Flutningur á gæludýrum

We focus on animals' safety and welfare

Icelandair Cargo provides safe and quick animal transport services to most direct Icelandair destinations. When shipping live animals, it is important to book flights well in advance, and ensure that you have all the necessary documents in compliance with all IATA regulations.

It is important to book transport for all live animals well in advance through our Sales/Reservations.

Cargo or Baggage?

If you are travelling as a passenger on an Icelandair flight, you can book your pet as excess baggage. The combined weight of a pet and its kennel may not exceed 40 kg (88 lbs). Maximum kennel dimensions are 92x56x71 cm. This kind of transport needs to be booked specifically with Icelandair along with the flight ticket. Heavier pets and unaccompanied animals always need to be booked specifically as cargo with Icelandair Cargo. More information about travelling with pets as excess baggage can be found here.

  • Unaccompanied animals are always shipped as cargo.
  • Animals shipped as cargo always travel in the belly hold of the plane.
  • A booking is made in advance with the carrier for animals shipped as cargo.
  • The animal is delivered to the cargo terminal office of the departure airport and collected at the cargo handling terminal of the destination airport.
  • Animals that travel with their owner are considered part of the traveler’s baggage, regardless of whether the pet travels in the belly hold.
  • In this case, space is reserved for the animal at the same time as the flight is booked, and the animal is handed over to the airline at the check-in desk.
  • Some countries, such as the UK, require that animals are always shipped as cargo.


Information Before the Flight

The requirements for containers vary according to the type of animal being shipped. The animal is made familiar with the container well in advance. A blanket or other familiar article in the container also helps calm the animal. It is not recommended to feed the animal immediately before the flight as flying may cause nausea. Remove the animal’s collar for the duration of transport. Icelandair Cargo does not rent, lend or sell animal containers. The shipper is responsible for purchasing a suitable animal container approved for air transport.

Carrier’s liability

Icelandair Cargo carries horses in accordance with IATA regulations and is liable according to IATA standards.

The liability covered by this rule is limited and we urge shippers and consignees to purchase further insurance for their horses prior to transport date.

Live Animals Regulations chapter 1.3.8. issued by IATA.

Guidelines that pertain to transportation of live animals

  • Obtain the necessary documents for the animal (health certificates, vaccination information and import licenses).
  • Use a standard animal cage, either plastic or metal. (wooden cages are not accepted).
  • The cage needs to provide sufficient ventilation.
  • The animal must be able to stand in the cage and be easily able to turn as necessary.
  • The animal must have access to drinking water inside the cage and it must be possible to add water without having to open the cage.
  • A food container needs to be either inside the cage or on the outside so feeding the animal, in case of delays, is made swift and easy.
  • The cage needs to be labelled with the name, address and telephone number of the consignee, and the AWB number must be clearly visible as well.
  • Notify the carrier of any  medication (for example if the animal has been sedated).

General requirements for animal containers:

  • Safe for the animal and the personnel handling the container
  • Strong construction
  • Sufficient number of ventilation openings
  • Correct size for the animal in question
  • Doors cannot be opened from either the inside or outside during transport
  • Solid, clean and leak-proof
  • Absorbent material on the floor of the container
  • No wheels

Requirements for cat and dog containers:

  • The container must allow the animal to stand and sit with head and ears erect, and not touching the top of the container.
  • The animal must be able to turn about normally while standing, and lie in a comfortable, natural position with paws extended.
  • The container can be made of rigid plastics, metal or wood (Note: Many countries do not accept containers that are made of untreated wood).
  • Rigid plastic containers are suitable for animals weighing no more than 40 kg (88 lbs.)
  • Folding metal show crates cannot be used for transport.
  • Puppies or kittens that are no more than 6 months of age and of the same litter (max. 3 puppies/kittens) may be transported in the same container.
  • Two adult animals that are familiar with each other may be transported in one container, provided that the weight of each animal is less than 14 kg (31 lbs.)

Container requirements for other animals:

For more information on container requirements for other animals, please contact our Sales/Reservations or see the IATA Live Animals Regulations.

Export and Import Regulations

Vaccination and documentation requirements

The shipper is responsible for ensuring that the pet has all the required vaccinations and documents. The requirements vary depending on the destination country and type of animal.

