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Flying a cat to France


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It may be necessary to transport my daughter's cat from Manchester (UK) to us here in SW France in June this year. He already has a passport, issued a month ago. Could anyone please tell me if the best way to fly a cat from Manchester to SW France is with a courier or to arrange the flight independently? We brought our two via road and ferry 4 years ago and though we had absolutely no problems, our daughter's car (not her cat!!!) would never cope with the stress of the journey!

Is there a 'good' or 'recommended' carrier?

What should I look (out) for when choosing one?

What are the drawbacks?

Is it horrendously expensive? (Yes he is very loved and we know that a cost is always worthwhile given that fact, but we do need a ball-park figure to work on.)

Or how does my daughter go about the process of independently organising his journey without the use of a courier? She can drive the cat to an airport and we could collect him from Toulouse or Bordeaux, (would there be anywhere else that is an 'approved' flight/airport for animal transportation?) but how does she go about the bit in between? Once again, a ball-park cost would be useful.

I know that there is a wealth of experience out there and I have spent this afternoon reading the posts on this subject. All very helpful and I am now down to these basic questions.

Thank you every/anyone in advance.


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Our experience is 5 years old, so potentially out-of-date, but I doubt that much has changed.

Generally speaking, the l-c airlines will not take animals, so that probably confines you to the 'flag' carriers. No idea about how you'd set about it with them, but I guess that you'd start with a conversation with BA. It's probably feasible, but see below re vets etc. 

If you use a professional outfit (as SD has suggested), then they take care of everything. Removal from your premises in the UK, obligatory veterinary inspection prior to travel, appropriate carrying box, documentation, discussion over choice of route & timing (though you may not have too many options).  Reckon on £1k minimum - might be less, but I'd doubt it.

It's for you to deal with pet passport incl jabs prior to consigning the animal.

By the way, our two 15 yo old girls, who had never spent a night away from home, were moved this way when we came down. They were pretty pissed off about it, but were perfectly fine on arrival and lived on till last Summer when old age finally caught up on both of them. [:(] 

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Flew my cat to stay with my sister in law, a while ago now, but I do remember it being more expensive than my husband's fare! She did cope with it very well after the initial indignation had worn off!!

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Also a few years out of date:


Golden Arrow Shippers

Lydbury North




Tel: 01588 680240


We found them excellent - and judging by  the UK to Australia and NZ websites, others do as well.


Downside:  not cheap.


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As far as I know the only carrier which will permit animals to travel in the cabin with their owners is Air France.  Here is an extract from their website

In the cabin

Animals accepted:

only cats and dogs under 6 k (container included),

guide dogs, regardless of their weight.

Transportation rules:

the animal must travel in a specific container that must respect very specific standards. The container must be sufficiently ventilated and allow the animal to stand up and turn around. In no event must the animal leave its container during the flight. The carrier is considered as a baggage item

Practical information:


order that the animal travel peacefully, we recommend that passengers

administer, after consultation with a vet, a product to prevent the

animal suffering from air sickness or any negative reaction during the

flight. In order to avoid any unpleasant

surprises, remember to find out about the regulations in force in your

departure and arrival countries (vaccinations, quarantine, etc.). For any further information, or rate request, please contact our booking department.

Of course that means you or your daughter would have to do the journey in two stages to get from Manchester to Toulouse but it would probably work out cheaper than using a courier and the cat would be with you at all times.


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