Flying Volotea with a Pet in Cabin – Your Comprehensive Guide

This post is for nervous dog parents wanting to book their cabin dog on Volotea Airlines. I recently flew to the Canary Islands from Lille, France, with my French bulldog, and here’s my honest review of flying Volotea with a pet in cabin!

A happy dog standing next to a purple suitcase.

European Airlines

Most European airlines that even accept dogs in the cabin have a restrictive weight limit of only 8 kilograms (17.64 pounds) for dog and carrier combined! Unfortunately, Helga’s weight is over the limit for most European airlines. But frenchies and other snub-nosed breeds must always fly in the cabin because of potential breathing problems at high altitude, so I did some extensive research.

It turns out there are a few European airlines that will take a dog and carrier weighing in at 10kg (22 pounds)! One of those is Spain-based Volotea Airlines. I knew we’d be cutting it close, but after weighing her and the carrier on my bathroom scale, we decided to go for it.

Choosing the Airline

I wrote a whole post on air travel within Europe, and between Europe and the US with your cabin dog HERE. It includes a list of airlines, their weight restrictions for cabin dogs, and links. For us, Volotea was a no-brainer because of their 10kg weight allowance, and the fact that they service Fuerteventura, our destination.

A great bonus is that they’ve won the World Travel Awards for Europe’s best low-cost airline for three of the last four years. This made me feel better because I’d never heard of them until I started researching dog weight limits!

Booking the Volotea Flight

A route map for Volotea Airlines showing the trip from Lille France to Fuerteventura Spain.

Booking the flight was simple online. The website is fairly intuitive and you can see a map of their routes and destinations HERE. We had a couple choices of where we’d depart from, and we picked Lille, France which is about a 5-hour drive from Southern Germany where we live. Yes… a five hour drive. But our destination, and bringing our dog were both non-negotiable, so we made an adventure of it!

Adding a dog to the ticket

I had a moment of panic, because the website says you can add your pet at booking, or manage your reservation and add them later. When I tried to do it after the fact, the system wouldn’t allow me to add Helga. The pet policy section notes:

Once the maximum number of pets per flight has been reached, the online booking system no longer offers this service.

I thought I’d really blown it. But I called customer service and the agent, who spoke great English, told me it was not problem and added Helga to the booking manually. So check with a human before you assume there are no pet slots!

When I double checked the weight limit with the agent, she said that if Helga was just a little bit over it probably wouldn’t be an issue, but they have to tell people that the pet will be denied. This felt reassuring but also not reassuring …

I was also told that because she was booked on my ticket I couldn’t sit in the first row which is what I’d selected. This is understandable because there is no seat in front of you to put the carrier under! So I ended up sitting farther back in the plane, and not with my husband and daughter. On the return flight, we asked at the airport if we could sit together, and they assigned us all to the same row, no problem.

Packing and carrier

A small white dog in a carrier at the airport getting ready to board a Volotea Airlines flight

Remember that the 10kg limit includes dog, carrier, and anything in the carrier pockets like a leash, or water bowl, or snacks. We stripped the carrier down to its bare bones because Helga is right on the edge of the weight limit. We even replaced a thick padding on the bottom with something much thinner to shave of a few ounces.

The size limit on the carrier is 50 x 40 x 20 cm. (19.7 x 15.7 x 7.9 inches). Definitely on the small side. Helga’s carrier was a little more than an inch over on the height, but was soft-sided and pliable, so I was counting on that to be able to smush the top a little and fit her under the seat.

*Her carrier is an airline approved one for US airlines and we’ve used it dozens of times without incident. So don’t try to put your dog in a duffel bag and hope for the best! Get something “airline approved.”

Additional costs

It cost about $50 each way to add a dog to the ticket. This is very reasonable, but if you are a budget traveler beware. Volotea itself is extremely affordable, but the place they do have costs to note is with luggage.

There are different tiers of tickets, and size overage fees, and bag limitations. Having a dog as your carry-on might push up your baggage charges on your other bags. Just make sure you look at that first so you aren’t surprised at checkout!

Getting to the airport

As I mentioned, the closest Volotea airport on the Canary Islands route was in Lille, France (5 hours away). We had an early morning flight, so we opted to travel the day before, sleep at a dog-friendly hotel just three minutes away, and hit the airport in the morning after a good night’s sleep. It was definitely a good decision.

