Air India accepts a wide variety of pets onboard, both as carry-on and as checked baggage. Cats, dogs, household birds and other pets can travel with Air India only if they are properly crated, and all the necessary documentation is provided by their owners.
Service animals are accepted on board of Air India flights free of charge, but only if the owner is dependent on the animal’s assistance.
However, in order to travel accompanied by your pet, you must have the carrier’s prior approval, and also comply with its regulations.
The regulations of the country of destination are the main criterion based on which it is decided what animals must be transported as carry-on baggage and what as checked baggage. However, the route is not the only parameter that determines how your pet will be transported.
Generally speaking, all pets that weight less than 5 kg / 11 lb (together with their container), and whose kennel measures under 18 x 18 x 12 in / 45 x 45 x 30 cm can be brought into the cabin. When the abovementioned weight is exceeded, the pet must be checked and transported in the cargo hold of the aircraft. Regardless of the method of carriage (in the cabin or in the hold), animals must be properly muzzled and leashed.
The carriage of pets on certain routes and to / from certain destinations must be in accordance with the following regulations:
When travelling with pets you must know that they are not considered part of the free checked baggage allowance. With the sole exception of service animals, pets will always be regarded as excess baggage and charged accordingly.
1Regarding the Policy for Carriage of Pets into UK, dogs, cats and other mammals are accepted in the cabin under Airway bill only after receiving prior confirmation from the London Heathrow Airport.
2On flights from India to the Gulf, pets may be allowed on board only if registered as checked baggage.
3Service dogs are the only exception to the rule. They can accompany their owners in the cabin.
Besides being properly crated, pets must have all the necessary documentation in good order when flying with Air India. The pet must be accompanied by its valid health and vaccination certificates (usually vaccination against rabies), all the mandatory entry permits, as well as all the other documents specifically required by the countries of entry, exit or transit.
All the governmental customs and health requirements (including quarantine procedures upon arrival at the destination) are solely the owner’s responsibility, who must inquire for all this information well in advance of the journey. Should the animal be quarantined at the destination, the owner will have to cover all the expenses.4
Regardless of the size of your pet or its container, all animals travelling with Air India are not considered part of the free baggage allowance, being charged at the excess baggage rates. Furthermore, only two animals per aircraft are permitted, so make sure to contact the airline in advance and ensure there is room available for your pet on a specific flight.
Air India will not be held responsible should your pet be denied entry into or passage through a territory, nor if the pet suffers any injury, sickness or even death during a flight (due to its health condition, improper caging etc.). Moreover, the passenger must provide the airline with a declaration of indemnity.
4The airline has absolutely no influence over the quarantine period established by the veterinary authorities of the country of destination for your pet. The pet’s owner is the only one responsible for making all the necessary quarantine arrangements.
Should you desire to travel accompanied by your animal companion in the passenger cabin, you must make this request specifically at the time of the booking. If the airline gives its consent, the staff will offer you all the necessary details regarding the formalities you will have to complete and the procedures you will have to follow.
Remember that your pet will be accepted in the cabin only if it weights less than 5 kg / 11 lb5, and if the container / soft bag measures no more than 45 x 45 x 30 cm / 18 x 18 x 12 in.
Service dogs are also accepted in the cabin and, unlike all the other animals, are carried free of charge.
5The total weight of the pet and its container = 5 kg / 11 lb.
When the weight of your pet and its kennel exceeds 5 kg / 11 lb, it will be transported in the cargo hold of the aircraft. The container in which your pet will be held during the flight must be properly ventilated and proportional to the animal’s dimensions and weight.
Visually or hearing impaired passengers may travel accompanied by their service animals, provided they can bring medical proof of their dependence. Assistive animals are carried free of charge and can be brought in the passenger cabin. However, it is recommended to contact the airline in advance and make all the necessary arrangements, since only one service dog is permitted per flight.
When travelling in the cabin, service dogs must be properly harnessed; they are not allowed to occupy a seat. Although they benefit from special treatment, assistive animals must also have all their documents in good order before embarking a flight.