Pets in the baggage compartment
Your pet can't fly in the cabin with you? It can still travel safely and comfortably on the same flight as you, in the pressurized cargo compartment of most of our aircraft.
On which flights can I travel with my cat or dog?
Your cat or dog can travel with you if you’re travelling on:
- A flight operated by Air Canada or Air Canada rouge
- An Air Canada Express flight operated by Jazz, Sky Regional, Air Georgian or Exploits Valley Air
- See specific pet carrier size and weight restrictions beneath table for Air Georgian and Exploits Valley Air flights.
Please also view important information about travelling on Codeshare flights/Flights with other airlines (in the “What else do I need to know” section at the bottom of the page).
Are there weight and size restrictions? And what will it cost me?
|Weight, size restrictions and cost|
|Charge for one-way travel
292 cm (115 in) in linear dimensions
(length + width + height)1
Up to 45 kg (100 lb)1
(pet and kennel combined)
Within Canada and Canada/U.S.
Please contact Air Canada Cargo (AC Animals) for rates and assistance in shipping kennels that exceed 45 kg (100 lb) in weight, or 292 cm (115 in) in linear dimensions (length + width + height).
On Air Canada Express flights operated by Air Georgian and Exploits Valley Air, carrier cannot exceed 80 x 57 x 61 cm (32 x 22.5 x 24 in) in size and 8 kg (17.8 lb) in weight.
- Flights to/from Hawaii: pets are not accepted in the cabin or the baggage compartment. Please contact Air Canada Cargo (AC Animals) for rates and assistance in shipping your pet to Hawaii.
- See restrictions regarding certain international destinations.
Do I need to register my cat or dog for travel?
Yes. You'll need to let us know in advance of travel if you plan on having your cat or dog travel in the baggage compartment on the same flight as you.
The first thing you'll need to do is book your own flight*. Once that's done, contact Air Canada Reservations to register** your pet for travel on the same flight as yours.
At the time of your call, you'll be asked to provide:
- the dimensions of the carrier and
- the weight and breed of your pet.
The number of cats and dogs accepted in the baggage compartment is limited by aircraft type; it may be necessary to modify your reservation to allow us to accommodate your pet.
For this reason, we strongly recommend that you register** your pet within 24 hours of completing your booking. This will ensure that, if your pet cannot be accommodated on the flight(s) and date(s) you selected, your ticket will be refunded without charge. After 24 hours, any changes to your booking will be subject to applicable change and cancellation fees.
Please take note that you’ll need to arrive a full 30 minutes prior to the recommended check-in time for your flight as you must see an agent at check-in. Customers with pets cannot use Web check-in or airport self-service kiosks.
* Please also view important information below about travelling on Codeshare flights/Flights with other airlines (in the ‘What else do I need to know’ section at the bottom of the page).
** Pets that have not been registered in advance will not be accepted at the airport.
What restrictions apply to travelling with a cat or dog in the baggage compartment?
Click on the links below to learn about very important rules and restrictions that apply to travelling with your pet in the baggage compartment.
Minimum age restriction
Your cat or dog must be at least 12 weeks old and fully weaned to be accepted for travel.
Maximum number of pets allowed
You may travel with no more than two pets as checked baggage.
Two pets travelling in one kennel are counted as two pets regardless of combined weight.
You'll need to contact Air Canada Cargo (AC Animals) no more than 30 days or less than 7 days prior to your anticipated travel date if you are travelling with more than two pets.
Many countries place restrictions on the entry of animals. It is imperative that you comply with all restrictions, and are in possession of all documents required by the destination country. Find out what you need to know before travelling with your pet to another country.
Summer heat restrictions
Pets may not travel in the baggage compartment of all or some of our aircraft on the dates and for the reasons listed below. Please note also that temperature controlled and ventilated baggage compartments are available only on certain aircraft.
|June 20 to Sep. 10
Pets as checked baggage
|No pets are accepted as checked baggage on any flights due to potentially high temperatures on the ground at some airports, as well as heavy loads during peak summer travel periods.
Air Canada Cargo still accepts animals during this time (see exceptions below).
|May 15 to Sep. 30
Pets as cargo
Due to extreme heat and USDA regulations, the transport of pets in the baggage compartment is prohibited or strictly regulated to and from airports in the following cities:
|Cold weather restrictions|
|Nov. 1 to March 31
and at any other time when temperature is 0 °C (32 °F) or below
Pets as checked baggage
Cats and dogs weighing less than 4.5 kg (10 lb) are not accepted in the baggage compartment of any of our aircraft.
|Peak winter travel restrictions|
|Dec. 15 to Jan. 12
Pets as checked baggage
Pets as cargo
|Due to increased passenger and cargo loads during the peak winter travel period, no pets are accepted as checked baggage or cargo.
