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What is Air India’s policy on pet acceptance?

Air India accepts a wide variety of pets on board, both as carry-on and as checked baggage. Cats, dogs, household birds and other pets can travel with Air India only if they are properly crated, and all the necessary documentation is provided by their owners.

However, in order to travel accompanied by your pet, you must have the carrier’s prior approval, and also comply with its regulations.

What conditions apply for acceptance of pets on Air India flights?

The regulations of the country of destination are the main criterion based on which it is decided what animals are transported as carry-on baggage and what as checked baggage. The carriage of pets on certain routes and to/from certain destinations must be in accordance with the following regulations:

  • On flights to/from/through London, pets are not allowed in the passenger cabin. Regarding the Policy for Carriage of Pets into UK, dogs, cats and other mammals are accepted for transportation under Airway bill only after receiving prior confirmation from the London Heathrow Airport.
  • Live birds are not accepted as carry-on or checked baggage, when transiting Middle East. On flights from India to the Gulf, pets may be allowed on board only if registered as checked baggage.
  • No pets are accepted on Air India non-stop flights on the US – India route. Service Dogs are the only exception to the rule. They can accompany their owners in the cabin.

Besides being properly crated, pets must have all the necessary documentation in good order when flying with Air India. The pet must be accompanied by its valid health and vaccination certificates (usually vaccination against rabies), all the mandatory entry permits, as well as all the other documents specifically required by the countries of entry, exit or transit.

All the governmental customs and health requirements (including quarantine procedures upon arrival at the destination) are solely the owner’s responsibility, who must inquire for all this information well in advance of the journey. Should the animal be quarantined at the destination, the owner will have to cover all the expenses. The airline has absolutely no influence over the quarantine period established by the veterinary authorities of the country of destination for your pet. The pet’s owner is the only one responsible for making all the necessary quarantine arrangements.

Regardless of the size of your pet or its container, all animals travelling with Air India are not considered part of the free baggage allowance, being charged at the excess baggage rates. Furthermore, only two animals per aircraft are permitted, so make sure to contact the airline in advance and ensure there is room available for your pet on a specific flight.

Air India will not be held responsible should your pet be denied entry into or passage through a territory, nor if the pet suffers any injury, sickness or even death during a flight (due to its health condition, improper caging etc.). Moreover, the passenger must provide the airline with a declaration of indemnity.

Carry-on Pets

Pets can be transported in the passenger cabin under the following conditions:

  • The total weight (pet together with their container) does not exceed 5 kg (11 lbs).
  • The pet is carried in soft ventilated bag or kennel.
  • The kennel measures maximum 18 x 18 x 12 in (45 x 45 x 30 cm).
  • The additional charge is paid.

When the above-mentioned weight or size is exceeded, the pet must be checked and transported in the cargo hold of the aircraft.

Should you desire to travel accompanied by your animal companion in the passenger cabin, you must make this request specifically at the time of the booking. If the airline gives its consent, the staff will offer you all the necessary details regarding the formalities you will have to complete and the procedures you will have to follow.

Checked Pets

When the weight of your pet and its kennel exceeds 5 kg (11 lbs), it will be transported in the cargo hold of the aircraft. The container in which your pet will be held during the flight must be properly ventilated and proportional to the animal’s dimensions and weight.

Pets are not considered part of the free checked baggage allowance and will be charged as excess baggage. Air India will collect the additional charge even if the passenger has no other baggage.

Service Animals

Visually or hearing impaired passengers may travel accompanied by their Service Animals, provided they can bring medical proof of their dependence. Assistive animals are carried free of charge and can be brought in the passenger cabin. However, it is recommended to contact the airline in advance and make all the necessary arrangements, since only two animals, including pets, are permitted per flight.

Service Dogs required to assist the blind or deaf are accepted on non-stop flights operated by Air India on the US – India route.

When travelling in the cabin, Service Dogs must be properly harnessed; they are not allowed to occupy a seat. Although they benefit from special treatment, Service Animals must also have all their documents in good order before embarking a flight.

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