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Facts About Pet Air Travel


Facts About Pet Air Travel – It happens over and over, every day.

Show pets travel by air to dog and cat shows.

Household pets fly with their families on vacation or as part of a move across the country or to a foreign land.

Facts About Pet Air Travel – If your pet is about to embark on their first airplane trip, you are undoubtedly concerned to know what pet air travel really entails.

Facts About Pet Air Travel – Here are Some Key Facts Every Caring Pet Owner Should Know Before Traveling

Facts About Pet Air TravelPet Travel is on the Rise

Globally speaking, we live in an increasingly pet-friendly culture.

More than two million pets now fly each year on American air carriers alone.

You can’t buy an extra seat for your dog unless you’re flying JSX or JetBlue Airways.

Generally speaking, traveling with a dog as a “carry-on luggage” item usually incurs a lower fee than if it travels in the belly of the plane as cargo.

And by the way, a pet in its carrier counts as your carry-on bag.

Facts About Pet Air Travel – Taking Your Pet on Board Isn’t Necessarily a Good Idea

The pet carrier must be leak proof and well ventilated.

Your pet must be able to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably.

Your pet must remain in their carrier at all times, from the point at which they undergo security screening until arrival at final destination.

Pets are required to stay in their carrier throughout your domestic flight, stored under the seat in front of you.


Facts About Pet Air Travel – Taking Your Pet on Board Isn’t Necessarily a Good Idea

It sounds so much simpler.

Pack your cat or small dog in a shoulder bag carrier, and they become your carry-on. Some airlines allow you to do that, however:

You still need to purchase a ticket for your pet.

You still have to acquire all the health documentation required by your destination.

You’ll also have to bring a water dish, a snack, a leash, a toy, and clean-up items.

They will have to spend the entire time in their carrier, under the seat in front of you – no lap time en route.

Some airlines or destination countries won’t allow pets to travel in-cabin.

This can be quite doable on a short, direct flight, but for long or multiple flights the hassle will quickly outweigh any benefits.

And if your pet raises a ruckus or – heaven forbid – does their business during the flight, well let’s just say you won’t achieve Good Neighbor status.

Facts About Pet Air Travel – Top 14 Pet Travel Statistics

70% of US households own at least one pet.
Every year, 78% of Americans travel with their pets.
More than half of travelers (60%) worldwide take their pets with them when they holiday.
25 million dog owners bring their dogs along for a vacation in pet-friendly hotels.
37% of dog owners opt to stay home with their pets rather than travel.
75% of American hotels ranging from luxury, midscale, and economy, allow pets.
There are around 2,500 pet-friendly Choice Hotels across the country.
81% of pet parents prefer staying in pet-friendly hotels over other forms of accommodation.
10% of people have snuck their pets into a hotel through their luggage.
58% of people have found the process of traveling with their pets difficult.
38% of pet parents find driving with their pets easier than flying with them.
29% of pet owners have reported being distracted by their dogs while behind the wheel.
Alaska Airlines is the most popular airline for pet transportation, flying 107,042 pets in one year.
Between the start of 2015 and the end of 2020, United Airlines reported 45 pet deaths and 42 pet injuries.

There’s a Lot of Paperwork for International Pet Travel

Just like you need a passport, your pet needs travel documents, too.

Pets not only have to prove their identity, but they also have to prove they are in good health in order to enter another country.

Most airlines require a valid health certificate for travel completed by your veterinarian in order for your cat to fly with you.

Be sure all relevant vaccinations are up to date and be sure to have your cat’s rabies vaccination certificate handy when traveling.

It can be time-consuming to acquire the necessary paperwork, but the rules are there to protect the health and safety of everyone.

The most important fact to know about paperwork.

Every country has its own set of rules, and they all expect 100% compliance.

As soon as possible, find out what is required for your destination, and get the ball(s) rolling.

That way you’ll have everything you need by the time your pet is ready to depart.

Facts About Pet Air Travel – Air Travel is Very Safe for Pets

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association, “more than 4 million pets and other live animals are transported by air every year worldwide.

Less than 0.01 percent of pets that travel by air have an incident.”

To put that in perspective, consider the fact that more than 100,000 dog deaths occur each year when they fall or are ejected from (pickup) truck beds.

The World is Watching & That’s a Good Thing

With pet owners, animal rights groups, and the general public looking closely over their shoulders, most airlines are more diligent than ever about protecting the health and safety of pets and other animals entrusted to their care.

That Said, Not Every Airline Treats Animals The Same

Air carriers that bill themselves as pet-friendly transport pets in cargo areas that are pressurized, oxygenated, and temperature-controlled like the passenger cabin.

Some airlines take additional steps to ensure the safe, compassionate handling of pets in their care, and a few go over the moon for their feline and canine guests.

