Should pets be allowed on planes? Change in Australian law prompts fierce debate

The Civil Aviation Safety Authorities’ rules changed in December, technically allowing passengers to bring pets into plane cabins

Lucy Thackray
Tuesday 03 May 2022 15:56 BST
<p>Puppies on planes: passengers express strong opinions both for and against</p>

Puppies on planes: passengers express strong opinions both for and against

A change in Australian legislation around pets on planes has stoked the debate on whether furry friends should be allowed on flights.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authorities’ rules changed in December, technically allowing passengers to bring pets into aircraft cabins - though no Australian airline has yet amended their policy in line with the update.

The hypothetical rule change nevertheless prompted healthy debate on ABC News Perth’s Instagram page, after staff posted: “Should airlines allow pets to fly in the cabin with their owners? Tell us why/why not.”

“The Civil Aviation Safety Authority updated its animal carriage regulations in December, allowing flight operators to decide on pets in cabins. But Australia’s major airlines still don’t allow it,” reads the Instagram post.

Opinions were strong on both sides.

“No. Dumbest idea ever. It’s bad enough being on a flight with annoying screaming kids, imagine adding a barking dog or a cat meowing constantly. And how are the toilet issues to be addressed?” responded Stu Heath.

“No, no, no, and a thousand times NO,” declared @GlenCora9.

“I’d rather sit next to 19 Great Danes and four Rottweilers than a screaming baby… it’s a huge yes for me,” said @Sej.Davies.

“For certain flights I think, maybe make pet friendly flights and no pets allowed flights. That allows for people with phobias or allergies to make that choice when booking,” wrote social media user Louie.

“Maybe even make humans optional, pets mandatory,” joked another follower.

Meanwhile, several followers said they would be “more inclined to travel” if they could take animals onto the plane with them.

UK airlines do not allow pets in the plane cabin unless they are a registered service dog, such as a guide dog for the blind.

Meanwhile, carriers including British Airways, Emirates and Qantas will allow pets to fly in the hold compartment for an extra charge.

“If you’re travelling with a recognised service dog, it can travel with you free of charge in the cabin of your British Airways flight. This service cannot be booked online and we might need to limit the number of dogs we can carry in the cabin,” says British Airways.

The carrier states that it does not allow “emotional support dogs”.

According to, the three UK-serving airlines that do allow pets in the cabin are Tui, KLM and Lufthansa.

These only allow very small pets weighing 8kg or under, and must be booked directly with the airline rather than through any kind of pet-courier service.

In October, greyhound Lewis hit the headlines when he flew business class from Australia to Italy on a lavish Singapore Airlines flight.

Owner Mary Meister told reporters Lewis was “spoiled rotten” by Singapore staff who allowed him into the business cabin as an “emotional support animal”.

A business class flight from Melbourne to Milan or Rome, via Singapore, with Singapore Airlines typically costs around £5,000 one way, lasting around 23 hours.

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