18 JAN 2023

Can you take
your pet on a flight
in India?

AMRUTHA PAGAD

NIGHTMARE FOR PAWPARENTS 

Owning a pet in India is easy due to lack of rules. You can just pick up a kitten or a puppy off a street and put a collar on him/her. But the lack of rules is a nightmare.

FLYING WITH PETS

One of the nightmares for Indian pawparents is travelling by air. Very few Indian airlines allow pets on board and rules are opaque. 

THE Bengaluru family

In December 2022, a Bengaluru family's vacation went for a toss after an Air India pilot refused to allow them and their pet dog to board, despite clearing all requirements. 

Fluffy had a boarding pass

Fluffy, the dog, was issued a boarding pass and Air India was informed nearly 3 months earlier. The denial by the pilot came last minute; when the family was at the airport. 

PILOT'S CALL IS FINAL

The pilot can take the final call as the responsibility rests with them. Here, Air India alleged the dog's cage and muzzle weren't satisfactory; a claim that the family denied.

WHAT DGCA SAYS

A month after the Bengaluru incident, the DGCA addressed the problem of flying with pets... by passing the buck of decision-making to the respective airlines.

TWO INDIAN AIRLINES ALLOW PETS

There are only two Indian airlines that allow the carriage of pets on baord - Air India, and the newly launched Akasa Air. But again, the final decision is the pilot's.

AKASA AIR'S RULES FOR PETS

Akasa Air has been allowing pets onboard from Nov 2022. Dogs and cats weighing less than 7 kg can travel in the cabin, while heavier pets need to travel in a cage, in cargo.

GUIDE DOGS ARE DIFFERENT

Taking guide dogs or guide pets is a different story. Air India in its pet policy says guide dogs are allowed and won't be treated as regular pets. 

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