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Airlines divided over new CASA rules allowing pets in the cabin

written by Isabella Richards | July 1, 2021

Victor Pody shoots a selection of aircraft at Melbourne YMML

CASA has announced pets will be allowed to travel with passengers in the aircraft cabin from December, but major airlines are divided as to whether they will change their internal policies to allow animals to travel.

Currently, unless for health reasons, pets are treated as an additional set of luggage – coasting extra and transported in a separate cargo hold.

Qantas and Jetstar have opposed the change, but Virgin, Rex, and Alliance have signalled they might be open to changing their rules.

“When giving permission, you may need to consider the type of animal and how it is carried, contained and restrained; its reaction to noise and being out of its natural environment; nuisance to other passengers; distraction to flight crew; and how excrement or fluids will be contained,” CASA stated.

Virgin Australia, in order to understand its customer’s stance, posted a poll of whether passengers would support the policy or not. A total of 351,000 customers responded, with 68 per cent voting “yes”, and 32 per cent voting “no”.


Over 700 comments within two hours displayed customers discussing reasons why they chose their answer: some said they would definitely support the change, however, others had concerns such as emergency liabilities and hygiene.

Rex’s deputy chairman, John Sharp, said, “If people are prepared to pay, I’m sure it will happen eventually.

“We’ll look at it from a positive perspective. We’ve carried people’s pets in our baggage areas in a specially designed container for many years and we’re aware there is a market for it.”

A Virgin spokesperson said the company would be open to the possibility: “We’ll consider the regulatory changes as part of a wider pet travel review, we’re currently undertaking.

“Regardless of the outcome, designated service dogs will still be able to travel in the cabin.”

Currently, the only alternative way to transport pets is through outsourced service providers, however, during the pandemic, prices for these soared as most airlines halted pet policies altogether.

All airlines have different policies as of now. Qantas allows pets as long as they have been freight approved and have been consulted with a specialist.

Virgin Australia only allows dogs and cats, however, all must be transported via the cargo container. Rex also allows pets aboard for $5.50 per kilogram, however, need to have an RSPCA-approved pet pack and will travel in the cargo hold.

Jetstar does not provide a pet service but suggests using outside providers.

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Comments (27)

  • Percy


    of course qantas said no there heartless when it comes to animals

  • Angelo calleja


    NO that’s a big NO pets in the cabin.

  • Marum


    Pets in the cabin!!! You’ve got to be kidding. \
    Why would I want to be in the cabin, with all those burping farting humans?….Narum Katze.

    • Brent


      Your reverse-psychology stab at being funny falls flat.
      Pets in an aircraft cabin is a disaster waiting to happen, in several ways.

      • David


        Brent- total garbage! Our small dog is much better behaved than many humans.

  • Warwick


    Just goes to prove how stupid those at CASA are.
    This is a ‘disaster’ waiting to happen.
    There’s not enough space on this forum to detail the problems’ which could be caused by this stupidity.

    There’re MANY reasons’ why pets are hold-stored on an aircraft.
    Let’s keep it that way.

    • Alison


      Well, I always fly business. I would welcome pets on business class, plenty of space for me and my dog. I would pay a full fare for him too. Bravo CASA!

  • Michael Jenas


    Crying babies , feral children and now barking dogs . How I wish I could afford business class

  • Don MacKenzie


    Anyone who wants pets in passenger cabins is completely nuts. They also don’t care how much annoyance their animals cause to other people, passengers or otherwise.

  • Brian. T


    this is just a new slant on a “Dog”s Dinner” there is no ending in this stupidity other than a “barking mad” mid flight emergency! I guess air safety has been relegated to the luggage hold (stearage class).

  • Drew


    I’d rather a dog in the cabin than all the feral children. At least with a cat or dog, you can keep them in a cage, so they don’t run up and down the aisle squealing like a stuck pig, or kicking your seat.

  • Brett


    Pets in the hold die. Not always but it happens. It is also terrifying for them. Pets in the cabin….no one dies, those crying danger danger really, perhaps ban babies as well? Such hysteria over nothing.

  • Jose


    So many heartless selfish comments o here. My pup is epileptic and would die if he travelled in the cargo bay. Therefore he would have a medical reason to travel with me in the cabin. All of you selfish humans can just suck it up.

