Having a pet can bring a lot of joy, but it can be a bit of a headache when it’s time to take a trip. If you’re only planning on being away for a short time, there may be some options for pet sitting services or generous friends to help out, but what if you’re going to be away for an extended time, or you’re moving to another country, or for various other reasons cannot be separated from your pet?
If your pet needs to travel by air, it’s important to make sure that your animal will be safe and comfortable for the journey. To find out which airlines have the best allowances for animal travel, Budget Direct gathered data on the top 50 airlines ranked by Skytraxx in 2019. Pet-friendliness is ranked using scores from ten categories, including cabin and hold allowances, cost per pet, and ‘unusual’ animal policies.
Photo courtesy Paul Schultz, flickr
The Top 5 Airlines for Pet Travel
According to the study, the top two pet-friendly airlines are KLM and Air France. While Air France charges a cheaper fee of $78 for pet travel, KLM was five points ahead in the number one slot, scoring well in all categories for a high-ranking 81.8 overall. The Franco-Dutch holding company behind both KLM and Air France clearly welcome animal-loving travellers.
After that, Air Canada ranks third, with more generous cabin allowance for pets than most other airlines. Ranked close fourth and fifth are Turkish Airlines, which has slightly cheaper pet-handling fees than Lufthansa, which benefits from a better reputation for human travellers.
Pet Travel Policies to be Aware of
While Qatar Airways is ranked highest for human travel, it is lower down the charts when it comes to animal travel, at number 20 out of 50. This ranking is affected by some pretty steep fees of $400 for pet travel. It’s also worth noting that, although you may not bring a dog or cat into a Qatar cabin, they do permit 1 falcon per person, and up to 6 falcons per flight.
Pet owners travelling by the Australian airline Jetstar will have to look for alternative carriers for their furry friends. They don’t accept any non-human creatures on board, which puts them in the bottom rank of 50. Korean Air, in contrast, welcomes the most pets, allowing 5 animals to travel per person, where most other airlines only permit one or two.
The Bottom Line: Sky-high Prices
KLM may be the top-ranking airline for pet travel in all-round terms, but the $124 fee per pet is fairly average. The cheapest fee for your mile-high menagerie is $75 per pet, which earns Aeroflot a soaring ranking of 7 out of 50. At $78 and $80 per pet, Air France and Azerbaijan Airlines also offer a sweet deal to pet owners.
Some airlines, on the other hand, have pretty lofty prices. At $545 and $650 per pooch (or kitty), Oman Air and Emirates drop to 34 and 38 out of 50 in the animal-friendly travel rankings, regardless of their solid reputations for human travel. Meanwhile, Hong Kong Airlines is in Cloud Cuckoo Land, charging a sky-high $1,133 per animal on board. That’s steep even for the most jet-set pet!