7 Things to Know before Flying with Pets
Flying with pets: Find a Cheap Flight
This information applies to your pet animals. The rules are different for guide dogs and service animals. Ask your Travel Team Agent for pet travel regulations in before making travel plans because airlines can change their rules with little if any notice.
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- Pet travel isn’t free
Fees for pet travel range from about $75 to hundreds of dollars depending on the airline and depending on whether the animal travels in the cabin or as cargo. Cabin travel is almost always cheaper but not all pets qualify due to size restrictions. Ask a travel team agent at 1-800-788-0829 for details.
- Big pets vs. small pets
Only small animals can fly in airplane cabins. They are required to stay in carriers that are stowed under seats and the carriers must be roomy enough so your pet can stand up and turn around in them. Larger animals must fly in cargo. Note: Some airlines no longer fly animals as cargo, and some airlines forbid creatures like snakes and rodents in cabins. Ask a travel team agent at 1-800-788-0829 for details.
- Banned pets
Some airlines refuse to transport certain breeds of animals such as boxers and bulldogs and cats such as Persians or Himalayans. The reason for this seems to be the animals’ potential for breathing difficulties if transported in cargo. Ask a travel team agent at 1-800-788-0829 for details.
- All pets need reservations
You cannot just show up with fluffy and expect to fly; he too must have a reservation (space for animals in cabins is always limited). Pet reservations usually have to be made by phone and you may also have to fill out an online form and show proof from a veterinarian that the animal is fit to fly.
- Identification checklist
If anything happens to your pet, the airline will want to get in touch with you ASAP so make sure you:
- Securely tape your name and phone number both inside and outside the animal’s crate or carrier.
- Do the same with your veterinarian’s contact information.
- If your pet will wear a collar, make sure your contact information is on that or attached tag.
- Consider getting your pet micro-chipped.
- What pets are allowed to do on planes
Not much! Pets must stay in their carriers during the entire flight. Even if your seat mate wants to meet him, Fluffy is not allowed out. If the pet gets restless and barks a lot, you may be told he/she cannot fly. Prepare your pet in advance by getting him used to staying in a carrier; start practicing this a few weeks before the trip.
- Going through security
Visit TSA’s website for useful information on getting pets through security. For example, at security checkpoints, remove pets from carriers and walk or carry them through. Don’t even think about placing your pets on conveyor belts that X-ray bags. Yes, really, some people have done this; it’s not a good idea.
Consider this: Some pets may be better off staying at home, boarding in a kennel or with a petsitter. Think hard before you subject your buddy to the stresses of flying.
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