If you want a comprehensive post about what we pack for Helga and how we do it, advice and top tips for staying in a hotel with your dog, you can read my essential article HERE.

The Lille Airport

A small white dog outside the Lille Airport

We arrived at the suggested 3 hours before boarding to find the airport dark, the parking lot empty, and the door locked. After standing in baffled silence (who closes an entire city airport?) we pushed a button and asked the voice on the other end what to do. He said we had to wait an hour for the door to open. We went back to the car and sat, bewildered.

When the lights came on and the doors opened, we flew through in a panic, racing to the Volotea counter where we saw like 50 people already in line. Turns out we were trying to get in some secondary entrance, and it was just that particular door that didn’t open. We felt like idiots, but even with 2 hours instead of 3, everything was fine.


I’m always nervous at check-in with my dog. She’s a bit reactive, and I always have daydreams where she goes crazy barking and is rejected at the gate, or she’s retaining water and blows the weight limit, or a host of other fears. But the check-in went absolutely smoothly.

A cat being weighed before flying Volotea with a pet in cabin
I didn’t get a shot of Helga at check in, but here is a little French cat going through the weigh-in process

Unlike some other airlines, they did not make me take her out of the bag to inspect. The counter agent just peeked through the mesh to make sure she was who we said she was, and then they put her on the scale. I’ve never had a US airline actually weigh the carrier, so this was a first. I held my breath.

She came in at 9.8 kg. I was surprised it was so close, but then realized she had her harness and leash in the pocket of her carrier. So we were still close, but we made it with a little to spare. I’ll never know what would have happened if she’d been over by a little, but everyone seemed very chill and friendly and I like to think a tiny bit over wouldn’t have been a problem.

Security and boarding the Volotea plane

Security, like in all airports, did require me to take Helga out of the bag and walk through while carrying her. She’s used to this, so it went without a hitch.

We did experience a delay in boarding due to the fact that they had to switch out planes. Safety delays never bother me at all. I’m always glad for vigilance, but it’s worth noting that if you are at Lille Airport, there is no pet relief area inside the airport. So, make doubly sure you give your dog some good outside time to do their thing before you enter. We usually stop giving food and water about 4 hours before flying so she held in there like a champ.

Flying Volotea with a Pet in Cabin

Once on board, I could see the reason for the small-size dog carrier limit! She made it under the seat… sort of. Here’s a picture of the setup. Remember her carrier was over in height by one inch, but it did bend on the sides and fit fine. I didn’t have much leg room, but again, the close quarters were a small price to pay for all you get.

We also experienced what I would call the very high side of moderate turbulence, but Helga did better than me, snoozing the whole way.

Fuerteventura Airport

We loved the fun vibe of Fuerteventura’s airport, but…

Also, no pet relief area inside! After we grabbed the bags, my husband and daughter went to get the rental car, and I whisked poor Helga outside. We found a small patch of ground behind a bench across the street and she was able to take care of business.

Our stay and the benefits of bringing your dog

Was bringing our dog to the Canary Islands a bit of a hassle? Yep. However, hats off to Volotea for a smooth booking and passage for us and her. The only thing I wished for was an airport closer to home.

And these pictures show why we go through what we do. Our little neurotic fur kid had a fabulous time with her fam – no abandonment issues, no worry on our side, and a whole lot of adventure! We were all able to get away from the cold and rain, and get some much needed fun in the sun. I hope this gives you a good picture of what it’s like flying Volotea with a pet in cabin. We will absolutely do it again!

For a comprehensive look at flying with your dog in cabin, check out:

How to Fly With Your Dog in Cabin – Top Tips!

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2 thoughts on “Flying Volotea with a Pet in Cabin – Your Comprehensive Guide”

  1. 50 bucks is very reasonable! With Alaska Airlines it’s 150 whether in the cabin or in stowage. When we go to our other place in Az it costs 150 per animal plus around 100 bucks for the health certificates.
    In reality, it costs more to fly all 3 animals vs Diana and my tickets. You have the traveling with a pet down to a science now Jeanne. We have a good routine with ours but there always seems to be at least one hiccup every time.

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