5 tips for flying with pets

5 tips for flying with pets

Pets are part of the family and more and many people are flying with pets on holiday.

Here are tips on finding an airline carrier that will transport your pet as well as what requirements are necessary. The Pet Food Industry Associations of Southern Africa’s (PFI) recommends the following when travelling with pets by plane.

1. Before you fly consider your pet’s personality

Aside from service dogs, pets are not permitted within the cabin, so do consider your pet’s temperament and tolerance levels before making the decision to travel with them. The trip should not cause your pet unnecessary stress.

While mild sedatives can be used (speak to your vet about this) if alternative transport is available rather use that. Pets will generally travel in a separate section of the plane, which will also be pressurised like the section that you sit in.


2. Investigate the conditions that your pet will be exposed to

Check that the airline provides an environment that you are comfortable with and be sure to do this before you book your tickets.

Ask how pets are transported, where they are put on the plane and if they can take the same flight as yours.


3. Find out about the cost

The cost of pet travel is usually based on weight, but some airline carriers may differ. Confirm this before you book. SAA, for example, charges passengers excess baggage rates of R250 for a pet (including the weight of the pet and its container), but the cage can’t be bigger than 1m x 1m or over 23kgs.

If you have a large breed dog, confirm that the airline has enough space to accommodate your pooch.

4. What you need to prepare

Each animal needs to be properly crated, have enough water and an adsorbent bed. This is your responsibility.

Ensure that your pet has a large enough crate. Your pet should be able to stand up and turn around. Do not feed your pet directly beforehand as this could cause soiling, nausea and vomiting.


5. Requirements for your pet to travel

Up to date health and vaccination certificates are mandatory and some airlines also require that your pet be microchipped. Each airline carrier may have their own requirements, so check before arriving at the airport.

Pets under the age of 8 weeks are not permitted to fly and those under 3 months will require their mother’s inoculation certificate.

TOP TIP: A waiting period may be applied after the date of the last rabies inoculation.

While most airlines will readily accept cats, dogs and birds, if you have an exotic pet, please notify the airline before you book.

Some airlines and services for flying with pets:


Joni van der Merwe

About Joni van der Merwe

Your Family’s Digital editor. Avid retweeter. When I’m not scrolling Instagram you’ll find me in my garden. Keen on DIY and I don’t believe there’s anything that can’t be fixed with some chalk paint.


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