Exception: Air Canada Cargo will accept animals during this time on direct international flights only.
|Sep. 14 to Jan. 14
Pets as checked baggage
|Due to increased passenger loads during the peak winter travel period, no pets are accepted as checked baggage on flights AC991 and AC993 between Toronto and Mexico City|
Please contact Air Canada Cargo for assistance if you plan on travelling with your pet during one of these embargo periods (with the exception of December 15 to January 11, where pets are not accepted as cargo either).
What if I need to change my reservation?
If you’re changing your reservation online or with your travel agent, you’ll need to make sure to contact Air Canada Reservations immediately afterward to change your pet’s reservation as well.
If one of our Call Centre agents is handling the change to your reservation, your pet’s reservation will be changed at the same time.
What else do I need to know?
The pet carrier
Always remove your pet’s leash before placing it in its kennel.
- The pet carrier must be hard-sided to be accepted as checked baggage. The majority of carriers are made of hard plastic with holes for ventilation.
- No part of the animal is allowed to protrude from the carrier. As a result, wire carriers are not permitted.
- All carriers must be secure and leak proof.
- Collapsible kennels are not accepted.
- The carrier must be big enough to allow your pet to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably, as per international regulations.
- If the pet carrier is not big enough for your pet to do this, Air Canada must refuse transport.
- The carrier can contain a maximum of 2 dogs provided each dog does not weigh more than 14 kg (31 lb).
- The carrier must not have wheels attached.
- Any wheels must be removed prior to check-in.
Your pet carrier must meet all of the conditions listed above or it will not be accepted for travel.
See the ‘Dog breeds classified as strong or aggressive’ section below for important information on special containers or crates required for the transport of such breeds.
Short/snub-nosed (brachycephalic) breeds of cats or dogs
These short/snub-nosed (brachycephalic) breeds of cats and dogs cannot travel in the baggage compartment because they are susceptible to increased risks of heat stroke and breathing problems when exposed to extreme heat or stressful situations.
Dog breeds classified as strong or aggressive
Certain dog breeds are classified as strong or aggressive dogs and must be transported in a special reinforced container or crate when travelling in the baggage compartment.
About the container or crate:
The container must be constructed of weld or wire mesh, metal, wood or a synthetic material other than plastic. The crate door must be made of wire mesh, metal or wood and should have a secure lock that cannot be opened accidentally.
Air Canada reserves the right to refuse any animal which exhibits aggressive behaviour and/or cage destruction.
Pet restraint devices
If your pet is travelling in the checked baggage compartment, pet restraint devices (e.g. pet strollers and car seats) are accepted:
Preparing your cat or dog for travel
Always remove your pet’s leash before placing it in its carrier.
Since Air Canada assumes no responsibility for the care or feeding of cats and dogs while in transit, it is most important that you prepare both the pet carrier and your pet ahead of time:
- Feed your pet four to six hours prior to departure, as a full stomach may cause discomfort during travel.
- Give your pet water right up to the time of travel. Be sure to empty the dish at check-in, otherwise spillage during the flight will give your pet a wet and uncomfortable ride.
- Leave the dish in the carrier so our agents can provide water in the event of an extended wait before or after the flight, or during connections.
- Tranquilizers and other medications are not recommended. Consult your veterinarian.
- Cover the bottom of the carrier with absorbent material such as a blanket.
- Do not lock the carrier door as Air Canada personnel may need to access your pet in the event of an emergency.
Codeshare flights/ Flights with other airlines
If your itinerary includes a flight that is marketed by Air Canada but operated by one of our codeshare partners, you will not be able to travel with your pet.
A flight marketed by Air Canada but operated by another carrier will bear an Air Canada designator code (e.g. AC6984) and display a one-digit number next to the logo referrring to the operating carrier. See example.
If your itinerary includes a flight that is marketed and operated by another airline, you will be able to travel with your pet but you will need to contact the other airline to make separate arrangements for your pet for that portion of your trip. Naturally, you will also be subject to the pet travel policy and other rules of that airline. See example.
For the specific terms and conditions of any or our codeshare partners or other airlines sold on aircanada.com, visit the operating carrier's website directly.
Pets shipped for commercial purposes
If you are shipping a pet for commercial purposes, please contact Air Canada Cargo (AC Animals).