Being A Flight Parent

What it Means and How it Works.


Even though SOS Algarve Animals rehomes in Portugal there are sadly not enough homes to be found. Some of our dogs and cats travel to new homes abroad. More information about this and why we send animals abroad can be found here.

What does Being A Flight Parent Mean:

Animals are not allowed to travel on a flight without a person travelling on the flight who is responsible for the animal.  Being a flight parent means that you are only helping the animal travel from the airport in Portugal (where they leave our care) to the airport in their new country (where they get to the care of our sister organization).

We are desperately in need of your help so that these dogs, puppies, cats and kittens can reach their forever homes and the love and happiness they so deserve.

How will this work:


o If you tell us you are flying to one of the airports we use abroad and are able to be a flight parent, we will first contact our sister organizations to ensure that they are able and ready to take certain animals on that day and can meet you at the airport.  The option is with you as the flight parent whether you are willing to travel with one or two boxes in the plane hold, and/or a pet in cabin.

o If there is an animal ready for travel we will ask you for your flight booking, including complete name, confirmation number, and any other details for access to the booking.  This should be sent by email to . We then call the airline and book and pay for the necessary animals.

o This must be done in advance of the flight so as we know the space for the animal is reserved, much like your seat on the plane. The airline will ask for the weight of the animals, the size of the crates etc.  There is not availability on every flight and so the earlier that this can be done the better.

o Travelling with an animal either in plane hold or in cabin has no effect upon your baggage allowances.

o Please note, if we ourselves do not have anyone for travel on your flight we will ask you if you would like us to offer the space to other charities in Portugal whom we know and trust and who need the same help.

The Departure Experience:

o The actual way the check in procedure for transporting an animal works is much the same as flying with oversize baggage.

o We will meet you at the airport of departure. We will be waiting for you at or near the check in line. The animals will be in their travel boxes with all necessary paperwork (they have passports too). At a minimum check in must be made 1.5 hours before the flight is scheduled to depart.

o The check in procedure is much the same as if you were flying without an animal. You will check in yourself, your baggage, and the animal(s).  After you receive your boarding pass and your baggage is checked in, we then push the animals to a separate but nearby area where oversized baggage is scanned. The animal boxes go through the x-ray scanner and are taken by baggage handlers. We stay with you through this process.

o For the animals, this is it, they are now taken onto the plane where they travel in a separate acclimatized area of the plane hold.

o If you have chosen to travel with a pet in cabin, the pet will be in a special airline approved carry-on bag.  The pet will remain with you throughout the flight.   The animal does not come out of the bag.  When you yourself go through personal security the animal remains in its bag and will go through the x-ray belt. During the flight the animal must remain in its bag and at your feet. Note, if you are travelling with a pet in cabin you will be prioritized for having an empty seat next to you, it is often (but not always) possible.

The Arrival Experience

o While you wait for your baggage you will also be waiting for the animals. They will come out at the baggage area, in their boxes, from oversize baggage.

o The animals remain in their boxes, you push them through the arrival area where many persons from our sister organization in the arrival country will be anxiously be waiting for your (and the animals) arrival.

Airlines and Airports

o Airlines that we frequently use:

 Air Berlin
 Brussels Air
 Lufthansa
 German Wings (but only allows pet in cabin)


o Airlines that we do not use:

 Ryan Air – who does not allow for the travel of animals
 Easy Jet – who does not allow for the travel of animals


o Airports that we use

 Berlin
 Hamburg
 Hanover
 Frankfurt
 Munich
 Stuttgart
 Amsterdam
 Rotterdam
 Eindhoven


More Information

o If you would like to speak with someone who has previously been a flight parent we are happy to arrange this.  If you wish to visit us, or meet the animals who will be travelling, we are happy to arrange this.  Just contact us.

o All our “Happy Traveller” Albums are posted on facebook, which is a great place to learn more about us and what we are doing.

o If you wish to know more about the animals whom you are helping…..we will let you know which animals you are travelling with. Many of these animals will have their information and photo albums posted under the section on animals reserved.

o You can also look at our rehomed animals for prior updates of animals already in their new country where you will see the animals who you helped, their updates, and photos of them and their new families in their new countries

The Organization Abroad:

We do not send animals directly to individuals.  Instead, after leaving our care in portugal the animal will travel to the care of our sister organizations abroad.  To begin the animal will first move to an approved foster family or a family interested in first fostering and possible adoption.  They will care for the animal in a home environment, supervised by the heads of the abroad organization.  Once the animal has settled in to life in their new country they will soon find him or her a new forever home.

We frequently travel ourselves to meet with the organizations we work with abroad, also often meeting some of our animals happily rehomed months and even years before.  We ensure that these sister organizations work to the same or higher standard as we do when rehoming.