Animal transportation

As of 1st June 2022 Finnair accepts live animals (AVI) for transport on European narrow-body aircraft routes. AVI shipments for wide-body flights might be accepted on request. Please note that Finnair carries live animals only on flights to its direct destinations and for animal shipments with final destination in Finland the destination must be Helsinki (HEL).

See pricing information (See Before the flight: Pricing)

Finnair Cargo provides safe and quick animal transport services to most direct Finnair destinations. Bookings for animals must be made through a forwarding company, for example Travelcargo PetExpress. Finnair Cargo transports animals from outside Finland as far as Helsinki. Animal shipments are generally not available within Finland. Jetpak can provide information on goods that can be accepted for transport within Finland.

When shipping live animals, it is important to book the flights well in advance, and to ensure that you have all the necessary documents in compliance with the regulations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Each destination country may also have additional regulations and agreements in place. The easiest way to find more detailed country-specific information is to contact the local consulate of the destination country.

Please note! Primates and canines intended for laboratory, experimentation or other exploitation purposes are never accepted. 

Pre-flight checklist for pet transportation

  1. Obtain the necessary documents for the animal

    Acquire the required documents for the destination and intermediate airports (such as health certificates, vaccination information and import licences).

  2. Make a cargo booking and check transport-related details

    To make a booking please contact a forwarding company, for example Travelcargo – PetExpress. While making the booking, you can also request more information on animal transport and the requirements listed here.

  3. Ensure compliance with IATA and airline regulations

    Make sure you comply with the regulations specified by the carriers as well as the international regulations specified by the IATA.

  4. Purchase a suitable animal container

    Purchase a container that is suitable for transporting the animal in question. The container must comply with the minimum requirements of IATA Live Animal Regulations. Finnair Cargo does not accept containers with grating on top/latticed top deck. Please note that Finnair does not provide containers for rent.

  5. Check what kind of food is allowed during transport

    Make sure that the food provided for the animal during transport complies with the regulations of the transit and destination countries.

  6. Provide feeding instructions

    Provide written feeding instructions when handing the animal over for transport. Make sure the instructions accompany the shipment.

  7. Check the physical state of the animal and notify the carrier

    When making the booking, check the physical state of the animal, and do this again when handing the animal over to the airline. Notify the airline if the animal is pregnant or has given birth within the last 48 hours.

  8. Notify the carrier of any medication given to the animal

    Notify the airline if you have given any sedative to the animal.

Instructions

On this page we guide you through every step of the animal transportation process so you can feel calm knowing that everything is in place for the safe and peaceful transport of your animal.

Is my animal cargo or baggage?

  • Unaccompanied animals are always shipped as cargo.
  • Animals shipped as cargo always travel in the plane's hold.
  • A booking is made in advance through a forwarding company for animals shipped as cargo.
  • The animal is delivered to the cargo office of the departure airport and collected at the cargo office of the destination airport.
  • Animals that travel on the same aeroplane as the owner are considered part of the traveller’s baggage, regardless of whether the animal travels in the cabin or the hold.
  • If the owner and animal travel on the same aeroplane, space is reserved for the animal at the same time as the flight is booked, and the animal is handed over to the airline at the check-in desk.
  • Some countries, such as the UK, require that animals are always shipped as cargo.

Vaccination and documentation requirements

The shipper is responsible for ensuring that the pet has all the required vaccinations and documents. The requirements vary depending on the destination country and type of animal. When importing an animal from an origin without direct Finnair flights please remember to check regulations specific to any transit airports. See the Export and Import Regulations section below for links to websites of national authorities.

Animal containers

Finnair ships all animals in full compliance with IATA Live Animal Regulations (LAR). The requirements for containers vary according to the type of animal shipped. Finnair does not rent, lend or sell animal containers. The shipper is responsible for purchasing a suitable animal container approved for air transport.

General requirements for animal containers

  • Safe for the animal and the personnel handling the container
  • Strong construction
  • Sufficient number of ventilation openings
  • Correct size for the animal in question
  • Doors cannot be opened from inside or outside during transport
  • Solid, clean and leak-proof
  • Absorbent material on the floor of the container
  • No wheels
  • Note! Finnair Cargo does not accept containers with grating on top/latticed top deck.

Please remember

  • It is better if the animal is familiar with the container well in advance.
  • A blanket or other familiar item in the container helps calm the animal.
  • It is not recommended to feed the animal immediately before the flight as flying may cause nausea.
  • Remove the animal's collar for the duration of transport.

