The 7 Best Pet-Friendly Airports in The World

These airports go above and beyond to welcome and accommodate our furry friends, making your travel experience with your pets a breeze. From dedicated pet relief areas and pet-friendly amenities to pet-friendly hotels and even airport pet lounges.

If you're a pet owner in the UK planning to travel internationally with your furry companion, you're not alone. In fact, statistics show that pet ownership in the UK is on the rise, with an estimated 51 million pets living in households across the country as of 2021, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association (PFMA). As more pet owners are taking their furry family members along on their travels, knowing which airports are pet-friendly has become increasingly important.

According to a recent survey conducted by Pets Aboard UK, a renowned authority on pet travel, there are several airports worldwide that have established a reputation for being particularly welcoming to pets. The survey considered factors such as facilities, services, and policies that cater to the needs of travelling pets and their owners. We want to delve into the top 7 pet-friendly airports based on this survey and other relevant data, providing valuable insights for UK pet owners who are planning to embark on international adventures with their beloved pets.

So, if you're looking for airports that prioritise pet-friendly policies and services, based on the latest data and expert opinions, keep reading to discover the best options for you and your pet.

Los Angeles International Airport 

LA, United States

Pet-friendliness is a top priority at Los Angeles International Airport. With multiple pet-relief stations located throughout the airport, LAX makes travelling with pets a breeze. There are eight indoor pet-relief stations conveniently located beyond the security checkpoints in the terminals, ensuring that your furry friend can take care of their needs before boarding your flight. Additionally, there are three outdoor pet relief stations at LAX, providing a natural environment for pets to stretch their legs and relieve themselves.

The pet-relief stations at LAX are well-equipped with synthetic grass, fire hydrants, fresh water, and bags for waste disposal, making them comfortable and convenient for both pets and their owners. These amenities are designed to ensure that pets have a safe and hygienic space to take care of their needs while travelling through the airport.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)

Amsterdam, the Netherlands 

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) in the Netherlands is a paradise for pet owners travelling with their furry friends. With numerous pet-friendly amenities, AMS goes above and beyond to ensure that pets have a comfortable and stress-free travel experience. From designated pet relief areas and pet-friendly facilities to trained staff who provide compassionate care, AMS truly understands the importance of pets in our lives. The airport's commitment to being pet-friendly makes it one of the top choices for travellers seeking a seamless and enjoyable journey with their beloved pets.

Calgary International Airport

Calgary, Canada

As one of the first airports in Canada to introduce an in-terminal pet relief area, in addition to the existing dog relief areas outside the terminal buildings, the airport goes the extra mile to accommodate the needs of travelling pets and their owners. One notable feature of the Calgary International Airport is its therapy dog program, which brings adorable therapy dogs into the waiting lounges for travellers to pet and play with, providing comfort and companionship during their time at the airport.

For travellers with animals that require boarding and day-care, the Calgary International Airport offers the International Animal Lounge, a spacious 10,000 square feet facility that caters to pets, horses, and other travelling animals. In addition, the airport also houses a dedicated 20,000 square-foot Special Cargo Facility for loading, offloading, and short-term boarding of small and large animals, ensuring the safe and comfortable transportation of animals passing through the airport.

JFK International Airport

New York City, Unites States

JFK International Airport, located in New York City, is known for being one of the best airports for animal travellers. With top-of-the-line amenities designed specifically for pets, JFK International goes above and beyond to cater to the needs of furry friends on the move.

At JFK International, pet travellers can enjoy a range of state-of-the-art facilities which include 24-hour veterinary care, post-security pet relief areas, onsite boarding and day-care facilities, as well as dog parks and dog fountains for their entertainment. In fact, the airport even boasts a 4000-foot outdoor garden patio where dogs can frolic and play while waiting for their flights.

One standout feature of JFK International is The ARK, which is known as the world's first privately owned animal terminal. This facility provides round-the-clock care to a wide variety of animals, including pets, birds, horses, exotic animals, and livestock. When animals arrive at JFK, they are brought directly to the ARK, where they receive professional care or begin their quarantine in a climate-controlled facility staffed by experienced and compassionate personnel.

