but passengers may provide their own if it meets the requirements.

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: 70 euros (about $86) when departing Europe, $90 when departing the US

Condor

Direct flights to/from Frankfurt (FRA): Anchorage (ANC), Las Vegas (LAS), Minneapolis (MSP), New Orleans (MSY), Phoenix (PHX), Pittsburgh (PIT), Portland (PDX), Washington (BWI)

Condor US destinations.
Condor has a fairly extensive US network

 

Pets allowed: Dogs (except fighting breeds and snub-nosed breeds) and cats (except snub-nosed breeds)

Maximum carrier dimensions: 55cm by 40cm by 20cm (about 21 inches by 15 inches by 7 inches)

Maximum carrier weight: 6kg (about 13.2lbs)

Fee: 99.99 euros (about $123) — or 94.99 euros (about $117) if booked more than 30 days before departure. Pets can be easily added while purchasing a flight on the Condor website.

Restrictions: Condor requires a pet passport when departing Germany, so arrange that in Europe before your return flight.

Delta Airlines

Direct flights to/from New York (JFK): Amsterdam (AMS), Athens (ATH), Barcelona (BCN), Berlin (TXL), Brussels (BRU), Frankfurt (FRA), Lisbon (LIS), Madrid (MAD), Milan (MXP), Nice (NCE), Paris (CDG), Prague (PRG), Rome (FCO), Reykjavik (KEF), Venice (VCE), Zurich (ZRH)

Delta
Delta’s Economy class on the new Airbus A350, now flying to Amsterdam (Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy)

 

Direct flights to/from Atlanta (ATL): Amsterdam (AMS), Barcelona (BCN), Brussels (BRU), Düsseldorf (DUS), Frankfurt (FRA), Madrid (MAD), Milan (MXP), Munich (MUC), Paris (CDG), Rome (FCO), Stuttgart (STR)

Direct flights to/from Detroit (DTW): Amsterdam (AMS), Frankfurt (FRA), Munich (MUC), Paris (CDG), Rome (FCO)

Direct flights to/from Boston (BOS), Minneapolis (MSP), Salt Lake City (SLC), Seattle (SEA): Amsterdam (AMS), Paris (CDG)

Direct flights to/from Cincinnati (CVG), New York (EWR), Raleigh (RDU): Paris (CDG)

Direct flights to/from Orlando (MCO), Portland (PDX): Amsterdam (AMS)

No UK or Ireland destinations are included on the above lists since Delta doesn’t transport any live animals in the cabin on these flights.

Pets allowed: Dogs and cats

Maximum carrier dimensions and weight: Varies based on itinerary, but animals must fit into their carrier “without touching or protruding from the sides”

Fee: $200 when departing the US, 200 euros (about $246) when departing Europe

Restrictions: Pets can’t be carried in International Business, International First and International Delta One cabins.

Edelweiss

Direct flights to/from Zurich (ZRH): Denver (DEN), Los Vegas (LAS), Orlando (MCO), San Diego (SAN), Tampa (TPA)

Pets allowed: Dogs and cats

Maximum carrier dimensions: 55cm by 40cm by 23cm (about 21 inches by 15 inches by 9 inches), must be soft-sided

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: 70 euros (about $86) or 90 Swiss Franc (about $92). The fee includes a seat reservation.

Finnair

Direct flights to/from Helsinki (HEL): Chicago (ORD), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO)

Pets allowed: Dogs, cats, rabbits and rodents

Maximum carrier dimensions: 35cm by 30cm by 20cm (about 13 inches by 11 inches by 7 inches) for hard-sided, 56cm by 45cm by 25cm (about 22 inches by 17 inches by 9 inches) for soft-sided

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: $100 from the US to Europe, 75 euros (about $92) from Europe to the US

Restrictions: Pets can’t be carried in the business class cabin on international flights.

Notes: The request to carry a pet in cabin can be completed online.

