Following Virgin Australia’s announcement that cats and dogs can now earn frequent flyer points on domestic flights, travel.com.au Executive General Manager, Helen Demetriou says it’s better value to fly and take you pets on holiday than leave them at home.

“Dogs often get ‘kennel cough’ when you leave them in kennels so the cost per day becomes even more when you have add on vet expenses. Last time I travelled, my dog cost me around $2,000!” said Ms Demetriou.

“In hindsight, if we had of taken the dog with us on, flying Virgin Australia for example, we would have been charged the combined weight of the pet plus the pet container. A small pet weighing between 0 – 10kg flying with Virgin Australia costs $55 to fly one way. Add the weight of the container and it’s likely to still come in cheaper than one night at a fancy kennel. Not to mention people can now earn frequent flyer points on top of that!” said Ms Demetriou.

With this greater incentive to bring the pooch in tow, Ms Demetriou offers a few tips as to how travellers can ensure a relaxing break for both themselves and their four legged friend.

Tips for flying with your pets

  • “Dogs and cats have to travel in a cage when flying so if your pet isn’t used to this, it can be quite distressing. Prepare your pet before you travel by putting them temporarily in a cage every night for a few weeks and reward them with treats if they stay in there. This way they are unlikely to freak out when you check them in.”
  • “It is recommended that your pet be over eight weeks old to travel via air as they can easily become dehydrated on the plane. If they are younger than 12 weeks, it is advised that you obtain a letter from your vet so staff can take the best care of your animal. Regardless of the age of your pet, make sure they drink plenty of water before boarding.”
  • “When it comes to checking your pet in, they must travel in a container that meets the airlines’ guidelines. If your pet container doesn’t fit the bill, you can buy one from Toll Air Express. Airline restrictions differ between carriers so look into it carefully before heading off.”
  • “Although all might be in place for your dog or cat may to fly, make sure before you book that the end destination is equally as friendly. Are their pet friendly hotels? Are pets allowed onto the beaches?”
  • “When packing, make sure you take some of your pet’s personal items from home. We have plenty of pet friendly hotels on site which do a great job at making pets feel at home. However to be on the safe side, it’s always good to take your pet’s own treats, bedding, toys, and drinking and food bowls as well so they feel as comfortable as possible in the new environment. Pets can be extremely fussy so small things like eating out of their own bowl as opposed to a random one can make a big difference!”
  • “Dogs and cats cannot be left in the rooms unattended. However you can organise for a pet sitter or walker to look after your pet if you do have to go out for shopping and or lunch. Ask your hotel for assistance making the necessary arrangements. This said, in most cases, if you’re travelling with your animal – make the most of it! Spend time relaxing in your room enjoying the company of your pet in luxury surroundings or explore outside together.”


What do you do with your furry, fluffy family member when heading away?

  • I don’t know exactly how they accomodate them but I know Guide Dogs fly with their owners.


  • cheers for the tips though. gotta keep the furry member of the family happy


  • Very interesting! Thanks for sharing this!


  • our dog would love this … although she really does like staying with her Grandparent; they give her bacon.


  • that is a great tip about packing familiar items for your pet. i wouldn’t have thought about it lol


  • taking our pets on holidays would be insane we have a lovely lazy Labrador and a hyperactive German shepherd both big dogs both outside dogs we just get friends to come feed them and check on them when we are away its easier and the cheapest of all


  • When we had a dog and travelled on coach tours we had a good neighbours who had her at their place and spoilt her rotten. They even put the radio on if they went out. On odd occasions they would ask if they could have her for the day. It was handy if we went to an event we couldn’t take her too when another family member or friend was competing in a sports event. Pets weren’t allowed and it was too dangerous because of weather conditions to take her sometimes.


  • Thank you for sharing great tips. I’d love to travel with my pets


  • Any advice on travelling with chickens?

    • Can’t see us taking the pets with us, we usually find neighbours who are happy to look after them.


  • Frequent flyer points for pets????? Wow what will be next?


  • In other countries it’s not unusual to see pets on planes.


  • It can actually get very very expensive to find a ‘good’ kennel to leave your dog at! Just as expensive or more than your own hotel!


  • Our dog travels with us as we do road trips in our caravan these days. He loves the car – we stop often to stretch legs, have a walk, eat and drink. Not sure if putting him in a cargo hold on a plane is a good idea, he’d get stressed same as being left in a dog kennel, he frets for us.

    For those pets that don’t mind flying then good on Virgin for awarding frequent flyer points.


  • I think I would prefer to leave them at home. Too hard looking after pets,kids myself and husband ha ha


  • If we are flying the pets will stay home or with my parents


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