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Pooches and pussycats on planes? Virgin Australia asks travellers to vote

From December 2, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority will allow airlines and pilots-in-command to decide whether pets should travel in aircraft cabins. While Qantas and Jetstar have said they won't change their pet policy, Virgin Australia took to social media to ask their customer's what they thought.

From December 2, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority will allow airlines and pilots-in-command to decide whether pets should travel in aircraft cabins. While Qantas and Jetstar have said they won’t change their pet policy, Virgin Australia took to social media to ask their customer’s what they thought.

A little-known fact is that Virgin Australia carried more than 30,000 pets in its aircraft cargo hold every year before the pandemic.

The Brisbane based airline has long prided itself on being pet-friendly, even including furry friends in its Velocity frequent flyer program.

From December 2, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority will allow airlines and pilots-in-command to decide whether pets should travel in aircraft cabins.

Qantas and Jetstar have said they won’t change their pet policy, so on Thursday, Virgin Australia took to its Insta and Facebook pages to poll its combined 1.4 million followers and ask the question, “Pets on the plane?”

And the result? 68 per cent voted yes, and 32 per cent said, “yeah, nah”.

The Facebook post received 1600 comments on its Facebook page of varying opinion.

Emmy Kaboom said, “I’m into it! And if this could be set up by 1st of August that would be amazing as I have to pick up my new babies from interstate 😂 ok I know it won’t happen that fast but it would be pretty great!”

While Lynn Mollenhauer said, “Yes! Surely we can look at how carriers in Europe have managed to do this successfully for years? Given how many beloved pets die or get injured during cargo handling, I’m sure many pet owners would welcome this change to legislation. Hopefully, a smart Australian carrier will be introducing pet-friendly services.”

Comparing the new rules to that of airlines in America who already low pets in the cabin, Sarah Nicole said, “I’ve flown all over the United States with my dog in a cabin. The overwhelming majority of travellers were fine with it. Like anything, people get used to it eventually and stop complaining. On the rare occasion that passengers complain, they are told they should disembark and take another flight because they have an allergy. Of course, they never do and ‘remarkably’, they are alive at the end of the flight. Much respect for the way the US airlines stand up to people and are so progressive. I’m a lifetime Qantas loyalty member, but I would definitely switch my loyalty to Virgin if this were permitted and travel more frequently. It seems that Qantas is not reading the room.”

The Virgin Australia Insta story poll result

Some passengers however, were less keen on the idea.

John Craggs said, “Definitely no animals on flights, especially on long flights. It’s already unhygienic enough packed in like sardines without adding animals to the equation.”

Lis Scott said “I love my dog, but it’s a big No from me. I’m glad to hear other major airlines have already said no.”

And finally, the lat word comes from Sarah Crudgington who raised the issue of allergies.

“No. Bad idea. I love animals (I have had pets most of my life now), but I don’t think they belong in the cabin on flights. Some people are severely allergic, which could be life-threatening. Do you realise how hard it is to fully get rid of animal hair & dander to those that say catch a different flight? Our cat hates the car, so I can’t imagine what he’d be like in a plane. A lot of pets would be very stressed in that situation, and there’s no easy exit.”

Just a shaggy dog story? Will Virgin Australia bow down to the 68%? A decision will be made by the airline in the coming weeks.