Flying with a Dog/Cat in the Cabin



November 20, 2020



~ 6 minutes read

I’m sure that everyone misses travelling this year and just can’t wait to visit other countries again. However safety comes first, and we just gotta put the travel plans aside for now and save up for a trip!

But, this might be the perfect time to start preparing all the necessary documents, health check-ups and planning for the trip if you wish to bring your pet overseas for travelling when borders are open again!

Today I’m gonna share about how you can travel with your pet along with our personal experience (because I have travelled with pets way too many times).

First thing first, air travel is split by in-cabin and cargo for pets. In-cabin means your pet is flying with you inside the aircraft. Cargo means the pet will be in the luggage holding area. I’ll split the two forms of travel into two different posts as the post will get pretty long. To find out about flying in-cargo, please click here.

The flight with Mitsuko

I’m sure this is everyone’s preferred way of travelling with pets, to bring your pet into the cabin with you. But do note that there is quite a bit of restriction and costs for flying in-cabin, so do read the following information carefully.

I’ve only flown in-cabin once with this little cutie called Mitsuko. We flew from Shanghai, China to Jakarta, Indonesia; with a transit stop at Seoul, Korea.

Mistuko in Pudong Airport, Shanghai, as we are sorting out check in for me

It was really cool to fly with your pet in-cabin to be honest. I’ve always enjoyed flying, and having a little dog with me just made it even better. Plus, I was lucky to have been met with a really nice passenger beside me who absolutely loved Mitsuko.

P.S. So technically you are not supposed to bring your pet out from the carrier, they are expected to be kept inside the carrier at all times. But the passenger who sat beside me loved Mitsuko so much, she told me to bring her out and will warn me when an air stewardess was coming so we could hide Mitsuko under my blanket. I had a really nice chat with her throughout the flight as we spoke about Korea and Singapore.

So once we in the air, Mitsuko sat on my lap throughout the flight. In the very beginning, Mitsuko was really nervous and was shaking quite a bit. But she soon calmed down after 30 mins and was sleeping comfortably or moving around our seats the rest of the flight. I was able to feed her some treats on the flight, brought her to the toilet to pee, and she basically got to enjoy herself on the flight.

Then we landed in Seoul to transit to Jakarta. It was supposed to be a relatively tight schedule, but our flight got delayed so I could end up taking my own sweet time in Incheon Airport to shop and walk around with Mitsuko.

The first thing I did after arrival was to bring Mitsuko for a toilet break, then gave her some food as it was her usual mealtime. After her tea break, it was time to go shopping.

She was most nervous during take-off and landing, plus the crowded airport did not help. So it took her a good 10-15 mins to calm down and stick her head out from her carrier. I pushed her around on the trolley as I went around shopping, and she got so many compliments along the way!

Finally, it was time for our connecting flight to Jakarta, and Mitsuko and I went to security to get ready for flying. She had to go through a round of check, and all the security guards were so cute when they saw her. They crowded around her as we were doing security clearance to play with her haha. At this point, Mitsuko was comfortable and enjoyed all the pretty security guards pampering her lol!

It was pretty late by the time we were on the connecting flight, and I got pretty hungry by then. But the good news was there was no one sitting beside me, so I got both seats to myself and Mitsuko.

Once again, Mitsuko took a while to relax before enjoying herself on the flight.

On a side note, the dinner on Asiana Airlines is honestly really good.

Then we finally reached Jakarta and I handed her over to the mum. Didn’t take any photos here because I was busy sorting out the paperwork for her entry into the country. But anyways the procedure for this will differ for every country, so it will not be too helpful to share the experience in Jakarta.

For all entering Singapore with pets, please click here to see the step-by-step procedure for what you do after your pet arrives in Singapore.

Continue in page 2

Airline Policies

Every single airline has a different policy on their requirements and restrictions for pets. Please check with the airline you are travelling with for their exact policies. Some airlines do not allow for in-cabin travel, and you will need to fly your pet in-cargo for those situations.

For Asiana Airlines, these are their exact restrictions from their website.

