The first article in this series contained general information about traveling with pets. The second article contains tips for flying your pets on commercial flights.
Pet parents should think carefully about flying their pets on commercial airlines especially if they plan on checking them as baggage. Unless your pet is small enough to fit in a carrier that will fit under your seat and the airline allows you to bring pets in the cabin, you may not want to fly with your pet.
The various airlines have different rules and regulations on pet travel including restrictions on breeds and size, whether they allow pets in the main cabin, the number of pets allowed on each flight and whether they charge for checked kennels. Most airlines require a health certificate issued within 10 days of the departure date. You should check with your airline well in advance for their current regulations. Current rules and regulations for pet travel are available on the websites of most major airlines.
You should choose the most direct flight to your destination. This will help reduce the stress on you and your pet. Reconfirm your flights the day before travel to ensure there have been no unexpected flight changes that may impact your pet. Get to the airport early, exercise your pet, personally place it in its crate, and pick up the animal promptly upon arrival at your final destination if you have to check your pet as baggage. When boarding the plane, let the flight attendant know that your pet is in the baggage compartment.
Whether your pet travels in the cabin with you or in the baggage compartment, he/she should be completely comfortable with the kennel or carrier that he/she will be traveling in. Trying to escape from a kennel is one of the most common causes of injury to pets traveling by air.
Ask your veterinarian for advice on feeding your pet prior to air travel. Air travel on an almost empty stomach is usually recommended. The age and size of your pet, the time and length of your flight, and your pet’s regular dietary routine will be considered when feeding recommendations are made. Tranquilizers are generally not recommended because of the increased risk of heart or respiratory problems.
- ASPCA’s Top 10 Tips for Safe Air Travel with Your Pet
- Federal Aviation Administration pet travel website
- Federal Aviation Administration – pets in the passenger cabin
- U. S. Department of Transportation information on transporting live animals