In the previous posts, we have talked about the travel with babies and children, travel during pregnancy, travel with special needs and now I will write a post for to those that want to travel with their pets.
The airline knows that your pets are a part of your family and welcome them on most of their flights. It is important to choose an airline that has the service like travelling with a pet. After you will find the airline (know that there are few airlines that do not provide such service), you will need to know their pet policy and restrictions.
For a comfortable journey, please follow some steps and prepare for your trip well in advance:
1. First of all, you should think if your pet is capable of flying. Does his state allow to fly? Maybe the pet is too young or too old? Probably it will be better to leave it at home or in a hotel for pets. If you have any doubts and the pet is travelling for the first time, you should consult a pet doctor.
2. Learn the airline’s regulations and restrictions of pet transportation. The pet transportation is paid additionally at the airport. The costs depend on pets (together with kennel) weight. Pets for emotional support, such as assistance dog, are transported free of charge. The pets that are until 5 kg (some airlines accepts until 10 kg) will be carried in the cabin. The pets that exceed the cabin weight allowance will be carried in the baggage hold.
3. Before booking the ticket you will have to contact the airline’s or travel agency’s reservation department by phone or by e-mail and inform them about your request. If the airline’s or travel agency’s site allows pre-bookings you can ask for the service after. Once the request is confirmed you can pay for the ticket. Some sites give the possibility to request pet service while making the booking. When the ticket is already booked and you have paid for it, contact the airline or travel agency within 24 hours and make the request for your pet but not later than 48 hours before departure.
It is important to make a reservation for your pet in advance for several reasons:
– there is a limited number of kennels in the cabin
– if in the plane already has a reservation a dog then the cat reservation will be denied and if in the plane travels already a cat – the dog will be denied
– the codeshare airline does not transport pets (yes, there are airlines that do not transport pets)
4. In the cabin, the pets should be transported in a special travel bag or kennel that should be large enough, so the pet can sit inside comfortably and be able to stand up and lay down comfortably. In my opinion, the suitable bag for travel is one made of flexible materials that are available in most pet stores. It is strictly not allowed during the journey to take your pet out of kennel or travel bag, even if you have booked an additional seat. The kennel or travel bag must be put under the seat in front of you.
In the hold, the pets are transported in containers. Make sure the pet can stand up, turn around and lay down in a natural position. The container should be from a solid waterproof material. The travel bag, kennel and container dimensions can be checked here.
Usually, you are allowed to travel with one pet. Some airline allows you to transport more than one pet, but the pets should be familiar to each other.
5. Before you fly, please check your pet has all necessary documents for air travel, such as Pet Passport, health certificate from pet doctor, including the vaccination document and the microchip of pet identification.
6. Make sure you are at the airport in time for check-in. Due to the fact that the ticket for your pet can be issued and paid only at the airport at check-in or airline’s office, you should be there nice and early.
7. Pets for emotional support. Guide dogs (seeing-eye/ hearing, assisting dogs) are carried on the board free of charge when accompanying a passenger with a disability. There is no weight and size limitation and the animal does not need to be caged. The dog should be on a leash, but not wear a muzzle (the person that travel with the guide dog should have one with oneself).
- try to choose an airline that serves the entire route from the beginning to end
- avoid the codeshare flights
- if it is possible – choose a direct flight
- for pets flying the baggage hold, in summer, because of high temperatures, choose morning and evening flights, in winter – afternoon flights
- when you travel with a pet for the first time it is better to make a booking with the airline and not travel agency
- if you already purchased the ticket and your pet was not accepted by the airline, it might be not possible to cancel the ticket. That is why first you should contact the airline, ensure the availability for your pet transportation and after proceeding to final ticket purchase.
- the requests made by e-mail are replied with delay
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