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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.

Comments (17)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Jo


    They are allowed from Virgin.

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