Flying with animals is more common than you might think: pets and assistance dogs accompany their owners on trips, and more and more dogs rescued from miserable conditions are brought to Finland from abroad.
At Helsinki Airport, two pet relief areas make travelling smoother for four-legged passengers. The relief areas are designed primarily for dogs, but other pets can use them as well.
Relief for thousands of travelling pets
“Some 10,000 dogs pass through Helsinki Airport each year. Travelling with pets is becoming more common, so we have also paid attention to the well-being of dogs and other pets at the airport in our development work,” says Hanna Hämäläinen, Finavia’s Head of Passenger Services and Development for Helsinki Airport.
Pet relief areas are not yet common at Northern European airports. In the United States, on the other hand, the law requires airports to have relief areas for assistance animals.
“The well-being of a pet or an assistance dog is very important to the owner of the animal. With services for people who fly with pets, we want to give passengers the opportunity to travel via a pet-friendly airport,” Hämäläinen says.
Relief areas can be found both indoors and outdoors
One of Helsinki Airport’s pet relief areas is located next to the bus station outside the terminal. The area is clearly marked to distinguish it from other green areas. It is easy for both arriving and departing passengers to use the area, regardless of what mode of transport they have arrived by. The area is also just a short walk from the arrival gates.
Image: The pet relief area which opened in December 2021 is located right in front of the bus station.
The other pet relief area is located indoors in the non-Schengen area at gate 51A–D. The relief area is an artificial grass–covered area of a couple of square metres built on top of a raised platform. Any liquid waste will flow through the bowl and down the drain. The grass-covered area is easy to rinse with a handheld showerhead after use.
Image: The indoor pet relief area at Helsinki Airport is located at gate 51 after passport control.
At both relief areas, solid waste needs to be collected in a bag and placed in a rubbish bin, just as one would when walking a dog anywhere else. To maintain a good level of hygiene, Finavia carries out regular cleaning of the pet relief areas.
About to travel with your pet? Read our instructions and check the frequently asked questions for travelling with a pet.
This article was originally published on 15 January 2020. The information in the article was updated in spring 2022.