Flying with your dog is an easy task. You have to start well in advance, deal with airline rules and regulations, pay extra fees. That’s one of the reasons why we now look to more premium airlines like Swiss when we fly with our dachshund. Swiss does allow passengers to fly with their dogs in cabin and in cargo. We fly with the dog in the cabin is it weighs less than 7kgs with the bag.
For our trip to Europe this winter (2019), we have chosen Swiss, an airline with a very good reputation and an efficient service to Vienna, our final destination. After our trip last summer with Air Canada, we didn’t want to risk having another awful experience flying with our dog. The big question for us was: will Swiss be a reliable airline for us when we travel with a dog? We share our experience with you after 4 flights with our dog, 2 of which lasted more than 6 hours, on board their planes.
Review of Swiss: Advantages and Disadvantages Flying With a Dog
Here is a quick recap to help you along:
- The service and staff have been effective and have helped to make our travels less difficult
- Flights on board the company’s Airbus A330-300s were spacious and pleasant
- Swiss is not annoying when you fly with a dog in the cabin
- The price to bring an animal is however quite high in comparison with some competitors
Does Swiss Airlines Accept Dogs On Board?
The answer is YES. Swiss allows you to fly with your dog both in the cabin and in the hold. To do this, you must of course pay an extra charge, provide documents related to your pet’s health, verify that the pet and the bag in which it will fly meet the company’s requirements, and make the reservation by phone. This is quite standard with regular airlines, especially for long-haul flights.
Restrictions Apply When Flying With a Dog
- You cannot fly with more than two animals in the cabin or in the hold
- There is a maximum number of animals that can travel in the cabin during a flight
- The dog or cat must be at least 12 weeks old. If you fly to the United States, this minimum is 16 weeks
- If you come from one of these countries, your pet will not be able to fly in the cabin: Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kenya, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom
- Your cage or bag must be approved by Swiss
- Other conditions exist for dogs that fly in the cabin
These rules do not apply to assistance or emotional support dogs. The complete list of restrictions can be found here.
Swiss Air Flight With a Dog in Cabin
As mentioned above, Swiss allows you to fly with your dog in the cabin. The company’s requirements for this are quite classic: your small pet must weigh less than 8 kg, including the bag (or “transport basket” to use Swiss terms) in which it will travel.
Bag Policies and Size Requirements With Swiss International Airlines
The dimensions of the bag that will allow you to fly with your dog are precise, they must not exceed 55 x 23 x 40 cm. The agent with whom we made the reservation by telephone ensured that we would comply with this requirement by asking for the exact size of the bag we are using.
Booking Process for a Dog Plane Ticket With Swiss
The reservation can’t be done online. You have to follow this procedure when you fly with your dog aboard Swiss airline:
- Chose your flights on the company’s website
- Call into the hotline to know if you can take your dog on these flights. If there’s room for an animal in the cabin, you can go ahead and book your dog’s ticket and then your own on the phone with the agent.
- If you elect to book your ticket with the agent instead of online, they will book your ticket first and then add your dog to the ticket. It’s not a process that happens in this order for other airlines so just be aware of this easier option made available.
- Note: you could also not have to pay for your dog immediately. In that case, the staff will ask you for a proof of payment for your dog’s travel at the airport itself. Make sure you have it on you when you check-in, otherwise you’ll have to pay. This happened to us and it wasn’t fun as we were not prepared for it.
Pro tip: always call before make a flight reservation to check if there’s room for your dog in the cabin first.
Swiss has not told us how many animals can fly in the same aircraft in the cabin, but there is a restriction – which must probably vary according to the type of aircraft used. Be sure to check this detail before you buy your tickets.
Other Swiss Airlines Policy Requirements For Cabin Travel
Swiss has other requirements that the company does not hesitate to check almost systematically for a dog to fly with you in the cabin:
- The animal must be able to stand up and turn around in the bag in which it will fly
- The dog should remain in the closed bag at all times.