Requirements for cat and dog containers

  • The container must allow the animal to stand and sit with head and ears erect, and not touching the top of the container.
  • The animal must be able to turn about normally while standing, and to lie in a comfortable, natural position, with paws extended.
  • The container can be made of rigid plastics, plywood or wood (Note: Many countries do not accept containers that are made of untreated wood).
  • Rigid plastic containers are suitable for animals weighing no more than 40 kg.
  • Folding metal show crates cannot be used for transport.
  • Puppies or kittens that are no more than 6 months of age and of the same litter (max. 3 puppies/kittens) may be transported in the same container.
  • Two adult animals that are familiar with each other may be transported in one container, provided that the weight of each animal is less than 14 kg.

Container requirements for other animals
For more information on container requirements for other animals, please contact local Sales/Reservations or see the IATA Live Animals Regulations.

Export regulations

For more information on export regulations, please contact the national agricultural authorities or the nearest embassy or consulate of the destination country. Please see the links below for the relevant websites:

Import regulations

  • Contact the Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto) for more information on import regulations and restrictions on animal shipping. Import regulations also apply to animals shipped as baggage.
  • Finnish Customs also provides information on import regulations.

Booking

Space must be booked in advance for live animals. The booking can be made no earlier than 15 days before the flight. To make the reservation, please contact a forwarding company. 

For the booking you will need to provide the following information:

  • Type and breed of the animal
  • Age of the animal
  • Weight of the animal and weight of the container
  • Outside measurements of the container (length x width x height)
  • The name and phone number of the shipper and the consignee

Other important points to consider

  • Finnair does not carry cats or dogs that are younger than 8 weeks of age. However, the import and vaccination regulations in place in other countries may require an older age. For example, in the UK the minimum age requirement is 12 weeks. The shipper is responsible for finding out the local requirements of the destination country.
  • Depending on the time of travel and schedules, an animal being imported to Finland from abroad may spend the night at the intermediate airport, incurring additional costs for the shipper (for example, the cost of an overnight stopover at the London Animal Reception Centre, ARC, may be several hundred pounds). Animals cannot stay overnight at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.
  • The shipper must provide feeding instructions for an animal that has an overnight stopover, and ensure that the food provided complies with the regulations in place in the transit country.

Pricing

Air freight is always priced at the departure airport. The charge is based on the weight of the consignment (including the weight of the container) or so-called volume weight, which is calculated using the outside measurements of the container. The freight charge is always paid at the departure airport. The consignee who collects the animal will pay any terminal-specific charges that apply at the destination airport. For more information on terminal charges, please contact the handling agent at the destination airport (see Finnair Cargo Destinations and select the Handling tab for the destination).

To get a price for your consignment, please contact Travelcargo: https://travelcargo.fi/en/animal_logistics.

Additional charges

  • Consignments shipped to countries outside Europe may incur customs charges. For more information on Finnish customs charges, please contact Finnish Customs.

At COOL terminal 

  • Pets must be kept on a leash and under control in the terminal area.
  • Pets cannot be taken outside to exercise in the terminal area.
  • If an animal accepted for transport must be taken out of the container, the shipper must be present and must ensure that the animal is kept on a leash.
  • The personnel of Finnair Cargo and partner operators only handle animals inside an appropriate container.

Acceptance for transport

Only healthy animals can be accepted for transport by the airline. Please note the following in particular:

  • The booking and routing of the consignment must have been confirmed.
  • You must have the necessary documents for international transport.
  • The container must comply with requirements.

Conditions during transport

  • At the start of the flight, the temperature of the hold matches the temperature during boarding at the departure airport.
  • It takes about one hour after the departure for the temperature of the hold to reach the set temperature.
  • The amount of cargo and the type of the plane also affect the temperature in the hold.
  • Most plane types have thermostat controlled heating, which keeps the hold temperature similar to cabin temperature.
  • Lights are switched off in the hold during the flight (animals usually relax and sleep when it is dark).
  • The hold cannot be accessed during the flight.

Sedating animals

IATA discourages the use of sedatives and tranquillisers in animals during transport. Animals administered such drugs cannot react to their environment as they normally would, and may become aggressive or hurt themselves. Sedated animals cannot control their movement or position in the container. Tranquillisers and sedatives also often cause nausea. If the owner, under the direction of a veterinarian, wants to sedate a very sensitive animal for the duration of transport, the container and transport documents must contain the following information:

  • Name of the medicine
  • Time and method of dosage
  • Dosage level
  • Estimated time of effect

Consignee’s responsibilities

The consignee's contact details, provided by the shipper during booking, are delivered to the staff at the destination airport. A member of the airline will contact the consignee and inform them where, when and how the consignee can collect the animal.