  • Kam Dillon


    My small dog makes no noise inside home, does not shed, no smell and just looks at us to convey her feelings. She is only 6 Lbs and has a therapeutic effect on my child, who is suffering with anxiety and other issues. People who have been scared of dogs all life, also commented on how much peace her presence brings to them. It would be so inhumane not to understand case to case basis and pass insensitive selfish comments.

    • David


      100% this!
      Our dog is similar, and better behaved than many humans.
      Putting pets in the hold is dangerous, and cruel. Period!

  • Pretty


    We hope they allow a well contained and out of site small dog with no sound, smell or any other botherations. She is so small her bag can easily fit under the seat. She can hold going to washroom over 18 hours even at home as she eats and drinks very little. We hope we can carry her with us for sake of our child

  • Traveller


    Most overseas countries allow small pets in the cabin and I have seen it work great, especially for little dogs. What’s the big deal. A plane is just a bus in the air- a form of transport.

  • Dogs Are great


    I’d much rather travel with my dogs next to me (in a suitable carry on crate) than half the people I have come across in planes (and don’t get me started on children) I think children should be in cages in the hold area to be honest.

    • anna



  • Jo


    They are allowed from Virgin.

  • (Joy)ce P Jarvis


    Please just let me know when I can have my little 4.3 kg 9 YO Papillon / Pomeranian cross as my onboard travel companion & I’ll make a booking. ? Melb to Perth return. I believe we are way behind the rest of the world. With regards to our restrictions re on board pet travel. & Yes I’ve had a baby screaming next to me the whole flight? luckily only short flight. I felt bad for baby & parents & everyone on flight !!!

  • Dee


    All you negative people that do not want dogs in cabins are just horrible people and animal haters
    I have travelled overseas and been on many planes that allow pets in cabins and there has never been a problem as the owners are responsible
    How come it works in other countries but would not be in Australia .
    It is inhumane to put your pet in cargo and many have lost their lives .

  • Dianne Smith


    Most of you must be kidding l flown overseas and nearly all flights we have been on also pets have been on and there was never a problem with any dogs on our flights but there were drunk disgusting humans and crying babies ,children kicking us in our backs ,people complaining about their seats and food. Australia is so far behind we cannot even take our dogs shopping like the rest of the World it’s only recently dogs can go to coffee shops. I guess most of you negative people are the people l mentioned above .

    • Suzanne


      Ditto that Alison…if All australian airlines had half a brain they would just put on seperate flights that allowed people to travel with their pets, dogs over 15 kg have to wear a muzzle for safety to smaller dogs and people and cost of seat for dog is the same as for human, and have premiums for upgrades, if it was allowed id be booking myself and my Husky in tomorrow and happily every month as im sure most people that have dogs in their life would, none of the family wants to go away without the dog and id drive with him before Id trust anyone with him in the cargo hold.

  • Saber


    Would defiantly be taking more holidays if I could take my Kelpie with me in a plane. He is well behaved and loves people. Yes he would have to have his own seat and seat cover. I’d even put a muzzle on him for the other passengers to feel safe (not needed but do it already for Bunnings). He would definitely be able to last any flight within Aust before needing to go to the toilet. I’d even pay full price and a little extra and put him in a window seat so he doesn’t distract passengers and staff as they moved along the aisle.
    Maybe they could have a “license” to fly where they have to be approved for temperament to fly. There again there are a lot of Humans that wouldn’t pass that!

  • Colleen


    Pets should be allowed in cabin with owner. I agree separate flights for humans with their fureva family member. But see no problem with them on normal flights. Screaming babies yelling children drunk morons and feral humans are allowed on planes. Give me well behaved small dogs anytime.

  • Craithie


    Let’s just wait, & see what happens with each airline in this regard.

    Notice Rex’s Sharp was quick to say ‘if people are prepared to pay’. How much per seat John?
    Another way to get $ into Rex’s meagre coffers, eh?

    Would be concerning if there’s a safety issue for an aircraft, it would be bedlam trying to get caged animals’, & humans’ down the escape chutes’, all within the allotted 90 seconds’.

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