Want to get away but don't want to leave your furry friends behind? Pets can be a lot of work and can rely heavily on human companionship. And just like kids would feel abandoned if you left them behind, pets too don't like to be separated from their handlers. Unfortunately, traveling with a pet isn't so easy all the time, especially if you are planning to fly. Most airlines have a policy regarding this issue. Some airlines do not welcome pets in the slightest while others are a little more accommodating. If you are planning to fly domestically or internationally, but aren't sure which airlines are right for you and your best boy (or girl), read on to learn more and find out the best ways to save on your flight.
Before you even consider booking a flight for you and your pet, you should consider your pet's health. Consulting a vet is the best way to make sure your pet is suited for travel. Find out about your pets normal temperature, respiratory rate, pulse, and any health issues that may be a concern. When flying internationally, different countries and airlines have different policies regarding entry into the country. Your pet may be required to have certain vaccinations, blood tests and microchips to identify them. You can research the requirements on the United States Department of Agriculture website. It should be noted that some places like Hawaii are exceedingly difficult for pets to enter, requiring up to 120 days of quarantine unless pets meet certain pre-arrival requirements, in which case they may be out of quarantine in less than five days.
In addition to their physical health, you'll want to make sure your dog or cat is mentally prepared for the flight. Make sure that dogs are obedient or friendly or they may be disruptive. You'll also want to crate train them. Purchase a sturdy crate that is the correct size for your pet. One that is too big will ensure your pet is tossed around to their discomfort. The crate will also need to meet the airline's requirements. Some typical requirements include closed kennels, without wheels, a leakproof floor, and handles. Kennels should also be marked as containing a live animal. Once you've selected a crate, put your pet in it multiple times, well before your travel date, so they can get used to it. Also do remember to select a non-stop flight to make sure your pet is not mishandled between flights.
When it comes to domestic airline policies, some airlines like Delta will allow pets to be carried onboard for a fee if they weigh 10 pounds or less. For service animals, Delta requires 48-hour notice with documentation. American Airlines allows service animals onboard at no charge, but they must fit on your lap, at your feet or under the seat. However, they are not allowed in the exit rows. If your pet is not a service animal, there is a $125 fee to carry-on or a $175 fee to keep in the cargo hold. Southwest's pet fee is only $95 for small pets. Like AA, United Airlines will fly your pet for $125.
International airlines also have their own unique policies when it comes to pets and service animals. Air Canada only accepts dogs as service animals and requires 48-hour notice. JetBlue flights welcome service animals for free and charges $100 per pet for each way. Pets 20 pounds and under are welcome. Air France has the cheapest pet fees allowing pets onboard starting at about $33.
But no matter which airline you choose, before flying, be sure to check with the airport and airline regarding pet policies and give plenty of notice that you intend to fly with your pet. Safe traveling to you and all your fur babies!