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What’s the Difference between Manifest Cargo and Excess Baggage?

posted by Victoria
What’s the Difference between Manifest Cargo and Excess Baggage?

What’s the Difference between Manifest Cargo and Excess Baggage?

If you’re researching the different ways your pet can travel to their new destination and are wondering what’s the difference between manifest cargo and excess baggage- you’re not alone!

So, let’s start with discussing the ways your pet can travel by air.

Carry-On Luggage

The first way your pet can travel is via you pet can travel via carry-on luggage. People often confuse the terms excess baggage with carry-on luggage but in reality, they are very different. Traveling with your pet as carry-on luggage is when your pet travels with you, their owner, on the flight in the passenger cabin. However, there are certain requirements that make it difficult for everyone to travel with their pet this way. Most airlines require pets traveling in the passenger cabin as carry-on luggage be able to fit under the seat. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, you must accompany your pet and be on the same flight as your pet! This option isn’t always available for every furry traveler but more on that later!

Excess Baggage

The second way to travel with your pet is checking them is as excess baggage. It might sound odd to refer to your beloved friend as “baggage”. However, what it really means is that when you arrive at the airport, you will turn over your pet to the airlines at the same location you check-in your luggage. Some airlines may impose an additional fee or “excess baggage” charge for this service. This fee is typically more expensive than flying with your pet in-cabin. Fees for shipping a pet as excess baggage typically ranges from $100 – $200. After you have turned over your furry friend to the airlines, you will collect your pet upon landing at your new destination.

Important things to take into consideration:

  • Although traveling as “baggage”, animals are always flown in temperature-controlled, pressurized holds.
  • Pets flying as excess baggage may be subject to strict restrictions regarding temperature and breeds allowed to travel as excess baggage.
  • Because animals transported as excess baggage travel with the luggage, airlines will not expose animals to temperatures less than 45 degrees Fahrenheit unless accompanied by a vet’s certificate stating the pet can handle lower temperatures. If outdoor temperatures are deemed unsafe for your pet, then your pet will not be permitted to fly that day.

  • Manifest Cargo

    Manifest cargo is the best option for pets traveling without their owners as they do not require their owner to be on the same flight. This allows pet owners to travel ahead to their new destinations and make sure everything is prepared in their for their furry family’s arrival!

    Pets traveling as manifest cargo and excess baggage travel in the baggage compartment in a pressurized, temperature-controlled area reserved just for pets. However, unlike pets traveling as excess baggage, pets traveling as manifest cargo can be tracked throughout their trip by an AWB or Airway Bill Number. Shipping pets as manifest cargo is typically more expensive than transporting them as carry-on luggage and excess baggage.

    However, there are some perks for a pet traveling as manifest cargo!

  • Your pets are typically transported in climate-controlled vehicles to and from the aircraft.
  • Pets are loaded last on the plane and taken first off the plane upon landing. Therefore, their time on the tarmac is limited.
  • Airlines employ and train staff dedicated to handling animals appropriately and safely, guaranteeing your pet a safe and easy flight.
  • Lastly, unlike pets traveling as excess baggage, pets flying as manifest cargo must be tendered to the airline at their cargo facility at the airport (not the baggage check-in!). Pets booked as manifest cargo will be received for pick up at the cargo facility in the arriving airport.



  • In Summary:


    Carry-on Luggage

  • You must travel with your pet
  • Pet must be able to fit under your seat
  • Subject to certain breed and size restrictions
  • Cheaper than excess baggage or manifest cargo

  • Excess Baggage

  • You must travel with your pet
  • Pets are tendered to the airline at the baggage check-in
  • Strict temperature and breed restrictions
  • More expensive than carry on

  • Manifest Cargo

  • Owners do not have to travel with their pets
  • Pets are tendered to airlines at their cargo facility
  • Pets travel with an AWB for tracking their location
  • Pets are the last on & the first off the plane
  • More expensive than manifest cargo

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