A passenger with a mustache and a tail: what you need to know about flying with animals

MOSCOW, October 4 – Novosti, Svetlana Baeva. Animals on board aircraft are no longer a rarity: the demand for traveling with pets is growing by ten to thirteen percent annually. During the pandemic, many are accustomed to working remotely in other cities or countries, and you won’t leave a friend for several months. Airlines meet halfway: you can buy a chair for a pet nearby and get miles. On World Animal Day – stories about the most unusual four-legged passengers and tips on how to make such a flight comfortable for everyone.

striped flight

One of the most exotic passengers on the plane has recently become a tigress. A wounded five-month-old animal was discovered in December 2021 by a local fisherman in the Anuchinsky district of Primorsky Krai. The predator has recovered, but will no longer be able to live in the wild. In August of this year, she was taken to Moscow.
A special flight for the grown tigress was not ordered. She went to the capital by Aeroflot on a regular flight SU1757 Vladivostok – Moscow.
For transportation, the specialists of the Moscow Zoo made a perforated box measuring 2.25×1.05×1.42 meters. Together with the beast, the container weighed 450 kilograms. “The nine-hour flight in the cargo compartment of the Boeing-777-300ER liner was handled well by the animal and is now safely acclimating to a new place,” the airline said.
Most often, cats and dogs fly with their owners, although there are more unusual cases. “The rarest request we received from clients was for the transportation of fighting chickens,” says Anna Farahova, owner of the ASTETOUR online travel agency. on board such passengers.”
© AP Photo / Anupam Nath
Cockfights in India - Novosti, 1920, 03.10.2022
Cockfighting in India
It also gets more interesting. A representative of a Russian airline recalled how a few years ago he flew on a business trip from Novosibirsk to Nizhnevartovsk. At the airport, a crocodile was calmly walking, he was being driven by a photographer.
“I was struck by how the predator walked between the rows: it didn’t crawl, but it moved on its paws like a dog. True, its jaws were wrapped with tape. Before the flight, the owner simply put the reptile in a sports bag. Passengers were warned about a fellow traveler, so they were not scared,” — said the employee of the carrier.
The cat is going on vacation - Novosti, 1920, 12/16/2019
Victor the cat is resting! Strange things and animals on board the plane

Who will not be allowed on the plane

The crocodile in the cabin is, of course, an exception. Some airlines clearly state which animals can be taken on board.
For example, here is a list of “Victory”: dogs – domestic, service and guide dogs, cats, dwarf rabbits, ferrets, birds. S7 has dogs, cats, and birds. And under the pictogram of the unicorn – “other”. In this case, S7 Cargo services are offered.
An employee of the cynological service of the customs of Tatarstan with a service dog - Novosti, 1920, 07/15/2022
Experts learned how the airlines of the world relate to the transportation of animals
Often rodents are not taken on planes, snakes are also not welcome. There are also restrictions for dogs of brachycephalic breeds (pugs, boxers, bulldogs, Pekingese) because of their sensitivity to stress and temperature changes. True, for example, Aeroflot lifted the ban on flights with such fellow travelers more than a year ago.
“Judging by the requests that come to our support service, people, in addition to dogs and cats, quite often take parrots, rabbits, ferrets and turtles with them,” says Ekaterina Antonova, director of customer experience at OneTwoTrip.
Each type of animal has its own rules: some can be transported in the cabin, others – in the luggage compartment for pets. You should find out about the details and nuances in the airline.
© Depositphotos / piccaya
Signs on the airport doors - Novosti, 1920, 03.10.2022
Airport door signs

Fat cat can now

When preparing for a flight with an animal, it is necessary to contact the carrier, clarify the rules and warn him in advance about such a passenger. There are no uniform requirements in Russia. They began to be actively talked about two years ago, when two cats died on the plane in a short period of time , and the dog was forgotten to be loaded on board.
But in the end, the Ministry of Transport came to the conclusion that “the unification of the requirements for the weight of animals transported in aircraft cabins will lead to unjustified and excessive regulation.” The transportation of animals on board is already regulated by the Federal Aviation Rules.
Cat - Novosti, 1920, 01/29/2020
“I’m not baggage”: what can change for animals on board aircraft
“Often, you can take pets into the cabin, whose weight does not exceed eight kilograms along with the carrier. Such rules apply on flights of Rossiya, Aeroflot, Pobeda airlines,” Antonova explains. “Utair allows up to ten animals as hand luggage kilograms”.
Smartavia has a limit of 12. So the fat cat Victor, who made a lot of noise three years ago , could now get into the salon even without dieting and breaking the rules.
In addition, some carriers have the opportunity to buy a nearby place for the animal. So, Utair places pets weighing up to 20 kilograms on a separate seat, and S7 – up to 23. As a rule, in such cases, a rigid carrier is used, and if a four-legged passenger is placed under a seat, a soft one is used.
Oversized animals are transported in a special compartment in a standard container (parameters differ in different airlines). The carrier is placed in a heated box separately from suitcases and luggage. As Utair explained, the temperature there is no more than four to five degrees different from that in the cabin. So it shouldn’t freeze.

