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Old 03-16-2009, 07:45 AM   #1
Amber Mathwig
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Best airline to fly with pets?

Ok, I've been stressing on the logistics of PCS'ing for several weeks now, and as the time gets closer and closer, the main problem still remains with the best and least stressful way to get our elderly dog and cat from San Diego to Norfolk.

Driving them is my preferred LAST option because I have to stop in San Antonio for a school (and our other car is already on the east coast). I would have to double-back to SD to get them, and my graduation date to report date doesn't really allow for that.

If anyone has opinions on the best airlines to fly with pets, I'd appreciate it! Lower cost would be great, but more importantly, how well do the baggage handlers do with the dog crates and an airline where I can bring Kitty on as my carry-on would be great. Any thoughts on airlines to stay away from are also appreciated.

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Old 03-16-2009, 08:28 AM   #2
Vanessa Lee
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Re: Best airline to fly with pets?

Amber this is all I could find on a quick search but can't vouch for any of them. http://www.my-favorite-dog.com/airli...allow-pets.htm Worksafe

I only traveled with my babies once and they had to go into cargo cause we flew to a Muslim country. Make sure that they put the dogs on the same plane as you! And ask whether the compartment is temperature controlled. Cause it will be freezing if they don't turn on the heat. Oh and don't give them any sedatives on the flight! A lot of docs say you should, by my doc in Germany said DO NOT under any circumstances do that! If the baby gets a reaction on the plane then there will nobody there to help!

Kitty should generally be allowed on your lap in a container (if she's under 4kg)

Maybe there's some pet travel agency that you could ring up and ask them what they use
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:40 AM   #3
Vanessa Lee
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Re: Best airline to fly with pets?

Please just don't fly with Egypt Air!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkywyFKQyA0 Worksafe
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:28 AM   #4
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Best airline to fly with pets?

Alaska flew my cats from Boston to Seattle in cargo. The cats were fine, and it was about as unstressful for me as possible.

For a cross-country trip, I would definitely recommend flying. As my vet put it, flying isn't much fun, but will be over in hours. Driving is less stressful, but still not much fun, and takes days. Use a direct flight if at all possible, even if it costs more.

If at all possible, give your animals lots of time to acclimate to their carriers. Feed them in the carrier, throw treats in the carrier, contain them in it for progressively longer periods, and take them for progressively longer drives in it. Teach them that carrier = safety.

On sedatives, consult your vet. The two issues are (a) sedatives reduce the animal's ability to self-regulate temperature, and (b) sedatives reduce the animal's ability to stabilize themselves against in-flight turbulence. My vet recommended half the normal dose--enough to take the edge off, but not enough to be dangerous. He also recommended testing the dose I was planning to use in advance to see how the cats responded to it. Your vet can also help you with any special concerns for elderly animals.

Things to be aware of:
Find and read the airline's pet policy. Assume that it will be enforced in the least convenient way. If they say that a carrier has to be big enough for the animal to stand up and turn around, but such a carrier is two inches too big to be a carry-on... assume your cat is flying cargo.

Pay careful attention to the restrictions regarding weather and so forth. These are inconvenient, but really are a safety issue.

There are limits on the total number of pets per flight, both in cargo and in the passenger cabin. Make reservations early, and make sure your pets have a reservation too. Ask any questions about carriers and such when you make the reservation so you'll have time to go to the pet supply store if needed. (There's a good chance it will be needed. Just because Murphy said so.)

Good luck! Hope this helps!

Katherine

PS Gratuitous (but safe) kitten pictures: http://www.kew.com/blog/kitten/archi..._above_l.shtml
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Old 03-16-2009, 11:00 AM   #5
Wendy Nelson
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Re: Best airline to fly with pets?

You should post this on the "dog thread" or maybe the mods could move it. There's bound to be some folks over there that have moved their four legged family members and could give you the benefit of their knowledge.

I used to work for Fedex loading cargo and the airline next to us routinely offloaded animals in those carriers. It would pain me to see them sit on the tarmac for hours in the heat only to be tossed onto a baggage cart like a duffel bag by some cargo handler making $8.25 an hour. Granted it's only one city and one airline so take it as you will. It really sucks they charge so much too, that makes no sense at all given the lack of services the dog gets.

Here's one link W/F/S
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Busin...5566746&page=1

I found more but tragedy always makes the headlines. It could be there are many more successful flights that we never hear about. Good Luck
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Old 03-16-2009, 12:35 PM   #6
Amber Mathwig
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Re: Best airline to fly with pets?

Thanks, ladies! I think I just needed to calm down a bit and really look into it all (I've felt too overwhelmed before). Looks like United is the way to go - very extensive rules/regs on their website, appropriate price for me and the pets and although we can't get a direct flight to Norfolk, we can get pretty darn close.
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Old 03-16-2009, 01:54 PM   #7
Shawn Casey
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Re: Best airline to fly with pets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber Mathwig View Post
Ok, I've been stressing on the logistics of PCS'ing for several weeks now, and as the time gets closer and closer, the main problem still remains with the best and least stressful way to get our elderly dog and cat from San Diego to Norfolk.

Driving them is my preferred LAST option because I have to stop in San Antonio for a school (and our other car is already on the east coast). I would have to double-back to SD to get them, and my graduation date to report date doesn't really allow for that.

If anyone has opinions on the best airlines to fly with pets, I'd appreciate it! Lower cost would be great, but more importantly, how well do the baggage handlers do with the dog crates and an airline where I can bring Kitty on as my carry-on would be great. Any thoughts on airlines to stay away from are also appreciated.


Of course, It had to be you that made this post. CrossFitters know everything. I think I'll make some off the wall posts. What's the best cheesecake? Who's the best company to clear my septic tanks? What's the meaning of life? Who was in the grassy nole? Does God have feet?
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:22 PM   #8
Giles Clarke
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Re: Best airline to fly with pets?

Amber,
My family flew from Minnesota to Orlando, Fl with 2 dogs and 2 guinea pigs (yes, you read that right) in crates and they were fine. The vet sedated both of the dogs and they were fine. He kept them overnight at the kennel the day prior in order to make sure neither dog had any reaction. We picked them both up on the way to the airport. We flew NorthWest Airlines and they did a great job. From the terminal we could see the baggage handlers on the tarmac. Our crates were the last ones loaded on and the first taken off. The animals probably spent no more than 15 minutes, total, on the tarmac at both ends.
When we got to the new house, the dogs slept for most of the evening and the guinea pigs did...well, whatever it is that guinea pigs do.
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