One of the first things you learn as you start to research which airlines might be available to transport your family pet to another country is that each airline has different policies. That can make it difficult to compare your options. Every airline presents their policies somewhat differently on their website, too. That can add to your confusion and increase the risk that you’ll miss something important.
In order to help you, our pet-loving team of pet transport experts here at Starwood offers periodic blog articles that summarize the policies of key airlines. In this article, we’ll take a look at Lufthansa. Be aware that this is only an overview – it is essential that you study carefully the policies of any airline you’re considering, and ask lots of questions to confirm the information.
It’s also important to know that planning an itinerary and booking reservations for Daisy is only part of the to-do list for relocating companion animals overseas.
Pets allowed by Lufthansa
If Daisy is a dog, cat, hare, or rabbit, she is eligible to fly via Lufthansa. (Yes, the airline differentiates between hares and rabbits, but the rules are the same for both.) However, if Daisy is a dog and a breed that falls on Lufthansa’s “fighting dogs” list, special rules apply. You’ll want to check on that. Here’s the list:
- American Bulldog
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Bull Terrier (Miniature Bull Terriers are not classified as fighting dogs)
- Caucasian Ovcharka (Caucasian Shepherd Dog)
- Dogo Argentino
- Karabash (Kangal) (Anatolian Shepherd Dog)
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
As a side note (but a potentially important one), if you choose Lufthansa because your family is relocating to Germany, you should know that the country does not allow pit bulls (by any name) or bull terriers. Hopefully your dear dog is some other breed. Or a cat.
Where can Daisy ride?
Regardless of other rules, designated service animals (guide or hearing dogs, for example) are always allowed to accompany their owner in the passenger cabin. Emotional support animals are allowed only on flights to and from the United States. Lufthansa does not charge for these animals.
Lufthansa allows you to travel with a total of two pets. Depending on their size and weight, both may be able to ride as carry-ons in the cabin. Otherwise, both can ride in the cargo hold as checked baggage, or one may ride in each location. You can also use Lufthansa Cargo to ship pets as air freight. This is required if you will not be accompanying your pet on the flights, or if your destination country requires that you use a professional pet shipper such as Starwood.
Only dogs and cats may join you in the passenger cabin. (Sorry, hares and rabbits.) They have to fit under the seat in front of you, so pet plus carrier cannot weigh more than 8kg (about 17.6 pounds).
If Daisy is a larger dog or one of those pesky hares (or a Garfield-size cat), she will travel as checked baggage in the cargo hold. This part of the plane is temperature-controlled, etc., like the passenger cabin.
Approved travel carriers
No pet flies unless they are in an approved carrier or crate. For in-cabin travel, you can choose a hard-sided or soft-sided carrier, as long as it fits under the seat in front of you. Cargo travel requires extra-sturdy crates that fully protect pets from dangers inside or outside the kennel while providing maximum ventilation and comfort. You must choose the proper size. We strongly recommend that you purchase Daisy’s crate as soon as possible, so she will have plenty of time to get used to it.
A special note about snub-nosed dogs and cats here. Like many airlines, Lufthansa has special concerns about these pets, because their natural difficulty breathing can be exacerbated in transit due to anxiety and temperature changes. This airline recommends you not fly your snub-nosed pet. However, they do allow it. If Daisy is one of these breeds and she will travel in the cargo hold, her crate must provide at least 4” of clearance between her sides and head and the wall of the crate, measured when she is standing.
Lufthansa partners with other airlines to offer some flights. If Daisy’s itinerary will include more than one carrier, you’ll have to make separate arrangements with each one.
Daisy will purr with joy when she finds out she can join you in Lufthansa’s airport lounge. If you’ll have a layover between flights, this will be much more relaxing for both of you.
Most pet parents quickly discover that it’s easier and less worrisome to let professionals handle their pet’s travel plans, especially when you’re headed overseas. We know the airlines, the routes, the country requirements, and all the myriad details needed to ensure your beloved four-legged family member(s) have a safe and comfy trip. And we’re always happy to answer questions.