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Moving Abroad: Taking Your Pets Part IIa – Flying

Moving Abroad: Taking Your Pets Part IIa – Flying

This is the second of the Moving Your Pets Abroad series.  The first part dealt with the preparation needed before you transport your pet abroad.

Pet CarrierWhen moving abroad one of the biggest concerns is how to transport your pets to your new home. When travelling around Europe this is not too big a problem, the problem occurs over long distances or when crossing over water. I moved from England to Portugal which meant a choice between flying my cat over or take the ferry and then drive.

In my case I wanted to get my cat to her new home as quickly and as painlessly as possible and that meant flying.  Both flying and sailing has their pros and cons but in my case the decision was down to something very bizarre. Basically, if we went by ferry my cat would be on her own in the car and if we were sinking it would be very difficult for me to save her and she wouldn’t be able to save herself trapped in the car. On the other hand if we both flew together although she’d be on her own in the hold, if the plane did crash at least we’d die together! Crazy I know, but I really love my cat!

Flying Options

So, once you’ve decided to fly there are two main options:

  1. Fly on the same plane as your pet
  2. Let her fly alone

In the UK, if you want to fly your pet abroad two things are standard – they will have to go in the hold and you will have to use a pet transportation company to arrange it.

If you let your pet fly alone

If you decide to let the pet transportation take care of all the arrangements all you then need to do is find one that suits you and then they will help you do the rest.  Basically you will need to make sure your pet has the correct paperwork & container  (although usually they can sell or rent you one if needed), you will need to drop you pet off (some pick up for a price) and make sure there is someone at the other end to pick up.

If you fly with your pet

If you decide to fly with your pet then you need to do a bit more leg work. Firstly, you need to find an airline that takes animals on board. At the time of my move, my closest airport was East Midlands but only Easyjet flew from there to Faro, and they don’t take pets. So, after some internet searching, I found that Monarch did and that they flew out of Birmingham. It was further to travel but seemed the most reasonable option.

Once I had found the airline to travel with it is this simple to book seats for me and a space in the hold for my cat. I had to deal with a pet transportation company and the actual cost for my cat was about 3x the cost for me!

Once booked, the company sends the requirements for travel. Apart from her pet passport my cat also needed a container of appropriate size (and this varies depending on the size of your pet) and water. They also warned us NOT to give her any medication to send her to sleep. The reason for this is that it can affect their breathing.

who’s bought a cat on the plane, poor thing!

When the day came, we had to book her in much earlier than us which was OK but the ironic thing was that they said it was to get her settled on the plane etc. But, when we were boarding and taking our places the pilot came over the radio and apologised for the delay saying that they just loading a cat into the hold. There were lots of ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ and ‘who’s bought a cat on the plane, poor thing’. Somewhat embarrassing!!

At the other end, after an anxious 3 hours’ flight, we were waiting on the bus to take us to the terminal when we saw am electric cart whizz past with one cat box on it and a pair of wide eyes! We picked her up, after another local payment, and then took her home, no worse for wear.

On that occasion it all worked out well, if expensive and I would recommend it.

What about you?  Have you flown your pet to your new home?  If so, how was it – for you and your pet?

Image: Ambro /


  1. Moving Abroad: Taking Your Pets Part III – Settling In | Move Me Abroad - [...] first sections discussed topics such as preparing your pet for the move, taking your pet by plane and taking…
  2. Moving Abroad: Taking Your Pets Part IIb – By car and by ship | Move Me Abroad - [...] The ferry was my biggest concern, for reasons mentioned before, I like to be with my cat to reassure…

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