JFK International Airport's dedication to pet-friendly amenities and services, including The ARK, has earned it a reputation as one of the best airports for pets, making it a preferred choice for many pet owners travelling to or through New York City.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International

Atlanta, United States

The Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta is well-known for its pet-friendly amenities, despite being the busiest airport in the world. This airport recognises the importance of accommodating four-legged passengers and has implemented several pet-friendly facilities.

For pet travellers, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport offers multiple post-security relief areas and a pre-security dog park called Poochie Park, where dogs can run around and stretch their legs before boarding their flights. Each concourse within the airport has indoor pet-relief stations complete with fake hydrants, providing a familiar and comfortable environment for dogs.

Even the arrivals level of the international terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has designated pet relief areas for the convenience of travellers with pets. For those times when you need to fly without your furry friend, the airport also houses a 24/7 pet boarding facility called Pet Paradise, ensuring that your pets are well taken care of during your trip.

With its thoughtful pet-friendly amenities, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is a top choice for pet owners travelling through Atlanta, making it easier for pets and their owners to navigate the busy airport while ensuring their comfort and well-being.

Frankfurt Airport

Frankfurt, Germany

At Frankfurt Airport, the Animal Lounge is a recognised facility that sets the standard for animal care during air travel. This 4000 square meter facility is well-equipped to cater to a wide range of animals, including dogs, cats, birds, horses, fish, and even larger animals like rhinos and polar bears.

Considered the busiest animal airport hub in the world, the Animal Lounge at Frankfurt Airport provides round-the-clock care for all the animals passing through its doors. Whether they are arriving or departing, animals at Frankfurt Airport will pass through this state-of-the-art facility, ensuring their comfort and well-being throughout their journey.

With its comprehensive services and top-notch facilities, the Animal Lounge at Frankfurt Airport is widely recognised as one of the best facilities for animals travelling by air. The staff at the Animal Lounge are experienced and dedicated to providing the highest level of care for all animals, making Frankfurt Airport a top choice for pet owners and animal travellers alike.

Heathrow International Airport

London, United Kingdom

The Heathrow Animal Reception Centre, located along the Southern Perimeter Road of the airport, is equipped to provide care for a wide range of animals, including pet dogs and cats, horses, birds, reptiles, fish, and even zoo animals.

When you arrive at Heathrow with your pet, officials from the Animal Reception Centre are there to receive them from the aircraft. They carefully check all documentation to ensure compliance with EU and UK animal movement regulations, ensuring that your pet's journey is smooth and stress-free. For pets transiting through Heathrow, the Animal Reception Centre also provides boarding facilities until their next flight, ensuring their comfort and well-being during layovers.

With its round-the-clock availability and strict adherence to regulations, the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre plays a crucial role in ensuring the safe and responsible handling of animals arriving and departing from the airport. Pet owners can have peace of mind knowing that their furry, feathery, or scaly companions are in capable hands at Heathrow Airport.

Tips for Flying with your Pet

Check airline regulations

Different airlines have different policies and regulations regarding traveling with pets. It's crucial to thoroughly research and understand the specific requirements and restrictions of the airline you'll be flying with, including pet size and weight limits, carrier specifications, and any necessary documentation or health certificates.

Plan in advance

Flying with a pet requires careful planning. Make sure to book your flights well in advance and inform the airline that you'll be traveling with a pet. Be prepared for additional fees or charges for transporting your pet.

Choose the right pet carrier

The right pet carrier is essential for a safe and comfortable journey for your furry friend. Ensure that the carrier is airline-approved, properly sized for your pet, well-ventilated, and sturdy. Familiarise your pet with the carrier before the flight to help them feel more comfortable.

Visit the vet

Before flying, take your pet for a thorough check-up with your veterinarian. Ensure that your pet is up-to-date with vaccinations and has a health certificate, if required by the airline. This will help ensure your pet is fit to fly.

Label the carrier

Clearly label your pet's carrier with your pet's name, your contact information, and relevant flight details. This will help airline staff identify your pet and reach out to you in case of any issues.

Prepare for the journey

Pack all necessary supplies for your pet, such as food, water, treats, medication, toys, and a familiar blanket or item that smells like home. Ensure that your pet is wearing a properly fitting collar with identification tags.

Take care of your pet's comfort

During the flight, make sure your pet is comfortable and safe. Follow airline regulations for stowing the carrier properly, and try to provide reassurance and comfort to your pet throughout the journey. Avoid feeding your pet a large meal before the flight to minimise the chances of motion sickness.