Day 82 – Flying With Our Dog on Finnair

Flying With A Dog On Finnair

So lots of people have been asking me how we took our dog over from the UK to Finland via flying. To answer a few questions:

1) Yes, we flew.

2) Yes, he came in as hand luggage, which means he just goes under our seat.

3) No, its not expensive. Only 40 euros. and lastly;

4) Yes, it can be a bit complicated with all the paperwork required, etc. Especially on returning to the UK!

That all said he was simply the best traveller! All that early socialisation and getting him used to all sorts of transport really truly paid off! He didn’t mind one bit, not a single peep. He just slept and one looked up for a little scratch. Trip through the airport was easy too and for once I saw the security guys smile and be nice (I think we can all agree on how un-friendly they can be..). It was such a great trip I really didn’t want to start work again and go back to reality! More pics to follow from our little vaca later on 🙂 And if ANYONE has ANY questions on how to fly, etc, with their dog, please feel free to ask! It can really be quite a hassle in the UK if you don’t know what to do. I’m so happy we can travel with our little Boston Terrier 🙂 He’s such a braze good boy! ❤

P.s. Below are pics of Oscar in his SturdiBag! The bag is AMAZING. Finnair only has 20cm of room and this bag really used all the room possible! Oscar didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. If anyone out there is trying to think of a bag to get, I couldn’t recommend the SturdiBag more!! We have the large black version as you can see. It was so flexible, super light, and not that expensive. We paid £44.91 for it from Zooplus! It has tons of ventilation, great zippers that even lock so if you have cats they can’t get out, a soft pad attached with velcro, a comfy carrier strap, and best of all Oscar took to it immediately. The installation was minimal and as you can see form the pics below it fit in the plane just fine. I think Finnair tends to put pets in the middle seat as they are a tad “wider” in the foot space area. And because the SturdiBag smushes when pushed, but retains it shape, it simply becomes flatter, but wider. So our Boston Terrier still had plenty of room. Well, as plenty as a plane will allow 😀 Even us humans are sardines in them.. Anyway, if anyone has any questions about flying like I mentioned before, or about the SturdiBag, then don’t hesitate asking! Us pet lovers gotta stick together! 😛

Flying With A Dog On Finnair Flying With A Dog On Finnair

9 thoughts on “Day 82 – Flying With Our Dog on Finnair

  1. Hi, just found your blog, I too am off on Finnair via Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia with a skinny Jack Russell 6.2 kilo in a Large Sturdibag, slightly apprehensive as it’s the dog’s first flights, we have the uk pet passport, Rabies sorted and even a fit to fly health check 3 days ago, stamped in the passport, got the tapeworm for return travel via Amsterdam to Uk by ferry.
    I guess all I am asking is there anything I might have missed, the dog seems relaxed about the bag, don’t want him to get fed up of getting in it, he rides a motorbike tank bag, kayaks etc so good at travel.
    Did you let your dog out of the bag in Heathrow at all, just to stretch and how long did you allow for check in, passport control before the flight?
    Many thanks for any advice.

    1. Hi Niki,

      Thanks for checking out my blog! Hope it helped a little bit 🙂

      It seems you have everything in check! Just remember to have the tapeworm done no sooner than 24 hours and no later than 5 days by a vet, and get a stamp with the date and time on it.

      In regards to your question, you technically aren’t allowed to take the dog out of the bag once you pass security check in. What we allow is about 1.5 hours max from when the flight leaves. We don’t really need to do any shopping, its more like “In, through security, buy water and food for ourselves, then onto the gates”.

      We take our dogs (we have two now) outside, let them have a little walk and make sure they do their business. If they’re thirsty we give em a bit of water. Then in the bag they go. If we feel really anxy then we open up the little zip on the top so they can stick their heads out. OR if we really want to let em have a last stretch, we just sneak them into one of the bigger invalid bathrooms and let them out of their bag for a few mins. Mostly though they just sleep.

      From the get go we trained them to love their bag. They associate it with treats, comfort and safety. So for us it isn’t really a big deal, they kinda know when we put them in there and start moving that it is sleepy time.

      Just give him treats, leave a bone in the bag. And if you wanna play it safe you can get the DAP collar/spray. Works a treat!

      Flight wise you aren’t allowed to take them out of the bag either, or even open it… but most stewards are nice about it if your dog is good. We fly to Spain a lot and the Iberia stewards are always super nice and let us open up the zip on top so we can pet our dogs.

      Our dogs still just jump into their bags even at home when they have their own bigger fluffier beds. If you always associate it with positivity and calmness then they’ll see it like that.

      And lastly, remember to check yourself as well. Dogs will pick up on you being nervous, stressed, or anxious. But if you go about it as if it was the most normal routine in the world, then they’ll pretty much feel the same way 🙂

      Phew, hope I managed to help a little! And have a great trip! The Ferry isn’t too bad at all! We much prefer that to flying 😀 The dogs actually get space there.

      1. Thanks for your fast response, makes me feel very confident, I am not a nervous person and the dog is pretty chilled, do you check in your luggage and get boarding cards then take the dog back out for a pee or just go straight through after check in. I am on a train from Swansea, stopping for an hour in Hyde park then out to Heathrow, dog should be tired. Out of interest how do you return from Spain with the dogs,
        Many thanks and happy traveling with your dogs.
        Best regards,

  2. No problem!

    What we usually do is check in, then do a quick pee after, and then go through security 🙂

    We return to the UK via Holland and take the ferry from there. Fly from Malaga to Amsterdam, then ferry from Hook of Holland to Harwich. It’s basically the easiest/cheapest option available. Unless you have your own car.

    It’s a hassle, but we kind of like doing the trip. Overnight ferry is definitely the best for us as we get to then sleep as well and the trip becomes less stressful.

    1. Cheers for all the info, the dog is fast asleep in his bag after a 10 mile blast with my mountain bike today, I am thinking to keep him tired. My return journey is on the day ferry as I couldn’t face hanging around Amsterdam all day, think I might hire a car for a one way drop from Harwich back to Swansea. Hope my dog turns into the travelling dogs you have.

  3. Hi! Thanks for the helpful post! What is the hight of the XL-S.bag? I found one, that is 40 cm of height, and it seems a bit too much to take to the airplane.

    1. Hi!

      The size we got is the Large size, which is about 30.5 cm high. I believe the XL is 40-41cm high. As much as I want our little ones to have as much space as possible, the XL is too large for most Airlines, especially ones in Europe.

      Even the large size is a TAD over the limits, but because it is “squishable” it fits under the seat and is perfect. Especially because once you squish it, it pops up and to the sides making the most out of the cramped airline space.

      I hope this helped! We use the L and we have 2 small Boston Terriers and they’re very content in them.

      1. Thanks for your quick answer! I called to Finnair and askel what they think. I found out that xl would probably fit ok under the Seat aswell, but it might cause problems at the security check. Soittele I ordered the L size bag 🙂

      2. I just flew Finnair and Flybe with the Large Sturdibag, couldn’t have got away with any bigger bag, fitted fine under a middle seat, my skinny but tall Jack Russell was a little panicked on first take off but great on the second flight, it was nice to be able to put my hand into the top bag hatch to calm him, he did get very hot so I removed the dog blanket I had placed in the bag and gave him an ice cube in a paper cup. Flying a dog went better than I expected.

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