How do I fly with my pet in the cabin?

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To fly with your pet on board, please note that we only transport animals such as dogs, cats, and small ornamental birds (on domestic flights in Colombia); other types of pets are not accepted in the cabin as hand luggage. You must request this service up to 24 hours before the flight. In case your pet is an assistance pet, we recommend you do it more than 48 hours in advance.

There are other requirements to consider when traveling with your pet on board. Find out more below and be prepared before you travel.

Travel with your pet onboard

Types of pets Types of breeds Assistance dogs Roosters or birds Cost of transporting pets in cabin
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  • We accept dogs, cats, and small ornamental birds.
  • It must weigh a maximum of 10 kilograms including the weight of the case.
  • Its height should not exceed 20 centimeters.
  • Only one (1) pet per person per row may fly on the aircraft, except when they belong to the same family group.
  • It should be kept in a waterproof fabric case with holes.
  • Your pet must be collared, leashed, and muzzled at the airport while outside its container and remain inside the carrier during the flight.

To bear in mind:

  • The carriage of pets in the cabin is subject to availability.
  • Ornamental birds are not accepted on international flights, in Peru and Ecuador.
  • 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.
Conditions and generalities for pets on board

Conditions to bear in mind:

  • Pets that are aggressive and may cause inconvenience to other passengers and the crew may not travel in the cabin and may be transported in the hold. The costs of this change shall be borne by the passenger.
  • Pets up to 10 kilograms are allowed with the weight of the case.
  • This service is not available for flights to/from Aruba and Curaçao. The only exception is in the case of a permanent move to the island of Curaçao.
  • 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 flyght 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.
  • If you are traveling with a minor, you can also access the service and fly with your pet in the cabin.
  • Exotic birds, protected or endangered species are not accepted for carriage as baggage either in the cabin or in the hold.

General information

  • The transport of live animals to the Galapagos Islands is not permitted.
  • Please note that due to Animal Reception Centre restrictions, this service is not available for flights to the UK.
  • 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.
Conditions for transporting assistance dogs
  • For flights to and from the United States, customers who require to travel with a service dog must present the U.S. Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Form and the United States Department of Transportation Service Animal Relief Attestation Form at the documentation counters or boarding lounges, as applicable, as a requirement for acceptance. The forms must be current, i.e. dated after you have booked your travel.
  • In order to enter the United States with your dog, you must request advance written approval from CDC by sending an email to CDCanimalimports@cdc.gov at least 30 business days prior to your planned travel date. If you do not comply with this requirement and arrive without CDC written approval issued in advance, your dog will be refused entry, returned to the country of origin, and you will be responsible for any costs incurred.

  • This service is not available on the Bogota-London route, due to Animal Reception Centre restrictions. On the London-Bogota route, it is available.
  • Assistance dogs are accepted regardless of size as long as the dog can be accommodated in a place in the passenger cabin that does not obstruct evacuation. If it is determined that it cannot go on board, the following options can be taken for safety:
    • Carry it in the hold at no charge.
    • Purchase the additional seat service. This option is only for the dog to have more space on the floor and not to fly in the seat.
    • Attempt to re-accommodate the passenger to another seat within the same class of service that will accommodate the assistance dog.
    • Reassignment to another flight.
  • On flights of 8 hours or more, documentation may be required to show that the animal will not need to go to the restroom, or that it will be able to do so in a manner that does not create safety and hygiene problems on the flight. For flights to and from the United States, the customer must complete the Service Animal Relief Attestation Form
  • Hygiene and health of the dog: If it is determined that the hygiene or health conditions of the dog jeopardize the health or safety of the flight, crew, or passengers, the customer may be denied boarding with the accompanying emotional support or service dog.
    • We do not transport service dogs that are less than 4 months old.
    • The airline has no breed restrictions on service animals. However, each country's regulations may restrict the entry of the dog and the airline is not responsible for any subsequent action taken by the health authority.
    • The assistance dog must behave appropriately in public settings. For example:
    • Remain at the feet of its owner.
    • Not run freely around the airport or onboard the aircraft.
    • Not bark or growl repeatedly at other people in the airport or onboard the aircraft.
    • Not to try or bite a person.
    • Not to jump on people.
    • Not to relieve themselves at the airport or onboard the aircraft.
  • The use of blankets, trays, and any other service items on board is not allowed.

Note: If the assistance dog presents inadequate behavior according to the criteria described above, it will be cause for denial of boarding. As long as it is possible, the customer may be given the option of transporting it in the hold subject to availability and applying the respective charges.

