Doggy air test 1


Have you already traveled by plane with a medium or big dog? If so, you know how stressful it is to let your beloved pet go into the hold of an aircraft.

If you have never traveled with your dog or plan to do it, if you are wondering which airline is better when it comes to pet transport, well you’re in the right place.

As my dog and I travel quite a lot, we try different airlines and compare their pet policies and services. Our aim is to showcase which ones are better in terms of rates and service.

For the first Doggy Air Test, we put AIR FRANCE, the national French airline, on the test stand.



Logo Air France


Shark and I traveled on an Air France flight from Mauritius to Paris in January 2015. A 12-hour flight is extremely long. But when you spend 12 hours stressed out, wondering if you will find your dog alive at the arrival, believe me, it seems truly endless. But Shark made it to France!

Below, you will find all you need to know if you plan to travel with your dog on an Air France flight. Then, you will find out our tips and our evaluation.



  • IN THE CABIN: dogs weighing less than 8 kg / 17 lb (including the transport bag or container) and guide dogs regardless of their weight. 1 animal maximum per passenger.
  • IN THE HOLD: dogs weighing more than 8 kg / 17 lb and up to a maximum weight of 75 kg / 165.3 lb. 3 animals maximum per passenger (this number may be restricted, depending on the aircraft type).
  • BY FREIGHT: if the dog and its container weigh more than 75 kg / 165 lb; if the dog is traveling to a country that authorizes animal transport only by freight.

Category 1 dogs, as defined by the French Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, are not permitted for transport in the cabin, or as baggage or cargo. Category 2-defined dogs are permitted for transport on cargo flights provided by Air France.

Since October 2014, it is forbidden to transport snub-nosed animals in the hold on Air France flights because they can suffer from breathing difficulties in high-stress situations. Snub-nosed dogs include: Affenpinscher, Boston Terrier, Boxer (all breeds), Brussels Griffon, Bulldog (all breeds), Cane Corso, English Toy Spaniel, French Mastiff, Japanese Spaniel, Lhassa Apso, Mastiff (all breeds), Pekingese, Presa Canario, Pug (all breeds), Shih Tzu, Shar Pei, Tibetan Spaniel.


  • Flights in metropolitan France: 60€ in the hold – 30€ in the cabin
  • Flights in Europe or between Europe and North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) or Israel: 100€ in the hold –  55€ in the cabin
  • Flights between metropolitan France and Cayenne, Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, Saint-Denis (Réunion): 75€ in the hold – 55€ in the cabin
  • Flights within the Caribbean: 75€ in the hold – 30 € in the cabin (to/from Miami 55 €)
  • Other flights: 200€ in the hold – 125€ in the cabin

You must pay these fees at the airport. They are calculated based on a departure flight and for a single container (holder or bag). If your trip includes one or more connecting flights, the fee is calculated based on your departure country and your final destination.


  • I strongly recommend that you contact the airline before booking your trip to make sure your dog can travel with you. Specify their weight, age and breed. Ask them if there is any restriction to pet transport to your destination.
  • Once you make sure you can travel with your dog, book your trip and send an email to Air France to inform them that you will travel with a dog. You can’t book your dog’s trip on their website.
  • Make sure your dog’s container is approved by the IATA (International Air Transport Association). You must respect the conditions of transport indicated in this document: travel container size, materials, locking mechanisms, etc. Print and complete this form before arriving at the airport.
  • The airline requests you to arrive at the check-in counter 3 hours before departure for an intercontinental flight, or 2 hours before a flight departing within France or Europe. Seriously, if you want your dog to travel on the same flight as you, you need to arrive very early.
  • Once you get on the aircraft, kindly ask a crew member to check if your dog has been put in the hold. I also always ask them to make sure the pilot is informed that an animal is traveling in the hold.


3 Stars

  Excellent experience

I really appreciated the whole service provided by Air France as to pet transport. First, they have very clear rules explained in details on their website which is also full of useful information. Second, the fee you pay for your pet transport is fair since it is proportional to the distance traveled and not the weight of your dog, as is the case in many airlines. Third, when I was on board, I felt reassured by a crew member who took the time to explain to me the traveling conditions of an animal in the hold. Therefore, I totally recommend choosing Air France for your next trip with your dog !




Feel free to ask me a question or share your experience 😉

Photos & contents @ The Tropical Dog 2015-2017. 

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  • Nikki says:

    Hello…question for you…what do you typically do with your dogs crate after the flight??? We are flying from Boston to Paris then taking the train to Bordeaux. Our dog is in an extra large crate (she’s 31kgs).
    Many thanks, love the blogs!

