Air Travel With Pets
As the months get warmer and the kids get cooped up in the house, while you are going stir-crazy at the office, you and your family must be looking to take a vacation to get away from it all. But there’s an issue. What do you do with your pet? Surely, your beloved dog or cat must be looking to see a new locale as well.
Well, it may surprise most pet owners to know that you CAN take your furry friend along on the flight, but there are some important facts to know before take off. This is even more so today, as airlines have changed a lot regarding “luggage” due to the 9-11 terrorist attacks and cost-cutting measures they’ve instituted to make up for their rising fuel costs.
First, make sure your pet is completely up to date on it’s health certificates and vaccines. Your veterinarian should be able to provide documentation, to assure the safety of your pet for both the airline, and for any other animals on board. Also, be sure to book a NONSTOP flight, and take the temperature into consideration. Considering the heat of these “dog days” of summer, experts suggest that you fly during the evening, where temperatures are cooler. Concurrently, if you’re looking to travel during cooler seasons, daytime flight is better, as it provides warmer temperatures.
The second major consideration is HOW your pet will be traveling along with you. The US Humane Society suggests your pet fly on board or in cabin, assuring your pets safety. Should you use this method of travel, we recommend a luxury pet tote, such as those available from PETote.com. If you’d prefer to purchase from a brick-and-mortar retailer, vendors including PetSmart have a wide variety of totes that have been approved for airline usage.
But what if you can’t take your pet in cabin? Your next best option is cargo travel, which requires more planning and thought, but given the extra effort, will insure that your animal gets to it’s destination safe and sound. For this form of travel, we recommend a quality vari-kennel, by a manufacturer such as PetMate or Imperia. These can be purchased both online and in store for anywhere from $16 to $235, depending on quality and the size of your pet.
Lastly, before you confirm your trip, be sure to check the regulations and restrictions for your airline of choice. For example Northwest Airlines allows carry-on of your pets, but will charge an additional $80 for each pet transported. In the case of American Airlines, you can only take a pet on a flight to the congruent 48 states (sorry, no Hawaii), and they have important specifications for the size of your pet and it’s carrier.
Frontier Airlines does not accept pets in the airline cabin other than those trained to assist people with disabilities. Frontier allows two pets per passenger as checked baggage for $100 dollars per animal one-way and $200 round trip. Temperature, size, and breed restrictions may apply. However, on United Airlines your dog or cat can travel in the cabin with you, accompanying you as checked baggage or unaccompanied as cargo. All options require advance reservations and are subject to a charge. Temperature, size and breed restrictions again may apply.
You may be reading this and saying to yourself, “This is all well and good for the United States, but what if I’m traveling internationally?” Worry not, as we’ve also uncovered the key facts for international animal travel.
First, contact the embassy of the country you’re embarking to as to insure all pet travel specifications. Next, contact your veterinarian to insure your pet is up to date on all vaccines and health documentation, not just for the United States, but also for the country you’re heading to–with documentation. Also, be sure to contact the Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (a member of the USDA) for all information regarding the export of animals, to make sure you aren’t in violation of any laws for the transport of living animals.
Whether locally or internationally, these are just but a few tips to ensure a great traveling experience for both you and your pet. After all, everyone in the family should enjoy a great vacation, no matter if they have two legs or four.
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