Pet Travel: Layover and Transit Requirements at Airports

Pets, International Travel and Layovers

Layover and Transit Requirements for Traveling PetsWe received this question recently and thought it was worth sharing, as it addresses a common pet travel concern:

Q: I am traveling with my pet from India to Seattle via Amsterdam using KLM. There is a layover at the airport for four hours in Amsterdam. Will I need a microchip or a blood titre test for the layover? Thanks.

This is certainly a valid concern. When traveling with pets internationally, what do you need for layovers in different countries? The answer is, like most answers about pet travel, somewhat complicated and depends on two factors:

Factor #1: Whether you're switching airlines (not planes, but airlines). 

If you're flying into another country and then changing airlines, then the first airline you are flying will treat your layover city/country as the final destination. You will be expected to fulfill the import requirements for that country and clear your pet through customs prior to re-export on your next flight. 

This means you would also need all necessary export paperwork for the layover country (another health certificate endorsed in that country, for example).

However, if you're staying on the same airline and simply changing planes, your final destination is still considered by the airline to be wherever your last flight lands—you are simply transiting through the layover country with your pet. In that scenario, you will only need to fulfill the import requirements for your destination country.

Note: Some countries do require 'transit permits' to transit through them—check with the airline you are flying with in advance to see if this will be necessary.

Factor #2: How long the layover is. 

If you have a layover longer than 24 hours in any country, chances are the country will no longer consider it to be a transit. You will need to fulfill the import requirements for your layover country in that instance.

The Answer

As to the question above, since the pet owner is flying on the same airline (KLM) and the layover is only four hours, she will not need any additional documents to stop in Amsterdam on her way back flying with pets to the United States.


Contact PetRelocation if you'd like some assistance planning your pet's safe relocation, and happy pet travels!


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2009 and has been updated with new information.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Airlines, Airports, Ask the Experts


Cats, Dogs


United States


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By Sam Hurst on June 7, 2018 at 9:19 am

Hi guys - great thread!We will be flying with Korean Air from Da Nang to Seattle with a 13 hour layover in Seoul. The flight is Korean Air all the way - will we be able to be with our dog throughout the layover?Thanks for all your help!

By on June 11, 2018 at 9:43 am

Hi Sam! Thanks for your question. We only know about pets traveling as "manifest cargo" on Korean Air, and with this type of travel, pets do not get a comfort stop. Pets have to stay in their crates the entire length of the layover time and because they are in the care of the airline staff, you will not be able to visit your pup. The KE personnel can refill their water bowls but that’s it. If you are looking to DIY, my recommendation would be to explore other pet safe airlines here because 13 hours is a long time inside a crate! Hope this helps!

By Melinda Knowles on June 3, 2018 at 6:03 pm

Hi! I will be flying ICN to ATL via CDG. My layover is 15 hours, so it seems I won't have to meet the entry requirements of France with titer test, etc for my in-cabin pup. However, my layover is an overnight one, so anyone know of a hotel IN the airport that will take my pet? According to the airline, the pet hotel is closed until further notice and I know that the Yotel doesn't allow pets. I will also be traveling with two toddlers, otherwise I'd sleep in the airport with my dog. Thanks!

By Melinda Knowles on June 4, 2018 at 1:46 pm

Found the answer myself after much confused searching! The Sheraton is also in the airport behind security, so it's considered a transit hotel as well. We'll be staying there. There is a 65euro fee for furry guests.

By on June 5, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Hi Melinda! Thanks for posting your answer. Glad you were able to find the information you needed!

By pompie on May 27, 2018 at 8:38 am

hi, i am flying to Vancouver from Bangkok. The flight from bangkok to Taipei is China Airline and I am sending my small dog via cargo. then from there, i switch my flight to Canada air and i am taking my dog in Cabin. My lay over is 2 hours 40 mins, do you think I will have enough time to get my dog. PLEASE HELP me, i am flying on the 4th of June.

By on May 29, 2018 at 4:05 pm

Hi Pompie!

Since you are changing airlines, you will need to clear yourself through customs in Taipei, go to the cargo facility, get your pet & his paperwork, then clear your pet through customs. Once you guys have cleared customs, you will need to re-check yourself & your pet into the flight. and go through security again.

We typically suggest you allow at least 4 hours for international layovers, but it would all depend on how long the customs process lasts in Taipei. We facilitate this type of door-to-door moves for our clients everyday so if we can assist in anyway, please fill out our Arrange a Move form and someone will be in touch with you with a solution. Thanks!

