Pet Travel Question: Is there anyway I can fly to the UK with a pet in the cabin?

Big Ben in LondonPet Travel gets many people who ask the same question: is there anyway to fly to the UK with my pet in the cabin with me?

The answer is, unfortunately, no. Due to airline regulations, currently there is no way you can fly into the the UK with a pet animal in the cabin of the aircraft unless it is a service or emotional support animal and your airline has a program in place to support them. This is a requirement of the airline. It is not a requirement of APHA or DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Affairs).

One alternative to avoid this requirement would be to fly with your pet in the cabin to Pairs, take a train to Calais and then take a ferry or take Le Shuttle across the Chunnel. There are several ferry services that serve the northern coast of France including P&O, Brittany Ferries, and Celtic Ferries (to Ireland). Remember, thought, that many of these ferries do not accept pets in winter months and most of them require that your pet travel in a car. Le Shuttle also shares this requirement. There are services that will pick you and your pet up in Calais like Folkestown Taxi and Pet Movers.

You can also consider flying to Amsterdam, taking a train to Rotterdam and taking Stena Lines or P&O to Hull. At this writing, Stena will accept foot traffic and, although the ride is longer, we hear it is very pleasant.

If you have further questions, please send us an email to info@pettravel.com or post them here. We always answer your questions promptly.


Comments

Pet Travel Question: Is there anyway I can fly to the UK with a pet in the cabin? — 368 Comments

  1. Linda – EU vets issue what is called an EU Pet Passport. That is what you will need to travel within the UK. If you plan to fly, you should also ask your airline whether a health certificate is required.
    Jason

  2. Hi Again:
    Thanks so much for your assistance with all our travel questions!
    I have one question regarding a pet passport. I keep running across reference to this document for travel in England and France. We have done our research and are feeling that we know what we need from our vet prior to travel but are confused by the “passport” . If we have all proper documents signed etc. from our vet is that sufficient, or do we need something else?

  3. Kellen – we are a bit confused as the UK permits only certain commercial airlines to land at airports approved as Border Inspection Posts (BIP) in the UK and, although Gatwick is an approved BIP, they are not on the approved list for the import of live animals. You may want to check with another representative of Norwegian to see if they are permitted to fly your dog into Gatwick. Send us an email at info@pettravel.com and we can discuss further when you get their response.
    Susan

  4. Susan

    First of all I would like to thank you for your tips.

    I bought my ticket for Norwegian, and will be arriving at Gatwick Airport on 7th June (Thursday), my flight will be direct.
    You could tell me the contact of this airport to request the letter of pre-approval and if that day will have officials for immigration my dog.

    Thank you very much

  5. Kellen – in order to qualify your dog as an ESA, you need to read more information here: http://www.pettravel.com/passports_comfort_animals.cfm. This is not something you can do yourself. Then you will need to find an airline that is approved for live animal transport to the UK (Lufthansia is one) and take a direct flight to the UK. (no layovers outside of the US). You will need to notify the Heathrow Animal Reception Center (HARC) that your dog is entering the UK in the cabin. There will be VAT due on arrival (20% of the value/cost of the dog + transport – minimum of £100. VAT will be returned to you once a Transfer of Residency (ToR) form is filed.

    The cost of air cargo is significantly more than in the cabin because the airline will track your pet and also notify HARC of its arrival. The cost also includes the fees of a licensed transporter who collects pets flying as air cargo and takes them to the HARC.
    Susan

  6. Hi, I’m a resident of UK and I came to the USA for a trip, here I got a dog but I cannot prove because I have not any document, at the moment I’ve been suffering of depression and I did ESA letter, I am going back to UK in June and I’d like to take her beside me inside the cabin, I’d like to know what the costs would have at the airport (VAT,etc), and if they can fail to accept the ESA letter because I am resident in UK.
    If I decide to bring her in the cargo of the airlane, the costs would be the same?

