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Qantas Airways: Your dependable pet travel partner

Over the years, pet travel has become as prolific as human travel, as more and more people choose to travel or relocate with their beloved pets. Pets are an important part of our lives, and modern aircraft safety has made travel with pets very convenient and safe.

International pet transport has undergone a significant transformation in the last decade, becoming more secure and reliable than ever, thanks to the robust safety standards implemented by airline companies. A pet-friendly airline is important for your cat or dog’s international journey to ensure your pet enjoys all the comfort of an attentive crew and pet-friendly policies designed especially for pet safety.

Qantas is one of Australia’s strongest brands and the world’s leading long-distance airline. Australia’s largest airline, Qantas, is the most preferred airline for pet transport from the country.

Qantas Airways: History and Origins

The origin of Qantas goes back to 1920 when a little airline called Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited (QANTAS) was founded in the Australian outback of Winton, Queensland, by Hudson Fysh, Paul McGinness and Fergus McMaster with just two aeroplanes in the fleet. This airline, formed initially to connect Queensland with the Northern Territories, has since grown into Australia’s flag carrier. It is the second-oldest continuously operating airline in the world and the only airline to fly on all seven continents.

Qantas’ maiden flight took to the skies in November 1922 between Cloncurry and Charleville in Queensland, Australia. Hudson Fysh, one of the co-founders of Qantas, piloted a single-engine Avro 504K biplane, and his first passenger on this historic flight was 84-year-old outback pioneer Alexander Kennedy, who flew on the Longreach-Winton-McKinlay-Cloncurry leg of the inaugural mail service from Charleville to Cloncurry.

In 1934, Qantas joined hands with Britain’s Imperial Airways to form Qantas Empire Airways Limited and operated the Brisbane-Singapore leg of service from Australia to England. The Australian Commonwealth government bought the airline in 1947 and designated it Australia’s flag carrier. Qantas began its regular route to London in 1947 and, within a decade, was flying to all the continents. Qantas acquired Australian Airlines in 1992 and became Australia’s largest airline.

In 2020, Qantas was set to celebrate its centenary year but underwent its most challenging period in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia shut its borders to protect its citizens from the deadly virus, significantly impacting Qantas operations. However, Qantas rose to the challenge and supported Australians in need by operating hundreds of repatriation flights across five continents. Qantas operated flights to destinations not usually on the network to bring home stranded Australians. Despite the closure of the border, Qantas maintained critical air freight services during this challenging time to ensure the country had enough supplies.

Today, Qantas is synonymous with safety and reliability, and the Flying Kangaroo logo is one of the most iconic symbols of Australia.

Fleet and network

Qantas began expanding its fleet and network, and in 1959, it became the first airline outside the US to use Boeing jets in the fleet. The airline is credited with introducing the world’s first business-class seats in 1979. In 2015-16, Qantas operated more than 5000 flights a week, flying 50 million passengers in Australia and around the world. Qantas made its first non-stop flight from Australia to England, from Perth to London in 2018.

Qantas is Australia’s national airline, serving over 64 domestic destinations and 35 international locations in 26 countries. Qantas is committed to providing its passengers with a safe and sustainable travel experience. Rated the world’s safest airline several times by industry leaders, Qantas is renowned for its stellar safety record. It is one of the few airlines in the world that has not had a fatal accident involving a jet aircraft.

Qantas is also a world leader in environmental sustainability. The airline has been at the forefront of reducing emissions and investing in sustainable fuel. In 2022, Qantas was the first airline in the world to fly a commercial plane powered by sustainable aviation fuel.

Qantas’ fleet consists of 125 aircraft: a mix of Airbus A330, Airbus A380, Boeing 737 and Boeing 787 aeroplanes. The airline aims to ramp up its fleet and network in the coming year, with several aircraft on order. Qantas also has 12 A350s on order, specially earmarked for its Project Sunrise flights to London and New York.

Pet-friendly Qantas

Qantas is committed to pet safety and transports pets on its domestic and international networks. Qantas transports pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and domestic birds and animals like racehorses, reptiles, zoo animals, mice, chicks and marine animals. Pets fly in the specially-dedicated cargo hold of the plane. The cargo hold is temperature-controlled and pressurised for a safe and comfortable travel experience. Pets flying into and out of Australia cannot fly in the plane’s cabin as per government rules.

