Travel with animals up at Kraków Airport

Check-in statistics from the Kraków Airport show that in the first half of this year, a record number of animals (551) traveled by plane along with their owners. According to airport authorities, passengers are increasingly taking their pets (dogs and cats) with them.

Kraków Airport data show that the number of pet owners flying with their animals is increasing from year to year. During the first six months of this year, this number was three percent higher when compared to the same period last year. (The statistics include only cats and dogs, most of which traveled in the luggage hold.)

As explained by Monika Pabisek, the airport's spokeswoman, animals can be transported in three ways: they can be permitted in the passenger cabin (PETC), they can travel in the luggage hold (AVIH), or travel as cargo shipment. Each carrier has its own regulations regarding the transport of animals, but some prohibit the carriage of all animals, except for guide dogs, which assist disabled persons.

Pabisek noted that regulations regarding the transport of animals are very restrictive: the pet must be provided with transport that is adequate to its dimensions, it must have freedom of movement in the cage, it must have access to the air from three sides of the cage and it must have water and food for the duration of the flight. Animals can also be shipped as cargo by one of many shipping companies.

Regardless of whether the animal is traveling in the passenger cabin or in the luggage hold, it must have a health certificate, along with a required-vaccinations certificate. Some countries also insist that imported animals be labeled with a tattoo or microchip, or be quarantined upon arrival.

Two years ago, the Kraków Airport became the first airport in Poland to introduce a special facility for four-legged animals. On its premises, next to the off-road parking area, there is a special "animal park" which is equipped with, among other devices, a self-filling water trough, containers with pet-waste bags, and animal toys. Pursuant to the regulations which are in force, only the animals using air transport, police dogs and assistance dogs for people with disabilities, can enter the passenger terminal.