Take a Closer Look at Lufthansa’s Animal Cargo Program

Lufthansa logoExploring Lufthansa's Pet Cargo Options

Lufthansa's animal cargo program is a top choice for many pet travelers, and to see why, all you need to do is take a closer look at how their operations work.

Thinking of using Lufthansa to transport your dog or cat for an upcoming international pet move? Here's a video that offers a look behind the scenes, and read on to find out more about your options from Martin Riecken, the Head of Corporate Communications for Lufthansa.

Riecken was kind enough to answer a few questions about Lufthansa's top notch pet friendly options and offers some great advice for pet travelers.

How does Lufthansa's pet program work?

Lufthansa transports pets either in the cabin or in the cargo hold of its passenger aircraft depending on their weight and their size. In addition, Lufthansa’s wholly-owned Cargo subsidiary has its own animal transport business, which is a customized service guaranteeing the fast and competent transport of animals (either accompanied or unaccompanied by owners).

Pets that cannot be transported inside the aircraft cabin will be transported by Lufthansa in appropriate containers in an air-conditioned area of the cargo hold. Customers may also transport their pet in their own container, provided it complies with the relevant IATA (International Air Transport Association) regulations.

The container must in any case be large enough to ensure that the pet can stand up and has sufficient space to move around. Furthermore, all containers must be equipped with an empty water dish.

When did Lufthansa begin flying pets and how many pets do you fly?

For decades, Lufthansa Cargo has been one of the world’s leading animal transport providers. Each year, the airline carries thousands of live animals in special containers.

Why did Lufthansa decide to begin offering service to travelers with pets?

The customer’s demands are always the primary focus of our business. We listened to our customers, who showed a clear demand for a high-quality service for transporting their beloved pets.

At what airports/regions do you provide service for pets?

Customers may carry pets to/from all Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo destinations that don't have any restrictions. Several countries do not allow the import/export/transit of pets accompanied by passengers. Some countries only allow specific types of pets, or have restrictions for pets in the cabin. Also, there are restrictions on certain aircraft types which cannot accommodate all crate sizes. Passengers will be informed about this during the reservation process.

What special arrangements do you offer for travelers with pets?

Lufthansa Cargo operates the most modern live animal facilities in the world!

We offer animals and pets traveling with us access to a 43,000 square foot Animal Lounge at Frankfurt Airport. (All pets, including dogs or cats transported in the passenger cabin with a transfer time of more than 2-3 hours, are taken there.)

Everyone involved in the transport of the pets, including coordinators, veterinary doctors and freight handlers, work in the same building. We have clearly distinct zones for export, import, transit and health inspections. In addition, we offer adjustable stalls with an area of up to of 300 square feet each and individually-controlled climate areas that comply with the most recent hygienic and veterinary EU regulations.

The Frankfurt Animal Lounge opened in February 2008 after a construction period of 13 months. In close cooperation with international zoos, Lufthansa Cargo also supports programs dedicated to animal conservation and the re-settlement of threatened species in the wild.

What’s the most common question your pet program representatives get asked about flying with pets? How do you answer it?

The majority of questions are about the cost of transporting the pet. Transport costs vary between different origin and destinations. Further, additional costs (shelter, veterinary, customs etc.) may occur as well as for special handling or paperwork. To get the exact amount, please contact your nearest LH Cargo sales office or a forwarder specialized in shipping live animals.

What is the one thing you wish you could tell passengers considering flying with their pets?

Crates should be roomy so pets can stand up and turn around. Secure latches and empty water bowl help ensure safety and comfort.


PetRelocation frequently chooses Lufthansa to fly our clients' pets internationally. Have questions? Contact us to find out more and to discuss your pet cargo travel options.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in May 2011 and has been updated with new information.


PetRelocation Team


Air Travel, Airlines, Airports


Cats, Dogs




Add a Comment

By Dee McKee on August 8, 2018 at 10:55 am

We are moving to Canada for two years and have business class tickets VIE-YYZ through MUC, can we take our pet Cockatiel with us? Can birds go on the plane? Thanks

By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 14, 2018 at 1:23 pm

Hi Dee! Lufthansa does allow birds to travel in the cargo hold on some of their international flights, but restrictions will depend on routing. You can reach out to them directly for clarification if your bird is traveling as a part of your personal plane ticket.

Also, please note that moving birds internationally is tough because of the import & export paperwork required by the government on both sides of the relocation. Additional information can be found here. If we can be of assistance, please let us know!

By Jeevitha on August 6, 2018 at 10:11 pm

Hi TeamI just booked my tickets for a vacation travel from BlR to Sfo via Frankfurt and Back from SFO to BLR. Its a 1 month vacation i got my dog transport confirmed from BLR - SFO and SFO - Frankfurt but the transport of pet is not confirmed from Frankfurt to BLR we have the required documents and also spoken to customs in Bangalore we would be getting letter which specified the dog would travel back with us.Could you please let me know how to get this confirmed as i can't leave my pet in frankfurt and he has to travel with usthank you

By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 7, 2018 at 9:58 am

Hi Jeevitha! Moving pets to India is a very complex process with lots of red tape and paperwork involved. It sounds like Lufthansa is awaiting the correct import documentation before confirming the flight, such as a The No Objection Certificate (NOC ). The NOC is a temporary permit issued in India allowing pets to be brought into the country.

I'd highly suggest hiring a company to complete this relocation on your behalf. In order for a company like ours to be able to assist, if you are an Indian citizen, you must show the government that you have been out of country for over 2 yrs. If you are a foreign citizen, you must be moving for work aka "Transfer of Residence". If you do not have transfer of residency permit, you cannot bring your dog back into India. Hope this clarifies the situation for you.

By Loredana Pop on September 18, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Finally I decided to travel with Lufthansa. My pet kennel is soft sided and slightly bigger than the requirements of Lufthansa but I hope that won't be a problem to take him in the cabin. Can you give me some tips?

By bethany@petrelocation.com on September 18, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Hello Loredana, thanks for reaching out.

Lufthansa is a great choice for transporting pets! If you need guidance on the requirements for in-cabin travel, we recommend reading this blog or contacting Lufthansa directly to help guide you.

We specialize in transporting pets via cargo on pet-friendly airlines like Lufthansa, so if at any point you change your mind or find you must transport your pet this way feel free to contact us here. Best of luck with everything!

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