Customers that plan to transport live animals are advised to check all animal import requirements in the destination country. Each destination country may also have additional regulations and agreements in place. For more information on export and import regulations, please contact the national agricultural authorities or the nearest embassy or consulate of the destination country. Please see the links below for the relevant websites:

Custom Clearance

If the animal is intended for sale, Icelandair Cargo offers customs clearance services in our office in Keflavik. An invoice will have to travel with the shipment. If the animal is only being transported to its owner, a formal written statement needs to accompany the shipment. For more information, please contact our Custom Clearance.

Booking and Routing

Space must be booked in advance for live animals, but no sooner than 20 days before the flight. When more than one airline will carry the animal, it will not be accepted for transport until all parties have confirmed their flights.

To make the booking, please contact Sales/Reservations in the country that you’re are shipping the animal from or a freight forwarder in your country that handles animals at the location from which you want to transport your animal.

You will need to provide the following information for the booking:

  • Type and breed of the animal
  • Age of the animal
  • Weight of the animal and weight of the container
  • Outside measurements of the container (length x width x height)
  • The name and phone number of the shipper and the consignee

Other important points to consider:

  • Icelandair Cargo does not carry cats or dogs that are younger than 8 weeks of age. However, the import and vaccination regulations in place in other countries may require an older age.
  • Depending on the time of travel and schedules, an animal being shipped abroad may spend the night at the intermediate airport, incurring additional costs for the shipper (for example, the cost of an overnight layover at the London Animal Reception Centre, ARC, may be several hundred pounds).
  • The shipper must provide feeding instructions for an animal that has an overnight layover, and ensure that the food provided complies with the regulations in place in the transit country.


The agent that handles the transportation for the shipper always prices air freight at the departure location. This could be the airline or a freight forwarder at the location where the animal is being transported. Air freight is always paid at the departure airport. The charge is based on the weight of the consignment (including the weight of the container) or so-called volume weight, which is calculated using the outside measurements of the container. The consignee that collects the animal will pay any terminal-specific charges that apply at the destination airport. For more information on terminal charges, please contact the handling agent at the destination airport. For more information please contact our Sales/Reservations.

At the Airport

At the cargo terminal area

  • Pets must be kept on a leash and under control in the terminal area.
  • Pets cannot be taken outside to exercise in the terminal area.
  • If an animal accepted for transport must be taken out of the container, the shipper must be present and ensure that the animal is kept on a leash.
  • The personnel of Terminal Operations only handle animals inside an appropriate container.

Acceptance for transport

Only healthy animals can be accepted for transport by the airline. Please note the following in particular:

  • The booking and routing of the consignment must have been confirmed
  • You must have the necessary documents for international transport
  • The container must comply with requirements

During the Flight

Conditions during transport

  • At the start of the flight, the temperature of the hold is the same as the temperature during boarding at the departure airport.
  • The amount of cargo and the aircraft model also affect the hold temperature.
  • Most aircraft models have thermostat-controlled heating, which keeps the hold temperature similar to cabin temperature.
  • Lights are switched off in the hold during the flight (animals usually relax and sleep when it is dark).
  • The hold cannot be accessed during the flight.

Sedating animals

IATA discourages the use of sedatives and tranquilizers in animals during transport. Animals administered such drugs cannot react to their environment as they normally would, and may become aggressive or hurt themselves. Sedated animals cannot control their movements or position in the container. Tranquilizers and sedatives also often cause nausea.

If the owner, under the direction of a veterinarian, wants to sedate a very sensitive animal for the duration of transport, the container and transport documents must contain the following information:

  • Name of the medicine
  • Time and method of dosage
  • Dosage level
  • Estimated time of effect

At the Destination Airport

Consignee’s responsibilities

The consignee’s contact details, provided by the shipper during booking, are delivered to the staff at the destination airport. A member of the airline will contact the consignee and inform them where, when and how the consignee can collect the animal.

Charges payable by the consignee

The air freight charge is always paid at the departure airport. The consignee that collects the animal will pay any terminal-specific charges that apply at the destination airport. For more information on terminal charges, please contact the handling agent at the destination airport.

For more information, please contact our Sales/Reservations.