Jet-setting pets

How Swiss WorldCargo safely transports your furry friends across the globe

In this article, we'll take you on a behind-the-scenes journey of Swiss WorldCargo's remarkable Live Animals transportation service. Get ready to embark on an exciting adventure, as we dive deep into the intricate process of pet logistics, the critical import and export regulations, and our commitment to animal well-being, which ensures a smooth and stress-free journey for your pets.

Published 3 July 2023 by Swiss WorldCargo Marketing & Communications Team


Welcome aboard the world of Jet-Set Pets, where Swiss WorldCargo is your furry friend's first-class ticket to safe and efficient travel across the globe! Our beloved pets are not just animals; they are cherished members of our families, and they deserve to travel in style and comfort. In fact, approximately 20,000 animals take to the skies with SWISS every year via Zurich and Geneva airports, and travel either with their owner or with Swiss WorldCargo in the aircraft’s bellies. 

Choosing the perfect flight option: Cabin or Cargo hold

At Swiss WorldCargo, the safety and comfort of your pets is our top priority, whether they travel in the cabin or the cargo hold. Rest assured that both options provide a secure environment for your beloved companions, with the cargo hold boasting similar temperature and air pressure conditions to those in the cabin, even on longer flights. 

When deciding between the cabin or cargo hold, together we consider the following weight and size limitations: 

Cabin travel

  • Dogs and cats weighing up to 8 kg (including their transport container). 
  • Container must be soft, clean, escape-proof, scratch-proof, and no larger than 118 cm (55 x 40 x 23 cm) to fit under the seat. 
  • Guide dogs for visually impaired passengers can travel in the cabin without size and weight restrictions, as long as they fit in front of the seat. 

Cargo hold travel

  • Dogs and cats weighing more than 8 kg or traveling in a container exceeding the permitted cabin size. 
  • Exceptions include snub-nosed breeds (e.g., bulldogs, Pekingese, pugs), which have specific requirements detailed under "Enhanced regulations" on SWISS website. 
  • You won't be able to visit your pet during the flight if they are traveling in the cargo hold, but fear not, we will discuss all precautions and safety considerations with you before loading. 
  • All other pets that are not cats or dogs need to travel in the cargo hold, as the cabin can only accept cats and dogs. 

In either case, you must book space for your pets in advance and provide confirmation your animal meets all specified age and vaccination requirements. Additionally, all pets must be healthy, clean, and non-disruptive to fellow passengers to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience for all.  


Navigating import and export regulations for pet travel

Understanding import and export regulations is a critical step when planning to travel with your pets, given the significant variability in age and vaccination requirements from one country to another. Beyond geographic boundaries, these requirements and regulations can differ by airline and even among partner carriers. 

With these diverse regulations, being well-informed is vital. Prior to booking, ensure you diligently check all requirements, confirm stipulations for any transfers, and prepare all necessary documentation for check-in. This due diligence will pave the way for a smooth journey for both you and your pet.

Expert care for your furry companions: Swiss WorldCargo's Live Animals transportation product

Swiss WorldCargo understands that your pets are an essential part of your family, and when it comes to transporting them, you want the best possible care. That's why our Live Animals transportation product is designed to provide a top-notch experience for both you and your furry companion. 

Our service ensures special handling processes following IATA Live Animal Regulation, tailored to the specific needs of each animal and species, guaranteeing the well-being of your pet throughout the journey. We ensure that your pet travels within his ambient temperature range and stays comfortable at every stage of the trip, while also ensuring fast and convenient transportation that minimizes transit times. 

At Swiss WorldCargo, we pride ourselves on our quality-centric approach. Our dedicated team of trained animal keepers is committed to maintaining the highest level of care for your pet. In addition, we offer administrative assistance for pet transportation, helping you to navigate the complex world of import and export regulations.Be reassured that we rely on the expert eyes of our collaborators throughout the entire transportation procedure, as well as on thorough vet checks. We make sure that your beloved pet stays in an animal room with dedicated staff in Zurich, namely a separate area with supervision to protect the animals from stress. 

Swiss WorldCargo is proud to collaborate with Moving Animals, a trusted international pet relocation service with two decades of experience. This partnership aims to take the stress out of moving with your pet, ensuring a seamless relocation process. From extensive documentation assistance to detailed pre-move guidance, Moving Animals provides top-tier services, complementing Swiss WorldCargo's commitment to making your pet's journey comfortable and safe. Learn more about their services here. 


For an inside look at a pet’s Swiss WorldCargo experience, check out SRF’s story that follows Brodie the Border Collie from Zurich to New York City.   

A commitment to excellence: Swiss WorldCargo's promise

Swiss WorldCargo is devoted to the well-being of animals, constantly striving to improve our processes for pet transportation. Trust in our unwavering dedication to ensuring a safe, comfortable, and seamless journey for your furry family members.

Swiss International Air Lines - and at Swiss WorldCargo - we dissociate ourselves from the transportation of live animals for research; in fact, SWISS does not accept any live animals destined for research for transport on any of its routes except live mice and live rats.

Swiss WorldCargo complies with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) when it comes to the transportation of animals and has a ban in place on animal trophies as per CITES Appendix I (

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