If you are a proud owner of a furry hamster and preparing for a trip, you might wonder if it is possible or even safe to bring your hamster on board for an upcoming flight. Flying with any animal requires appropriate paperwork and knowledge of airline regulations and rules. It is a good idea to do your research before showing up for your flight. We researched whether flying with your companion is safe, what a trip like this will require, and what other modes of safe transportation for your hammie.
Traveling with a pet brings about stress for you and them. If moving your pet can be avoided, go with this option to protect them from an unnecessary stressful event. If you cannot avoid travel, opting to move by car or another vehicle would be better than flying. In these cases, yes, you can take a hamster on a plane. This should be done following the rules of the airline closely and assuring your hamster is traveling safely.
So, the plane is your only option. How can you make sure your hamster is flying safely and comfortably? Read on as we discuss this answer and break down which airlines will allow your hamster to board and more.
How To Safely Take Your Hamster On A Plane
If no other modes of transportation are available, you're booking a flight. When booking, you need to seek a hamster friendly airline and get familiar with their rules and expectations. Depending on the airline, you may need to get specific documents stating the health status of your hammie. Bring your hamster to your veterinarian for a physical exam regardless. Flying can create a lot of stress for these small pets; you want to ensure they have no preexisting issues.
Learn more on our blog post, “Do Hamsters Need Vet Care?”
You have found a hamster friendly airline, prepared your hamster's health documents, and got your ticket. Next, get your hammie an ideal travel cage. These carriers should be small enough to fit under a seat in the airplane and big enough for your hammie to move around. This enclosure should have great ventilation and be leakproof.
Think about what to put inside this carrier. Having a variety of toys and treats available can help keep your hamster preoccupied and less stressed during a flight. Thinking of stress, booking a direct flight is in your hamster's best interest. Having a layover or plane change can cause unneeded movement and stress for your pet.
For some in-flight distractions, have a look at our blog post “9 Best Hamster Chews Your Hammy Needs In 2021."
Which Airlines Allow Hamsters?
There are a handful of airlines that allow hamsters or rodents to fly. Keep in mind that some airlines allow hamsters to fly in the cabin and others require hamsters to fly in the luggage compartment. It is not enough to find a pet-friendly airline; you need one that specifically mentions rodents are welcome. Airlines that allow hamsters to fly include:
- West Jet
- Alaska Air
- Aegean Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Air Europa
Each airline will list its rules and regulations when it comes to transporting pets on its website. Familiarize yourself with these rules before purchasing your ticket to ensure you are comfortable with their expectations. This will minimize any issues or added stressors at the airport.
Which Airlines Allow Pets In The Cabin?
Maybe your hamster is an emotional support animal, or you just feel uncomfortable having them travel in the luggage compartment of your flight. Fair enough. Luckily, some of these airlines allow for in-cabin travel for your hamster. These airlines include Frontier, Air Europa, and Finnair.
When your hamster is traveling in the cabin with you, it is important to follow the rules closely. Like any carry-on luggage, there will be weight and size restrictions for your hamster's travel cage. For example, Air Europa states that your pet's enclosure cannot weigh more than 6 kg when flying in the cabin. Weight and size are not the only considerations either.
Alaska Air notes on their website that pet carriers in the cabin need to adhere to the USDA and IATA requirements. Part of these requirements includes having absorbent bedding in a leakproof cage that is free of cracks, tears, or breaks.
How Much Does It Cost To Bring A Hamster On A Plane?
When traveling with a pet, it comes with no surprise that this will incur extra charges. How much extra varies depending on which airline you are flying and how far you are traveling. We cannot stress enough the importance of double-checking regulations and rules when traveling with a pet.
Let's break down these airlines and their expected costs to bring your hamster on board:
- Frontier: $75
- West Jet:$100-$236
- Alaska Air: $100
- Finnair: $45-$100
- Aegean Airlines: $45-$190
- Japan Airlines: $28-$56
- Air Europa: $27-$165
There are a few factors that create this range in pricing. These factors include domestic versus international flights, the weight of the cage, and the weight and size of your pet. The price will vary depending on the location of your pet as well, in-cabin versus cargo.
How Do You Travel With A Hamster?
How do you travel with a hamster? Safely and carefully, of course. Traveling by car is recommended, as it is less stressful for your hamster when compared to flying. With any mode of transportation, it is important to have an appropriate cage or enclosure to move your pet in.
