Transporting pets by air within India: Anand Sankar’s experience

Anand Sankar, who transported his two cats from Bangalore to Delhi by air, writes: 

Just thought I should share my experience of transporting my cats by air (domestic, within India), could be useful for anyone!

From a cursory reading online and through forums, I found that budget airlines don’t have much interest in transporting pet animals. And I wouldn’t trust a budget airline with my pets.

The choice boiled down to Air India or Jet Airways.

— Air India has a strange policy of not allowing pets in cargo holds. They have to be carried in the cabin, but only one pet per passenger. Did not work for me since I had to carry two. There is no extra charge in Air India but it is at the ‘discretion’ of the flying captain of that flight to allow the pet into the cabin. God only knows how that works, so it was pointless to pursue Air India.

— Jet Airways has a clear policy. Rs 5,000 per pet crate upto 25 kgs. It is carried in the hold.

The process:

1. I had to book my ticket and then manually go to the local Jet Airways reservation office to get my PNR endorsed for carrying pets. There is limited space in the hold, so inform Jet Airways that you are carrying pets on that flight immediately after booking your ticket . The call centre is useless. They have no clue about the pet carriage rules, don’t bother calling them.

2. Payment for the pet crates is only accepted after examining the pet crates and veterinary certificate. You have to buy IATA APPROVED crates. No improvisation allowed. Go at least three hours before the flight to the airport.

DO NOT SEDATE YOUR PETS for air travel. MY VET SAID NO.

3. I had to fill a form at the check in counter. Submit photocopies of vaccination, deworming and fit to fly certificate. The fit to fly certificate must be issued no later than 24 hours before the flight. (Tip: even if you go to the vet two to three days before your flight, you could ask him/her to date the certificate 24 hrs before the flight).

4. Payment is made in cash at the Jet Airways ticketing office at the airport.

5. Airline staff will escort you to a special area for x-ray of oversize baggage. This is the most painful part. You HAVE to remove your pet from the crate and get the crate x-rayed. BE PREPARED. No time for sympathy here. Your pet will be in distress with strangers and men with machine guns around. Just hold on to it tight. If you get bitten or scratched, grin and bear it. Thankfully there is no queue here, the scanner guys are very understanding, they do the x-ray as fast as possible.

6. Airline staff will then give you cable ties, which you have to use to secure your crates. Only you have to do this, it is airline policy that they will not assist you. You ensure that your crate is secure.

7. Airline staff take over the crates and load them into the aircraft.

8. When you board the aircraft ensure you inform the LEAD AIRHOSTESS that you have pets travelling in the hold and she MUST inform the Captain. The airline sends a notification to the pilots, but you ensure you also put in a word.

9. After the flight, go to the airline’s baggage reclamation counter. Your crates will arrive there. A dedicated staff member will bring them.

My overall experience with Jet Airways was GOOD. They handled the whole BLR-DEL transfer quite professionally.

Deepa Mohan
About Deepa Mohan 710 Articles
Deepa Mohan is a freelance writer and avid naturalist.

11 Comments

  1. HI CAN ANYBODY HELP ME HOW TO TRRAVEL MY 7MONTHS OLD ROTTWEILER DOG WEIGHING 25KG FROM BANGALORE AIRPORT TO IMPHAL.? I JUST DONT WANT TO LEAVE HER HERE. I’M TRANSFER TO MY HOME TOWN. PLEASE HELP

  2. Hello Pet Lovers,

    My husband carried my dog weighing 2.5kgs from Milan to hyderabad through Air India. Everything went smooth till you get into the flight. We have got her a ticket according to the pet transport rules in cabin. The final decision of the captain is the most ridiculous thing we have experienced. The captain denied to carry the pet in cabin rather advised to put her in cargo after we paid for the pet journey in cabin. We had to fight for half hour with the help of attorney and then did the journey proceed. Now I want to take the pet back to Milan,the website says we can take the pet on international flights, so does the customer care but, when you call the airport they say the pet can only travel in domestic flights and is not allowed in the international flight. So, I wrote to the customer care, no one replies!
    There is no clear pet policy with Air India, if it went smooth i would rather consider by fluke. I would suggest to exclude Air India for a peaceful journey with your pet.
    I still have to figure out which airlines to fly with.

  3. Hi. I have a lhasa apso puppy weighing 3kg and I want to take her to delhi.
    What will be most feasible option . i dont want to send her in cargo as she is too small and I am not sure about air pressure and temperature.
    If possible I want to take her with me in cabin. She is extremely friendly. Also , Lhasa apso is a restricted breed as per airline . Ill check with vet if its possible to take her in craft or not . If yes will airline allow me to take her in cabin .

    • Hi,

      I have to carry my cat in Air India’s flight. His weight is 4 kgs and i’m assuming that crate will be of 2-3 kg. so, will they allow me to take him into the cabin because the weight will be more than 5 kgs? or should i approach Air India’s cargo for that?
      Please guide me.

      Regards,
      Param

  4. Dear Sahil, I have never taken pets on a flight, personally. I suggest you call up the airline personnel and talk to them directly and clarify the rules.I have no expert knowledge about this! You can also mail my friend Anand Sankar (whose experience I have written above)…at wolfandman@gmail.com.

  5. Hi Deepa Mohan,
    I will be travelling from Bangalore to Delhi. I have somehow managed to get my dog trained to sleep in crate.
    My question is: Shall i put her in crate as soon as i start from my home or can i put her in crate only once the scanning has been done. If I put her in crate when i reach airport, how will i carry her to the check-in counter and other places.

    Please share your number if you feel ok.
    Thanks waiting for your suggestion as i have limited time.

  6. Hi Uttara, I’ve personally not faced this problem as I don’t have a pet. But I’d suggest talking to the airline that you choose and following the instructions. Hope everything goes well!

  7. Hi Deepa!

    Thank you for the post. I am planning on taking two cats (about 8 months) on two Air India flights (maximum duration: 2.5 hours). Thankfully, the flights are separated by a day. I had booked Air India as the website mentions 2 pets per passenger per flight on cabin: http://www.airindia.in/pets.htm. After much disappointment with customer care, I got the confirmed. I was also informed that I could book my ticket online, which I did. However, now airport staff are giving me conflicting information; with one airport stating that the captain will make the final decision on cabin or cargo. So, I need to be prepared for either during check in. The other airport staff are stating cats are not allowed. I am also now concerned after reading your post on booking the ticket manually, and getting the PNR endorsed for pet travel. Would you suggest I do the same?

    Any suggestions will be appreciated! I plan to travel February 2016 end. Thanks in advance!

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