Travelling with pets

Find out how to ensure your pet travels safely with us and how Air New Zealand can help you transport your pets to a new destination.

Regional travel in New Zealand is now guided by the Covid Protection Framework (or 'traffic light system'). Under this framework, you can travel with your pet as checked-in baggage between all parts of New Zealand.

Flights within New Zealand

Air New Zealand allows domestic pets - cats and dogs (excluding any transported for profit e.g. racing greyhounds) and small caged birds to travel as checked in baggage on all domestic services.

Please note: if you require the transportation of any other type of domestic pet or livestock, or wish your pet to travel unaccompanied, please visit our cargo section.

Due to space limitations on Air New Zealand Link services (flight numbers in the 5000 and 8000 series), only one cage per customer will be accepted for travel as checked baggage. If you have more than one cage, then your pet must be pre-booked and travel as cargo.

Air New Zealand sets as a minimum standard the provisions of IATA Live Animal Regulations. This is a yearly publication covering acceptance, packaging, labelling stowage and handling of animals for carriage by air and we must ensure that all provisions are complied with.

In accordance with these regulations, a maximum of two adult animals of comparable size up to 14kg each that are used to cohabitation may be shipped in the same container. Animals over 14kg must travel individually. Animals up to six months old from the same litter, up to a maximum quantity of three, may be shipped in the same container.

Each animal and cage that is checked in will be counted as a 'piece' of baggage and any excess charges will be applied as they would for additional items of baggage. In addition to any applicable excess baggage or prepaid Extra Bag charges, a pet carriage fee will apply and this will be charged at the airport on the day. This pet carriage fee reflects:

  • The special treatment required of the pets to ensure their safety
  • The additional space they take up in the hold of the aircraft, which impacts on the airline's ability to carry other additional baggage or cargo

Pet carriage fees

  • Up to 25kg: NZD $75
  • 26kg and over: NZD $100

These fees apply if your pet is travelling with you as checked baggage domestically and are based on the combined weight of your pet and the cage. If the carriage of your pet results in you exceeding your baggage allowance you can pre pay for the extra bag, however the pet carriage fee is only payable at the airport. If you choose not to pre-pay for the extra bag then the excess baggage charge and the pet carriage fee will both be payable at the airport.

To enable us to provide care for your pet, it will be loaded by our staff into aircraft at the earliest possible opportunity. Your pet will be offloaded and carried into the baggage arrival area. This could mean that on arrival, your pet may arrive in the baggage claim area after other baggage has been delivered.

Please let your booking agent know at the time of making your reservation, that your pet will be travelling with you. Or if you are booking direct with us, please contact us.

Please remember carriage of pets is subject to availability of space on the aircraft and we recommend you check your pet in 60-mins prior to a domestic flight. 

  • If you're travelling from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Nelson or Queenstown, your pet must be in their crate before arriving at the terminal.
  • If you're travelling from a New Zealand regional airport (excluding Nelson), your pet can be on a leash and placed in the crate at check-in.

Air New Zealand has robust standards in place around the transportation of animals to ensure the comfort and safety of pets at each stage of their journey. These standards are constantly reviewed by the airline to ensure your pet is offered the best possible care.

Container requirements (domestic cats, dogs and caged birds)

Air New Zealand's rules around cage requirements are there to further enhance the safe carriage of your pet throughout its journey.

Cages that do not meet the requirements below will not be accepted for travel as checked-in baggage.

  • The portable animal container should be made from fibreglass, rigid plastic, metal, wickerwork, or wood and have a strong framework. Fibreboard or wire mesh containers are not suitable for air transportation. Open wire cages are not acceptable.
  • The bottom half of the crate needs to be solid with no gaps. This ensures the cage is suitably robust and minimises the risk of leakage should the animal soil. It also means the registered baggage stickers our staff need to attach to opposite sides of the container do not cover the ventilation holes your pet will use.
  • In accordance with IATA regulations, the container must be a suitable size to allow for the animal to lie down, sit up, stand up and turn around with ease.
  • The container must be clean, leakproof, well-ventilated and free from any obvious defects.
  • Food or toys are not allowed to be inside the crate or pet container. The only items permitted inside a container with an animal is a blanket and absorbent material such as newspaper, shredded newspaper, or an absorbent mat. Absorbent material used must be proportionate and appropriate to the size of the animal and crate and pose no risk to the welfare of the animal.
  • Airport staff must use a cable tie as a secondary means of securing a cage if required; see cage latching and door locking mechanism instructions below.
  • If a container has wheels, they must be removed or rendered inoperable.

