Passengers on flights within Australia may soon be allowed to travel with their pets next to them rather than in the cargo hold below, reports The Executive Traveller.
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority’ plans to relax the rules which currently ban any animal other than designated service dogs from flying in the cabin. However, it will be up to each airline to decide its own policy for flying with pets once the new rules come into effect on 2 December 2021.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority suggests a number of factors will need to be considered by the airlines.
“When giving permission, you may need to consider the type of animal and how it is carried, contained and restrained; its reaction to noise and being out of its natural environment; nuisance to other passengers; distraction to flight crew; and how excrement or fluids will be contained,” the rules state.
“A large animal should always be secured so as not to damage or affect the balance of the aircraft in flight,” the rules continued.
“A small or medium-sized animal carried in the cabin would normally need as a minimum to be restrained during takeoff and landing and in turbulence,” the Authority stated.
Currently, some airlines in Australia allow service dogs to travel free with their pet parents, but all other animals must be transported in the cargo hold. However many overseas airlines do allow pets in the cabin inside of a suitable container.
Both Qantas and Jetstar both told the Executive Traveller there are no plans to change their current policies. Current rules require that all animals other than recognised service dogs be transported in the cargo hold.
A Virgin Australia spokesperson said, “We’ll consider the regulatory changes as part of a wider pet travel review we’re currently undertaking.”