How to Take Your Pet on a Domestic Flight

Updated December 15, 2021
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Bringing your pet to a domestic flight is actually easier than you think. In this post, I will list all of the requirements and 3 steps that you can follow to be able to take your pet on a vacation.

List of Requirements

  • Vet Record (with updated vaccine shots)
  • Crate/Carrier
  • Vet Health Certificate
  • BAI Shipping Permit

Step 1: Basic Needs

Know your pet’s breed

To be able to get on a flight, your pet must not be a flat-faced or snub-nosed breed. For cats, this includes Persian, Exotic Shorthair, British Shorthair, Himalayan, etc. And for dogs: Shih Tzu, Pug, Bulldog, French Bulldog, Chow Chow, and more… For these types of pets, it is recommended to take a ferry instead. We haven’t done that yet, but the required documents are pretty much the same. You can even apply for the shipping permit on some ports when you get there. But that is for another post!

Update your pet’s shots

Another basic need is Rabies Vaccine. For this, there’s a minimum and a maximum number of days in between your pet’s last shot and your flight. The minimum is 14 days and the maximum is 1 year. So make sure that your flight is in between that period.

Get a proper carrier

Lastly, of course, you would need a secure and leak-proof crate or carrier. Make sure that your pet can stand up on four legs and turn around while inside. That way, they can be as comfortable as possible during the flight. You can easily get this on any pet shop, we got ours from Pet Warehouse’s website since they offer free delivery. Take note of the dimensions of the crate since it will be asked when you inquire about your flight.

Step 2: Pre-Flight Preparation

Contact Philippine Airlines

Only Philippine Airlines accepts pets as baggage, as far as I know, where your pet can travel with you on the same flight. When booking a flight online, make sure that your aircraft is an Airbus and specifically Airbus A320. Most domestic flights use that plane but it’s still good to check. You can see it by clicking the “show flight details” text. I was told that not all of the newer A321 are equipped with proper ventilation for pets so avoid those. And of course, propeller jets are also not pet-friendly, so don’t book with De Havilland Dash 8 flights as well. I’m not sure about A330 or Boeing 777 since those two are used mostly on international flights. So just to be sure, stick with Airbus A320!!!

At least 48 hours before you fly, you should call PAL or visit any ticketing center, to ask about the acceptance of pets on your flight. They sometimes change aircraft without notifying passengers, so it’s always better to double-check.

For Philippine Airline’s updated Pet Policy, click here.

Obtain Veterinary Health Certificate

3 days before the flight, you should visit a Vet and ask for a Veterinary Health Certificate. This is a requirement in getting a shipping permit. Make sure that the following details are included in the VHC:

  • Control No.
  • Travel Destination
  • Vet’s PRC License No. with Expiry Date
  • Vet’s TIN
  • Rabies Vaccination Details

Apply for a Shipping Permit from BAI

After you get your VHC, you can now apply for a shipping permit through BAI’s NVQSD website: https://nvqsd.bai.gov.ph/

They also have a guide that you can view by clicking here.

Here’s a shortened version of the application process:

  • Create an account
  • Click “E-Services”
  • Go to “Issuance of Local Shipping Permit” and click “Apply Now”
  • Click “Application” at the top, then “One-Time Shipping Permit”
  • Fill up the form and click “Save/Next” to get to the next page and repeat until you get to the Attachments screen
  • Attach 2 documents:
    • Vet Record with the front page/profile page and all the vaccine pages
    • Veterinary Health Certificate
  • Click Submit button

Once you click the submit button beside the application number, the status should then say “For Review”. Now you just wait for it to get approved. Usually the status changes to “For Approval” then to “Approved”. But if there are additional requirements, they will return the application so you can update it. You will also receive an email if your application was returned or approved. This permit is free and you should not be paying anything.

For follow-ups, you may call this number: 09154794649

Avoid applying a day before your flight, we did that on our first flight and almost didn’t get a permit! For our return flight, we made sure to get the application filed 3 days before our Saturday flight. So that was Wednesday when we settled everything, and by Thursday noon the shipping permit was already approved.

Just to be clear, you need to apply for a shipping permit for both ways of your trip (ex: one for Manila to Caticlan and another one for Caticlan to Manila).

Step 3: Day of Flight

Arrive at the airport at least 2.5 hours before your flight. You need the shipping permit from BAI (print it just to be safe) and your pet’s vet record. Since you already got your documents, you can go straight to the Check-in Counter. They will check the documents and the weight of your pet. The fee will depend on the weight, which includes your pet’s carrier as well. You’ll pay 1,000 pesos for every 5kg of total weight. Uno is around 4kg and his carrier is 2-3kg, so that’s around 7kg which is 2,000 pesos of baggage fee.

After you get your boarding pass, you don’t have to hand over your pet yet. You can still stay at the check-in area for a while. The staff advised us to bring them our pet 30 minutes before boarding time. So that would be around 1 hour before departure. After saying goodbye to your pet, the next time you see them is going to be at the baggage claim area of your destination!

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See how easy that was! It’s really not complicated to take pets on vacation, you just need to plan properly and make a checklist of requirements. No need for passports or pedigree certificates or anything like that. Even a microchip is not required (although I would recommend for every pet to have it). You only need your pet’s vet record and all the other documents are easily accessible. Happy Travels!

I will be sharing our Boracay Guide for 2022 next (with some pet-friendly tips)! So make sure to follow us on our Instagram account @eatandrun.asia or our cat’s account @unotheunano to get updated!

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