How do I fly with my pet in the hold?

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In our airline, dogs, cats and roosters can travel in the hold of the plane, complying with the necessary documentation and regulations for their transport. The service must be requested in advance. Find more details below so that you and your pet can have a peaceful journey.

Types of pets Types of breeds Cost of transporting pet in hold Allowed weight
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  • We accept dogs, cats, and roosters.
  • Maximum one animal per cage, your pet must be able to move comfortably.
  • Container sizes may vary depending on the size of your pet.

To bear in mind:

  • The transport of pets in the hold is subject to availability.
  • Your pet must be collared, leashed and muzzled at the airport while outside its container and must remain inside the carrier or crate during the flight.
  • We do not transport pets (dogs or cats) that are less than 4 months old, due to the minimum waiting period after the rabies vaccination.
  • The carriage of cockerels is only permitted on domestic flights in Colombia.
Conditions and generalities for pets in the hold
  • For international trips, the requirements may vary depending on the country, such as: Health Inspection Certificate, health certificate of the animal issued by a veterinarian which includes the breed, gender, and age of the animal, and the original of the current vaccination card according to age and species. You must also present the pet for inspection. The validity of the Health Inspection Certificate depends on the authority of each country.
  • This service is not available in the countries Aruba and Curaçao.
  • On the Airbus A330 or Boeing 787, no matter how long your flight lasts, your pet can weigh up to 50 kilograms. This weight does not include the weight of the container.
  • On ATR 72, on flights of less than 4 hours duration, your pet can weigh up to 20 kilograms
  • You can book and pay at our sales offices, contact center or travel agencies to secure your pet's space, you can also book and pay at the airport on the day of your trip but we cannot guarantee the service as it is subject to availability of space per flight.
  • The airport animal health authorities and Avianca reserve the right to refuse admission or transport of the pet, if it is considered that it does not meet the regulatory and safety conditions suitable for travel.
  • Exotic birds, protected or endangered species, are not accepted for carriage as baggage either in the cabin or in the hold.
  • The transport of live animals to the Galapagos Islands is not permitted.
  • For flights to and from London, the service is not available, due to Animal Reception Centre restrictions.
  • Please note that the minimum age for transporting pets in some countries is over four months old. We invite you to find out more at the IATA Travel Center.
Container information

Characteristics of the container:

  • If your pet is longer than 35 centimeters, it must wear a muzzle; this does not apply if they are traveling in metal containers.
  • It must be made of rigid materials such as fiberglass, metal, or plastic and must be supplied by the passenger.
  • It should weigh a maximum of 10 kilograms and allow your pet to move freely.
  • It must be clean and leak-proof.
  • Water and food bowls must be empty, separate, and fixed to the container. There must be accessible from the outside to water the pet in case of an emergency or flight delay.
  • The exterior and interior must not have parts that will hurt your pet, or people or damage the airport infrastructure.
  • Openings for ventilation should be small. If they are not, cover them with a mesh.
  • The door can be sliding or hinged and have locking latches. The material can be plastic, wood, or metal.
  • If the container has wheels, lock them. Doors should have safety latches that allow them to be opened without the need for special tools.

Restrictions:

  • We do not transport pets in containers in poor condition (rusty mesh, inoperative hinges, or latches).
  • If your dog is large or aggressive, it should travel in a wooden or metal container with 2 locks on each side of the door.
  • Containers made entirely of welded mesh or wire mesh are not permitted.
Conditions for Europe

If you are flying to Europe, please note the following information:

  • In accordance with EU Regulation 576/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 on the non-commercial movement of pet animals, checks shall be carried out on all pet animals, whether traveling in the cabin or in the hold, at authorized Passenger Points of Entry for the introduction of pet animals, on disembarkation from aircraft, when the flight originates from a third country.
  • For travel to Spain, the pet must have a passport (vaccination card or zoosanitary certificate) and be identified with a microchip or tattoo. It is important to treat the pet with praziquantel at least 48 hours before the flight.

