Has anyone had any experience traveling by air with their dogs? I am thinking mostly in the cabin with me, but also experiences transporting in the cargo area would be interesting to hear about too. I am trying to decide if driving a 6 month old corgi pup from WA to CO is better or trying to travel with him by air. It would be a direct flight only. How did you dog handle the experience. Any problems, barking, whining, restlessness etc when in the cabin with you? Would you do it again. Better or worse than traveling by air with a human baby? BTW, this little boy is used to traveling in the car in his crate and is a very good traveler ( no barking,whining or throwing up!). Thanks !
After my Mother passed away, I had to fly her Cairn Terrier from Pennsylvania to San Francisco. My brother and sister-in-law were going to adopt him. He wasn't crate trained, but the trip was uneventful and I would do it again.
I purchased an approved travel carrier at PetSmart, stuffed him in it and off we went. He was a tad too big for the carrier, but I was bound and determined that he was going to fly in the cabin with me since that's how I made the reservation. I had to put him under the seat in front of me, so I didn't have any leg room. He never made a peep, and I was able to open the zipper just enough so that I could stick my fingers in with him occasionally. We had a connecting flight and plane change, so when we got to our first destination I had to carry him off. People on the plane then realized what I had, and everyone was surprised that I had a live dog with me and that he never made a sound.
When we were in the terminal between plane changes, I opened the zipper wide enough that he could stick his head out and see what was going on. He liked to chew on ice cubes, so I gave him ice cubes during the flight for hydration. Everything went smoothly, and I would do it again if it was a necessity.
I have taken two puppies with me on two flights (from Houston to Sacramento) five years apart, which is a very long trip with baby pups. They took it very well - slept most of the time, really - and it was remarkably easy to accomplish, really.
Yes, they were in soft crates under the seat and I had a layover that allowed time for them to play in the restroom (boy, were we popular!) and use the piddle pad I offered them.
It was a positive experience. I would do it again.
Don't tell me about what you can't do. That's boring. Show me what you can do. - Mom
I just flew with an eight week old corgi puppy from Indianapolis to Orlando and it was easy for him! He was quiet the whole time - at least I think he was since the plane was full of excited kids and their families headed to DisneyWorld! I played with him outside to tire him out before I headed to the gate. It was an uncomfortable flight for me since there was nowhere to move my feet for the entire flight.
AND I want to add a heads up to Southwest Airlines.........one of their agents was watching us from inside and met us at the door and took us straight to the head of the TSA security line (so no waiting in line!) and then escorted us to the gate. This was all on their own initiative!
I have traveled with my 11 lb JRT. The first time the plane was nearly empty and the flight attendant told me it was okay to take her out of the carry "bag." The second time I merely went to pet her by unzipping it a tiny bit and the FA snapped at me. Both times it was a direct flight and she was quiet. Just wish the airlines didn't charge so much. Seems crazy to charge so much for a "carry on" bag.
I'm a flight attendant. Let me first say that I personally would not ship one of my dogs in a cargo hold, there is just too much that could go wrong too easily. Flying with you in the cabin is a great option if your dog is small enough- a six month old corgi might be borderline. If your dog is a good traveler in his crate in the car he should be just fine traveling in an aircraft. Soft-sided crates work much better under the seats than the hard plastic ones, and always take extra food, water, potty pads and any medication in case of unexpected delays or diversions.
Check with your airline when you make your flight reservation, there are limits to the number of pets allowed in the cabin and some airlines require health certificates. Also there are strict FAA regulations about pets in the cabin, like the pet must remain in the carrier at all times and the carrier must remain under the seat and fit all the way under the seat, and there are certain areas where you can't be seated with a pet. The flight crew aren't just being mean- they get in a lot of trouble (like getting fired or having to pay huge fines) if passengers don't obey the rules.
My mother bred and showed dogs for years. She shipped sold dogs all over the world. She never had a problem shipping dogs to buyers nor did her handler when shipping to dog shows. I'm sure that thousands of sold dogs get shipped by air all the time. It can't be all that horrible. If that was the case, breeders would have a hard time shipping dogs to buyers across the country.