If you are booking your pet on a domestic flight, remember Qantas accepts pet bookings on specific aircraft types only (usually QF400 and above) since all aircraft are not suitable for pet transport.

If you are relocating your pet overseas, Qantas recommends you use an experienced pet travel specialist to help with the booking. A pet transport specialist will ensure you follow all the import requirements of the destination country accurately and make sure the relocation is successful.

Brachycephalic breeds on Qantas

Snub-nosed dog and cat breeds are prohibited on many airlines because of their shortened airways. These breeds have a higher risk of health complications during air travel because of their short snouts and compromised respiratory systems. Brachycephalic breeds have smaller airways, making them vulnerable to respiratory problems that are heightened during air travel. Snub-nosed breeds face breathing difficulties in warmer conditions, and pets that are not crate-trained find it harder to adjust to the unfamiliar environment in the aircraft.

Qantas only accepts brachycephalic breeds for pet transport when booked through an approved pet travel specialist. The following dog and cat breeds are accepted for transport on Qantas:


Exotic Shorthair Persian Himalayan


Affenpinscher Dogue De Bordeaux Neapolitan Mastiff
American Bully English Toy Spaniel Pekingese
American Bulldog French Mastiff Pug
Australian Bulldog French Bulldog Chinese Pug
Boston Terrier Griffon Bruxellois Dutch Pug
Boxer Japanese Chin Japanese Pug
Brussels Griffon Japanese Spaniel Shih-Zhu (Tsu) (Tzu)
British/English Bulldog King Charles Spaniel Tibetan Spaniel
Chow Chow Lhasa Apso Valley Bulldog

Banned breeds on Qantas

Qantas does not fly certain aggressive breeds prohibited from import into Australia. These breeds are:

  • Pit Bull and American Pit Bull Terriers
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Brazilian Fila and Mastiff
  • Presa Canario

American Staffordshire Terriers are accepted on Qantas only if they travel in a reinforced CR-82 crate or an airline-approved guard dog crate. 

Travelling with your pet on Qantas

When your pet dog or cat travels on a Qantas flight, they are assured of a safe, comfortable, world-class experience. Here are some pointers to keep in mind when your pet flies with Qantas:

  • All pets must travel in an IATA-approved travel crate. The crate must be well-ventilated on three sides and large enough for your pet to stand up, lay down and turn around in the crate comfortably.
  • Your pet must be healthy and fit to fly. Senior pets older than 12 years require a vet certificate stating they are healthy enough to fly. Qantas does not accept pets younger than 12 weeks old for international travel. 
  • Qantas does not accept pets that appear unwell, sedated, injured, heavily pregnant and extremely aggressive. 
  • Partner with an approved pet travel specialist to ensure your pet meets all the import conditions required by the destination country. 
  • Do not sedate your pet before travel; sedation increases the risk of breathing and heart issues in cats and dogs during air travel. Qantas will not allow a sedated pet to board the aircraft. 

Why choose Qantas for your pet?

At Qantas, safety is at the core of the airline’s ethos and its pet travel policies are designed to protect pets and ensure a safe and secure travel experience. All pets travelling the Qantas network are assured of a comfortable journey, with pet safety being the airline’s top priority. Qantas has been a leader in the aviation business for over 100 years, with several firsts and innovations to its credit. The airline has evolved from a local air service into a global brand and Australia’s most beloved and largest airline. 

There are many facets to international pet transport, and choosing the right airline is part of the process. Every country has different pet import rules involving multiple vet visits, documentation, vaccinations, etc. Partnering with an experienced pet travel agency ensures all the processes are followed to the letter and your pet’s travel is comfortable and successful. 

Petraveller is Australia’s most comprehensive international pet travel company with experience in relocating pets to different locations across the world. Petraveller has an impressive 100 per cent country entry success rate and a world-class zero harm rating. Petraveller is an IATA-accredited pet travel company and is on Qantas’ list of approved pet travel specialists. If you plan to relocate your pet dog or cat overseas, reach out to Petraveller for more information on pet-friendly airlines and a free pet travel quote