Virgin to become first Australian airline to let pets fly in cabin

"It really will be a whole new economy for pet travel in Australia."
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Virgin Australia will soon allow flyers the choice of bringing their furry friends into the airplane cabin with them in an Australian first. 

WATCH NOW: Dr. Harry Cooper shares his top tips for travelling with your dog. Article continues after video.

Whilst this service is available at numerous airlines overseas, the move to allow small cats and dogs to fly alongside their owners and not in cargo is an Australian first. 

Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka described the move as a no brainer, after market research from 2023 indicated that an overwhelming 57 percent of prospective travelers would fly more often if their pet could travel alongside them in the cabin.

An additional 70 percent of those surveyed added that they would utilise the service which is expected to launch sometime in the next 12 months subject to regulatory approval.

Our tails are wagging over this news! (Credit: Getty)

“Almost 70 percent of Australian households have a pet, so this announcement is really significant for a large proportion of the country,” Jayne shared in an official press release announcing the exciting news. 

“It’s also a great thing for pet-friendly accommodation providers who will benefit greatly from increased connectivity and the ease for travelers to fly with their pets,” she added.

“It really will be a whole new economy for pet travel in Australia.”

Animals will still be able to fly in the cargo hold. (Credit: Getty)

Whilst details are yet to be confirmed, pets who travel in the cabin must be in approved pet carriers stowed under the seat in front and will not be allowed to roam freely or sit in your lap. 

Extra fees will of course be involved. Virgin has yet to confirm which domestic routes will offer the service. 

Approved assistance animals can of course still fly for free in the cabin at no additional cost. Pets will also still be able to fly in the cargo hold.

The cat is out of the bag! (Credit: Getty)

Whilst some Australians have celebrated the news, there is a cause for concern, especially for those who suffer from allergies. 

According to the airline, the use of cabin airflow dynamics and hospital-grade HEPA filtration would significantly reduce the risk of allergy-triggering particles being circulated onboard.

“We also want to point out that pets in cabin flights work effectively overseas and we believe there’s no reason why they won’t work in Australia too,” a spokesperson shared with the ABC.

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