Horse Airplane Transportation

Horse Airplane Transportation

Misty Kale

Whether your shipping your horse within the United States or you have purchased a horse overseas and need to ship it home, here are some procedures and requirements you will need to know before you ship a horse by air.

Horses will generally be loaded into a box or standing stall, depending on the horse, and how much you want to spend. The stalls are either built into the aircraft, or the horses are loaded onto large pallets and then moved into the plane by way of a hydraulic lift. Staff is generally provided by the airline, but oftentimes horses will have their own individual grooms. Horses may need to be sedated during the flight if they are easily stressed or excited.

Horses coming from abroad to the US will have to complete 3 days of standard quarantine at their port of entry. From there your horse can travel to his final location. 

KLM Cargo (Royal Dutch Airlines) transports equine to many destinations.

Every year, AIR FRANCE KLM Cargo transports thousands of horses. These might be horses that were bought overseas and must travel to their new owner in the US, or show horses traveling to competitions like the Olympics. Before going on board, the horses are loaded into a specially designed stall with anti-slip floors and no sharp edges. The horses remain in the stall throughout the trip so they don't get hurt. The stalls are also designed to let the animal stewards take proper care of the horses. The stalls are equipped with special loading doors to let the horses in and out easily. Horses are never allowed to travel alone. At least one KLM animal steward always accompanies them. They also always have someone they know along for the ride - the owner, the rider, a caretaker, or a vet.

You can contact them for more information at +31 (0)20 - 649 9123

Some things you will need before your horse travels:

A passport, insurance, communication with an agent, pre-testing if shipping into the USA, quarantine arrangements, transportation to the quarantine facility from the Airport, customs bond and clearance, USDA requirements and an import permit. There are also veterinary requirements that will differ depending on where you are shipping to and from.

Payment options will vary between agencies, but most places will send you an invoice around the date of shipment and you will have the option to send them a wire, mail a check, or pay with a credit card.

The cost to ship an animal will depend on which airline you are using, what company you are shipping through and, if you are shipping from Europe to the US, the price will fluctuate with the exchange rate. 

Here is an example of a shipping quote and requirements from June 2018  to ship from Germany to the US using Horseflights, a company that transports from Europe to the US. They have flights into LAX weekly.


Airfreight AMS - LAX 1/3 stall 

4250 euro

Shipping to AMS if horse is in Germany 

550 euro 

Health Papers

200 euro

Blood work

345 euro

Receiving ($200 discount available if paid with check or wire)

$3100.00 USD

US Customs Processing Fee (.3464% of purchase price)


Import Permit needed for all horses

$150.00 USD

Transport from LAX to stable 


 Not included in these price quotes:

-Insurance (Horseflight recommends J. Norick & Company 818-321-5383

-Any unforeseen costs

-Horse equipment

 Prices are listed in USD and Euros because of the ever-changing exchange rate. *If you choose to arrange blood and CEM swabs with your own vet these charges will not reflect on your invoice.*

For more information, you can contact Nicole Judd, Horseflight, 237 Old Turnpike Road, Califon, NJ 07830 (844)832-5848

 Here are some airlines that fly horses:




Horse  Service International 


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