If you’re considering taking your dog on a European vacation, you may be wondering how easy it is to fly to Europe with a dog from the USA. There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when flying to Europe with a dog, but overall, it’s relatively straightforward.
Before You Travel
When deciding to take your dog to Europe, you need to consider the veterinary and paperwork preparations that are required. If you’re travelling from the USA to the EU, the steps are quite simple: Microchip your dog, vaccinate your dog against rabies, and complete an animal health certificate.
The hardest part of taking your animal with you to Europe is getting the right health certificate. You need to get an EU animal health certificate (or “EU Annex IV”) from a certified vet, and then have it certified by the USDA APHIS Veterinary Services.
If you want to submit the paperwork for your animal using the Veterinary Export Health Certification System (VEHCS), you will need to pay a $38 USD fee per certificate. You can also ship the paperwork to the USDA Endorsement Office serving your state, using expedited mail including tracking.
There are some European countries that require your dog to have a worming treatment done by a veterinarian between 24 hours and 5 days of arriving in them. These countries are Finland, Ireland, Malta, Norway, and the UK.
Because of the hassle involved with a USDA animal health certificate, you could also get an EU pet passport. The passport is easier to use, but you will need to get your pet’s rabies vaccines in Europe from now on.
Determining A Pet-Friendly Airline
The next important step is finding a pet-friendly airline to fly to Europe with your dog. Unfortunately, some airlines that normally allow pets to fly in cabin, don’t allow this on Transatlantic flights, speicfically American airlines.
Flying with a US airline
If you want to fly with your dog in the cabin on a Transatlantic flight, check with the airline first to see if they allow it. American Airlines does not allow it, but Delta does. There is a charge of $200 USD and a maximum of four pets are allowed in the cabin.
Recently, United Airlines began allowing pets in the cabin on Transatlantic flights for a charge of $125 USD. There is no maximum weight, just a maximum kennel size.
If you have a large pet, you may have trouble flying with them on US airlines. Delta Cargo and United Airlines (through United PetSafe) have not been accepting pet bookings since 2020. It’s unclear if American Airlines Cargo is currently accepting pet bookings. There are some exceptions for active-duty US military and US State Department Foreign Service personnel travelling on official orders.
If you’re looking to fly with your pet, Air Canada is a good option. They don’t have a weight limit for pets, just a maximum kennel size. Additionally, Air Canada is one of the few airlines that accept pets in the cabin and as checked baggage on flights out of the UK, instead of only as cargo (like Delta). Although, on flights to the UK, pets still need to fly as cargo.
Flying with a European airline
If you’re looking to fly your pet to Europe in the cabin with you, your best bet is to look into European flag-carrier airlines. From what other travellers have said who have done this before, Air France, KLM, and Lufthansa are some of the most recommended airlines.
You can bring your dog on all three airlines’ Transatlantic flights. Here are the details for each airline.
You can bring your dog on Air France flights as long as they weigh 8kg or less, including their carrier. You’ll have to pay a fee of €125 (about $130 USD). Pets are not allowed in business class on intercontinental flights though. If your dog weighs up to 75kg, they can travel in the hold and you’ll have to pay a fee of €400 (about $418 USD). You can buy travel containers for the cabin and hold directly from Air France to use on your flight.
KLM has a maximum weight of 8kg (17.6lb) for pets in the cabin and 75kg (165.3lb) for pets in the hold, including their carrier or crate. The charge for each pet depends on your departure and destination airport. Pets are not permitted in business class on intercontinental flights, due to the seat design.
Lufthansa has a weight limit of 8kg (17.6lb) for pets in the cabin, including the carrier. For transport in the cabin, a fee of €100 ($104 USD) is charged to/from the East Coast, €110 USD ($115 USD) to/from the West Coast. Prices for pets in the hold depend on the crate size.