    • Hello Nikki! Thanks! I’m so glad you find my blog and you like it 🙂 I bought my dog’s crate 3 years ago, a large one, and still have it. After each flight, I dismantle it, put it on a carrier at the airport with my luggage in it and go to the hotel. You can put it with the lugagge in the train to Bordeaux with no problem. I’ve already did it. You just need to dismantle it and try to arrive early to find room in the luggage compartment. Once in Bordeaux, if you don’t need it anymore you can sell it or keep it on the luggage storage of the hotel. Are you moving out to Bordeaux? Cheers and hapy new year!

  • Constanza Burgos says:

    Hi! I’m going to travel with my cat in cabin, on Air France. From Chile to Berlin, one stop in París.
    I was wondering if you know if attendants measure the crate when you check-in? I’ll but a softbag, since it is allowed by this airline and I thought maybe one a few centimeters taller.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Hello Constanza, some airlines do measure the bag if it looks too big. If it’s a softbag and only 1 or 2 centimeters taller you won’t have problems. If you wanna be 100% sure, you can ask my fellow blogger from She travels internationally with a small dog in cabin so she is more experienced in this matter 🙂 Have a safe travel with your cat!

  • Camila says:

    I’m traveling with my dog from Argentina to Paris and then to London by train. I’m pretty scared as it’s the first time I will be flying with etah and if’s a looong way. I’m glad I found your blog, I’m less scared now!

    • Hello Camila! I’m so happy that you feel less scared! That’s exactly why I created this blog. To share my experiences of traveling internationally with a dog and give some useful tips. It’s very important to make sure that Etah gets sufficient water in her crate during the flight. Put a large and deep bowl of water in the crate or a special dog travel bottle. You can look at the picture in this post:
      If the bowl is not deep enough, the water spill out when the agents put the crate in the plane and your dog could get dehydrated.

      Safe travels with Etah!!!

  • Andy Chula says:

    Hi. Since you had to arrive at the airport 3 hours early, does that mean your pup had to go 15+ hours without a potty break. That would be one of my biggest concerns for a long, international flight. Thank you.

    • Hi Andy! I totally understand your concern. Well you have to arrive at the airport 3 hours early to check your dog and yourself in and drop your luggage. What I do is that I always ask at the check in counter if I can bring my dog later and at what time maximum. That allows me to walk my dog, give her water and rest a bit with her. In big airports I have to bring her 90 minutes before the flight. In small ones, 60 minutes. When possible I try to book by night long flights to allow my dog to maintain her natural rhythm. It’s also very important to keep your dog hydrated during long flights (fix a deep bowl of water or a special pet travel bottle to the container’s door). Hope I answered your question 🙂

  • BH says:

    We are thinking of moving our 90 lb akbash dog with us to Okinawa. Any experiences with giant breed travels to Japan? I looked at Air France because of weight limits but am concerned about the length of time traveling from us to
    Paris to oka

    • Hi,

      Sorry for answering you so late!

      I know giant breed must travel by fret. Air France offers a special Fret service on their website. You can also contact this specialized French company called SCTIL: and ask for information and prices. They can also give advice about the pet import rules for France and Japan (quite strict).

      I have traveled long distances with my dog in the hold. Everything went fine. It is very important that your dog has enough water during the flight (you need to put a deep bowl of water fixed to the door), gets out of his cage during the layover to make his necessities and eat/relax, plus that he gets used to the cage weeks before the travel to avoid stress.

      You will find all my tips to travel with your dog by air safely in this post:

      Safe travels!

  • Kushal says:

    Hi, i am traveling with my dog of 2kg from Mauritius to halifax, canada. Transiting through london heathrow. Layover of 3.5hrs. Flying by Air Mauritius and Air Canada. Dog going as checked-in luggage in hold. Do you have any tips or experience on that route. Is it possible to go through london heathrow as checked-in.


    • Hi Kushql,

      Sorry for answering you so late! I have traveled with my dog in the hold with Air Mauritius to Paris. Everything went fine. It is very important that your dog has enough water during the flight (you need to put a deep bowl of water fixed to the door) and that he gets used to the cage weeks before the travel to avoid stress.

      Also, having a 3.5-hour layover in London is great! You will need to get your dog back in the luggage area, walk him outside the airport, give him water and food, let him relax… Then you check him in again for the flight to Halifax. Again, don’t forget to put water in the cage… Most accidents happen because dogs get dehydrated during long flights.

