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Air New Zealand Pet Policy

Published on: March 30, 2022  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel


Air New Zealand adheres to the high standards set by the International Air Transport Association when it comes to the care and comfort of animals entrusted to them, because “we recognize that we are dealing after all with family members.”

Pets traveling on Air New Zealand may not ride in the passenger cabin. They may travel as checked baggage if their itinerary is entirely within New Zealand, otherwise, pets fly as cargo. Either way, pets are treated to the same temperature and ventilation controls and pressurization as human passengers to ensure their comfort.

Pet Travel within New Zealand

The main requirements for pets to fly domestically with Air New Zealand are as follows: 

  • Only cats, dogs, and small caged birds qualify
  • You may check only one cage/crate if you’re on an Air New Zealand Link flight because space is limited
  • Your pet counts as a “checked bag,” which may incur additional baggage fees
  • There is a pet carriage fee of NZD $75 for animals/cages up to 25 kg (55 lbs) and NZD $100 if the weight is over 25 kg
  • The travel carrier must be IATA-compliant and large enough for your pet to stand, sit, sin around, and lie down
  • Pets need to arrive 60 minutes prior to departure for check-in

When planning to travel domestically with your pet within New Zealand, it is crucial to not only secure your reservations ahead of time but also inquire about the aircraft model. This step is necessary as not every aircraft can accommodate various sizes of travel kennels.

International Pet Travel to New Zealand

If your pet is traveling from another country into New Zealand, or from New Zealand to another country, then pets are not permitted as checked baggage and are required to travel as cargo. Due to the complex nature of required documentation, the need to comply with Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) regulations, and the need for travel-specific veterinary exams, you must hire an approved pet transportation company (like Starwood). You should be reassured to know that Air New Zealand is picky about which transport companies they work with as there is an official registration and approval process.

Depending on your destination, itinerary, and the day of the week, your pet may be able to travel on the same flight(s) as you - but this is not guaranteed or necessary. In most cases, pets need to arrive at the cargo terminal at least four hours before departure.

Pets traveling as cargo must have an IATA-compliant travel kennel and all required paperwork for travel to New Zealand. 

Breed Restrictions

Air New Zealand does not accept greyhounds unless you can prove your dog is only a pet and has been only a family pet (not used for racing or breeding purposes), for at least 12 months.

You will also need to keep in mind any breed restrictions from your destination country.

Other breed restrictions relate to snub-nosed or brachycephalic dogs and cats – those with shortened or flat snouts. Due to their anatomy, these breeds are riskier to transport and can be more sensitive to temperature, humidity, and the stress of transport. Air New Zealand will not accept the following breeds on flights longer than five hours.

  • Affenpinscher (all breeds)
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer (all breeds)
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Bulldog (all breeds)
  • Cane Corso
  • Chow Chow
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • Japanese Chin
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Mastiff (all breeds)
  • Pit Bull
  • Presa Canario
  • Pug (all breeds)
  • Pekingese
  • Shih Tzu
  • Burmese (cat)
  • Himalayan (cat)
  • Persian (cat)

IATA-Approved Travel Crate

Regardless of where your pet will fly, they will have to travel in a crate that meets specific requirements for safety and sturdiness. The earlier you get an IATA-compliant travel kennel, the more time your dog or cat will have to become familiar with it, helping reduce potential anxiety when it’s time to fly. Pets are not permitted to travel with food or toys inside the kennel.  The only items they can travel inside the carrier are a thin blanket, t-shirt, or towel that smells like home, and absorbent material such as a pee-pee pad. Keep in mind that any bedding that arrives in New Zealand with pets will be destroyed upon arrival for biosecurity reasons.

Do Not Sedate Your Pet

Air New Zealand's website explicitly states that "The New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) does not permit the use of sedation for pets traveling by air. As all pets must pass MPI Certification prior to export by air, pets cannot be under the influence of sedation for any domestic or international flights." Not only is this a requirement by MPI, but Starwood will not transport any pets that have been sedated. This is a safety regulation because sedatives can make air travel both physically and emotionally more dangerous for pets. 


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