I would like to transport AVI cargo (live animal - dog) from Melbourne, Australia (MEL) to London, UK (LHR), via air travel, ideally direct.

The crate will need to be accompanied by an attendant (myself). The dog cannot travel separately (by itself) in the hold on a passenger plan or on a cargo plane.

Edit: my dog is too large/heavy to travel accompanied in the cabin, which is why I am looking at cargo airlines (and because no one can access the cargo hold during passenger airline flights).

I know it is possible for a groom/attendant to accompany animals such as horses or rare/zoo animals when they travel as freight. Does anyone know if this can be arranged for dogs? E.g. Are there any cargo (or passenger) airlines that will allow an attendant to accompany a dog travelling in a crate? (Including either companies/airlines that work directly with private individuals or through pet transport agents)

I saw on another question thread that it is possible in some circumstances for people to travel on cargo planes: Is it possible to travel on cargo airplanes? - but does anyone know which airlines allow attendants to accompany live animals? (as mentioned in the answer to the question)

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    What do you mean by accompanying? Do you need to be physically with the animal all the time? Freighters have some seats near the cockpit, but sitting back in the cargo area through out the flight is unlikely, as containers and freight could shift during turbulence. Race horses travel in specially designed aircraft not on general cargo flights.
    – user13044
    Oct 30, 2016 at 17:55
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    Since it is an Australian government regulation which does not allow pets in the cabin, you might want to explore Australian pet transporters such as JetPets to discuss your options, such as a short flight to a destination which allows in-cabin pets (e.g., NZ). The pet transport companies also make flight arrangements for the human companion.
    – Giorgio
    Oct 30, 2016 at 18:06
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    @pnuts - Yes my dog is 23kg so there aren't any passenger airlines that allow dogs of that size to travel in the cabin. That is why I am looking at cargo airlines, which often have attendants accompanying live animals (though I haven't yet heard of dogs).
    – Hannah
    Oct 30, 2016 at 19:12
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    Why can't your dog travel alone?
    – JonathanReez
    Oct 30, 2016 at 19:38
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    Why do you need the dog during your time as a tourist? Is it a service dog? Travel.SE is focused on questions about stays shorter than 3-6 months.
    – JonathanReez
    Oct 30, 2016 at 19:50

1 Answer 1


The majority of dogs and small animals are shipped in a special section of the lower cargo hold, which can be climate controlled better than the rest of the cargo hold. This area is not open for human travel, as it has no seats or seat belts, no bathrooms, no windows, no communication and no easy access to the rest of the plane.

The pallet area on the top deck does not have a lot of space to allow people to walk around the pallets. While in theory your dog could be loaded in the foremost container, due to liability and safety issues the chance of being allowed in the cargo bay as a non-employee is basically zero.

As I mentioned in my comment, horses are transported in specially designed planes which are chartered by horse owners, race organizers, etc. These planes have compartments for horses and seating for trainers/groomers. Horses do not fly on standard cargo flights.

Other rare animals, zoo animals, etc would likely travel by private charter likely in a cage designed specifically for that animal and with proper seats for staff.

Short of chartering your own plane, your best bet is a series of short flights, so that you have access to your dog at the stop over cities.

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    Horses are transported in normal cargo planes, but they are transported in specially designed cargo crates (called airstables) and are accompanied by caretakers called flying grooms. However, during the flight, the caretakers do not enter the cargo hold. Instead the horses are secured, provided hay and water and to avoid turbulence stallions are loaded at the front of the aircraft, and mares at the back. Although rare, but if required, they can also be sedated and most such cargo flights also have a qualified vet on board. Oct 31, 2016 at 5:14
  • @BurhanKhalid - There are also special horse transport planes, such as those from Sutton Transport.
    – user13044
    Oct 31, 2016 at 14:13
  • @Tom Thank you for your answer! I've been looking into the services that Emirates SkyCargo offers, which seem to include 'attendants on request' for horses and 'sensitive animals'. They state "No matter what your animal is, we offer special arrangements designed to meet every need with animal welfare on our mind" - while I'm assuming this probably applies more to exotic pets, zoo animals, etc, I can't see why special arrangements couldn't also be made for dogs, if it is available for these other species. I am wondering if this sort of special arrangement is unheard of for dogs..?
    – Hannah
    Nov 6, 2016 at 14:56
  • @hannah did you ever find out? What solution did you use? Sep 3, 2021 at 1:49

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