Considering a trip this summer and want to take your dog? While there are many requirements that a pet owner must meet before traveling by air with a dog; specific regulations will vary by airline. While most larger airlines work within the same guidelines, there are some tips you’ll need to know before purchasing your tickets and boarding.
Traveling with your dog in the friendly skies, what you need to know
- Must Be Vaccinated and have a Clean Bill of Health:
All airlines require that a dog that will be flying with you receive a full physical examination and be tested for various diseases (most commonly rabies) before they’ll be allowed to fly. Usually the airline will require that the exam certificate be dated within a certain amount of time before the date of the flight, so the exam you had your dog undergo two years ago will not suffice for a flight you intend to take next week.
- Dogs Cannot Fly Alone:
Every airline that was researched for this article has a rule against flying unaccompanied dogs from one point to another. Understand that dogs are considered to be cargo to the airline. You can’t send your luggage to a city somewhere across the country without going with it (only the airline can do that – insert rim shot here) and you can’t send your dog. Unaccompanied dogs must be transported by a licensed and approved pet transportation company.
- There May Be Some Weather Related Restrictions; Why its Best to Travel at Night:
Since the cargo hold of an airplane can become super hot, you may be grounded if the airline reports no live pets in the hold. The cargo hold on an airplane can become very hot. Because of this fact there are restrictions on what times of the year dogs may travel to and from certain cities. Most airlines will also enforce specifically weather and temperature related restrictions. For example, if the temperature in the arrival or departure city exceeds eighty or eighty five degrees Fahrenheit, pets will not be permitted on the plane.
- Pets in the Cabin:
Many airlines are now permitting the transport of pets in the cabin of the plane, provided they can fit into the in-cabin kennel cage (22” long by 9” high on most airlines). The cost for this service also varies by airline but is under $100.00 in most cases. This is a considerable improvement compared to the pets transported in the cargo hold which many consider an unsafe practice and which can cost more than $300.00 in some cases.
- International Flights:
The customs laws of many nations restrict the passage of dogs and other pets over their borders. Airlines must comply with these laws and in many cases your dog will not be able to join you on an international flight at all.