  • In Madrid and Barcelona, the Guardia Civil personnel are responsible for carrying out these controls, and in the event that the required documentation is not available or is not in order, the decision will be one of the following two:

    • Re-dispatch the animal, which means returning the animal to its country of origin at the earliest possible flight.
    • Quarantine of the animal, if the previous option is not possible.
    • If your flight is from Spain to Colombia, you will have to present the Export Certificate of the Kingdom of Spain for any type of pet. This document will be required upon arrival in Colombia.
Considerations for the United States

When traveling to the United States, please note the following restrictions on the entry of dogs:

  • If you like to travel with your dog, please note that as of 14 July, dogs living in countries that are considered high risk for canine rabies or who have been in these countries in the previous 6 months are not allowed to enter the United States.

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York (JFK). 
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). 
  • Atlanta International Airport (ATL).  
  • This restriction includes countries such as Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. The full list can be found here.

In order to enter the United States with your dog, you must meet a list of requirements, be part of the exception group, apply for and obtain an advance import permit from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by sending an email to CDCanimalimports@cdc.gov at least 30 working days prior to the date of entry. Applications must be submitted by the owner or importer of the dog. If you do not comply with this requirement and arrive without written approval from the CDC issued in advance, your dog will be refused entry, returned to the country of origin, and you will be responsible for any costs incurred.

List of persons who can apply for an import permit for dogs if the dog lives or has been in a country considered as high risk in the last 6 months:

  • U.S. government employees with permanent changes of location or temporary duty orders.
  • U.S. citizens or legal residents who are relocated to the United States, for example, for employment or education purposes.
  • Owners of service dogs that are specifically trained to assist the owner with a disability.
  • Bonafide importers of dogs for scientific, educational, exhibition, or law enforcement purposes.

You can download the import permit application here. You can consult the instructions for filling it out here. In addition, you must comply with these requirements:

  • Provide a valid rabies certificate.
  • Your dog must be at least six months old.
  • Your dog must be microchipped.

Permits are limited to three dogs per person (except for importers of dogs for scientific, educational, and exhibition purposes). Also, please note that all dogs traveling with a permit must enter the United States through an airport with a live animal care facility with a Facility Information and Resource Management System (FIRMS) code issued by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Currently, New York-JFK is the only airport that meets this requirement.

Additional information for traveling with your pet
  • To travel with your pet you must present a photocopy of its vaccination card, and its health inspection certificate, issued by a veterinary doctor, indicating its professional registration number. The length of time this document is valid depends on the country. You may have to comply with other conditions if the regulations of your destination require it. Remember to refer to the country pages where you can find this type of information before your trip.
  • If you take more than one flight to reach your destination, and one of these flights is operated by an aircraft other than an Airbus A330 or Boeing B787, the restriction that the pet does not exceed 20 kilograms (not including the weight of the container) for flights of up to 4 hours, or 10 kilograms (not including the weight of the container), will apply to all flights.
  • When traveling with your dog or cat to Colombia, you must have an original health certificate proving that your pet is fit to be transported. It must be valid for no more than 10 calendar days and must state that your pet is free of infectious, contagious, and parasitic diseases. It must also state that there are no fresh wounds or wounds in the process of healing. Also, you must specify the species, identification, breed, gender, age, and coat of the animal, the vaccination plan, and the vaccination certificate issued by a veterinarian indicating their professional registration number.
  • Pets coming from the United States of America must arrive in Colombia accompanied by a health certificate stamped and signed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service USDA - APHIS, which is the official U.S. Animal Health entity.

  • The reimbursement of your ticket does not apply if your pet does not have the required health and veterinary documentation or shows aggressive behavior.
  • The pet transportation service applies to TACA International, Avianca Costa Rica, Avianca Peru, Avianca, and Avianca Ecuador S.A. The service does not apply to bookings with partner airlines and/or codeshare airlines. It is important that you validate with the airline you are booking with, as policies may vary according to your origin or destination.
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