Rules banning pets inside aircraft cabins are being relaxed this year, leaving airlines to decide whether or not they’ll allow customers to bring their best mate onboard. Qantas and Jetstar are out, but Virgin Australia is still mulling things over.
If you’re travelling on Australian airlines, taking your pooch in the sky can be a traumatic experience for both parties and many owners choose to avoid the experience altogether. The animals go in the cargo hold, which is cold (or sometimes too hot), noisy and strange, so it’s easy to understand how this can cause pets some distress. It’s also costly.
Over in the US and EU though, peeping an animal in the next row is pretty normal. Travel with pets inside the cabin happens on the reg and life is good. And that’s how things could be in Australia, considering the Civil Aviation Safety Authority is relaxing its rules around animals in the cabin from December 2 of this year.
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The federal rules will see the overall ban removed, allowing airlines to decide for themselves whether they’re happy for pets to sit with their owners. Of course, there are stipulations around how that will work.
“When [airlines are] giving permission, you may need to consider the type of animal and how it is carried, contained and restrained; its reaction to noise and being out of its natural environment; nuisance to other passengers; distraction to flight crew; and how excrement or fluids will be contained,” said the Civil Aviation Authority.
“A large animal should always be secured so as not to damage or affect the balance of the aircraft in flight. A small- or medium-sized animal carried in the cabin would normally need as a minimum to be restrained during takeoff and landing and in turbulence.”
Australia’s main airlines – Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, and Rex – have already started considering their positions, but formal announcements about whether they will allow pets on planes are expected before the rules come into effect on December 2.
Qantas and Jetstar have already mentioned they wont be changing their practices for pets inside the cabin, however Virgin Australia says they’re undertaking a wider review.
“We’ll consider the regulatory changes as part of a wider pet travel review we’re currently undertaking. Regardless of the outcome, designated service dogs will still be able to travel in the cabin.”
Overseas, pet owners are charged a fee to bring their animals onboard and some are subject to weight restrictions.
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Cassandra Vozzo, who owns a Cavoodle named Frankie, is keen on seeing the rules change because she thinks pets should be treated like the family they are.
“For people who live interstate, relaxed rules would make it easier to bring your dog home for a weekend and not have to find sitters,” she told AWOL. Cassandra also mentions how animals with anxiety have an especially difficult time.
“A good comprise would be to have designated flights for animals each week, allowing choice for people who don’t want to fly with animals or those who are allergic.”
(Lead image: Tanner Crockett/Borna Bevanda via Unsplash )