Iberia

Direct flights to/from Madrid (MAD): Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO)

Pets allowed: Various, must be approved by Iberia booking office. The only type of animal explicitly prohibited is weasels.

Maximum carrier dimensions: 45cm by 35cm by 25cm (about 17 inches by 13 inches by 9 inches)

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fees: $150 when departing the US, 150 euros (about $184) when departing Europe

Restrictions: Dogs that belong to a list of dangerous breeds or have a particular “build, muscle, height and weight” must wear a muzzle when out of their carrier for security check.

KLM

Direct flights to/from Amsterdam (AMS): Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Minneapolis (MSP), New York (JFK), Salt Lake City (SLC), San Francisco (SFO), Washington (IAD)

Pets allowed: Dogs and cats

With KLM, you can fly your pet to Europe on a 747 like this one (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
With KLM, you can fly your pet to Europe on a 747 like this one (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

 

Maximum carrier dimensions: 46cm by 28cm by 24cm (about 18 inches by 11 inches by 9 inches)

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: $125 for flights departing the US, 125 euros (about $154) for flights departing Europe

Restrictions: Pets can’t be carried in the business class cabin on transatlantic flights.

LOT

Direct flights to/from Warsaw (WAW): Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK)

Pets allowed: Dogs and cats

Maximum carrier dimensions: 55cm by 40cm by 20cm (about 21 inches by 15 inches by 7 inches) on longhaul aircraft, 45cm by 30cm by 20cm (17 inches by 11 inches by 7 inches) on other aircraft

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: 280 Polish Zloty (about $83) when departing Poland, 70 euros (about $86) when departing from other European countries, $100 when departing the US

Lufthansa

Direct flights to/from Frankfurt (FRA): Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Denver (DEN), Detroit (DTW), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (EWR, JFK), Orlando (MCO), Philadelphia (PHL), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC), Seattle (SEA), Tampa (TPA), Washington (IAD)

Direct flights to/from Munich (MUC): Boston (BOS), Charlotte (CLT), Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (EWR, JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Washington (IAD)

The many US cities served directly by Lufthansa

Pets allowed: Dogs (non-dangerous breeds or dangerous breeds aged between four and six months) and cats

Maximum carrier dimensions: 55cm by 40cm by 23cm (about 21 inches by 15 inches by 9 inches)

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: $115-126 for flights departing the US, 100-110 euros (about $115-126) for flights departing Europe

OpenSkies

Direct flights to/from Paris (ORY): New York (EWR) until the end of Summer 2018

Pets allowed: Dogs and cats

Maximum carrier dimensions: 45cm by 30cm by 24cm (about 17 inches by 11 inches by 9 inches)

Maximum carrier weight: 6kg (about 13.2lbs)

Fee: $196 on flights departing the US, 125 euros (about $154) on flights departing Europe

SAS

Direct flights to/from Copenhagen (CPH): Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Miami (MIA), New York (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), Washington (IAD)

Direct flights to/from Stockholm (ARN): Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (EWR)

Direct flights to/from Oslo (OSL): New York (EWR)

SAS routes between the US and Europe
SAS direct routes between the US and Scandinavia

 

Pets allowed: Dogs and cats

Maximum carrier dimensions: 40cm by 25cm by 23cm (15 inches by 9 inches by 9 inches), carrier must be specifically designed for flight transport

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: $115 when departing the US, 95 euros (about $117) when departing Scandinavia. There may be an additional pet fee levied on connecting flights.

Restrictions: No pets can travel in business class.

