We dream of travelling Australia with our pets right by our side, but a fair few barriers have always stood in the way.
First, not all accommodations are pet-friendly, though this is changing fast with hotels and rental homes opening up to guests and their furry friends. And second, the prospect of taking a pet interstate means leaving them inside a cage to travel solo in the cargo hold. Not ideal, especially for pets that get spooked or distressed easily.
But the rules are soon to change. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is reportedly planning to make changes to general flight and operating rules, one of which would see airlines set the rules for people travelling with pets.
The word is that Australia’s major airlines, including Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Rex, would be allowed to set their own protocol for pets onboard flights. If they’re cool with it, this means you could bring your pet into the cabin with you, to curl up on your lap or lie at your feet.
The airlines are expected to make their own individual announcements before the new rules come into effect on December 2, 2021.
Of course, changes like these would not be without some guidelines. “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 new CASA rules state according to 7News.
“A large animal should always be secured so as not to damage or affect the balance of the aircraft in flight. 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.”
Currently, the only pets allowed in the cabin are those that provide services to passengers, like seeing eye or support dogs. But these new guidelines would allow anyone to fly alongside their dogs or cats, provided they behave and are within weight restrictions.
Overseas, the rules are little more lax, with airlines in the US and Europe already allowing pets in the main cabin for a fee.