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). For pricing information please see: Send your shipment section -> Animal transportation -> Instructions - Before the flight.


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 visit local Sales/Reservations or see the IATA Live Animals Regulations.

Export and import 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


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.


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:

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 Destinations and select the Handling tab for the destination).