- Your pooch should be clean and healthy
- Other passengers shouldn’t be disturbed by your dog or you will have an issue with the airline
- No pets are allowed in the Business Class cabin of the Airbus A330 or A340 – check carefully before booking if this is the case!
- You must comply with the animal rules and regulations of the destination country. In our case, this was Austria.
pro tip: the 2 most common requirements for dog travel are proof of a microchip and proof of a rabies vaccine.
On our four flights with Swiss (Montreal to Zurich (Airbus A330-300), Zurich to Vienna (Airbus A320), then the opposite route), we noticed that the company’s staff is more or less strict in applying these rules. For example, we hardly had to show Mocsing’s health papers, although this was systematically requested by Air Canada and Vueling. Some Swiss flight attendants made sure that we kept doggo in her bag for the duration of the flight. Overall, we found them to be much nicer and more enjoyable on this subject than at Air Canada, for example. On the ground, the staff was rigorous and Mocsing’s bag was checked at each check-in. We were also asked for proof of payment for our dog’s travel.
How Much Does it Cost to Travel With Your Dog in Cabin on Swiss?
Prices vary according to your destinations: from 50 euros for a flight not leaving Switzerland to 110 euros for a long-haul flight. Details of the prices can be found here. It is not the cheapest airline since we paid 100 CAD per flight on Air Canada. But once again, this price is in line with the company’s premium service. Again, it seems possible to pay these fees at check-in and we strongly recommend that you keep proof of payment for your flights, as it will be requested from you.
Can You Travel With a Dog in the Hold on Swiss?
Of course, Swiss also accepts your dog in the hold. This is the option you will have to choose if it is more than 6-7 kg or simply too big. We have not had to go through this, so we will not be able to share our experience in this regard.
What Are the Restrictions for the Cargo Hold?
Swiss’s requirements for this are relatively simple:
- Your dog must be “clean, healthy and non-hazardous”, just like in the cabin requirements.
- Pets must travel in a cage with sufficient water and food for the flight, and is suitable for hold travel
- All details regarding the cage to be used are explained by Swiss.
How Much Does it Cost to Fly a Dog in the Hold with Swiss Airlines?
Surprisingly, it’s more expensive to fly a dog in the hold than in the cabin. The price goes from 80 euros for intra-Swiss flights to 190 euros for long-distance flights. Again, these are not the most attractive rates on the market.
Our Travel Experience With Swiss + ?
Arrival at the Airport
The Swiss ground staff proved to be very efficient and friendly, whether in Montreal, Zurich or Vienna. As we have already mentioned, the two elements to which he has paid the most attention regarding our dog are the bag and the comfort of the dog in the breast, as well as the payment of the fees related to this service.
Mocsing’s health papers have hardly been checked. In short, the experience was relatively pleasant on the ground.
In the Swiss Air Cabin With our Dog
We were given priority boarding each time, which was very appreciated as it is easier to prepare without the plane being full.
The flight experience with Swiss was particularly good on long-haul routes (Montreal to Zurich, then Zurich to Montreal), as we were each time on board an Airbus A330-300. This aircraft has the advantage of having a row of two seats on the sides. From what we were told by a company ground crew member, passengers with a dog in the cabin – and who fly in pairs – are systematically placed in a row of two. This was our case and it was very good! We were not so lucky with Air Canada, despite the fact that our two flights with Mocsing with that airline, took place on board Boeing 767-300s offering the same advantage as the A330s in question.
Swiss’s Airbus A320 flights (Zurich to Vienna, then Vienna to Zurich) also went well. Although less comfortable, they were smooth.
As mentioned earlier, the Swiss staff was really not annoying. The only problem we had during this whole trip was on our first flight. From Montreal to Zurich, we had the misfortune to end up behind a very agitated (probably intoxicated) passenger who never stopped provoking us. This unpleasant experience had nothing to do with Swiss and was only due to our misfortune.