Etihad Increases Pet In Cabin Fee Sevenfold To $1500, But Falcons Still Fly Free

In the U.S. passengers often brought pets on board as ’emotional support animals’ either because they didn’t want to pay the traditional fee for a pet in cabin, or because they didn’t want to comply with size or behavior rules, keeping their animal in a ventilated bag under the seat in front of them.

Airlines allowed this out of fear over how the Air Carrier Access Act would be enforced, but with Department of Transportation support and now DOT regulations the Noah’s Ark effect has ended. It’s still possible to bring animals on board, but the paperwork and advance planning weeds out many of the cheaters.

In much of the rest of the world, where animals are even permitted on board, airlines have a much freer hand – but they’re still beholden to local rules and custom.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is raising its pet in cabin fee from $200 to an incredible $1500 on October 15. This fee can be paid in cash or miles at a per-mile value of just below $0.007 (which is itself awful). And even if you buy a separate seat for the animal, you still pay the pet fee. That extra seat is even mandatory in premium cabins.

It costs $200 or 29,000 Etihad Guest Miles (or $1,500 or 215,000 Etihad Guest Miles from 15 October 2022) each way to travel with your cat or dog in Economy. If you are transiting, the combined price will apply.

If you’d prefer to book an adjacent seat travelling in Economy, you’ll be charged for the cost of an extra seat plus $1,500 each way.

If you’re travelling in Business or First, as there is no space available under the seat, you must purchase an extra seat for your pet. You’ll be charged for the cost of an extra seat plus $1,500 each way.

As punitive as Etihad’s rules are for bringing a dog or cat on board, they’re far more generous if you need to bring your falcon. On Etihad Airways Falcons Fly Free – you get a one falcon allowance in economy, and a two falcon allowance in business and first class.

Here they’re accommodating local conditions. Falcons are sort of like U.S. emotional support ponies, turkeys, and rabbits in that regard.

If you find that you need more than your allotted one or two falcons, however, that can be accommodated either with extra seats or by chartering the aircraft.

(HT: Jonathan W)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I would love to see all the sensitive souls in the U.S. going bananas if Delta charged them $1500 to bring Fifi their emotional support chihuahua on board.

  2. @Patti. Forget the pets. If I can self identify my gender, why not my species? I’m a falcon, baby, let me fly free !

  3. I hate dogs (although I generally like animals, and I’ve even worked at a zoo at one time…) and I can’t wrap my head around just how many people in the US who actually flies with their dogs. I travel very frequently between the US and EU – mostly a mix between TK, UA, SK, LH and LO – and I’ve never encountered a larger dog in a cabin of any other carrier than UA, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen it on UA. Unless it’s a trained and certified service animal for someone who really needs it to fly and with an empty seat for the dog, it really shouldn’t be allowed. I hope that all carriers raise the fee to $1500.

  4. I agree that a huge fee for an animal in the cabin is the only way to stop these self-absorbed people who refer to their pets as emotional support. The mind boggles to think about what went into the airline’s decision … just what kind of creatures were people bringing on board??

  5. cabin pets are the worst thing ever. Employees hate seeing them, the pet sure hates being locked up and squished and the only people who win are the greedy CEO’s…. just ban them.

  6. The next time I am traveling on Etihad Airways, with a falcon, I would name my bird “Flippim.” Here is why. Since Abu Dhabi is my final destination, the UAE Health Certificate must be signed and stamped by a government-accredited health official in my country of departure within five days before my flight. Accordingly, by government mandate, I must disclose and declare that I am traveling with “Flippim, the bird.”

  7. Interesting to see how many people dislike dogs traveling in cabin, I travel by air a lot for work and I’ve barely noticed them. Theyre always quiet and in their travel case. Not sure why it’s offensive to others.

    1500$ is very expensive considering they’ll be sleeping under a chair.

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