Airplane travel with dog australia

How Much Does It Cost To Fly A Dog Interstate Within Australia?

Whether you want to go away on holidays, or are planning a big move, interstate pet travel can feel like a big hassle.

Packing your stuff and planning for your furry friend takes time, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

No worries, we did the research for you. From how much it costs to fly a dog interstate, to the must-haves for Australian dog travel, here’s what you should know!


Should You Fly With Your Dog?

Australia is a pretty big country, so driving interstate can take days. In most cases, we just don’t have the time, and finding dog-friendly accommodation on the way can be a hassle on its own. Because of it, we recommend flying with your dog if you want to move within Australia.

Of course, before flying with your dog, it’s important to keep in mind pet regulations.


Australian Regulations - Flying Dogs Interstate

  • No dogs are allowed inside the cabin. Regardless of their size, dogs aren’t allowed to fly in the cabin during flights within Australia, as well as flights going to and from the country. The only exception is for recognised and certified service dogs. Pet cats and dogs have to travel as ‘manifest cargo’ [1].
  • Use an IATA-approved dog travel crate. The International Air Transport Association has established standards for crates [4]. These ensure your dog will stay safe through their interstate journey. Keep in mind crates that are too small and narrow for your dog’s size can be dangerous to their health.
  • Breed restrictions. According to official, nation-wide restrictions, the following breeds aren’t allowed to fly at all within Australian borders: Dogo Argentino, American Pitbull, Perro De Presa Canario, Japanese Tosa, and Fila Brasileiro [2]. Brachycephalic dogs, while not banned by Australian law, tend to be restricted by airlines and carrier companies. Airline-specific rules, as well as restrictions on certain routes, change constantly. To get the latest information, check in with your company before booking. This is particularly important if you want to fly a brachycephalic dog.
  • Other restrictions. Most companies don’t allow dogs younger than 8 weeks-old to fly as cargo, while others have booking restrictions for pups that weigh more than 65 kg [3]. Some companies also require you to get a health certificate from your vet, so call beforehand to make sure you’re on the clear.

Dog Air-Flight Travel Options In Australia

Ok, you’ve decided you want to fly your dog interstate instead of doing a road trip. Now you have to consider how to do it. When it comes to flying with your dog, there are two big options for owners: going on the same flight as you or shipping your dog. Remember that dogs will always fly cargo, regardless of whether the owner is a passenger or not.

  • Dedicated pet transport. Several companies are dedicated to transporting pets within Australia. This means you’ll drop off your dog at the airport, and then pick them up at the arrival point. Pick up can be done by you or an authorised person. In this case, your dog will travel on a cargo flight. This option means actual transfer times will be shorter, since there are no passengers or baggage to organise.
  • On a flight with you. This is the option many people feel more comfortable with when it comes to interstate dog transport. It means your dog will go as checked baggage on your flight, although most times you’ll have to book their ticket separately. Commercial flights tend to imply slightly longer transfer times for your dog, since you’ll drop them off before passenger boarding begins.

How Much Does It Cost To Fly A Dog Interstate?

There isn’t a simple answer when you’re wondering how much it costs to fly a dog interstate. In general, the larger the dog, the more it will cost. However, there are other factors you should consider:

  • Your dog’s weight. This might correlate with their size, but not always.
  • The crate size.

Depending on the airline, the cost of your dog’s plane ticket will depend either on the crate size alone, or on the size and the combined weight of your dog and the crate.

When booking, you’ll need to have the crate size, and the total weight -so dog + crate- at hand. If your dog falls within two weight categories, it’s important to call the company to figure out what to do. Depending on their policies, they might round up or down so this could change your dog’s category and ticket price.

Sometimes, the airlines’ call centre doesn’t know whether the check-in crew will round down or not. In those cases, it might be wiser to choose the larger weight category, or you might be charged a little more at drop-off.

All in all, you can expect to invest the price of a regular ‘human plane ticket’ for that same route. This amount can be slightly lower if you have a smaller dog, or higher if your dog is heavy. For extra-large dog breeds, expect to spend up to twice the amount of a regular ticket. Of course, this will depend on the carrier, the season and your dog’s weight.


How To Fly A Dog Interstate

There’s more to flying a dog interstate than actually budgeting for their ticket. Travel can be a very stressful experience for your dog, so planning beforehand will save you both a lot of stress. Here’s our step-by-step guide to flying a dog interstate.