Service dog special features

  • You can present yourself directly at the boarding lounge with the documentation of your service dog.
  • Up to 2 service, guide, or rescue dogs may be carried per passenger.
  • They must be placed during the flight at the feet or on the legs of their owners (the latter option, as long as the dog does not exceed the size of a small child in a position to travel on the legs of a passenger).
  • For identification, search and rescue dogs (K, B, and R) fly with a bib, microchip, certificate, collar, and double leash.
  • Acceptable evidence for a dog to be considered and accepted as a dog on duty may be any of the following:
    • Presence of a harness or markings on a harness.
    • An identification card or tag.
    • Presenting a credential from the animal identifying it as a service animal, whenever there is any doubt of such (except for flights to and from the United States).
    • Verbal affirmation that the passenger with a disability is using the dog as a support dog, as long as he/she behaves as such.
Note: Psychiatric support animals are treated the same as other service animals that are individually trained to work or perform a task for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
 
Particularities emotional support dog
  • They will have to present themselves at the documentation modules at the airport at least 1 hour before check-in time, in order to corroborate all conditions or requirements. This condition does not apply to flights to and from the United States.
  • Only 1 emotional support dog per passenger is allowed to fly.
  • Documentation not older than one year from the date of commencement of the trip is required to certify that the person requires a psychiatric support dog or emotional support dog. This documentation must be on letterhead and signed by a mental health professional or the passenger's treating physician and certify that: (except for flights to and from the United States).
    • The customer has a recognized emotional, psychiatric, or mental disability.
    • The companionship of the dog is necessary for the customer's air travel or/and for the customer's activities at the customer's destination.
    • Identify the type of animal and breed.
    • Describe as a medical prescription that the animal identified above is required by treatment to accompany your patient's mental, emotional, or psychiatric condition during the flight aboard the aircraft.
    • The person performing the assessment of the client is a licensed physician or licensed mental health professional, and the passenger is under his or her professional care.
    • The date and type of the physician's or mental health professional's license and where it was issued.
  • If the dog is considered to have aggressive behavior, the cabin crew member may request the use of a muzzle, it is important to have it on hand.
Considerations for Europe

If you are flying to Europe keep in mind the following information:

  • According to EU Regulation 576/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 on the non-commercial movement of pets, at the authorized Passenger Points of Entry for the introduction of pets, checks will be carried out on all pets, whether traveling in the cabin or in the hold, upon disembarkation from aircraft, when the flight is coming from a third country.
  • For travels 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 responsibility for carrying out these controls is the personnel of the Guardia Civil and in case 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 that it returns to its country of origin on the first flight that is possible.
    • Quarantine 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 from 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, keep in mind the following restrictions for the entry of dogs:

  • If you enjoy traveling with your dog, please note as of July 14, dogs living in countries that are considered high risk for canine rabies or who have been in these countries within the previous 6 months are not allowed to enter the United States and as of January 7, 2022, dogs from high-risk countries, who have a CDC permit for dog importation, must enter only through approved ports of entry:
  • 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 complete list can be consulted 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 business 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 denied entry, returned to the country of origin, and you will be responsible for any costs incurred.

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

  • U.S. government employees with permanent change of location or temporary work orders.
  • U.S. citizens or legal residents who are relocated to the U.S., e.g., for employment or education purposes.
  • Owners of service dogs that are specifically trained to assist the owner with a disability.
  • Importers of dogs for bona fide 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 have a microchip.

Permits are limited to three dogs per person (except for importers of dogs for scientific, educational or exhibition purposes). Also, keep in mind 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 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Currently, New York-JFK is the only airport that meets this requirement.

Briefcase Information
  • This provision does not apply to assistance dogs.
  • Only one animal per bag is allowed.
  • The dimensions of the bag must be 40.6 centimeters long + 27.9 centimeters wide + 20.3 centimeters high.
  • While traveling, place your pet under the chair in front of you.
  • You will be able to feed your pet as long as it remains inside the case.
  • The carrier should occupy the space under the seat in front of the passenger's feet and be large enough to allow the animal to stand up, turn around and lie down naturally. Keep in mind that your pet must always be in its container during the flight, at no time during the flight can they leave their carrier.
  • They must have holes that allow ventilation.
  • They must have a collection system for waste produced during transportation.
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 veterinarian, indicating the professional registration number. The time of validity of this document 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 pages of the countries where you will find this type of information before your trip.
  • If you take more than one flight to reach your destination, and any of these flights are operated by an aircraft other than the Airbus A330 or Boeing B787, all flights will be subject to 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).
  • When traveling with your dog or cat to Colombia, you must have an original health certificate showing 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 and parasitic diseases. Likewise, it must be mentioned that there are no fresh or healing wounds. 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 his 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 entity of Animal Health of the U.S.A.

  • The reimbursement of the value of your ticket does not apply if your pet does not have the required sanitary and veterinary documentation or presents aggressive behavior. con la documentación sanitaria y veterinaria exigida o presenta un comportamiento agresivo.
  • 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 reservations with allied 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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