Flying With Your Pitbull? Review the IATA CR 82 Crate Requirements
About the IATA LAR CR82 Dog Crate Rule
As the years go by, the skies appear to be getting more and more unfriendly for both dogs and dog owners. If you are planning to fly with your pitbull (or another breed the airline lists), you may be upset to learn that more and more airlines are now requesting that you purchase a specific type of crate. This often means that the crate you have used to fly your dog before may no be longer be accepted, and that in order to fly your dog, you must purchase a specific type of crate that meets the new guidelines.
What Does IATA LAR CR82 Mean?
But before looking into the details of these crates, let's take a look at exactly what IATA LAR CR82 stands for:
- IATA stands for the International Air Transport Association. IATA is responsible for supporting airline activity and formulating important industry policies and standards.
- Among this trade association's rules, you'll find several Live Animal Regulations (LAR) in the manual meant to "transport animals by air in a safe, humane and in a cost-effective manner."
- Among these regulations, you'll find a section with details on Crate Requirements (CR).
- The number 82 is simply the rule number depicting the exact requirements and specifics.
Why Aren't Plastic Crates Acceptable?
What's the purpose of rule number 82? And why aren't rigid plastic crates no longer acceptable for several airlines? It appears to be an issue of safety. According to IATA's Container Requirements:
"Some rigid plastic containers may not be suitable for large dogs, or dogs that are aggressive. Specially constructed containers of hardwood, metal, plywood or similar material, with two secure door fasteners on each side, are acceptable."
The rule may sound new, but in reality it has been around for several years to keep animals properly contained. Indeed, the use of specially reinforced crates has been around for quite some time to transport wild animals such as lions, tigers and bears. The new difference now is that, in 2012, the rule has been revised to include certain dog breeds considered "aggressive."
Why Was This New Rule Implemented?
It looks like there were instances that have caused airlines to grow increasingly concerned about safety. Several years ago, on July 22, 2002, a pitbull on American Airlines Flight 282 managed to get out of the kennel and chewed a hole through a fiberglass bulkhead and had even bitten through several wires. After this instance, American Airlines banned adult pit bulls, Rottweilers, and Doberman pinschers from flying on its planes.
As with unjust breed stereotyping, dog owners reacted claiming that any dog of any breed could chew through a kennel. According to an article by Saint Petersburg Times, the American Kennel Club reacted by claiming, "The airline is punishing responsible owners and unfairly stereotyping entire breeds of dogs as dangerous."
As a Rottweiler owner, I can feel the pain . . . but . . . as much as these new rules may sound unjust and quite an annoyance, hold your horses before getting upset. There's a good side in this new requirement: More and more airlines that blacklisted certain dog breeds—and therefore banned them from flying on their planes—are now accepting these breeds as long as they are contained in one of these specific crates.
What Breeds Are Affected?
The following breeds are affected by the IATA CR82 crate requirements:
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers
- Pitbull Terrier
- Bull Terrier
- Dogo Argentino
- Caucasian Owtscharka
- Any mixes of the above breeds
- And several others—check with your airline for details on more breeds.
Also worth investigating is if your breed is banned in certain countries. For instance, Lufthansa claims that the following breeds are forbidden in Germany:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Bull Terrier
Note: Some airlines will refer to dogs requiring IATA 82 compliant crates as "fighting dogs." Lufthansa liberally uses this term under the subtitle "dogs classified as fighting dogs (dangerous dogs)." As a Rottweiler owner, I find this term quite offensive and terribly misused.
About Looking for a CR-82 Compliant Crate
So now that you know why airlines are requiring a special crate, and what breeds are mostly affected, you may be eager to know where you can find such a crate and how much it may cost. The new IATA rules claim the following:
" . . . that the container or crate must be constructed of wood, metal, synthetic materials, weld mesh or wire mesh. Additional design principles regarding frame, sides, floor, roof and doors also apply. No portion of the crate may be plastic. The crate door must be made of heavy wire mesh, metal or reinforced wood and should have a secure means of fastening that cannot be opened accidentally."
Aluminum Crates Can Be Expensive
A few years ago, I flew my 2 Rottweilers across the pond and back using hard plastic crates that cost me around $120 each, and now if I need to travel again to Europe, it looks like they need to be flown with crates that abide to the new IATA rules. I was quite disappointed, though, when I saw the jaw-dropping prices some companies charged for aluminum crates that met or even exceeded the new requirements! An aluminum crate could easily cost near $600 each—along with the airline fees charged, I estimated the costs for my dogs would highly surpass the costs for our tickets!
If money isn't an issue and you want to go with metal crates, consider that there are several companies that produce them. Fido's Pet Planet sells crates approved by the US Military and Airlines (IATA #82 Complaint), and so does Zinger Winger. Expect to pay high prices for these crates, though.
What Are the Alternatives?
So what alternatives are there to the expensive aluminum crates?
- Some companies make custom-made wood crates that can be made to comply with the new requirements. Premier Pet Relocation makes wood crates by order but requires about 4 weeks to build one, and there's no reference to price so you may have to call to get more details.
- There are some people who have resorted to making the crates themselves by using wood crates used for shipments and modifying them so they abide to the new IATA regulations.
- Another option may be to rent crates. Indeed, why pay so much for something you may need only once? Pets In Transit offers an interesting rental program even for restricted breeds.
- And if you're lucky enough, as you never know, you may find a used crate an owner is selling at a fraction of the cost.
Read Your Airline's Guidelines for Flying Your Dog!
This article may be outdated and not up-to-date with the latest airline requirements. Please consult with your airline for the most up-to-date information in regards to their breed restrictions and crate requirements.
For Further Reading
- Understanding a Dog's Stress Response
How do dogs respond to stress? You'll be surprised how the dog's body prepares him for action when under stress. Understanding the dog's stress response by looking at the sympathetic nervous system.
Zinger Aluminum Crates
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2014 Adrienne Janet Farricelli