Following the discovery of a dog that had been transported in a travel crate that did not meet the correct criteria, British Airways has temporarily suspended its service to carry pets in the hold.
An investigation will be carried out regarding the incident, during which, passengers will not be able to book their pets for travel. However, the airline has confirmed it will allow travel of pets that have already been booked on flights.
British Airways has confirmed that the dog was not injured during the flight, despite travelling in an ill-fitting crate. When travelling with pets, owners are requested to supply the crate, which must meet the requirements of the airline. Information regarding crates and size restrictions can be found on BA’s website. According to British Airway’s website, pets transported to the UK are assisted by their sister company IAG Cargo which states that pet owners ‘must comply with the Pet Travel Scheme’ if they plan to fly with their pet.
As it stands, pets travelling to and from the UK need to be micro-chipped and fully vaccinated. According to GOV.UK, pet-owners should also make sure they have all the necessary travel documents for their pet before travelling or pets could be refused passage at the time of boarding. After Brexit, it is believed the current pet passport scheme will cease to exist and the procedure for taking pets abroad will take up to four months. More information on the changes to pet travel post-Brexit can be found here.
Although pets will not be allowed in the hold, disabled passengers can still fly with registered assistance animals at no additional charge. This does, however, exclude emotional support animals.
According to The Independent, there has been ‘a number of high-profile instances of pets dying on flights.’ Figures have sadly increased over the last year, with animals dying inflight due to over-heating and dehydration. Pets should be kept in well-ventilated crates and have easy access to food and water throughout the duration of the flight.
Passengers travelling with their pets should ensure they have taken out a pet insurance policy that covers travelling abroad, including cover for; emergency veterinary treatment, theft or straying, accidental death and liability. Generally, travel insurance policies will not cover pets. It’s also important to check the rules and regulations of the airline or travel company before travelling with pets.
There will be different stipulations for pet travel to different countries – find out more information on rules and regulations by taking a look at The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs website.