Passengers on flights within Australia may soon be allowed to travel with their pets next to them rather than in the cargo hold below.
The country's aviation regulator plans to relax the rules which currently ban any animal other than designated service dogs from flying in the cabin.
However, it will be up to each airline to decide its own policy for flying with fido, kitty or any other furry, feathered or scaled friend once the new rules come into effect on December 2.
Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Regional Express allow service dogs to travel free with their owners, but all other animals must be transported in the cargo hold – a measure that's costly and often distressing for both the pets and their owners.
However, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority suggests a number of factors will need to be considered by the airlines.
"When giving permission, you may need to consider the type of animal and how it is carried, contained and restrained; its reaction to noise and being out of its natural environment; nuisance to other passengers; distraction to flight crew; and how excrement or fluids will be contained," the new CASA rules state.
"A large animal should always be secured so as not to damage or affect the balance of the aircraft in flight," CASA continues.
"A small or medium-sized animal carried in the cabin would normally need as a minimum to be restrained during takeoff and landing and in turbulence."
Many overseas airlines allow pets to accompany their humans in the cabin for a fee, subject to weight restrictions.
Most US carriers charge US$125 (A$165) per pet on one-way domestic flights, while Lufthansa charges €50-€70 (A$80-$110) per pet.
The animal has to be carried in a small ventilated pet carrier which counts as one of your two carry-on bags, and is supposed to be stowed under the seat in front of you – which would prove a tight fit for poodles and pugs, let alone medium-sized dogs.
In response to enquiries this morning by Executive Traveller, Qantas and Jetstar both indicated they have no plans to change their current policies which require that all animals other than recognised service dogs be transported in the cargo hold.
Virgin Australia seems more open to embrace pet-friendly flying, with a spokesperson telling Executive Traveller "we'll consider the regulatory changes as part of a wider pet travel review we're currently undertaking."
Regional Express is also not ruling anything out, with deputy chairman John Sharp suggesting Rex could let passengers buy a second seat for theit pet.
"Already on a lot of airlines you can buy the seat next to you. This could simply be an extension to that, with a section of the aircraft designated for passengers with pets."
ET readers: how would you feel about flying with your dog or cat in the cabin, or sitting next to somebody else's pet?