Flying (with) dogs. How to book a flight for you and your dog!

Today, the 23rd of June, is “Take your dog to work day.” If only I had left a memo in the canteen to make all my colleagues aware of this, I would have been holed up in a meeting room full of cute dogs by now. Best day ever. Of course, for KLM it’s “Take your dog on board day” every day, as we transport them daily in the cabin, in the hold, or via Cargo. Through our service channels, I noticed that passengers still have quite a few questions about travelling with their furry friends. So let’s sniff around and dive into the world of flying (with) dogs!

PETC! What? Pet in cabin!

When you request to have your dog accompany you in the cabin, your booking will show you requested a PETC: a pet in cabin. Bark Obama can travel in a soft bag of 46 x 28 x 24 cm (length x width x height) maximum or a hard kennel of 46 x 28 x 20 cm maximum, which must be placed under your seat. Nobody likes the odour of wet dog, so make sure they smell nice and fresh. Your dog and bag or kennel may not weigh more than 8 kg in total. Although I can imagine you might want little Brad Sit to sit on your lap, this is not an option, just as exit rows or bulkhead seats are not possible. Also, our A330, B777, B747 and B787 World Business Class seats don’t have space under the seat. So if you want your doggie with you in the cabin, enjoy the comforts of Economy.

Hold up! AVIH?

If L.L. Drool J. is a bit bigger (but not heavier than 75 kg, including the kennel), you can request an AVIH, which stands for Animal Vivant in Hold. Did you know we transport about 75% of all animals in the hold? You can even bring three of them as check-in baggage. Cute pups can’t be younger than ten weeks old. All animals are kept in a special section in the hold, which is heated especially for them. Important: The kennel must comply with quite a few rules. For example, leashes or muzzles can’t be in the kennel they’re travelling in.  See the checklist below.


Em-BARK-o so maybe cargo?

Is your massive Irish wolfhound heavier than 75 kilos? Or are you not travelling on the same flight? Good thing we’ve got Cargo! You can arrange for J.K. Growling to be transported with a specialised cargo agent on the AIR FRANCE-KLM cargo website. Not all dogs (in cabin or in hold) can travel on all routes, planes, or code shares. Please check the embargo list below as sometimes Cargo is the only way to go. Also, most snub-nosed animals can have trouble breathing during the flight due to high temperatures or stress. So dogs like snub-nosed boxers, Pekinese, and most types of bulldogs may only be transported in the cabin or as cargo. Unfortunately, we don’t transport English and French bulldogs, Boston terriers and pugs in the hold or as cargo at all. Please contact us to check what the best way to transport your dog is!

We do like SVANs

I’m not talking about the elegant white bird. A SVAN is a service animal such as hearing, seeing eye, seizure alert, and social dogs. All of these certified and individually trained guide dogs can be taken in the cabin free of charge. Bear in mind, you cannot be seated at an exit seat or bring another PETC. There’s no need for a kennel as long as your service dog is harnessed and secured. Did you know that Air France also allows trained monkeys? Hide your bananas.

ESAN: Emotional Support

Besides SVAN, there’s also the ESAN: an emotional support animal or so-called buddy or therapy dog. ESAN’s are also free of charge, but to be able to bring Pawtrick Stewart, a certificate that is not more than one year old bearing the letterhead of a mental health professional is required. You need airline approval and an application form via KLM Cares. Airline approval is also needed for rescue dogs “on a mission” that accompany rescue teams with the recovery of victims and for all types of military, police, border protection, custom, and fire dogs travelling in hold.

Pet paradise, the Animal Hotel!

Did you know that ninety percent of our dogs visit our amazing Animal Hotel? I went there to see our team walk the dogs, give them food and water, and check the kennels. I also walked this cute and super friendly dog called Taffy, who was on her way from Budapest to Vancouver. So fluffy! Just like Taffy, your dog can stay in the Animal Hotel if you have a transfer of two hours or more. You have to pay a flat fee of EUR 150 (or USD/CAD 200) for the hotel and the costs of transport of your dog depend on your itinerary. Besides all the dogs, the hotel is full with other animals that your doggie can make friends with including loads of cats, horses, and ducklings. Cute!

Booking your dog

So, how do you book all this? Easy-peasy. We Can Help 24/7! Just get online and contact us via social media and share your name, booking code (privately, of course), breed of dog, size and weight of kennel/bag and the weight of your dog. You can always call our KLM Service Centre or KLM Cares, too. Our special reservations department will then check availability and you can keep track of the status of your request in MyTrip. Please do this at least 48 hours before your flight or Snarls Barkley might have to stay at home. On the day of your flight, we advise that you be at the airport three hours before your scheduled departure time. And then…

Your dog is ready for departure!

Basically, dogs are the best thing on earth. I totally understand why you would want to take them with you on board. I hope this blog has taken away some of your doubts or questions. In addition to all this information, you will of course need some more preparation, such as the correct travel documents and the required vaccines. Here’s a handy checklist. Also, always check our travelling with pets page! We can always help you with your questions by phone or via Facebook and Twitter, too. Maybe share some photos of you and your flying dog with me too? Paws up!

Posted by:   Renée Penris  | 
Join the conversation Show comments


Do you transport small dogs in cabins from South Africa as well or only on your domestic flights?
A wonderful deed you are doing!!!


Thank you Jenny! A pet in cabin to and from South Africa is not allowed, but you can check your dog in as check-in baggage! For any more questions, just contact us via social media or phone, we’d be happy to help you further with a reservation. Thank you!

r link

i like how your pictures are of pugs or a similar breed of dog that you don’t actually allow on the flights. might want to change this.

Carina Vas Pinto

Indeed, I had to pay a ticket for a friend to fly on another airline with my French Bulldog when I relocated.


