Collecting those air meows…

We are not kitten around, you and your red setter can now be jet setters together on the UAE’s national carrier — Etihad Airways.

The airline has updated a ‘claws’ in their pet travel policy, which formally permitted ‘trained service animals’ and falcons (because UAE) to stay in the cabin with their travel buddies, to now include cats and dogs in the mid-air cabin menagerie.

Other pet types are still allowed but must travel as cargo. Including any snakes, you may wish to bring on a plane.

How much does it cost?

In Economy, it’s just USD150 (around Dhs550) to on-boarder your collie (as well as other dogs and cats) for flights six hours or less. Flights over six hours will cost you USD250 (Dhs918) for each flying feline or mile-high boi. If you are transiting then the combined price will apply. You can also purchase a seat for them, which must be done in advance (we recommend calling direct to book this).

Pampered pooches and cats travelling in Business or First class are required to have a seat purchased for them. What they’ll do with the fully-loaded entertainment system we don’t know. But at least they’ll be able to press paws.

You will need to check out entry requirements (in terms of pet passports, vaccinations etc) of your travel destination in advance.

To get your pet set for the jet you’ll need to complete and send in the animals on board form a minimum of 72 hours before the flight.

Pets slumming it in e-kennel-my (sorry, for clarity’s sake – that’s ‘economy’) will have to remain in their travel holder under their accompanying passenger’s seat (if they fit). If they’re substantially more of a ‘chonky boi’ you’ll have to purchase a seat for them.

The pet travel bag or kennel must not exceed 40 x 40 x 22cm (L x W x H) to fit under your seat in Economy. Those dimensions can increase to 50 x 43 x 50cm if you have purchased an adjacent seat.

Pre-em-bark-ment checklist

Etihad have issued the following checklist for onboarding pets.

  • Before you travel with an animal in the cabin, please make sure that:
  • You have checked all entry and exit regulations for the countries you are flying to and from
  • All applicable veterinary examinations or treatments have been completed
  • You have asked your vet about any medication that may need to be administered to your pet during the journey
  • Have all the official documents required for your pet to travel
  • You have registered your pet for carriage in the cabin no later than 72 hours before your flight and have received confirmation of pet acceptance
  • Your pet is familiar with the travel bag or kennel
  • You have a lead and a suitable harness or collar available
  • You have dry pet food in a sealed container in your cabin baggage
  • To help to keep your pet calm as they fly, we suggest placing a blanket, an old item of your clothing or your pet’s favourite toy in the travel bag or kennel with them


Falcons, as mentioned above, are also permitted in the cabin.

They can travel for free as part of the cabin baggage allowance, or as checked baggage for USD500 (Dhs1,836) per cage.

Images: Getty/Etihad