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What is Air China’s policy on pet acceptance?

Air China will accept carriage of small pets (domesticated dogs and cats) exclusively as checked baggage, the only exception to the rule being Service Dogs.

What pets are allowed in the passenger cabin and what as checked baggage?

Service Dogs are the only pets accepted in the passenger cabin, all other animals being transported as checked baggage or cargo.

Air China reserves its right to establish the manner of carriage, as well as the number of animals carried per flight, these variables being subject to constant changes.

Animals that seem wild, dangerous, pregnant, or that have given birth within the last 2 days will most likely not be accepted on board of an Air China flight, so do inform yourself before deciding to travel accompanied by your pet.

What responsibilities do I have?

First of all, you must contact Air China’s offices to inform yourself about the pet carriage availability for the particular flight that you are planning to take. You need to complete a Pet Shipping Reservation Request and submit a pet shipping request at any Air China direct sales office at least 24 hours before scheduled flight departure.

Secondly, after the necessary arrangements have been made, you must provide a suitable cage (appropriate in size and meeting the ongoing standards), as well as a reasonable amount of food and water for your pet to have during the journey.

The pet’s documents are another important aspect to be taken into consideration. Make sure you have your pet’s valid health and vaccination certificates, quarantine certificates, the required entry permits, and other custom documents that may be required by other countries’ policies. If this documentation is not complete and in good order, your animal might be denied entrance into a certain territory.

This is solely the owner’s responsibility, therefore Air China cannot be held responsible if your pet will be rejected at a certain border due to document irregularities. If such case should occur and Air China suffers any flight delays, additional fines or unexpected costs, the pet’s owner will suffer the consequences, being obliged to financially reimburse the airline.

The passenger travelling with their pet will take full responsibility if the animal causes damages or injuries to other passengers or to the flight crew, as well as if the pet itself gets injured, sick, escapes or dies during an Air China flight. Of course, if this happens because of the airline’s negligence, Air China will compensate accordingly.

Should you decide to bring your pet along, do not forget to register it when you book your ticket. Be advised that you must arrive at the airport two hours before the flight take off, in order to have enough time to complete the check-in formalities for your pet.

Last but not least, if you make all the necessary arrangements for your pet’s journey, you do not have to book an oxygen cabin, because your pet will definitely be accommodated in one as long as its carriage is approved.

Checked Pets

Size Restrictions

Only two pet containers are allowed on a single flight, unless specified otherwise by Air China. This restriction is basically set by aircraft type.

The pet kennels must meet certain standard aspects in order for your pet to be accepted on board in the first place. First of all, the container should be built in such a manner that the animal could not escape, get injured, injure the handling staff, or damage the baggage, cargo or the aircraft itself. Another important aspect is the size of the kennel, which should leave enough space for the animal to stand up, more around and have enough ventilation. Furthermore, the container must have a waterproof bottom made out of solid material, and also sides to contain urine and feces, so the aircraft would not be affected in any way by the carriage of your pet.

There are certain restrictions when talking about more than one animal carried in a single container. One kennel can hold a maximum of two adult pets of approximately the same size, weighing no more than 14 kg (30 lbs) each. If your pet is heavier than 14 kg, then you must provide for it an individual cage. The same container can hold up to three pets, provided they are less than half a year old and come from the same litter.

There is a different approach to pet transportation depending on the type of flight. Domestic flights accept a total weight of 45 kg (99 lbs – animal + container + food and water). On the other hand, international flights accept a maximum weight of only 32 kg (70 lbs). The airport of arrival will enforce its own regulations regarding containers weighing between 32 and 45 kg. If, however, the maximum weight (45 kg) is exceeded, you pet will no longer be carried as checked baggage, but transported as cargo instead.


Animal carriage depends on the aircraft type, so the best thing to do is to contact Air China before deciding which flight to book.

Be advised that Air China may change at any time the type of aircraft for a specific flight before its scheduled departure. In such a case, there is a possibility that the newly changed aircraft cannot accommodate your pet, so you must decide whether or not to travel with your pet on another flight, or leave it at home.


Regardless of the type of animal which you bring with yourself on a flight (small, domesticated dogs and cats), your pet, together with its kennel and supplies, shall not be treated as free baggage allowance, so it will be considered overweight luggage. Therefore, the excess baggage fee must be paid at the check-in counter:

International and Regional Flights – Piece Concept Domestic Flights – Weight Concept
Weight per Container Fee per Container
Up to 8 kg 3600 RMB 600 USD Regular excess baggage fee
based on the actual weight
8-23 kg 5200 RMB 800 USD
23-32 kg 7800 RMB 1200 USD
32-45 kg Does not apply

Once more, Service Dogs are an exception to the rule. They can be transported as checked baggage at the express request of the owner. In this case, they will be considered part of the free baggage allowance and carried free of charge together with their container and supplies.

Service Dogs

A passenger older than 16, suffering from vision, hearing or speech impairment, may be accompanied on board by their Service Dog, to assist him or her through the journey. With Air China’s prior approval, Service Dogs can travel in the passenger cabin free of charge, or they can be transported as checked baggage at the express request of the owner, but they will be carried free of charge together with their container and supplies.

The sales office at the initial departure location must be informed in due time of your intention to travel accompanied by your Service Dog – at least two days before flight take off. Upon arrival at the check-in counter, you must present your dog’s identity document, as well as the quarantine clearance documents, the same documents being needed both when buying the ticket and when boarding the plane.

You should know that the check-in procedures must be commenced at least two hours before departure, and your dog must wear a muzzle and be kept on a leash when boarding the plane (for safety reasons).

Take notice that a single Service Dog is allowed per flight.

More information here >>