Please see the photos below for examples of acceptable pet travel containers. 

Cage latching mechanisms

The fasteners between the top and bottom halves of your rigid plastic cage must either be the bolt-tighten type or another variety that has a two-step method (such as a screw and dial) to ensure that the latching mechanism is secure. See examples below.

If your rigid plastic cage has latches between the top and bottom halves it will not be accepted, unless there are bolts/screws added in each corner with at least one down each side of the cage. If your cage is longer than 60cms there must be a minimum of two bolts down each side.

Restraint straps or strapping on a cage is not an acceptable means of securing the cage and will not be accepted by the airline.

Door locking mechanisms

For rigid plastic cages, the door hinge and locking pins must engage the container by at least 1.6cm (0.6") beyond the horizontal extrusions above and below the door opening where the locking pins are fitted.

Within 3cm (1.2") of the door, either a bolt/screw or cable tie must be applied to ensure the robustness of the door. See example below.

The cage doors are to be strengthened by attaching cable ties to all four corners of the door to the cage to prevent the door from being prised open by the animal. See example below.

Doors that have a 'twist clip' around the locking pins are not permitted for travel on Air New Zealand.

Cable ties

Applying cable ties through ventilation holes is not permitted under the IATA Live Animals Regulations as there must be no surface or edge at which your pet can gnaw or scratch.

Cable ties must not be cut short once applied. Cutting cable ties results in a sharp stub which could potentially injure you or your pet.

Additional requirements for small caged birds


Most members of this group rest by perching. For those birds that rest by perching, round perches must be provided per container, the diameter of the perch will depend on the species to be shipped but must be large enough for the birds to grip firmly and comfortably. If there are multiple birds, they must be able to perch comfortably at the same time. The perch must be placed so that droppings do not fall into the food and water troughs. The perches must be placed at such a height that the birds can leave the perch without their heads coming in contact with the roof nor the tail with the floor while perching, but the perches must not be placed too high within the container for the birds to become upset during transport.

For Parrots, (psittacine) that do not rest by perching, suitably sized smooth rails fixed to the floor must be provided so that the birds can feel secure.

There must be sufficient perch space for all birds to perch simultaneously. The numbers of birds will be restricted by the length of perch space within the container.

Pop-up hatches in cages

Cages with a pop-up hatch in the top of the cage will not be accepted for travel on Air New Zealand.

Cage sizes

The following dimensions are the maximum container sizes for pets to travel as domestic checked baggage. Please remember to check your aircraft type when booking your domestic journey with Air New Zealand:

  • A320: Height 97cm (38") x width 79cm (31") x length 131cm (52")
  • ATR72: Dimensions to be confirmed by the airport origin (contact details)
  • Q300: Height 82cm (32") x width 75cm (30") x length 120cm (47")

Please note that ATR72 and Q300 aircraft may be interchanged at short notice for operational reasons.

Cage examples



Acceptable latching mechanism: Bolt tighten fastening



Acceptable latching mechanism: 2 stage locking mechanism - screw on left must be loosened before the dial can turn



Acceptable door reinforcement: Cable ties attached to all four corners of cage door



Acceptable door reinforcement: Cable ties secured to the corners of the cage



Acceptable door reinforcement: Door reinforcement within 3 centimetres of cage door



Unacceptable cage ventilation: This cage will not be accepted as it has ventilation holes in the bottom half of the cage which increases the risk of leakage, and makes it structurally unsound for air travel.



Acceptable cage ventilation: Ventilation holes only in the top half of the cage.




Unacceptable latching mechanism: This cage will not be accepted as it only has a twist clip around the locking pins and no way to secure both halves of the cage together



Unacceptable door reinforcement: This cage will not be accepted as it does not have bolts/screws to strengthen the two halves of the cage together, at the corners and along the sides of the cage



Acceptable cages for birds: These wooden cages meet all the requirements above. Plastic cages for birds are also acceptable, provided all conditions above are met and a perch is available as required.

International flights

On international flights, pets are not permitted as checked-in baggage and must travel as cargo. They must be booked with an approved pet transporter or an IATA agent. We will transport live animals on certain flights to certain destinations.

For further information go to our international cargo pets section.