I read I could transport animals in transport boxes the size of hand luggage with me near my seat on an airplane.

I could not imagine a transport-box-like piece of luggage with the right size. One problem I see is that it should only be approximately 25 cm in height. How could one transport a rabbit (or two) within this?

(Background: We want to visit parents at Christmas time, but have no one to care for our two dwarf rabbits. The flight would be about 2 hours. Could there be a possibility to "grow and shrink" such a transport box, so the time in the car and airport is more comfortable for them?)

Edit: I want to know what sort of crate matches with the luggage-size-rule. Exambles for crates, or methods to match the allowed size. (One answer mentions "foldable": How?)

  • What airline are you flying with?
    – SerenaT
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 12:21
  • We flew with a parrot ( in a cage) a few times, no problem except she had to have a ticket. Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 15:36
  • @SerenaT I assume it will be Lufthansa Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 7:40
  • @blacksmith37 means "ticket" the parrot had its own seat? Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 7:41
  • 1
    If you really are going to travel with Lufthansa it seems that you cannot bring rabbits into the cabin, but they have to travel with the luggage lufthansa.com/de/de/tiere-als-uebergepaeck
    – SerenaT
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 13:21

3 Answers 3


I travel with rabbits over long distances, mostly by automobile.

When driving we stop about every 4 hours and set up an exercise pen for them to use the bathroom, eat and drink for about 30 minutes. Eating hay or grass is most important. Sometimes they don't drink, but always give them enough time to eat.

In my experience, rabbits normally prefer a somewhat snug travel carrier. So two dwarf rabbits in hand luggage (i.e. a soft carrier) on an airplane is probably fine for a couple hours. Potty, water and hay, breaks as you enter and exit the airport would be necessary.

Some rabbits will not eat while in a moving vehicle. This makes it more important that you have stops to eat hay, also have hay in the carrier.

If the rabbit has to travel in the hold of the plane (as looks like is required in your case per the comment by SerenaT) it will be very stressful, and stress kills rabbits so I would NOT recommends this option.

As long as your bunnies are getting hay breaks, and not getting overheated. They can stay in snug travel carriers at all time there is movement.

If your rabbits are bonded (live together in the same space without fighting) they should always travel in the same carrier.

If they are not bonded, it depends... If you are traveling long distances with unbonded rabbits and thinking about keeping them in the same carrier ask a new question just about that.

"foldable": How?

Trying to find a foldable carrier that works as a playroom and carrier is going to be challenging. For times where you have room to stretch out but are not at home google for 'soft foldable rabbit pen' I have seen several different versions of these in operation, they work well if you are there to supervise. There are several price points, and they fold small for travel. I have seen rabbits spend several hours in them, while people were around.

  • 1
    As we were relocated the distance we now want to fly, we were driving two days with child, turtle and two bonded rabbits. We use the method you discribe. Now it seems plan B "flying rabbits" is not an option and I need to find a useful rabbit-sitter (plan A) more than before. To let them fly in the luggage room is not an option for me. Thank you for the detailed answer. Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 4:44

This varies a lot by airline. Some only allow cats or dogs and "service animals" (whatever that might include), some (eg. Westjet) allow rabbits and birds in addition.

Most require prior notification and registration and maybe a health certificate, and they limit the number per flight usually. They may not want to allow two pets with one passenger, but some (Turkish Airlines for example) are okay with it provided they're known to each other.

Expect them to be a bit nosy and maybe check that the pets have enough room to be reasonably comfortable etc. Obviously the carrier will have to fit under the seat and you'll want to book a seat that has such a space in front (eg. not a bulkhead seat).

Sometimes a fee is charged (as much as $200). Here's a bit of a round-up, be sure to confirm with the airline before you book tickets. Things change and such surveys are seldom 100% accurate.

I was on an international flight a couple years ago and the girl next to me had a very small dog under her seat, the pup was happy as a clam and kept quiet the whole ~5hr flight.

  • I will contact the airline for more information about the rules. What I ask here is more "What sort of crate could match with the luggage-size-rule?" Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 7:44
  • You can find products (eg, Amazon) that claim to match the rules, and I think you’re about right on the critical dimension (height). There does not seem to be a definitive answer on the maximum height that will fit under a seat. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 12:38

Assuming your chosen airline follows nternational Pet and Animal Transport Association (IPATA) standards, pets must travel in a crate/carrier that allows them to stand up and turn around without touching the sides or top. There are additional rules for two pets (of the same species only) traveling in the same crate/carrier if they are small enough.

To carry them on board as hand luggage, the carrier must fit under the seat in front of you and remain there for the entire flight. Soft carriers are allowed, provided they compress down to the required size and the pet still has sufficient space (see above).

Otherwise, they must travel as checked luggage or cargo in a hard-sided crate that meets IPATA standards for durability, security, ventilation, etc. Some aircraft types are limited in the crate sizes they can handle.

How rigorously airlines enforce these rules is another matter. It is not difficult to find pictures of cats and dogs out of their carriers on planes and clearly large enough that the allegedly required carrier size couldn't possibly fit under a seat. I've never done it, but I've seen plenty of others firsthand. The key factor seems to be keeping them calm and quiet, which I assume isn't much of an issue for rabbits.

In summary, you can try it and may get lucky if the folks you encounter either don't know or don't care about the rules, but you should have a backup plan in case you're turned away.

  • Thank you for explaining the international rules. If them will be followed strict, I am not allowed to transport our rabbits via plane. As you wrote: the high is not enough to turn around without touching the top. May you give an example of "foldable" transport box? I could not combine it with "waterproof bottom" which is a rule of the airline. Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 7:51

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