  7. Annabel – due to the regulations of all commercial airlines flying into the UK, all live animals must travel as air cargo. You can check with Swiss Air to see if they fly the route directly; however, unless your dog is a certified service animal, likely they will not permit it. Many pet owners fly into Calais, take the train to Calais and take Le Shuttle to Folkestown to avoid the requirement. You, your daughter and your pet must ride in a car to travel on Le Shuttle. There are services that can pick you up in Calais if you need that such as Folkestown Taxi or Pet Movers.
    Susan

  8. Hello. I need to fly urgently back from Bari to the UK with my 5 year old daughter and my small dog. I would like to take the small dog in the cabin with us. I am not well and need to get back the most direct route possible. Thank you

    Annabel

  9. Hello Lo – due to the regulations of all commercial airlines, all animals flying into the UK and Ireland as air cargo. Air France – KLM Cargo is approved to fly pets into Heathrow, Gatwick or Manchester.
    Susan

  10. Hello everyone ,

    I booked my own flight with airfrance because their customer service confirmed twice that I can travel withy dog in hold from Paris to London. They tell me a week later that I can’t transport my dog in hold to london. I was aware that cannot travel in the cabin to london but as checked in baggage ? Is that right ? Since I dont fully trust their customer service after numerous times they gave me false information Im not sure they know their regulations very well. Thank you in advance, Io

  11. Kate – did you price the cost of flying the cat in the cabin with Lufthansa? They will fly pets out of the UK in the cabin.
    Susan

  12. Rafael – that is correct. You can fly into Paris, take a train or a rantal car to Calais and ride Le Shuttle to Folkestone. You and your Yorkshire will need to ride in a car to ride on Le Shuttle. There are services that can pick you up if needs be. (Folkestone Taxi or Pet Movers). You will clear customs to enter the UK on the France side. Make sure the rental company will let you drop off the car on the UK side. Remember, too, that the tapeworm treatment must be administered by a licensed vet and must be between one and five days of entry to the UK.
    Susan

  13. I have just given up trying to transport a cat the the UK from Germany as it is prohibitively expensive. The cat was going to be a gift but getting her here is ridiculous. Having to use an agent to fly her was in the region of £500-600!!!! One option I did find but for us would involve 5 changes of train on the Continent and two here. Stena Line’s Harwich to the Hook of Holland service offers nice kennels and you can travel as a foot passenger. Depending on where you are on the continent, this may be an option.

  14. HiAll,

    I’m flying my pet from Brazil to the UK. I’m not too comfortable with letting him fly as cargo even thou Lufthansa says that it is very secure. By reading the comments threads, I’ve understood that I’m able to fly to Paris with my dog in the cabin (It’s a Mini Yorkshire, 2kg) and then drive to the UK without a problem? Can I assume that this statement is correct, please? My dog is already microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, tapeworm treated and holds a letter from our professional vet.

  15. Hi Pete – the air cargo requirement does not originate from the UK; if is a requirement of commercial airlines due to notification requirements as well as procedures once landed. The Animal Reception Center where animals are processed is not located in the terminals and transport to those centers must be secure and controlled. Licensed agents preform that service. The airlines do not want owners to have to surrender their pets to agents upon landing in the UK. It is also easier to track the entry of pets to the UK when they are on a manifest which is part of the air cargo process.
    Susan

  16. Our norwegian neighbour flys Malaga-Oslo with his dachshund in the cabin by him. Why is the UK always so problematic. The Eurotunnel service for pets is very good, but you have to drive to and from Calais. A friend got a taxi folkestone to calais with her dog, then a train to Spain.

  17. Linda – both Le Shuttle and pet friendly ferries that run between England and France require that your pet travel in a vehicle. There is a pet friendly ferry that runs from England to Rotterdam that will allow foot traffic, but that is not on your route.

    Phil

  18. I am travelling from France to England with my dog. I know I can transport him in a car either by train or ferry but we will be on foot. Does anyone know if I am I allowed to travel with our dog if we are not in a vehicle?

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