Charges payable by the consignee

The air freight charge is always paid at the departure airport. The consignee who collects the animal will pay any terminal-specific charges that apply at the destination airport. For more information on terminal charges, please contact the handling agent at the destination airport (see Finnair Cargo's Local contacts and see the Handling section).

Frequently asked questions

Before transport

Yes. Unaccompanied animals are always shipped as cargo. Animals that travel with the owner are considered part of the traveller’s checked baggage. 

Read: taking your pet on board a Finnair flight.

Animals can be transported from the UK either as luggage or cargo, but from Finland to the UK animals can only be transported as cargo. The cargo booking must me made in the departure country and it will also be paid there. The consignee will be responsible for paying the local fees when collecting the animal at the destination airport.

Animals that travel on the same flight as the owner are considered part of the traveller’s checked baggage, regardless of whether the pet travels in the cabin or in the hold. If the animal travels in the cabin, space for the animal is reserved at the same time as the owner books his/her flight, and the animal is handed over to the airline at the check-in desk.

Read: taking your pet on board a Finnair flight.

For more information on fees, please contact Travelcargo.

For more information about the required documents and/or vaccinations, please contact the relevant national agricultural authorities (Before the Flight section) or the nearest embassy or consulate of the destination country. 

Once you have obtained the required documents and vaccinations for the animal, please contact any forwarding company to make a cargo booking. The booking can be made no earlier than 20 days before the flight.

Finnair does not carry cats or dogs that are younger than 8 weeks of age. However, the import or vaccination regulations in place in other countries may require an older age.

Yes, we do. Rigid plastic containers are not suitable for shipping animals that weigh over 40 kg. Please note that some countries require that the wood is treated in a certain way. For more information, please contact our local Sales/Reservations.

The size of animal determines the size of the container. The container must allow the animal to stand and sit with head and ears erect, and not touching the top of the container. The animal must also be able to turn about normally in the container while standing, and to lie in a comfortable, natural position, with paws extended. 

The freight charge is based on the weight of the consignment (including the weight of the container) or so-called volume weight, which is calculated using the outside measurements of the container. The greater weight is used to determine the price. In practice, most animal shipments are priced based on the outside measurements of the container.

For example, a dog and its container weigh 35 kg and the size of the container is 90 x 60 x 72 cm.

The volume weight is calculated by dividing the cubic centimetres of the consignment by 6 000. 6 dm3 = 1 kg and 1 m3 = approximately 167 kg.

90 x 60 x 72 cm divided by 6 000 = 64,8 kg.

The freight charge is always paid at the departure airport. The consignee who collects the animal will pay any terminal-specific charges that apply at the destination airport.

More information about pricing (See Before the flight: Pricing)

Yes. However, the number of rabbits that can be placed in one container depends on the size of the rabbits, as there must be enough space in the container. The container can be made of, for example, wood, fibreglass or welded metal mesh, as long as it complies with IATA Live Animal Regulations.

Finnair does not rent, lend or sell animal containers. The shipper is responsible for purchasing a suitable animal container approved for air transport. Finnair Cargo does not accept containers with grating on top/latticed top deck.

Air freight is always priced at the departure airport. Finnair’s Finnish Contact Centre cannot quote prices for international shipments to Helsinki.

Please contact our local representatives for more information on the costs for shipping animals from those countries.

No. The shipper must transport the animals to the airport.

At the airport

No. Pets must be kept on a leash and under control in the terminal area. They cannot be taken outside in the terminal area.

We aim to transport the animals to the aeroplane as close to the departure time as possible. Animals are also transported from the aeroplane separately. Depending on the size and weight of the container the animals may be transported inside a vehicle.

During the flight

The sizes and types of aeroplane holds vary. Most plane types have thermostat-controlled heating, which keeps the temperature of the hold similar to cabin temperature. It takes about one hour from departure for the temperature of the hold to reach the set temperature. The sound of the engines is somewhat louder in the hold than in the cabin.

Lights are switched off in the hold during the flight and animals usually relax and sleep when it is dark.

Each pet is different, and some dogs and cats are very calm and sleep most of the time during transport. Usually, these animals are experienced travellers, and it is a good idea for the shipper to make sure that the animal is familiar with the container.

The hold cannot be accessed during the flight. The containers are tied/supported so that they cannot move during the flight.

At the destination airport

Contact the Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto) before the animal is shipped.

Note: For any animals sent from non-EU countries, the consignee will also be responsible for customs clearance. For more information, please see the Finnish Customs website.

Customs or veterinary border control. This does not apply to imports from other EU countries. However, the UK is an exception as the border controls are very strict.

First you need to go to Swissport and then to Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC), which is the Live Animal Border Inspection Post (BIP) for Heathrow airport. Imported animals can be collected there.