Swiss

Direct flights to/from Zurich (ZRH): Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (EWR, JFK), San Francisco (SFO)

Direct flights to/from Geneva (GVA): New York (JFK)

The economy cabin of a Swiss 777 (Photo by J Keith van Straaten / The Points Guy)
The economy cabin of a Swiss 777 (Photo by J Keith van Straaten / The Points Guy)

 

Pets allowed: Dogs and cats

Maximum carrier dimensions: 55cm by 23cm by 40cm (about 21 inches by 9 inches by 15 inches), must be soft-sided

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: 103-126 Swiss Franc ($106-129), 90-110 euros ($111-135) or $103-126 — the exact price depends on route

Notes: Swiss’ Airbus 330/340 doesn’t have underseat storage in the First class cabin and only has underseat storage in the last row of the Business class cabin. For business and first class passengers with pets in seats without underseat storage, the “crew will stow the transport container in the cloakroom, in one of the overhead luggage compartments or under another passenger seat during take-off and landing.” After a dog died in an overhead bin on United, I hope Swiss reconsiders their policy to store pets in the overhead bin.

TAP Portugal

Direct flights to/from Lisbon (LIS): Boston (BOS), Miami (MIA), New York (EWR, JFK)

Direct flights to/from Porto (OPO): New York (EWR)

Pets allowed: Dogs and cats

Maximum carrier dimensions: 40cm by 33cm by 17cm (about 15 inches by 13 inches by 6 inches), must be soft-sided

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: 150 euros (about $184)

Restrictions: No pets can travel in the executive cabin on long-haul flights.

Notes: The pet’s documents may need to be emailed ahead of time to Portugal’s Veterinary Directorate-General and a 40 euro (about $49) veterinary examination fee may be required at the port of entry.

Turkish Airlines

Direct flights to/from Istanbul (IST): Atlanta (ATL), Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Washington (IAD)

Turkish Airlines US destinations.
Turkish Airlines has a relatively big network in the US

 

Pets allowed: Dogs (no dangerous breeds), cats and some caged birds

Maximum carrier dimensions: 55cm by 40cm by 23cm (21 inches by 15 inches by 9 inches)

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: Depends on the route, should be between $160 and $205

Restrictions: Dogs and cats as well as cats and birds can’t be carried on the same flight. Dogs and birds can travel on the same flight as long as they’re seated as far from each other as possible.

Ukraine International

Direct flights to/from Kiev (KBP): New York (JFK)

Pets allowed: Dogs (except French / English bulldogs and dogs younger than six months on flights to the US) and cats

Maximum carrier dimensions: 55cm by 40cm by 20cm (about 21 inches by 15 inches by 7 inches), must be soft-sided

Maximum carrier weight: 8kg (about 17.6lbs)

Fee: 100 euros (about $123) if paid more than 24 hours before departure, 200 euros (about $246) within 24 hours of departure or at check-in, 240 euros (about $295) at the gate

United Airlines

Direct flights: to various European cities from United hubs in Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (EWR), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington (IAD)

The Economy cabin on a United Boeing 777-300ER (Photo by The Points Guy)
The Economy cabin on a United Boeing 777-300ER (Photo by The Points Guy)

 

Pets allowed: Varies based on route

Maximum carrier dimensions and weight: Varies based on itinerary

Fee: $125

Restrictions: Pets aren’t permitted in premium cabins on Boeing 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft. Customers with pets in cabin must sit in a window seat when traveling in economy on Boeing 757-200 aircraft.

Comparison Table

Here’s a table summarizing the fees, maximum carrier weight and maximum carrier size for the airlines in this guide that allow pets in cabin on at least some routes between the US and Europe.