To securely transport your hamster, follow these tips and guidelines:
- Use a secure cage. Hamsters will try to gnaw or climb to escape.
- Include a fair amount of comfortable bedding in the cage.
- Have food and water readily available at all times.
- Include toys and treats in the cage to keep your pet busy
- Travel in private vehicles, avoid public transportation if possible.
- Minimize travel or route time to the best of your ability.
Minimizing outside stressors is a must, but their travel cage is the most important part of securely traveling with your hamster. Flying with a hamster means you have to stick to the airlines' rules and regulations when it comes to travel cages. If you are driving in a personal car, you have a bit more room to play.
When traveling for short times, you can utilize a smaller travel cage. For long periods, it is important to have a larger enclosure with enough food, water, and space to keep your hamster comfortable.
The short video below showcases additional tips when it comes to transporting your hamster.
Read more on our blog post, “The 10 Best Hamster Travel Cages."
How Long Can A Hamster Stay In A Travel Cage?
The length of time your hamster can handle being in a travel cage depends heavily on the size of the cage and what's inside. If you have a small travel cage with just bedding and a treat or two, your hamster should only be inside for 30 minutes to 1-hour. On the other hand, if your hamster is traveling in a large cage that includes their bedding, food, water, a hidey home, and some toys, they can stay in their travel cage for up to 9 hours.
How Long Can Hamsters Travel In A Car?
Your hamster may be able to tolerate long car rides if his enclosure is up to par and the conditions are ideal. When traveling in a car with your hamster, try to keep the temperature maintained, noises in the vehicle to a minimum, and bring along a cage cover to decrease outside stimulation.
The length of travel for your hamster always comes down to what they are traveling in. If you have space, you can create a large in-car cage for your hamster out of a plastic bin. When they are riding in comfort, and all their needs are met, hamsters can travel for long periods - upwards of 10 hours or more.
The video below is a great example of an elaborate travel cage you can set up for long car trips with your hamster.
Can A Hamster Live In An RV?
Hamsters can live in an RV, but should they? One thing to worry about in an RV is good temperature control. If you will be living in areas with extreme temperature changes, it may be risky for your hamster. Too cold or too hot of temperatures both heavily affect a hamster's well-being. However, if you feel confident in the climate and have a stable cage, your hamster can live in an RV.
Learn more on our blog post, “Can You Keep A Hamster Cage On The Floor?”
Can I Take A Hamster Camping?
Camping poses the same concern as living in an RV for your hamster. Temperature regulation gets a bit dicey in these situations. So, you can take a hamster camping, but should you? If you are camping just for a few days, it is better to keep your hamster at home with a sitter or with a friend. This abrupt change in environment may lead to more stress for your hamster than it's worth.
Environmental changes are worrisome for these small pets, and so is the possibility of escaping. If a hamster escapes into the wild, this can lead to serious injury and, in most cases, death. To avoid these large risks, it is better not to bring your hamster along on your camping trip.
Read more on our blog post, “Can I Release My Hamster Into The Wild?”
Can I Leave My Hamster Overnight?
Leaving a hamster alone or unattended is never recommended, even for short periods of time. This is because even if we prepare, something can happen at home that can keep your hamster away from their food or water and other concerns.
With that being said, needing to leave a hamster without a pet sitter may happen. In these cases, your hamster can be left overnight and up to 48 hours with the right preparations. Part of preparing is ensuring your hammie gets a big meal before you leave, consisting of fresh foods alongside their normal diet. You want to avoid leaving any fresh foods in their home when you go. Instead, leave plenty of dried foods like pellets, mealworms, nuts, and seeds.
With enough food, you need enough water. Fill up their water bottle before you go and provide a second bottle if you know your hammie loves to drink. Give their cage a good clean and leave enough toys to keep them busy.
Read more on our blog post, “My Hamster Always Wants Attention — Is This Okay?”
You can take your hamster on a plane, but it is not recommended if you can travel by car instead. There are plenty of airlines that accommodate hamster travel. It's a good idea to get very familiar with your airline's rules and regulations for pet travel before you fly.
Anytime you are moving or traveling with your hammie, keep their needs and comfort in mind and at high priority. We hope you found this article insightful and helpful for your upcoming trip and your hamster's comfort during it.