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Travelling with assistance dogs

Travelling with assistance dogs

We're able to carry a recognised assistance dog free of charge in the cabin of all our flights. Here's more information about the service we can offer.

What is an assistance dog

An assistance dog is one which has been specifically trained to assist a disabled person and certified by an organisation that is a full member of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) or International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), the accrediting bodies for assistance dog organisations worldwide.

Emotional support dogs that are not recognised as assistance dogs by the above organisations are not allowed to travel in the cabin. In this case, please book your dog to travel as a domestic pet.

collapsedshowTraining standards

There are three types of training standards for assistance dogs:

Type Description More information
Guide dogs Guide dogs assist blind and visually impaired people by avoiding obstacles, stopping at curbs and steps, and navigating through traffic. ADI training standards for guide dogs
Hearing dogs Hearing dogs assist deaf or hearing-impaired people by alerting them to a variety of household sounds, such as a door knock, telephone, baby cry, name call or smoke alarm. Dogs are trained to make physical contact and lead the person they are assisting to the source of the sound. ADI training standards for hearing dogs
Service dogs Service dogs assist people with disabilities other than a vision or hearing impairment. These dogs can help people who use wheelchairs, have autism, need help balancing or with various other conditions, such as seizures, low blood sugar or a mental health impairment. ADI training standards for service dogs

Travel information for your assistance dog

If you're entering the UK, your dog must meet the requirements of DEFRA's Pet Travel Scheme.

If you're travelling to a different country, please check with the relevant embassy or consulate for any regulations or restrictions.

collapsedshowContact us

It's currently not possible to book this service online so if you've booked on please contact us, if possible at least seven days before you're planning to travel. If you have booked through your travel agency please contact them directly.

Here are our contact details:

  • You can reach us daily from 07:00 to 23:00 (EST) at 1-800-AIRWAYS (or 1-800-247-9297).
  • If you have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact us at 1-866-393-0961 (TTY).
  • If you're calling from abroad, here's a list of all our contact details.

Travelling on other airlines

If you're travelling with our subsidiary OpenSkies between Paris and New York, please contact OpenSkies for your requirements.

If your flight is operated by one of our airline or franchise partners, they may have different processes so please contact them directly before you travel.

collapsedshowPreparing for your trip
  • Many organisations recommend to accept assistance dogs only on flights of max. 10 hours duration. However, if you can confirm that your dog can manage a longer flight we will accept it for travel.
  • You must provide a dog car safety harness or equivalent to secure your assistance dog during take off and landing and whenever the seat belt signs are switched on.
  • We recommend to take a fleece or vet-bed with you for the dog to lie on as well as absorbent pads, which can be placed under the fleece.
  • It is your responsibility to take care of your dog's needs, cabin crew won't be able to offer any assistance to the dog during the flight.
  • If you're travelling to the UK, you must confirm your flight details with the airport's Animal Reception Centre who will then meet you on arrival and clear your assistance dog to enter the UK.
Airport Contact details Website
London Heathrow

+44 (0) 208 745 7894 or

+44 (0) 208 745 789

London Heathrow Animal Reception Centre

London Gatwick

+44 (0) 1293 555580 London Gatwick Animal Reception Centre
London City +44 (0) 207 646 0000 n/a

0800 028 8971 (freephone) or

+44 (0)1563 829262 or

+44 (0)141 8894189 or

Glasgow Animal Reception Centre
collapsedshowDepartures process
  • You will not be able to check in online so please go to a check-in desk at the airport and a member of our staff will coordinate assistance to the departure gate.
  • We will allocate an appropriate seat with more space for you and your assistance dog, usually in a bulkhead seat row.
  • If you're able to use our lounges (depending on your frequent flyer membership and/or the cabin you're travelling in), you can take your assistance dog with you.
collapsedshowArrivals process
  • If you're arriving into the UK, an animal reception centre officer will meet you and your dog at the aircraft and carry out the clearance checks to enter the UK. For more details, see Preparing for your trip.
  • The animal reception centre officer will place a tag stating 'Pet Travel Scheme Entry Check Passed' on the dog's harness as proof that it has been cleared for entering the country.
  • Once the clearance checks have been completed, a British Airways representative will be able to take your dog to a relief area and then accompany you through Customs and Immigration.
collapsedshowFlight connections
  • When connecting to another flight, please allow extra time for clearance and relief of your dog.
  • A British Airways representative will accompany you and your dog to the appropriate area to wait for the departure of your next flight.

More about Heathrow flight connections

More about Gatwick flight connections

More about London City flight connections