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Pets on planes

Etihad Airways allows pets on board

By Angelique Ruzicka

, |

Pets on planes

Etihad Airways allows pets on board

By Angelique Ruzicka

, |

2 min read

If you wanted to take Fido or Fluffy abroad, you would typically pay for your pet to be transported within a special pressurised compartment in the hold of a plane. But did you know you could also take your pet with you on the plane, like additional baggage?

Etihad Airways are the latest airline to offer this option for travellers. Here we look at the rules you must follow to ensure that you and your pet have a comfortable journey on this airline.

Economy vs. Business/First

Your pet can’t roam free on the plane, so you must keep them in a pet travel bag or kennel. For economy class, measurements of the pet carrier must not exceed 40 x 40 x 22cm (L, W and H). Your pet can be kept under the seat in front of you, or you can pay for them to sit on an adjacent seat next to you.

Business or First passengers must purchase an adjacent seat. The pet ravel bag or kennel can be slightly bigger if you’re travelling in this section. Measurements must not exceed 50 x 43 x50 (L x W x H).

Age of your pet

You can’t take young puppies, kittens, or large breeds. They must be at least 16 weeks old and weigh less than 8kgs, and this weight measurement includes the weight of their carrier. Teenagers or children are also forbidden to travel with their pets, as passengers must be older than 18.

Cost of travel

According to a report by, taking one pet abroad to the UK, for example, can cost around R20,000 depending on the size of the pet. However, if you’re able to fly your pet like a passenger on Etihad, expect to pay a fraction of that cost.

A flight for six hours or less costs $150 (R2,325) or for six hours or more it costs $250 (R3,876.10) You can also pay for your pets’ flight with Etihad Guest Miles. If you, however, book the adjacent seat for your pet it will cost the same as your ticket. But this could still be way cheaper than booking your pet’s flight through a pet travel company.

Booking your pet on a flight

The airline says you must submit a booking form at least 72 hours before the flight.

Ensure you have all the necessary documentation to hand that you’d need to travel with your pet. You’d also need to ensure that your pet’s vaccinations and veterinary check-ups are up to date. These must be compliant with the vaccination rules of the destination you are flying to and must be organised before your pet can board any flight.

Make sure your pet is used to being cooped up in the pet carrier you are using. Don’t just buy a new carrier before the flight and assume your pet would be happy to be transported in it for hours.

Consult your vet about what you can do to ensure your pet is comfortable and calm during the flight.

Go to Etihad’s website for its full pet travel policy and booking form.

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