Let airlines allow pets in the airplane’s cabin to and from the UK

Change the rules on animal travel so they can travel with their owners (with all the documentation and vaccines in order) inside airplane cabins instead of in the hold with luggage.

This petition closed on 9 May 2024 with 12,410 signatures

Reticulating Splines

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It is allowed in many other countries around the world, including in the EU, South America, and the USA.

Pets are often seen as an extension of the family. Many airlines allow pets up to 9kg to travel to most countries inside the airplane cabin, in their pet carrier, instead of in the cargo hold.

However, they are not allowed on commercial flights coming to the UK, regardless of their size.

This can not only distress the pets and owners, but can also risk their health and safety. There are cases of pets that are treated as manifest cargo being killed, injured or lost.

Petition Signatures over time

Government Response

Friday 19th April 2024

All pets entering Great Britain must be checked to ensure compliance with our import requirements. To facilitate these checks pets travelling by air to GB are required to travel as ‘manifest cargo’.

We understand that many pet owners would like to travel with their pets in the aircraft cabin to Great Britain (GB). However, we need to balance this against our biosecurity requirements. We have amongst the highest standards of animal welfare and biosecurity in the world. The Government is committed to preserving this and takes the importation of pets seriously.  

All pets (cats, dogs and ferrets) travelling into Great Britain are checked for compliance with the necessary health and documentary requirements prior to entry. To facilitate these checks, all pets entering airports in GB must be transported safely and securely to the pet checking facility which is separate from the passenger terminals. Operations at airports are sensitive and complex, and other vital border controls also need to be considered. In practice, this means that most pets are required to travel to GB by air as ‘manifest cargo’. This enables the pets to be transferred directly to the pet checking facility and not through the main airport terminal. This approach ensures that a documentary record of the pet’s arrival is available to customs and other border control officials.

Where animals are transported in the hold, there are rigorous requirements in place to make sure that their welfare needs are met during transport. Carriers must make sure that air quality and quantity, temperature and pressure is maintained whilst the animals are onboard. The length of journey determines how much food and water must also be provided.

There are also stringent requirements in place for pet transport containers under the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals Regulations (LAR), with space and ventilation concerns paramount.

Attendants accompanying animals during the flight must ensure that the welfare of the animals is protected. It is often the case that pets will travel better in the hold instead of the aircraft cabin because it is quieter, and they will be resting in a darkened environment.

Currently, the only animals that are authorised to travel in the cabin of a commercial aircraft into GB are assistance dogs. The number of assistance dogs in the cabin will be determined by the airline and may be restricted for health and safety reasons depending on passenger information and numbers.

We have no immediate plans to change the process by which pet dogs, cats and ferrets may enter GB by air.

Pets may also enter GB via the Eurotunnel rail route in a vehicle or by sea routes on a number of ferry operators.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Constituency Data

Reticulating Splines