British Columbia

WestJet, Air Canada ban large pets on holiday flights

If you plan on flying anywhere for Christmas with the furry members of your family, you'd better do it soon.

CBC listeners frustrated that WestJet, Air Canada will stop allowing large dogs on flights starting Dec. 15

Travelling with pets can significantly add to your holiday stress. (ilovemytank/flikr)

If you plan on flying anywhere for Christmas with the furry members of your family you'd better do it soon.

As of Dec. 15, no pets will be accepted as checked baggage on Air Canada or WestJet flights until after the holidays. Smaller pets will still allowed in the cabin as carry-on luggage, subject to various restrictions.

"It really meant that I had to hustle and make sure that I could book my flight in time to bring my dog," Dieter Friesen, a Vancouverite studying in Toronto told The Early Edition. 

"If I couldn't take her I wouldn't be going home for Christmas either." 

Dieter Friesen changed his travel plans so his dog Boomer could join him. (Dieter Friesen)

One man at a Vancouver dog park said he put off his holiday travel plans until Jan. 7 to accommodate his dog.

"It's a member of the family so obviously there's nothing different than anything else, you just want to have them around all the time," he said.

A statement from WestJet said "heavy holiday baggage levels pose a significant risk to animals transported below the wing."

Air Canada's website also states that the restrictions are imposed during this "peak winter travel period due to increased passenger and cargo loads."

On Twitter, some pet owners told The Early Edition they've been put out by the rules, while others think there's a good reason behind them and pet owners need to plan accordingly.


  • An earlier version of this story stated WestJet and Air Canada will not allow pets to fly during the holidays. In fact, small pets will still be allowed in the cabin.
    Dec 03, 2014 3:07 PM PT


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