23 Feb

Should my Pet Travel in the Cabin or in Cargo?

In the pet transportation and live animal shipment space, there is a constant back-and-forth over whether pets should travel in a cabin with passengers or be shipped in the cargo hold, which is usually located in the belly of a commercial aircraft. 

Pet Travel In-Cabin 

Pet Travel in-Cabin

The easiest way to think about it is to think through the lens of your pet inside their crate. Regardless of your chosen mode of pet travel, your pet will likely have to be inside their crate for the duration of the journey. You’d think that in-cabin travel is the ideal mode, given that you can have your pet next to you enjoying the complements of the journey. You’d also think that this mode would allow you to be less stressed on your journey, as you’re travelling with the knowledge that your pet is alongside you. There is truth to this; however, it is not nearly as simple as that. 

While your pet is indeed on the same flight as you and near you, that only happens when the two of you have boarded. Before that happens, your pet passes through a wide range of rapidly shifting environments, filled with stimuli which can easily stress them out. From the point where you hand your pet over for transit at your doorstep or the airport, your pet will be separated and must journey through the chaos of the airport by themselves; noises, strange people, unfamiliar smells, and security checks can all act as a source of stress, simply because a pet cannot understand what is going on during their relocation. 

Even when you reach the plane and are reunited in the plane, your pet will need to stay in their crate for the safety of themselves and other passengers for the duration of the flight. You are together for all intents and purposes, and while your pet can see and smell you, they can’t exactly be with you.  Since airlines strictly prohibit free-roaming animals in the cabin, it might be a good idea to reconsider your travel plans and evaluate your options to choose a mode which will suit your pet. 

Cabin (Domestic/Excess baggage)

Minimum Price Maximum Price*
Import 15,000 + GST 21,186 + GST *
Export 17,500 + GST 42,373 + GST

*Prices are tentative and subject to change depending on your origin/destination.

In-Cargo Pet Travel 

In-Cargo Pet Travel

As unlikely as it may seem, cargo can often serve as an ideal if not perfect replacement for in-cabin pet travel. For most international pet relocations, travel in the cargo hold is the only feasible option, with airlines stating that pets are not allowed inside the cabin when on international routes. The best thing you can do is to provide your pet with crate training well in advance. Since your pet has to stay inside their crate for the duration of the journey, it is beneficial to train your pet to be comfortable inside a crate. 

Once your pet has been trained successfully, they will happily spend long durations inside it, especially if it smells and looks familiar. Most of the time, it isn’t the crate itself but the conditions surrounding it that cause undue stress to pets, which is why a pet-friendly airline is necessary to minimize exposure to such conditions. 

As you did previously for your pet's in-cabin travel, think through the lens of your pet inside their crate. From your pet's perspective, they do not know that they are in a plane or the 'cargo' part of the plane, deep in the bowels of a mechanical giant. They do not know what they're surrounded by as it isn't very bright inside the hold, and they do not know that they are flying. From their perspective, they are in their ‘pet travel room’ which is familiar, and while their surroundings might shake and shiver while the plane departs and lands, it is simply a matter of waiting as if they’re on a routine journey. 

As pet parents ourselves, we understand the apprehension of pet parents when they hear that their pet must travel in the cargo hold. The words ‘cargo hold’ bring to mind a narrow, cramped space with boxes falling on top of one another and your pet’s crate flying around the hold unrestrained. However, the reality is far from it;  pets travel in a temperature and pressure-sensitive cargo hold, meaning they breathe the same air as you do in the cabin. Provided you've chosen a pet-friendly airline, such a hold will always be pressurized and temperature-controlled for your pet's comfort while in transit. 

There are many preconceived notions about pet travel. Some say pets should only fly in cargo, some maintain pets should never be separated from pet parents. We’ve tried to give you a pet’s lens for both to try to emphasize that neither mode is perfect. We highlighted the anxiety a pet faces with in-cabin travel, and the cargo route has a similar time frame wherein pets are waiting to be boarded on the plane and are waiting on the tarmac, which could lead to a degree of stress and anxiety. The point here is that either mode is equally safe with equal benefits and an equal number of caveats which could cause your pet stress, so you should choose the mode that best suits you and your pet and ensures they have safe and comfortable pet travel. If you have a brachycephalic or snub-nosed breed, be sure to plan your trip and check what months can your pet fly in cargo

Cargo (international)

Minimum Price Maximum Price*
Import 50,000 (42373) 70,000 
Export 1.25 L 3.75 L

*Prices are tentative and subject to change depending on your origin/destination.

Waiting is what causes stress & anxiety for your pet, which is why it is often recommended to go with a professional pet relocation service provider, such as Carry My Pet. We have tie-ups with major pet-friendly airlines, meaning we work in tandem with them to ensure pets never have to spend their time waiting to board on the hot tarmac or suffer the anxiety of travelling through a crowded security point. Pets are our babies, and we must care for them as such. 



Carry My Pet

Passionate pet enthusiasts and globetrotters, dedicated to easing furry friends' journeys worldwide. Penning tales of compassion at CarryMyPet, where every relocation is a tail-wagging adventure.

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