  • If the weight of the pet (including the cage) is 7 kg or less
  • If the sum of three sides of the pet carrier is 115 cm or less and the maximum height of the cage is 21 cm or less. (Soft cases must be 26 cm or less and must be stowed under the seat.)
  • Each passenger can bring 1 pet in 1 cage into the cabin (or 2 puppies or 2 kittens under the age of 6 months – If a mother bird and her baby are a pair, they may also be brought together)
  • Pets must be kept in their cage for safety, and they are strictly prohibited from being taken out of their cage.
  • For Business Class(Including Business Suite class) seats, pet carriers cannot be placed under the seat in accordance with the seat structure and safety regulations and must be placed in another area with guidance from a flight attendant during taxi, take-off, and landing.

To be honest, I find this to be very very misleading. People who see 7kg will assume that any small-sized dogs are allowed to travel in-cabin with you. However, they require you to be able to stow the carrier under the seat in front of you, and this means that if you have a taller pet, you will not be allowed to bring in-cabin. So if you have a bigger/taller pet, you have no choice but to fly in-cargo too. Please click here on information about flying in-cargo.

What to Take Note of

  • Avoid feeding your pet too much food/water before or during the flight so that they will not need to go to the toilet during the flight. Give them an adequate amount, then feed more after arrival.
  • Please train your pet before travelling to stay in their carrier quietly. You get annoyed when travelling with a constantly crying baby, other people will also get annoyed if your pet was barking/meowing in the whole flight.
  • Bring a little bit of your pet’s favourite treats or toys to feed them during the flight in case they get anxious to distract them. Be sensible and avoid anything that is gonna make noise (aka squeaky toy, crinkle toy, etc).

Common FAQs

These questions came from when I posted the trip on my IG Story. If you have any further questions, leave it below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Q: Which airline did you use? What are the additional charges?
A: I flew via Asiana Airlines this time. On top of the standard air ticket for me, I paid an additional 160 USD (about 214 SGD) for Mitsuko’s cabin fare from Shanghai to Jakarta.

Q: Which airline can fly with the dogs on your lap?
A: To my knowledge, Asiana Airlines and Korean Airlines are the only Asian airlines that allows this. But I may be wrong so check with the airline you are flying with.

Q: What preparations (e.g. paperwork) needs to be down for them to fly in-cabin with us?
A: That’s different for every country. You’ll need to comply with local regulations of both the exporting and importing country. For example, to import a pet into Singapore, we need the basic shots, serology testing, health declarations, and all the importing documents. Click here for detailed information. As for to fly in-cabin, you just need to comply with local export regulations and let the airlines know.

Q: Do dogs need passport? If so, how to apply?
A: Nope, no passport per say. You just need to prepare all the health documents such as rabies booklet, and the export/import paperwork depending on countries.

Q: Is your dog scared of flying?
A: I would say that she was a little nervous in the beginning, but got used to it after a while and just slept through the flight.

Q: Can big dogs enter the cabin?
A: No. The airline requires bags to be less than 21cm tall and fit under the seat in front of you. Please check the airline’s website to double confirm. You’ll need to fly your pet via cargo.

* This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Pawjourr. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.

Author: YuMiZu

Hi, I am Yi Jie, the owner of 3 adorable dogs - Yuyu, Yumi & Yuzu (@yu.mi.zu). Look forward to in-depth analysis of different aspects of pet ownership from us!

More articles from YuMiZu

Flying with a Dog/Cat in Cargo as Checked Baggage

This is a follow up from out post about flying in-cabin. If you wish to read more about flying in-cabin, please click here.

For all the pets who do not qualify for flying in-cabin, you will have no choice but to fly your pet as excess baggage in-cargo.

I have flown with pets in-cargo many times and always fly them as excess baggage with Singapore Airlines because it is the cheapest method so far.

Please note that when I am talking about in-cargo, I am specifically referring to your pet travelling on the same flight with you as checked/excess baggage. If your pet was not flying with you, but flying individually as a cargo, you will have to check with the airline/your agent for the exact details.

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