We brought our cats from the UK (Heathrow-Heraklion via Athens) by air flying Aegean. I don’t know the procedure for going back to the UK, but would speak to Aegean in the 1st instance, they were very good. I think there are only a couple of airports that can handle pets coming into the country. DEFRA website gives details if I remember correctly. The basket was new and cost us £60 and has been used once.
Injections and passports etc are needed which most vets will know about.
Do you just need a DEFRA approved courier for flying back to the UK? When we brought our dog to Crete several years ago, DEFRA told us not to bother with a courier as it was easy to arrange ourselves – which it was with Thomson’s excellent help.
There are so many variables it changes every year sometimes month to month UK is one of the most difficult & expensive in Europe. Many airlines will not allow you to book pets in yourself last year all our UK transfers had to be booked onto flights by an approved UK pet travel company charter airlines would not deal with individuals.
IATA & UK DEFRA rules can be argued at check in till you go blue but if your cat carrier is the wrong dimensions for the airline or check in staff your pet will be left standing in departures.
Many successfully go it alone but we also know of those who have been refused check in with their cats stranded or have made it through check in with incorrect passports only to have their pet impounded on arrival in the UK resulting in a 21 day quarantine bill.