Tips and Tricks for Air Travel With Your Dog

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Discover How to Fly With Your Dog

Dogs are part of the family and it can be a tough decision to leave them behind, especially if you're traveling somewhere you know they'll love it. Many people also have support animals for medical reasons and need to have their pets with them. Road trips are easy - dogs can come in the car, but what should you do if you need to fly on a plane? What are the rules and costs? Where will your dog go to relieve himself? Can your dog sit on your lap in the booth? Read on to learn everything you need to know about air travel with your furry friend.

Travel in the cabin or cargo hold

In general, having your pet with you in the cabin is safer than putting it in a cargo box. However, the size and weight of your dog, his temperament and the space available can make the decision for you based on the different policies of each airline. You will need to check the procedures before booking your flights. In many cases, pets over 20 pounds will need to go to the cargo hold if the airline has a pressurized, temperature-controlled cargo that is safe for pets. Some airlines, such as Delta, allow pets to travel in the cabin or to be shipped on a separate aircraft through the Delta Cargo service. That said, many airlines have suspended pet travel due to restrictions.

Whether you choose cabin or cargo, choose a direct flight if possible to make the experience less stressful for your pet. Longer travel times on multiple flights expose your pet to additional handling and increase the risk of something going wrong. Airplanes get delayed, canceled, and changed all the time and it's best to take some of the variables where you can.

Book flights in advance

The first thing to know is that space in the pet hut is often limited. Book as early as possible to ensure you get one of the coveted spots. Also, remember that most airlines do not allow pets to travel in the exit queue, as this space must be open to passengers in case of emergency.

When selecting your flights, consider the weather and time of year. If your pet is a cargo in winter, fly during the day when the hold is warmer; If you are traveling in the summer, fly early or late in the day to avoid extreme heat.

Expect to pay additional fees

When flying with your dog, whether in cargo, in the cabin, or on a larger cargo plane, you need to plan for additional expenses. United Airlines, for example, charges $ 125 each way, plus an additional service fee of $ 125 for each stop over four hours. You will also need to purchase an additional ticket for your pet if you bring it on board. For other airlines, putting your pet in charge will require even higher fees.

Get to the airport early

Make sure you arrive at the airport early enough to exercise your pet before boarding. You will want to visit the relief area, all airports have animal relief areas, so your pet does not feel uncomfortable during the flight. You may want to postpone supplying your dog with food or water, depending on the length of your flights. If you're giving your pet a vet-prescribed sedative, you'll need to make sure the timing works best.

If your dog is traveling with a load, you will probably need to drop him off at a designated location, which is different from his usual check-in or pick-up location, a few hours before his flight. You will also have to pick up your pet at a specific location, which is usually different from where you pick up your checked luggage.

Also, keep in mind that pets do not go through the airport X-ray machine with their carry-on luggage. When you arrive at the security guard, remove your pet from the cart, send the empty cart through the machine, and go through security with your pet. After that, you will put your pet back in the carrier. At the airport, dogs, unless they are registered service animals, must remain in their crate at all times, unless they are in the animal care area.

Learn about federal regulations and airline policies

There are no established rules for passengers who wish to travel with their pets on airplanes. You will need to check with your airline to find out exactly what the procedures are. The Federal Aviation Administration allows each airline to decide whether passengers can travel with their pets in the cabin, where their kennel will be considered carry-on luggage and must follow normal baggage rules for size and weight.

However, some policies are implemented for all operators. The Department of Transportation, for example, requires that all US airlines allow passengers to bring their service animals in the cabin. As of January 11, the DOT defines a service animal as a dog that is trained to perform tasks or work for the benefit of a person with a disability. They are considered working animals and do not need to be confined to an aircraft carrier while on board the aircraft.

Pets under the age of eight weeks cannot fly according to federal regulations. Some airlines, like United Airlines, require cats and dogs to be at least 16 weeks old.

Some carriers do not allow dogs in the cargo area, while others do not allow dogs in the cabin, and some airlines do not allow certain breeds, such as Pit Bulls, to travel in the cabin regardless of size.

Each airline also has special rules about the allowed size of kennels. In most cases, the carrier should fit under the seat in front of you or at your feet, but it should be large enough for the animal to get up and turn around. This clearly means that small pets are much easier to travel than larger animals.

Safety precautions

If your pet is elderly, weak, ill, or frail in any way, you may want to reconsider flying with your pet and choose an alternative means of transportation. It is better to take a long trip or train ride than to put your pet in unnecessary danger. Be sure to check with your vet before traveling, as some breeds may not handle the stress of travel as well as others.

In an emergency, oxygen will not be available for your pet as it will be reserved for passengers only.

Also, remember that pets have already died traveling in cargo holds. United Airlines, for example, was criticized for mistreating a pet that died in the upper luggage compartment, without air flow, during a flight. Although it is horrible to read, it is important to be informed in order to better protect your pet while traveling.

Emotional service and support animals

In December 2020, the Department of Transportation stated that emotional support animals are considered pets, only dogs are eligible as service animals, and that airlines may limit the number of service animals allowed per passenger. (For more information on the decision, see our article on the announcement.) In response to that decision, which will take effect on January 11, several major airlines are no longer accepting emotional support animals and non-canine service animals.

Policies vary widely by airline, so be sure to read the fine print carefully. But in general, emotional support animals will now have to travel as hand or dispatched pets, and service animals may need a DOT service animal air travel form.

Other elements to consider

Make sure your pet's identification and vaccination tags are up to date with current contact details. You may want to consider microchipping your pet, which is important if it loses its leash and wanders away from you, and may be necessary on some international flights.

Find information on where there is an on-call veterinarian where you will be traveling and record the details on your cell phone so you have them in case of an emergency.

Take some time before your trip to familiarize your pet with the carrier that he will be traveling in, whether in the cargo hold or in the cabin. You'll want to make sure your pet is comfortable and acclimated to being confined for hours on end.

What to pack

In addition to the pre-flight health certificates provided by a licensed veterinarian, make sure you have all the vaccination details on hand. You will need to bring your current medications or prescriptions. Pack a bowl of travel water so you can keep your pet hydrated. Comfort items for your pet may include a familiar scent blanket, a soft toy (avoid squeaky toys to avoid disturbing other passengers), or something to chew on such as raw skin or bones. However, in general, you'll want to keep items in the box to a minimum for safety and convenience.

We hope you enjoy watching this video about how to travel with your dog on an airplane

Source: Travel Tips by Laurie

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