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What are the rules for traveling by plane with your pet?

Families no longer leave their pets back when traveling. Currently, there are many hotels, restaurants and other environments pet friendly that guarantee a unique experience for humans and their four-legged friends. If the trip includes a flight, planning and preparation is necessary, as airlines have a series of rules and restrictions involving the transport of dogs and cats.

ANAC (National Civil Aviation Agency) does not regulate the transport of domestic animals – the only determination is that companies have complete freedom to decide on “pet logistics”. Therefore, in Brazil, each company has its own rules related to the criteria and restrictions for boarding pets, both in the cabin with the owner and in the hold of the aircraft.

Know the rules

If you are planning a trip national with your pet, it is important to check the airline's website to see what rules are in force, as they tend to be updated frequently. The only requirement they have in common is that the animal must be in a crate or transport bag. Even so, the size and weight limit varies between them.

So, before arriving at the airport with your four-legged friend, always check:

  • Breed and size restrictions

Airlines may have restrictions on the breed and size of pets allowed in the cabin. Normally, animals weighing up to 10 kilos are allowed and, in some cases, this limit considers the weight of the pet plus that of the box or transport bag.

There are also restrictions on dogs and cats traveling in the plane's hold. Although the permitted size and weight are larger, generally around 40 kilos, some breeds are not permitted, such as brachycephalic breeds (characterized by a short snout and prone to respiratory problems).

  • Containment Requirements

As mentioned, animals must always be in a container suitable for transport. However, when the pet is shipped, the rules become even stricter and airlines are more strict with the size, aiming to ensure that the individual has enough space for a comfortable journey, and the model of the box, which must have a model lock considered safer to prevent leaks.

  • Fees and reservation

Although it is not necessary to purchase a ticket, airlines charge a fee to transport pets – in 2023, the cost varies from R$ 150 to R$ 300 for a domestic route and from R$ 250 to R$ 600 for an international route. In addition, the family needs to pay the amount in advance to reserve the pet's place, since most companies limit the number of pets per flight.

  • Health criteria

In Brazil, there are no determinations on what health criteria are required for pets travel on domestic flights. Some companies require proof that the rabies vaccine is up to date, as well as a health certificate issued by a veterinarian. Even though it is not a rule, the recommendation is that the animal undergoes a medical evaluation before boarding.

Care for international flights

Anyone who wants to explore other countries with their pet needs to know not only the airline rules – whose points of attention are the same as those mentioned above – but also the laws and regulations of the destination. Some countries require specific vaccines and animal quarantine, and all require the CVI (International Veterinary Certificate) certifying the individual's health.

There are still cases of countries that allow pets to enter commercial flights, but at specific airports or times. Furthermore, if you wish to take rabbits, hamsters and other species, you must confirm whether these animals are accepted as pets in the country. So, the ideal is to check all the points before scheduling the trip.

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