By Jirapha Su on May 15, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Hi! I'm flying from JFK-BKK with a 4-5 hour layover in Incheon, South Korea with one dog in cabin and one dog in cargo.. Do I need any additional documents for the layover? I will have their USDA endorsed health certificates and their vaccines ready. But didn't know if I needed to fill out any additional forms for the layover. Thank you!!

By on May 17, 2018 at 11:05 am

Hi Jirapha! Thanks for your question. If you are not changing airlines, going through security & clearing customs - then you will not need any additional paperwork for your layover in Korea. The airline should transfer your pet from one flight to the next but you should double check with with the airlines on their process for cargo travel & layovers for your pet. When you get to BKK, you will clear customs for yourself & your pet traveling in-cabin. Then you will go to cargo, get your pet's paperwork off the kennel, then go back to customs to clear your other pet through customs. Hope this helps!

By Valerie on May 3, 2018 at 4:06 pm

Traveling from Aruba to DC with a layover in Miami (all on American Air). Layover in Miami is about 7.5 hours long, was told by AA that I can get my checked pets and allow them time to walk, pee and eat and then re-check them (without additional fee since I pay that already in Aruba). (they clear customs in Aruba).Is this true, can I get the pets, and since they clear customs in Aruba where would I get them from so that they can walk, pee, eat?

By on May 4, 2018 at 8:43 pm

Hi Valerie! To confirm where & how to pick up your pets on a layover, we suggest contacting American Airlines Cargo. We only book flights for pets traveling as "manifest cargo" where they travel on their own ticket booked by our company. With this type of service, typically on layovers for international flights, they are under the control of the airline until pets reach their final destination. If your pets are traveling as "excess baggage" where they are tied to your plane ticket, you may be able to access them on the layovers, but we suggest confirming with AA. Hope this helps!

By Jheril Cunanan on April 24, 2018 at 3:48 pm

Hi My mother (Philippines) really want the dog I have here in USA and I got a litter so I wan to send her a 4month old . My niece will be going back to Philippines these June 2018 and we are having problem if what we need to do . My niece will be departing from Texas ( American airlines and layover to Hongkong for 2hours and change Airline to PAL going to Philippines. American Airlines confirmed that they accept pup in cabin/under the seat provide crate is approved on size but they have inform to check with PAL. We called PAL and they accept pet as check in luggage and inform us that HONGKONG is not accepting pet. We check website and we are having hard time to understand. Would u help to advise if Hongkong does really not accept or do they. IF they ,what should we do to get aside the health certificate?Do they require a permit and how to obtain it. Please help to enlighten us so my mother would have these dog. Thank you

By on April 26, 2018 at 10:44 am

Hi Jheril!

You may find that this list of requirements for Hong Kong answers some of your questions. To import a dog into Hong Kong, it must be five months of age and arrive as manifest cargo. This may be why you are getting information about the dog not being accepted. For arrival in the Philippines, make sure you have also met these requirements. If you need assistance with this move, our pet relocation experts have a lot of experience moving dogs to Hong Kong from the US. If you fill out this form with some additional details, someone on our team will contact you as soon as possible. Hope this helps!

By Rowena Leanda on April 20, 2018 at 7:16 pm

I will be traveling with my dog next month using Asiana Airlines from Bangkok to Manila and have a layover in Seoul (Incheon) for 9 to 12 hours. As you have mentioned, if I’m using the same airlines and just switching plane it means my dog doesn’t need rabies titer test as required in Korea, right? What will happen to my dog during that layover period?Hoping for your reply.

By on April 23, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Hi Rowena! Thanks for your question. You are correct. If your pet is not changing airlines & clearing customs, their stopover in Korea is considered a "transit" so it is not required they meet Korea requirements. We don't have a lot of experience flying pets on Asiana Airlines; however, it seems as if they have a few pet policies in place which is a good sign! When you call to book your pup's flight, we'd suggest asking the airline directly what their procedures are like for pets at the ICN airport during layovers (are pets let out of their kennels, put in larger runs, given water/food, etc.). Hope this helps!

By noreena khan on April 7, 2018 at 5:31 am

Hi, i am travelling with my dog from Pakistan to canada, he is to large to be carried on the place so it'll have to be through cargo. i was wondering if i purchased a layover ticket for 2.5hours in manchester will that be dangerous for the dog to be left in cargo for a flight that will be 18hours.

By on April 9, 2018 at 9:46 am

Hi Noreena, Thanks for your question! I'd suggest calling the airline and asking about their layover policies. Most pet safe airlines can arrange a "comfort stop" during layovers where your pet can be walked, watered & let out to use the restroom. These "comfort stops" typically require at least a 3-4 hour layover for international journeys. Hope this helps!

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