How can I prepare my pet for the flight?

Here are some tips:

Feed your pet with light food about two hours before the departure (it is not necessary to feed the pet during a flight less than 12 hours).

Exercise your pet immediately before the departure.

If your dog is of a breed with a flat nose (for example a boxer, bulldog, pekinese or pug), please make sure that the container’s ventilation is fully open. It is very important for your dog not to have problems breathing.

Do not use a sedative to calm the pet for the flight.

To avoid your pet getting nervous, put a familiar item such as a ball or toy in the container.

Write your pet’s name on the container so that flight attendants can speak to it in a familiar way to calm it if necessary.

What procedures and documents are needed to take my pet on board?

Before check-in, your pet should go through an inspection with the Veterinary Control Service of the departure airport.

If you are going through Russia or to a CIS country, please show the Veterinary Control Service the “Pet Passport” and the veterinary license for the pet.

After the documents have been checked, and the pet’s condition inspected, the veterinary license will be stamped, and you will receive a special boarding pass which you should show at the check-in counter.

If you are making an international flight (not including CIS countries), you will receive a veterinary certificate valid for 1-3 days in return for the veterinary license. In order to carry the pet on an international flight, you need to show Russian Customs the certificate confirming that the pet isn’t of pedigree value.

Can I make my own container for carrying my pet?

Yes, you can. Below you can see the design of an animal container for the carriage of domestic cats and dogs which was made according to the IATA Live Animals Regulations, recommended for the carriage of pets on Somon Air flights.

Materials. Glass fibre, metal, strong (rigid) plastic, welded metal netting, strong wood or board. Construction. Containers fully made of welded or wire netting are not suitable for air carriage.Containers of strong plastic can be used for the carriage of most breeds of dogs, but some such containers are not suitable for the carriage of big or very aggressive dogs. Such animals can be carried in a specially made container of strong wood, metal, veneer or similar material with two locks on the door. If the container has wheels, they should be removed or have brakes applied.

Size. The size of the container should allow each animal inside to stand up, freely turn around, sit and lie down in a comfortable position.

Framework. Wooden containers should have a framework made of wooden bars with dimensions not less than 2.5×7.5cm, connected to one another by bolts or screws, which fasten to the sides of the container.

Sides. On plastic containers, all parts should be properly installed. Wooden containers should use board, or equivalent material at least 12mm thick (1.2 inches) for the outer sides. The sides should be strong but provide enough ventilation. The inner surfaces of the container should be smooth, without any protuberances which the pet might bite or scratch, damaging the container.

One side of the container should be set aside for ventilation. It should be covered with a grating of welded or wire netting which is reliably fastened to the container so that the pet can’t take or tear it off.

Handles. The container must be equipped with handles located in the middle of each long side of the container.

Bottom. The bottom should be firm and waterproof. Top/roof. The top part of the container should be firm. There may be ventilation holes over the whole surface if they do no harm the integrity of the container and don’t affect the roof strength.

Door. One of the container sides should be used as a door. It can be either removable or hinged. There should be two or three extra locks or other reliable fasteners on big doors. The door should be made of plastic, welded or cast metal, with dimensions and a thickness that prevent the pet from bending or damaging it. The gauge of netting should be such that neither the nose nor a paw of the pet can go through it – avoiding possible damage to both the pet and container.

Plastic doors are allowed if the locks and fasteners are made of thick enough metal. On strong plastic containers the door pins should extend through the full length of the door and project not less than 1.6cm from the top and bottom of the container door.

Ventilation. This may be provided through the open side of the door (for example), and through ventilation holes not less than 2.5cm in size, and located 10cm apart (from one axis to the next) in the top part of the sides not containing the door.

If you are carrying a big dog, you should cover the open side with fine metal grating or with double welded netting with 1cm spacing.

The total area of ventilation should amount to not less than 16% of the total surface area of all four sides. To increase the ventilation, you can make extra holes in the roof or in the sides of the container, or create wider holes covered with netting.

Food and water. Place the water vessel so that it is possible to fill it from outside. Food containers, taken in case of flight delay, should be sealed. They can be inside the container or outside it.

Are there any requirements to the container (bag) used to carry the animal during the flight?

Yes, there are. For the carriage of a pet animal or a bird you need a container of firm plastic, wood or metal, with ventilation. The size of the container should allow your pet to get onto its feet and turn around. The container must be equipped with a reliable lock, and absorbent/watertight material on the bottom. Bird cages should be covered with a dense cloth that does not let light through.

How many pets can fly in one container?

You can transport up to two adult animals in one cage, provided that the weight of each does not exceed 14kg and they get along together. Animals over 14kg must be transported in separate containers.

You also cannot put more than three animals of the same litter below 6 months of age in one container.

Nursed puppies and kittens can be transported together. Their number depends on the size and strength of each pet. You should avoid transporting strong and weak animals together, to avoid the former hurting the latter during the journey. Certain countries require that all animals are transported separately, except litters older than 8 weeks, with their mother.

Is my pet in its container included in my free baggage allowance?

No, your free baggage allowance does not include animals and birds. Transportation of pets is paid for at the excess baggage rates, calculated depending on the total weight of animal and container, regardless of the total number of baggage items you have.

Where will my cat be during the flight?

On Somon Air flights animals are transported in the baggage hold.

Are puppies and kittens allowed on board? Are there any age limitations for transported animals?

Puppy and kittens of up to 8 weeks of age are not allowed for transportation due to the possibility of dehydration during the flight. Kittens under 12 weeks need a veterinary certificate confirming that they can be transported by air.

Can I take my pet with me?

Yes. Only pet cats, dogs and birds are accepted for transportation in the baggage hold. Other animals can be transported as cargo.

I use a guide dog – can it travel with me in the cabin?

No, on Somon Air flights animals are transported in the baggage hold.

Please check all the requirements and procedures for animal transportation with the Veterinary Control Service of the departure airport beforehand.

Please also come to the airport well in advance, in order to go through all the necessary formalities without rushing.