      You will find all my tips to travel with your dog by air safely in this post:

      Safe travels!

  • Val says:

    Thanks so much for putting together this site and sharing your experiences. I have transported my 34 pound border collie mix in the hold with Swissair from San Francisco to Zurich. All went well and they were very efficient getting the dog on and off the plane with minimal delay.
    I’m considering flying from San Francisco to Paris with my dog, but have no experience with Air France. Did you deliver the dog to the gate or did you have to go to a separate cargo terminal?(I would be traveling on the same plane). Did they get the dog off the plane quickly and deliver to baggage claim? Did you have any other issues with Air France when traveling with your dog?
    Many thanks in advance

    • Hi Val! Thanks a lot for your message 🙂 I’m glad you found my blog! I have travelled a lot of times with Air France and it have been very well each time. I never had any issue while traveling with them and they deliver the dog at the same time as luggage (most of the times on the oversize luggage conveyor belt). As to where to deliver the dog, it actually depends on each airport policy, not on the airline company. At CDG Paris airport for example, you check in your dog at the counter at the same time you do, then you have to bring him to the oversize luggage gate in the same terminal. In other airports, you deliver the dog in his container at the counter. For me, it’s one of the airlines I trust the most to travel with my dog in the hold. Safe travels to you guys!

  • Val says:

    Thanks so much for the feedback. If I could bother you again, I have another question. I’ve been doing some reading about the process for flying out of CDG with a dog who will travel in the hold. It seems there are a number of steps and it can take a while. How have you found the checkin process for traveling internationally with a dog from CDG? For example, how far in advance did you need to start the check in? Was your dog able to have a bathroom stop within a reasonable time before dropping him off? Thank you in advance for sharing your experiences.

    • Hello Val, sorry for the delay of my answer… I was busy during the holiday season. You’re very welcome for the feedback! Traveling with a dog from CDG airport is not difficult at all. Believe me, I’ve done it several times. You just need to arrive well in advance to the check-in counter (3hours for an international flight, 2 hours for a national/european flight). The staff will check you in, control your dog, the container, their weight and the documents. You will pay the fee. Then they will tell you whre to drop your dog. It’s not far from the check in counter, actually it’s at the extra size luggage gate. Just go there and ask at what time you can drop off your dog. Usually, they recommand 1.30 before take off. So you’ll have time to walk your dog outside the airport. You can read this article for more tips :

      Safe travels!

  • Line says:

    Hi, your blog is so useful! We’re travelling from Mauritius to Montreal with our doggie. Where did you get your travel crate? To which vet have you brought Shark to? What are the procedures?

    • Hi Ailine,

      I’m glad you found my blog! Thank you for your nice words 🙂

      I bought my IATA approved large travel crate (about 150$) in Espace Maison et Jardin at Trianon shopping center in Mauritius. I guess any vet can do the vaccines and papers. I went to Animalia in Rose Hill in 2014. He was well aware of the procedures to travel with a dog. When I traveled from Mauritius to France in 2015 I just needed a good health certificate and an anti-rabies certificate made by an official vet made within 10 days before departure.

      I hope my answers will help you 🙂 Safe travels!

  • Marie Karen says:

    Hi. Am planning to travel from Montreal to Mauritius In October 2018 with my family including my Labrador. He weighs 72lbs. I would like some feedbacks as well as where and which size of crate to buy. Also at the airport in CDG, am I allowed to pick him up to spend the lay-over with us? Will I be able to feed him and take him for walk in CDG? My lay-over is 12hrs, how many hours before should I get him registered for the next flight from CDG to MRU? What are the travelling conditions for the dog in the hold? I’m really nervous and I want him to have a safe and comfortable trip. Is his vaccination card his passport?

    Thank you for all the info’s that you can provide me with.

  • I was going to move a 12 week old Bernese Mt Dog on the soon to be initiated CDG to Seattle, nonstop flight. I was even considering buying a business class ticket on AF for the trip. On arrival, I questioned the Air France check in staff and they seemed very competent and comfortable with checking my pup. But, when I went to the Air France website to read through all of their directions on flying a dog they stated that all dogs, except for some domestic flights, must be AT LEAST 15 WEEKS OLD. This is a major departure from the rules for all other airlines. I wondered if this was a misprint. When I looked for a way to contact Air France via email there was no way to do this. I guess I’ll just have to fly my pup from Frankfurt on Lufthansa on that nonstop to Seattle. I am very disappointed.

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