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What To Know About Flying Pets In Cabin vs. Cargo

Understanding the difference between flying pets in the cabin and as cargo is crucial for making the right decision based on your pet’s size, needs, and the specific airline’s policies. Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between these two options:

Flying Pets in the Cabin:

Pet Size: Typically, only small pets that can fit in an airline-approved pet carrier under the seat in front of you are allowed in the cabin. Weight and size restrictions vary by airline, but common limits are around 15-20 pounds (7-9 kilograms).

Pet Carrier: You’ll need a suitable, well-ventilated pet carrier that fits the airline’s specifications. It should provide your pet with enough space to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Make sure to check with the airlines prior to your flight to ensure your carrier meets standards to avoid issues.

Comfort: Your pet will remain with you throughout the flight, which can be less stressful for them. You can talk to and comfort your pet during the journey, making it a more reassuring experience for them.

Safety: Pets in the cabin are typically subject to the same safety regulations as passengers, however your pet must remain in the carrier under the seat for the duration of the flight.

Reservations: You’ll need to make a reservation for your pet in advance, as airlines have a limit on the number of pets allowed in the cabin per flight. Depending on your destination, airlines may not even accept reservations for pets in cabin.

Flying Pets in Cargo (manifested cargo):

Pet Size: Cargo transport is generally used for larger pets that don’t meet the size or weight restrictions for in-cabin travel. Many airlines may also require the use of an IPATA pet shipper, like World Pet Travel, to oversee international moves.

Hands Full: Some pet owners may have their hands full with multiple pets, children, or luggage when traveling. In such cases, transporting their pet as cargo can be a practical choice, as it allows them to focus on other responsibilities without the added stress of managing a pet in the cabin.

Solo Pet Travel: In situations where pet owners are unable to travel with their pets due to work or personal commitments, cargo transport can be a suitable alternative. It allows pets to reach their destination safely, even when their owners are unable to accompany them.

Pet Carrier: Larger, more robust pet carriers are required for cargo travel. These carriers are designed to meet the specific requirements for safely transporting pets as cargo.

Safety: Cargo holds are equipped with pressurization and temperature control systems, similar to the conditions in the passenger cabin. Pets are typically loaded onto the aircraft after other cargo and passengers and are the first to be unloaded upon landing. This approach helps safeguard them from exposure to extreme temperatures.


Always check with the airline you plan to use for their specific policies and requirements for flying with pets, as they can vary significantly from one airline to another. Additionally, consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your pet is fit for air travel and discuss any specific concerns or precautions you should take based on your pet’s health and needs.


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