Pet Travel: Airline Info & Tips
Airline Friendly Pet Relocation Information
SPECIAL NOTE FROM BRIDGET: Many people have initial fears about their pets' (“children”) travel by air to their new home. My goal is to calm an anxious pet owner with education based on facts, some of which are listed below. I also like to let my clients know that I am very passionate about animals, and have been my whole life. I would never provide this unique service of air pet airline travel if I did not feel it was safe.
3 ways for your pet to travel the friendly skies
- In the Cabin: Under a passenger seat. This is limited to small pets that can fit in a container (soft or hard pet carrier/crate) that complies with very specific airline guidelines. The passenger cabin is generally limited to just a few cats, dogs or birds per flight.
- As a Ticketed Passenger: Your pet travels on the same flight as you, although it travels in the cargo area.
- As an Unaccompanied Pet: Your pet travels by itself or with pet "siblings" in the cargo area.
Differences between Airline Travel for Pets and for People:
- Pre-planning for a pet’s air travel is important!
- Pet airline tickets are paid for at the time they are checked in at the airport.
- The pet airline tickets may cost less if the pet is on the same flight as the owner.
- If the pet travels as cargo, the cost is based on the weight/size of the pet in its travel crate.
- Federal guidelines define the proper size requirements for your pet's travel crate. Pets can be turned away for many reasons upon check-in, for example: wrong size/brand of crate; documents not in order; the flight connection is too long/short or too many connections; pet appears to be sedated, aggressive, or ill; pet too young; lacking required vaccinations; not checked in on time; weather restrictions and more.
- A pet cannot travel on all airlines and all aircraft that people travel on; just because a person can travel on a flight does not mean a pet can.
- Generally a pet flight cannot have more than one connection.
- There are federal guidelines for temperature restrictions (heat & cold) which all pet shippers and airlines abide by. Some flights are restricted when there are temperature extremes, and occasionally an airport will have an embargo prohibiting air travel for pets. In these cases we provide full assistance in ensuring pet care until the next flight available.
- Pet travel requires a current vet check to ensure your animal is in good health.
- International pet relocation requirements for vaccination and documentation vary greatly and require much attention to detail and planning ahead of time!
Pet Shipping Safety Tips - Your pet's comfort & welfare is our top priority!
- Precondition your pet prior to the airline travel by letting them spend time in their travel crate/carrier.
- Keep your pet calm before, during and after the flight.
- Ensure your pet is healthy and is seen by his/her vet prior to the travel. This is required by the airlines. If a pet is on medications for a condition, be sure the pet is well-stabilized before air travel.
- An elderly pet will do fine as long as they are healthy, acclimated to their crate and have very comfortable bedding in their crate/carrier.
- Water is essential before, during, and after the flight for hydration.
- DO NOT sedate your pet (even if the vet says so). Most airlines have adopted policies to refuse shipment of a sedated animal.
- DO NOT feed your pet immediately prior to the flight.
- DO exercise your dog prior to the trip to the airport.
- DO NOT use a crate/carrier with damage such as cracked plastic or missing bolts/hardware.
- DO NOT place hard objects in your animal’s travel carrier/crate.
- DO allow enough time to get to the airport. Rushing to the airport can cause stress to you and your pets, and if you are late checking in the airline can refuse to accept your pet.
Pet Cargo Area Conditions/Regulations on the Aircraft: Airlines must meet the following requirements for pets to travel on the aircraft
- Temperature controlled environment - within 10 degrees of cabin temperature.
- Pressurized area where pets are.
- Sufficient oxygen for each pet in the designated area.
- Pet cargo area separated from luggage and all other goods.
- Families and/or types of pets are kept together when possible -- cats are by cats, dogs by dogs, birds by birds.
- Mechanics (moving parts) in the designated animal cargo area must be in perfect condition for any pet to fly on an airliner.
Happy Tails Travel is here to answer all of your questions such as:
- Should my pet receive tranquilizers prior to flying?
- Who will feed and/or water my pet while flying?
- What size/type of kennel will I need?
- How safe is my pet during transit?
- What can I do to ensure my pet is comfortable and safe during the journey?
- Are there any temperature restrictions and/or guidelines?
- Will special documentation be required?
- What is required of me to prepare my pet for the animal freight / animal cargo process?
- What immunization is needed for overseas travel?