I would assume that crated dogs in cargo receive special handling by the baggage crew. I don't think they just throw them in the hold with the rest of the suitcases?
I've never flown with a dog, but I would be really worried about shipping one in the summer because of delays on the tarmac. The animal shelter in Pittsburgh shipped Shadow to me in Boston as "cargo" on USAir, and they were really nice to me while I was waiting for him. The plane had to disembark (ha!) the passengers at the terminal and then the ground crew had to drive Shadow over to the cargo receiving area. Everyone was really nice and oohing and ahhing over him.
It is probably different these days - you probably get the pet right in the passenger terminal if it's on the same flight as you are.
I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry
Tarragon, nothing against the flight attendant. Just thought it was funny how different my two experiences were. Regardless dog did fine both times. My brother shipped his cat to me to take care of while he was living somewhere that did not allow pets(in cargo.) The cat was scared badly and took weeks to recover, mentally....
I know animals do get shipped all the time and do okay though. Think it depends on the particular animal.
I'm sure plenty of dogs are shipped cargo every day with no problems, but personally I've seen animal crates slung off of speeding tugs, I know exactly how very little care those minimum-wage paid baggage handlers being pushed to get every plane turned faster and faster are going to take with any particular crate, I've seen dogs being chased all over the airport after they've gotten loose, I know that in the event of a mechanical or weather delay an animal crate might sit on the tarmac or in the hold, in any weather for extended periods of time with no temperature control, and that if for any reason the pilots get any abnormal readings from the cargo hold (for example, a can of hairspray or deodorant spraying in someone's luggage can trigger the cargo fire sensors) standard practice is to release halon fire extinguishers that smother all oxygen from the hold. One of the airlines just banned a few certain breeds from flying because so many of them die during shipment each year.
All of those things are random chances that might not happen, but I regard my animals too highly and worry about them way too much to take those chances. If you do have to ship an animal, PetAir is a great option, or there are some very good ground transportation companies that operate in much that same way as commercial equine shippers.
I travelled with my chiihuahua last year from FL to MA, and did run into some issues. Be sure that you check the pet rules for the airline you are travelling on, and that you know what size plane you will be on. They have the exact measurements for the pet carriers online that they will accept, but bear in mind that the TSA and airline personell can challenge you at any point. The dog has to be able to stand up comfortably and turn around. My chihuahua was 6 lbs, and I was flying out of a Regional airport, so had to go with a small carrier. I forget what size the carrier was - I want to say 15 inches long by 10 inches high - and he was comfortable in there. He slept on leg one of the journey. I was able to take him out for a walk between connections in Charlotte with no problem, and he slept for most of the rest of the trip. He never made a peep and was good on the plane and in the airport. You do have to keep them in their crate although I sometimes see people take their pets out. You MAY get away with it, but it's really not worth it as the dog could get loose or cause a problem that could put your trip in jeopardy.
I gave him a chew toy hoping it would keep his ears from bothering him (mine hurt when I fly) and he seemed fine.
The problem I encountered was on the way home. The USAir person at the gate said the dog was too big for the crate and that he could not stand and turn around. That was crazy - he just did not want to. I unzipped and picked him up and you could see that he could stand in there, but the guy almost did not let us get on the plane. Problem is they will not allow a much larger crate, so I will have to fly out of a large airport next time in order to accomodate a larger carrier. They were going to make me re-book on a larger plane and fly into a different airport. They did eventually let us on.
I'm glad they care and don't want animals jammed in uncomfortable carriers, but honestly this is a tiny dog in a crate that he was comfortable in for a 2 hour flight, a break to walk etc and then another hour long flight.... It's a judgement call, so I just won't take the chance next time. Even if you call ahead, it just matters who you speak to on the day. If you do call the airline - get names and times etc if they tell you something that gets disputed on the day of your flight.