Step 1. Figure out the route

Not all airports are serviced by all airline companies, and not all airlines have the same regulations. Before booking your trip, find out if your desired departure and arrival airports are able to handle pets as cargo, and whether or not there are specific regulations or taxes associated. If at all possible, choose direct flight without scales. This will keep your dog’s transit time to a minimum.

PRO TIP: Some airlines allow air travel with brachycephalic breeds, like bulldogs and Pekingese dogs, with some restrictions. Certain companies only allow these breeds to travel during specific seasons -or not in the summer-, at certain times or only on shorter flights. Call the airlines to inquire about these exceptions, since many times the specific regulations aren’t published online.

Step 2. Check your dates

Once you’ve chosen your route and the company you’d like to travel with, choose the date and time your dog will fly. In general, it’s a good idea to travel in spring and autumn when the heat won’t be too harsh. On the other hand, early morning flights, or late afternoon ones, will also spare your dog the worst of the midday heat.

Step 3. Find the right crate

You might want to book your ticket right away but wait a bit. To get your dog their ticket, you’ll need their crate size and weight. Getting the right crate adapted to your dog’s needs will make the difference and make the travel experience safe for your pup.

According to IATA, your dog should be able to stand, lie down and turn with ease and without hitting the sides of the crate. Some companies have specific requirements like two-part cages needing to be screwed together rather than clipped with plastic clips. We’ve gathered Australia’s best dog crates, and the best dog carriers to help you make the best choice for your dog’s needs.

Step 4. Book the tickets

In Australia, dogs have plane tickets just like humans. In general, you can book your dog a ticket or, if you have already purchased yours, add their tickets as an extra. Some carriers consider dogs as ‘extra cargo’, and you’ll have to pay a surcharge instead of an actual ticket. This is the same case as if you were transporting golf clubs or a large instrument. If you choose a dog transport company, you’ll have to book their spot as well.

Once you have the crate size and weight, you’ll be able to book the appropriate ticket according to your dog’s category.

PRO TIP: Book your dog’s ticket before yours. There’s significantly less space for your dog in comparison with regular tickets, so their tickets can be sold out way before yours ever will. This is especially important if you’re flying a less-popular route where there will be fewer airline and time options.

Step 5. Double check the requirements

Check your airline’s requirements well in advance, to avoid any unwanted surprises. This includes double-checking whether or not you need a vet’s health certificate, any ID tags your dog should travel with and anything else that could come up.

Step 6. Train your dog

Crate training is vital to ensure travel is a positive experience for your dog. Travelling in cargo will always be difficult for your dog, but you can try to make them feel safe on their crate. To do this, you need to train your pup to associate their crate with good things like eating, sleeping or playing.

Step 7. Get there early

On the day of the flight, get to the airport early enough. Walk your dog beforehand to make sure they are a little tired, they might sleep most of the journey! You should also refill their water reservoir, get their absorbent cover ready and let them go potty before closing the crate.

PRO TIP: Pack a snack and a small water bottle for your pup. Once you pick them up, you’ll be able to offer fresh water and a treat to ease their nerves. They’ll be thrilled to be reunited with you!

FAQ

Are there breed restrictions on interstate flights in Australia?

Yes. As we already mentioned, the same breed restrictions that apply for dog import are used in interstate travel. These restrictions mean you won’t be able to travel by air with the following breeds:


  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Perro De Presa Canario
  • Japanese Tosa
  • American Pitbull
References
  1. Department of Agriculture. Cats and dogs frequently asked questions. https://www.agriculture.gov.au/cats-dogs/frequently-asked-questions#can-my-cat-or-dog-travel-to-australia-in-the-plane-cabin-with-me
  2. Breed-specific legislation. Australian veterinary association. https://www.ava.com.au/policy-advocacy/policies/companion-animals-dog-behaviour/breed-specific-legislation/
  3. Flying with a dog. https://www.travelnuity.com/flying-with-a-dog-in-australia/
  4. IATA. Traveller’s pet corner. https://www.iata.org/en/programs/cargo/live-animals/pets/
Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is a dog lover & anthropologist. She enjoys writing content that will actually help people understand their dogs better. Eloisa is able to use her expertise to write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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