Can My Pet Travel For Free?

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Free Travel For Pets In The UK

There’s no better time to take a staycation around the UK and see parts of the country that you and your pet haven’t explored.

Whether it be the Scottish Highlands, the Brecon Beacon Hills, the wonderful Dorset coastline or the Norfolk Broads, there’s something for everyone.

Our trains in the UK do not charge for your pet to be taken on board and can be a great way of getting between destinations. Trains are not as packed as they used to be with commuters, with owners being asked to follow just a few simple, mostly common sense guidelines whilst travelling with pets by their rail operators. In most cases whether it’s national or heritage railways there is no need to confirm you are travelling with a pet when you book your ticket. City to city trains may still require booking a seat.

For dog owners, it’s always an idea to carry a muzzle in case passengers sitting around you object to your dog, or simply move to another area if permitted. Cats and small pets should be carried in safe carriers.

Ferry crossings and hover ports likewise offer free journeys to pets. Some crossings can take just a few minutes between ports, operating on a walk-on walk-off basis and dogs can be on deck accompanied by their owner on a collar and lead (and ID tag). Cats and small pets should be taken in small safe pet carriers.

When the sea crossings become longer between ports, and you travel by car, operators are providing more facilities such as kennel areas and pet-friendly cabins. These have to be booked with your tickets to board by car, in advance, and there are more rules and regulations to follow.

Millions of pet journeys are being taken every day within the UK by car, train, sea and air. Air transport is more trickier where there have been stories of passengers turning up with their pet in their carrier at commercial passenger check-in desks at airports expecting their pets to accompany them in the cabin.

Unfortunately UK aviation rules do not permit pets in the cabin unless they have a specific health reason where prior written permission has been approved.

Pets must travel in the cargo hold along with luggage. It can be quite a daunting experience for your pet and not all UK airports are authorised to handle animal cargo and naturally, this is not a free service for passengers.

The government and DEFRA have approved a number of commercial and charter UK airports where animals can fly from and list the air companies that can handle animal cargo flights.

An alternative can be to organise your pet being picked up by the regulated pet transport services businesses from your home in approved vehicles, flown and delivered to their destination address elsewhere in the UK. There are several reputable firms who have simple to complete online quotation forms and one can get an idea of costs instantly. These services are used, for example, by pet owners who show their animals at events and need them transported across the UK.

Disappointingly, and abit of an transport anomaly, UK bus and coach companies are not nationally regulated to carry pets and rules vary from region to region, bus company to bus company and charges apply.

Guide, hearing and autism assistance dogs are welcome to travel by buses, coaches, ferries, hover crafts, trains and by air. They are encouraged to sit with their owners including the cabin of an aircraft with UK, European and most long haul carriers who will provide space such as the adjoining seat usually at no charge, but must be booked in with notice of assistance flying.

You might like to read our longer features Pet Travelling and Guide Pets Travelling

\\\ Spotted out-of-date information or broken link? Message   Pictures courtesy freepik. 

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