Sucks that you won’t take bulldogs. Do alll airlines going overseas ban them, or is it just your airline? We have two and may be moving overseas. Thanks

Renée Penris

Hi Dee. I’m afraid I cannot speak for other airlines, I don’t know what their rules are. I advise you to please contact our KLM Service Centre to check whether your dog can come with you, for example via Facebook or Twitter. Check the contact page here:

Carina Vas Pinto

Other airlines do, not ovee summer though. I flown my French Bulldog with the German airline and with the Portuguese one.
KLM does not carry French Bulldogs or other snub noses at all


Hello,what about American Staffordshire terrier??? She is my big baby :)

Renée Penris

Aww! We’d be happy to check this for you, Nino. Please contact our KLM Service Centre via social media or by phone:

Carina Vas Pinto

They do, they don’t ban any breed apart from snub noses


Boston terrier puppy under 6kg from Warsaw Poland to Bangkok.
I know she cant go in the hold but Can I bring it in cabin with me.
Looking forward to your reply.

Renée Penris

Hello Dylan! That sounds like an adorable little dog. Please contact our KLM Service Centre to check if this is possible Thank you!

Bridget Strydom

Can you please contact me regarding the transport of our dog from south Africa to Bahrain.
Is it possible to fly him as checked in luggage on the leg Johannesburg to ams?
I’ll shall also mention that Tyson is a emotional support animal but since he is a rottweiler I’d never ask you for him to be in the cabin. he is a frequent flyer on klm already went with you from bahrain to pty last year and back to ams

Renée Penris

Hi Bridget! Tyson sounds like an amazing dog. We’d be happy to help you further to see what the options are. Please contact our KLM Service Centre via social media or by phone: or KLM Cares Thank you!


hi. can we take our 2 small dogs from bristol to malaga via klm?

Renée Penris

Hello Steph. You can find out by contacting our KLM Service Centre Have fun in Malaga!


Please note that the animal hotel is not available for PETCs, like stated here, only for AVIHs.. I checked this with KLM/AF cargo.

Renée Penris

Correct, JL, as you have your dog with you at all times when you travel with a PETC :) Thanks!

Carina Vas Pinto

I have traveled with 4 dogs in hold and 2 cats in cabin (over 2 different flights, me and my partner) and was very happy that this is the only airline that would accepted my “potentially dangerous dogs” out of Dubai. By other hand, was not so happy to learn that you did not carry my snub nose dog, having forced me to buy a ticket for a friend to fly with a competitor just to take my French Bulldog with.

Also very pleased with the service, they all arrived happy and healthy after more than 20h flights, with layover at your pet hotel.

Unfortunately the process to book their availability was extremely difficult and I had to call the airline almost every day for 15 days in a row until everyone was accepted and confirmed. But, I blame this to the call center people…

Would therefore be important that you have your call center people properly trained which regards these informations, as most of them are clueless and I had to be the one informing them of several things based on your website that is very clear and easy to understand. Particularly the breeds that you carry or not…

Having spent 6h on schippol airport with a cat, would have been nice to have a place to take the cat out of the bag other than the disabled ppl toilet.

Overall, after the difficulties I am pleased that we all relocated healthy and happy.

Renée Penris

Hi Carina! Thank you for sharing your experience and feedback. Happy to read you managed to book everything, despite the struggles, and that you and all your pets relocated healthy and happy. That’s what matters, in the end. Hope to see you on board again in the future, thanks!

Alina M

I’ll be traveling with my Alaskan Malamute, I’ve booked the flight and have the tickets, and I have a two hours and five minutes connection through Schiphol airport. It is my understanding she’ll go to the hotel? what is the procedure, and will two hours suffice to check out of the first flight, and check-in with her to the next flight? will she need a vet inspection?


Hi Alina! Please contact our KLM Service Centre via social media or by phone ( for all your questions. Thank you!


Good day i am looking vor ensamples of the sticker to poet on cage. AVIH the Cargo people in Namibia do not have and i have to make them


Is it possible from Spain to Dubai?


Is it possible to travel from Spain to Dubai? Or do you guys have flights available?

Neil Scarth

This is very useful and important information-thanks so much. I’m a little confused as to what the EMBARGO LIST means though. We would like to take our small dog (King Charles Cavalier Spaniel) in the hold from Sofia (ie an EU country) to Edinburgh via Paris. Would the fact that the UK is on the embargo list prevent this ? We have heard rumours to this effect but haven’t seen them confirmed elsewhere.
Also, on a very practical note, if we collect and check-in our dog (and cat, which we hope to take in the cabin) for the second leg in Paris, is there anywhere the animals can go to the toilet or stretch their legs ? The flights we looked at also only have a 2-hour stopover. What would happen if there was a delay on the first flight or if the procedure with the animals took too long?
I hope that I’m not being too annoying asking such detailed questions but we really want to avoid any hiccups if we go ahead and book to avoid distress to the animals, ourselves and our bank accounts so would really appreciate some clarification. Neil Scarth (I’m a UK citizen but I presume this shouldn’t make any difference with regard to the rules).

Renée Penris

Hi Neil. A nice ‘Euro-trip’ you’ve got planned there! To make sure you receive accurate and up to date information, please contact our KLM Service Centre via social media or by phone ( for all your questions. They can inform you the best. I hope you have a wonderful trip. Thank you!


Hi, I want to flight with my service dog from India to Usa, the certificate that I have is from my countrie in spanish Do I have to ask for another one or with this certificate is ok?


Last time our over-sized Jack Russel flew in the hold during winter and everything went well. However this time we will be flying during the summer and I am therefore little bit concerned on the temperature. Will the pet be kept in cool before the flight and how about during the flight? Is there temperature control in the hold? We are flying with 737-700 & 737-900 modeled planes

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