What Airlines Fly Pets Internationally in Cargo?

Patrick MacFarland Patrick MacFarland · Updated March 15, 2023
International airlines, pet transportation, cargo.

Whether it’s for a move abroad or a vacation to another country, you may find yourself in a situation where you need for international pet shipping. Flying a pet in cargo is a safe and reliable way to transport them, but it can be difficult to find the right airline to fly with. So the question is, what airlines fly pets internationally in cargo?

 This guide will provide you with all the information necessary to find an airline that offers international cargo flights for your pet, including what to expect during the process, what amenities are available. We’ll also provide a list of major, regional and specialty airlines that fly pets internationally in cargo.

What to Expect When Flying a Pet Internationally in Cargo

The Process

When flying your pet in cargo, you’ll need to work with an animal transport company that is certified and experienced in the process. There will be specific guidelines to follow, including the type of crate needed and the paperwork that must be filled out. The transport company will also be responsible for preparing the pet for the flight and making sure everything is in order before the flight departs.

Health Requirements

Make an appointment to visit your pet’s veterinarian. Ensure the veterinarian is accredited by the USDA. Veterinarians will provide you with a CVI (Certificate of Veterinary Inspection). The health certificate must be completed with the veterinarian 10 days before travel in order for them to be up-to-date. You will be asked at the gate for this health certificate and the immunization paperwork.

All pets have to have the required vaccinations in order to be allowed to travel to another state. There is a list of vaccines your pet should be immunized with no more than 21 days before travel. Put a microchip in your pet, as well. You should also have an import permit ready to hand in to customs and immigration officials. Your pet will not be allowed to enter without one. Check with your destination country for additional requirements.

Crate Requirements

Airlines will also have crate (also called kennel) requirements that you must follow. These large crates can cost up to $200, though there are also luxury crates that can cost even more.

  • Your pet should be able to stand up, turn around in the crate and ensure they do not touch the top.
  • The crate should have secure locking with pins that extend past the extrusions above and below the door. The pins should be hardware instead of plastic fasteners.
  • The crate should be ventilated on all sides.
  • The crate should have your pet’s name and your contact information.
  • Water and food bowls need to be attached to the door and accessible from outside the crate.

Breed and Size Requirements

Airlines have size and breed requirements that may impact your pet travel. When it comes to breed, about 99% of breeds are accepted by all airlines, but if you are the unlucky 1% that have brachycephalic (or snub-nosed) dogs, like boxers, bulldogs or pugs, they are not allowed on flights at all. The flight poses a significant health risk to your dog.

In terms of size, if a pet is small, they may go in the main cabin. If you have a larger dog, it will go in the cargo hold of the airplane.

Available Amenities

Most airlines that offer cargo flights for pets will also provide amenities such as climate-controlled cargo holds, specialized care and additional insurance. Some airlines may also provide additional amenities such as food and water, additional space and even the option of tracking your pet’s progress during the flight.

Airlines That Offer International Cargo Flights

Major Airlines

Several major airlines offer international cargo flights for pets. These include:

  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • United Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • British Airways
  • Qatar Airways

Regional Airlines

In addition to the major airlines, there are also several regional airlines that offer international cargo flights for pets. These include:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • WestJet
  • AirAsia
  • Tigerair
  • Air India

Specialty Airlines

Finally, there are several specialty airlines that offer international cargo flights for pets. These include:

  • PetSafe
  • Air Animal
  • Pet Air Carrier
  • Animal Transportation Worldwide

Bottom Line

Flying a pet in cargo can be a safe and reliable way for international travel, but it’s important to find the right airline to fly with. With this comprehensive guide, you can easily find airlines and pet shipping companies that offer international cargo flights for your pet.