Airline Fee Max Weight Max Carrier Size
Aeroflot 75 EUR 8kg 125cm (hard), 135cm (soft)
Air Europa 150 EUR / $165 8kg 55x35x25cm
Air France 125 EUR 8kg 46x28x24 cm
Air Serbia 85 EUR 8kg 40x30x24 cm
Air Tahiti Nui 150 EUR / $150 5kg pet, 8kg total 40x35x20cm
Alitalia 125 EUR / $200 10kg 40x20x24cm
Austrian Airlines 70 EUR 8kg 118cm
Brussels Airlines 70 EUR / $90 8kg 118cm
Condor 99.99 EUR 6kg 55x40x20cm
Delta 200 EUR / $200 Varies Varies
Edelweiss 90 CHF / 70 EUR 8kg 55x40x23cm
Finnair 75 EUR / $100 8kg 35x30x20cm (hard), 56x45x25cm (soft)
Iberia 150 EUR / $150 8kg 45x35x25cm
KLM 125 EUR / $125 8kg 46x28x24cm
LOT 280 PLN / 70 EUR / $100 8kg 55x40x20cm (long-haul), 45cmx30cmx20cm (regional)
Lufthansa 70 EUR / $100 8kg 55x40x23cm
OpenSkies 125 EUR / $196 6kg 45x30x24cm
SAS 95 EUR / $115 8kg 40x25x23cm
Swiss Airlines 103-126 CHF / 90-110 EUR / $103-126 8kg 55x23x40cm
TAP Portugal 150 EUR 8kg 40x33x17cm
Turkish Airlines $160-205 8kg 55x40x23cm
Ukraine International 100-240 EUR 8kg 55x40x20cm
United $125 Varies Varies

Aeroflot, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Edelweiss, Finnair, LOT and Lufthansa have the lowest fees for a pet in cabin at around 70-75 euros (about $86-92) or $90-100. Delta has one of the highest pet in cabin fees at 200 euros (about $246) or $200.

Pet in cabin fees are typically assessed at check-in, although some airlines require advanced purchase. Either way, make sure to use a card that provides bonus spending for airline travel. Top choices are the The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel).

Most airlines require that the carrier with the pet inside weighs no more than 8kg (about 17.6lbs). Alitalia is the only airline to allow slightly heavier pets in cabin on flights between the US and Europe with a maximum weight of 10kg (about 22lbs). Condor and OpenSkies limit the weight to 6kg (about 13.2lbs).

The maximum allowable carrier dimensions vary greatly across airlines. Aeroflot and Finnair allow the largest soft-sided carriers while Alitalia, SAS and TAP Portugal have the smallest allowable dimensions. Make sure that your carrier fits within the allowable dimensions for each airline you choose.

Airlines that Don’t Accept Pets in Cabin

Lest you think that your favorite airline was forgotten, here’s a list of airlines that don’t accept pets in cabin on flights between the US and Europe: Air India, Air Lingus, Air New Zealand, American Airlines, British Airways, Emirates, Eurowings, Icelandair, La Compagnie, LEVEL, Norwegian, Primera Air, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and WOW.

If some of these airlines seem out of place in this guide, it’s because they operate at least one fifth-freedom route between the US and Europe. Note that due to importation regulations, no airlines accept pets in cabin on flights to the UK and Ireland.

TUI Fly — which flies directly between Miami (MIA) and Brussels (BRU) — deserves a special mention. Although the booking process offers an option to book an in-cabin pet on the MIA-BRU route for just 30 euros (about $37), I was unable to find any dates that showed availability for a pet in cabin.

Bottom Line

Some airlines don’t accept pets in cabin on flights between the US and Europe and others have restrictions on animal types and breeds, but there are still plenty of options for traveling to or from Europe with small pets.

Before leaving the US with your pet, be sure to get your pet’s paperwork together. Depending on what paperwork you already have, your pet’s current vaccinations and where you’re traveling and transiting, you may need to start this process months ahead of your trip. Double check the regulations and entry requirements for pets for each country you’ll be visiting or transiting — as well as the requirements for bringing your pet back home.

Remember that airlines may have special requirements regarding paperwork, health certificates and arrival time at the airport. Most, if not all, airlines require passengers to reserve their pet’s space on board ahead of time and have limits on how many pets can be carried on board. And you’ll almost certainly not be allowed to sit in bulkhead or exit row seats. Before booking your ticket, be sure to read the airline’s website and call if you have any questions.

If you decide to fly with your pet, make sure to follow our tips for keeping your pet safe and happy while flying, and make sure you choose an appropriate pet carrier. Flights and travel can be stressful for your pet—- and you — so consider whether it’s really the best decision to travel with your pet.

Featured image by gchutka / Getty Images.

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