One passenger, one pet. But not always

A separate issue is the number of animals on board. The aircraft cabin will not turn into a zoo, the airlines have a certain quota for passengers with pets. Most allow no more than two animals, so there is a risk of rejection.
There are also exceptions. For example, up to ten pets can fly in the cabin of Utair liners at the same time. S7 Airlines has up to five (however, only two of them have the right to sit in the next seat), and three in the luggage compartment.
There are restrictions on the number of tailed per passenger. For example, S7 allows you to transport up to two adult animals in the cabin (in one cage / container) or three, but one offspring and not older than six months.
Cat Victor - Novosti, 1920, 04.03.2020
Victor the cat became the first animal to fly under the new S7 rules
“Ural Airlines behaves quite gently in this respect, allowing several cats, dogs and ornamental birds to be carried in one carrier,” they say in the service.
The main condition is that the animals can comfortably accommodate there. The maximum weight of carrying with live cargo is eight kilograms, but “big ones” weighing up to 15 will be able to avoid the luggage compartment if the owner pays for the “Baggage in the cabin” service.
“Aeroflot passenger can carry up to three pets on a flight: two in the cabin (in one cage with a total weight of up to eight kilograms) and one in the luggage compartment,” says Anna Farahova.
© /  /  ” ”
Scottish breed cats at the KoShariki Show in Sokolniki - Novosti, 1920, 03.10.2022
Scottish breed cats at the exhibition “KoShariki Show” in Sokolniki
As an exception, three kittens or puppies between the ages of eight weeks and six months may be transported in one container.
“But such requests are extremely rare, in most cases tourists take only one pet on a trip,” the expert clarifies.

Issue a passport, buy a carrier

It is necessary to prepare the animal for the flight in advance. It is likely that even before buying an air ticket. So, if we are talking about traveling around Russia, you need at least a veterinary passport with vaccination marks.
For example, it is necessary to vaccinate against rabies no later than 20 days before the flight. Also in the passport they put marks on the examination by a veterinarian (five days before the trip), treatment for parasites.
If you travel abroad, the list of documents increases. In addition to the passport, you need to get a veterinary certificate, and then a certificate. The exact list of papers is best obtained from the airline.
The dog escaped from the luggage compartment in Domodedovo
Dog lost at Domodedovo airport found
It is also worth buying a carrier in advance. “This is necessary so that the pet can get used to it, feel safe in a confined space,” experts of the online booking service “” explain.
One of the tips is to have a “rehearsal” for a long trip: take a ride with an animal in a carrier in a car or on public transport.
Before the trip, they specify in the service, you need to put a thing that smells like home (a toy or a rag) into the container, tidy up the animal, fix the drinker.
The question of whether to give a four-legged or feathered passenger a sedative should be decided together with the veterinarian. If the pet perceives such trips calmly and is already an experienced traveler, then there is no need.
“Our dog is small, up to seven kilograms. If possible, we buy a seat. We are on the sides, and the carrier is on the middle seat, between us,” Olga and Vitaly Kazakov say. “During the flight, the dog mostly sleeps. We bought a soothing collar, there are pills. All the animals are nervous, but this is not the first time she flies with us – and it’s fine.”
However, experts advise not to feed the beast before the flight.
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Woman with a cat at Domodedovo Airport - Novosti, 1920, 03.10.2022
Woman with a cat at Domodedovo airport

To the airport – four hours reminds of another important point: the airline needs to write a letter of instruction to indicate what to do with a pet that flies in the luggage compartment if the connecting flight is canceled or delayed.
“Arrive at the airport with plenty of time – ideally, about four hours before departure, in order to have time to go through veterinary control, check in for a flight, and complete all the required screenings,” they advise in the service.
If all conditions are met, most likely, there will be no problems with the animal. And do not forget to issue miles for a four-legged passenger: some airlines accrue them.
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