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UK pets enjoying the jet-set lifestyle

Blog

23rd January 2023

A cat looking out of a plane window

In today’s world, animals have become as much a part of some people’s lives as spouses and children. As a result, it’s far more common for people to insist on travel and holiday plans that include their furry friends.

For most, this either means sticking to four wheels and holidaying within driving distance, or stumping up the extra cash for their beloved pet to take a fairly unpleasant journey in the cargo hold of a passenger airliner.

Interestingly, for those that charter private jets, there is another option available to them. According to Chapman Freeborn’s VIP team, there has been a noticeable trend in requests to transport people’s precious pooches and feline friends with them on their executive jets.

So how easy is it to bring your pet along with you on a chartered flight? Well, depending on your chosen animal, route and destination, it can be very straightforward. Flying domestically within the UK is particularly easy and unrestricted; the only veto process being the operator’s acceptance of pets on board their aircraft.

Travel within Europe is also fairly uncomplicated, provided the pet has a passport which demonstrates up-to-date rabies vaccinations and tick and tapeworm treatment, and a microchip. However, international operations further afield can be more involved.

For international travel, executive jet operators need to have undertaken approval processes to carry pets on board.  In addition, travellers coming into the UK can only arrive at airports that are approved for animal importation.

The Pets Travel Scheme (P.E.T.S) is a UK system that allows dogs, cats and ferrets to enter the UK from any country without quarantine, as long as they meet the conditions of the scheme. In reverse, it allows UK pets to travel to any country and return on a similar basis.

Other animals such as birds and reptiles are subject to import licences and six months of quarantine when arriving in the UK, alongside further controls on endangered, dangerous and exotic animals.

Similar yet hugely variable regulations apply to many countries around the world and these have to be taken into account.

Interestingly, horses also need passports. Chapman Freeborn, as a specialist livestock transportation provider, has been involved in the transportation of polo team ponies, showjumping teams and stud ponies.

Chapman Freeborn’s private jet team explains:

“One of our key priorities has to be the welfare of the animal. Our Middle East office has had requests to move pet tigers, which have been politely declined for these reasons as well as crew safety – and some concern for maintaining the fanciful interior of the chartered Boeing Business Jet! Most people in the UK and Europe are well versed in these restrictions and we are most commonly involved in transporting cats and dogs.

“Another common trend we have noted is the tendency for rock stars and actors to possess a companion pet, which waits faithfully backstage or makes for the ultimate handbag accessory.

“Interestingly, the US authorities have recognised pets, especially dogs, as “assistance” animals to help their owners not just with the expected sensory health issues such as loss of vision and hearing, but also in overcoming emotional and psychological health issues such as anxiety.

“Assistance animals are naturally allowed to travel on commercial flights, but this new development in therapeutic animal use has not made it to Europe yet. This is where our VIP team has assisted many international travellers with private jet charters that include their pets.

Clearly, the inclination for travellers to charter a jet with their pets is only set to increase. The key is for the broker to be fully conversant and experienced with the current regulations for the region in question, whilst ensuring meticulous communication with the aircraft operator and providing accurate information to the charter client.”

Get in touch with our private jet team if you want to travel with your furry friends: [email protected]

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