Disability assistance

Travelling with an assistance dog

We're able to carry an assistance dog free of charge in the cabin of all our flights. Here's more information about how to plan and book your flight with your assistance dog.

What is an assistance dog?

An assistance dog is one that has been trained to assist a person with a disability or medical condition and has been determined as being able to travel safely in the aircraft cabin. For your assistance dog to travel with you in the cabin on British Airways your assistance dog must:

  • Be trained to assist with a disability or medical condition by way of specific tasks and assessed as suitable for those purposes by an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) or the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) to comply with the requirements of the UK Government, specifically the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).  For direct flights to and from the United States of America, completed US Department of Transport Service Animal forms are required.
  • Be individually trained in specific tasks to assist you with your disability or medical condition
  • Have had behavioural training and show appropriate behaviour in public and onboard an aircraft
  • Wear an identifying jacket/harness
  • Remain under your control at all times

Be aware that we will ask you to send documents confirming the assistance dog training your dog has completed.

If your dog does not meet these criteria, or is an emotional support dog, it will need to travel as a domestic pet.

Booking travel for your assistance dog

It’s currently not possible to book this service online as we need additional information to enable us to confirm your assistance dog for travel. You will need to book your assistance dog at the same time you book your flight and at least 48 hours prior to your date of travel.

If you’ve already booked your flight and you wish to travel with your assistance dog, you will need to contact us to add your assistance dog at least 48 hours prior to your travel date.

Travelling to the UK

Due to entry regulations into the UK, you must have contacted and received approval from the UK animal reception centre at least 72 hours before your flight. You will be asked to show your approval letter before boarding your flight to the UK, Failure to comply with this requirement will mean we are unable to accept you for travel to the UK.

Details of the UK Animal Reception Centres can be found below under preparing for your trip.

Travelling to or from the US

If you are travelling to or from the United States of America you must complete a U.S. DoT Service Animal Air Travel Form detailing your dog’s health, training, and behaviour.

In addition, for flights over eight hours in duration, you must complete a U.S. DoT Relief Attestation Form confirming your dog will not need to relieve itself during the flight or detail how the dog will relieve itself in a sanitary way.

Copies of both documents must be emailed to our accessibility team at least 48 hours before your flight. We will review these documents and contact you to let you know if we will accept your dog for travel.

Our accessibility team may also ask to see documents that confirm your dog has had appropriate training to behave in a public setting, as well as the training they have had to work or perform tasks that assist you with your disability.

If we do not receive the completed US DOT forms in time or your dog has not had the appropriate training, we will not permit your dog to travel in the cabin onboard our aircraft.

You can contact the accessibility team using the details below.

Travelling on other airlines

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.

Contact details

  • Speak to our accessibility team 08:00-18:00 (GMT) Monday – Saturday on 0800 408 1100.
  • Send us a message by selecting the ‘Email us’ tab and fill out the form provided ensuring you select ‘request to carry an assistance dog’ from the topic options.
  • If you are D/deaf or hard of hearing, or have a non-visible disability, you can contact us on 0845 700 7706 (Minicom), or you can send us a message by selecting the 'Email us' tab and filling out the form provided.
  • You may wish to contact us via our Video Relay Service provider SignLive

Preparing to travel

  • Many organisations recommend only accepting dogs on flights of maximum 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 you 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.
  • Make sure your dog has all the necessary documentation, vaccinations, treatments and tests for each country you are visiting. These must be carried with you at all times.
  • You will need to check with the relevant embassy or consulate for requirements for entry with a dog, along with any regulations or restrictions.
  • All dogs arriving into the UK will need to meet the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme set out by the UK Government.
  • All customers bringing a dog into the UK must contact the Animal Reception Centre at the first point of entry, at least 72 hours prior to the scheduled departure of their flight to the UK. The Animal Reception Centre will check the dog meets the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme and issue a pre-approval letter that will be required to enter the UK. 
  • Customers and their dog will not be allowed to board their flight to the UK without a pre-approval letter for entry into the UK.
Airport Contact details
London Heathrow

+44 (0) 208 745 7894/5

London Heathrow animal reception centre

London Gatwick

+44 (0) 1293 555580

London Gatwick animal reception centre

London City +44 (0) 7867358938/ (0) 7867258949
  • 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.
  • At check in, if you are travelling to the UK, you will be asked to show your pre-approval letter from the Animal Reception Centre that shows your dog is cleared to enter UK.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Find out more about flight connections