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My two dogs are 14kg and 10kg each.

The airline rules in our country only allow dogs in cabin up to max 10kg including the crate...

How horrible is it for a dog to be carried in the luggage area? It'd be for a custom (non international) flight of approx 1 hour.

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I've transported many dogs (and a few cats) in the cargo hold - I occasionally volunteer as a "transporter" to help with a dog rescue.

Generally speaking, the dogs were fine. A couple were a bit "weirded out" but quickly recovered with some attention (snuggling, walks, play).

Your experience may depend on the airline in question - the one I use most (Alaska) does a fantastic job with pets in the hold. You may want to research the experience of others for your specific airline.

But - in general, for most dogs - it will be fine. And one hour is a nice short flight to try your pups out and see how they respond.

Oh, also - there was a period of time when people recommended drugging your animal, but that advice has changed. Imagine being stoned and thrown into somewhere loud and new and perhaps a bit scary; that wouldn't be a great experience. So no drugs for the pups. You can get some wine for yourself it if helps you relax :-)

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  • Thank you very much for this! I was worried because our vet said "travelling in a plane can be horrible...". But probably it's better for them to endure 1 strange hour and then spend the rest of the time with us than having to find an unusual place (for them) to stay for the time off... Dec 17, 2021 at 14:18
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You assume that flying in the luggage area is "horrible" for pets... But lets compare how flying in the passenger are would be different than that.

  • The animals have to be in their carriers the whole time anyways. So no difference here.
  • The environment (engines etc) would be just as loud - no difference.
  • The environment (sights and smells) would be just as foreign to them - no difference.
  • Most airlines have a policy to load animals into the plane last before take-off and unload them first after touch-down. In general the same applies to humans boarding the plane. So again, no big difference.
  • If an airline knows that it transports animals, the luggage area is heated and ventilated just as well as the passenger area - so no big difference.

Here are the actual differences I could think of:

  • There's a size limit for carry-on luggage, and a minimum size requirement for transport carriers for animals. So if you insist on taking your dog(s) into the cabin, their carriers might be smaller than if they travelled in the luggage area.
  • You are around to calm your dogs down. Some will be so cool that they won't even need that comfort, some will be so excited that they won't let themselves be calmed. You could achieve a similar effect by putting a worn tshirt into their travel carrier to give them the feeling of being near you.
  • You'll have the chance to see how they do. That's a big comfort, but only for you. It doesn't effect how your dogs experience the flight.

So unless an airline is negligent, there's no big difference between traveling in the passenger area or the luggage area.

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  • Are you sure about the noise-point? Why should a luggage section be insulated from noise, like the passagers cabin is (as I thought until now) Dec 16, 2021 at 13:06
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    I'm not an expert and couldn't find any information online, but there isn't much noise insulation in plane cabins. That would add too much weight and increase fuel consumption. Most of the noise is produced by wind (especially on the windows) and the engines. These vibrations travel through the metal hull and usually aren't effected by insulation material. And planes are loud, usually around 85 - 105 decibel, so I'm not sure what difference a few layers of insulation would do.
    – Elmy
    Dec 16, 2021 at 18:26
  • Thank you :) I was not aware of this... Until now I implied there need to be some kind of additional security against temperature and noise, without having any source :D Dec 16, 2021 at 19:37
  • Very interesting comments, thank you! I assumed the trip would be "horrible" because our vet said so... Dec 17, 2021 at 14:20
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    @transient_loop maybe your vet had a poor experience transporting an animal? It is going to be somewhat stressful for them regardless, but so is traveling in the cabin. Some animals may react more negatively than others, but for the most part they will recover fine. It is very typical to ship animals by air in the appropriate cargo space, even without going along with a passenger on the same flight. Being already crate-trained (used to and secure feeling in their carrier) helps a lot, though. Dec 21, 2021 at 17:03

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