Weather Can Affect Your Pet’s Ability to Travel

Except for the occasional blizzard or hurricane, you can fly regardless of the weather.

Not so for pets. Airlines will not accept animals if they deem it too hot or too cold at any stop on the itinerary.

This protects pets in transit to and from the plane, but it can cause a last-minute change in your pet’s travel plans. It’s not something you can control, but it is something to be aware of.

Facts About Pet Air Travel – There Are Ways to Ease Pet Travel Stress

Taking specific steps to prepare your pet for a move will reduce anxiety and stress when travel day arrives. Likewise, there are things you can do ahead of time and after you arrive to help dogs and cats acclimate to their new home.

Hiring a Professional Pet Transport Company Will Ease Your Stress

Facts About Pet Air Travel – Hiring a Professional

Whether you’re going on vacation or moving, you have plenty on your mind.

Hiring a professional pet transport company eliminates the burden, frustration, fear, and worry associated with pet travel preparation.

Choosing an experienced, highly-rated company that belongs to the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) ensures your pet’s experience will be as safe and comfortable as possible.

Moving overseas is an emotional experience. You’re excited about the adventure – so many new things to see and do and learn (and eat).

On top of all that, there’s the emotional stress of moving itself

. Nobody likes moving, and if you’re headed overseas you’ll have to make some serious downsizing decisions.

Even if your employer is paying to ship your belongings, you can’t take everything with you.

It’s too expensive, and chances are you’ll be living in smaller quarters.

Facts About Pet Air Travel – How to Get Started

Make lists of everything you need to do – and use a calendar to track the timing.

The time will pass faster than you think, and you’re leaving the country.

It’s not like you can just deal with it later.


In General, There Are 3 Primary Ways Your Pet Can Travel With You

Your pet can travel on the plane with you (either in-cabin, as accompanied baggage, or as cargo).

Your pet will be charged accordingly.

Some airlines no longer offer this option and some countries do not allow pets to enter the country in-cabin.

You can book your pet on a separate flight. You will be charged the cargo rate, which is considerably more than excess baggage.

However, most airlines no longer allow pet owners to book their pets directly with the airline as cargo.

You can have your pet shipped through a licensed commercial shipper.

You will be charged the cargo rate plus the pet shipper’s fee. Many airlines now require this method unless your pet is small enough to fit in the cabin.

As a rule, animals 100 lbs. or larger (including the weight of the cage) will be charged as cargo even if they travel on the same plane as you.

Check with the airline if your pet is close to that weight and to determine if the airline policy may vary from this general 100 lb. rule.

Deciding What to Pack

When it comes to your belongings, you have to make four decisions:

What to put into long-term storage. Is this a permanent move, or do you expect to return to your current home in the future?

If you’ll be back at some point, this can be a cost-effective option.

What to have the movers pack for shipping overseas (ask your international moving company for advice).

What to take with you in your luggage and carry-ons. Valuables such as jewelry and vital personal papers belong here.

And here’s a tip: pack them in vacuum-sealed bags, and you’ll be amazed at how much more you can fit.

Beware of checked-baggage weight limits, though.

What will make this easier? Get a friend to help.

Other people aren’t as emotionally invested in your stuff as you are, so they can be dispassionate about what should stay or go.

Plus, there’s an upside – by starting early, you won’t have to simply give it all away at the last minute.

Charitable donations are a good thing, but you can also sell items on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, to friends and relatives, at a garage sale, etc.

Use the money you earn as a “new home stash” to purchase locally-appropriate clothing or items for your new home.

Facts About Pet Air Travel – Get Your Paperwork in Order

From passports and visas to updates on your family’s immunizations, you’ll need current documentation to move overseas. It is critical to start the paperwork process early if you’re moving with pets.

Every country has different animal import requirements, and they can be both extensive and confusing. 

What will make this easier? Hiring an experienced professional pet transport company to handle the details.

You already have more than enough on your mind, and your to-do list is long.

Letting a pro handle your pet’s documentation and flight arrangements and coordinate the entire process might be the single smartest decision you make for your overseas move.

Facts About Pet Air Travel – Best Practices When Traveling With Your Dog

Plan bathroom breaks.

Before you leave home, teach your dog to relieve themself on multiple surfaces — not just grass.

Having the ability to go to the bathroom on different terrains, such as concrete, mulch, and gravel, will alleviate discomfort as well as the possibility of accidents while you’re on the road or otherwise.

Bring a supply of poop bags to clean up afterward and a leash.

Bring games and toys.

To make sure your dog doesn’t get bored, provide them with a few new toys — and a couple of old favorites. You might want to include a puzzle-type toy to keep them occupied.

Pack food and water.

Check with your veterinarian about giving your dog only bottled water while away from home to ensure that they don’t get an upset stomach.

And instead of taking their usual bulky bowls, buy collapsible ones and let them get used to using them one week or so before you travel.

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