Pets On the AirplaneFlying in first-class or coach, most of us know what to expect from our voyage in the skies. But what about our dogs and cats? What should they expect? In general, there are three accepted forms of air travel for pets. While our choice of flights is influenced mostly by our budget and preferences, pet options have more to do with breed, size, human companion, airline regulations and timing.
1 – In-Cabin, Just like us
For those pets that just can't part bear to be partedfrom their owners (or the other way round!), the in-cabin flight is likely to fit the bill. Unfortunately as pets do not have a seat of their own in any international airline, this method of flight is restricted to small dogs or cats that can fit underneath their human companion's seat. Not all airlines and countries allow pets to fly in-cabin, and it is also important to note that it is not always in the pet's best interest.
Another thing worth thinking about is the pet's temperament. We have all seen (and heard) those incidents when an embarrassed mother helplessly tries to quiet her wailing child on the bus or on the plane. Dogs that howl and bark at home are likely to do the same on the plane.
2 – CheckedBaggage – Meet you at the checkoutIs it safe? Let's put the cards on the table. No one likes to think of his pet as baggage. After all, this is not our pajamas and suits we are sending to the baggage hold, but rather our four-legged best friend. Psychology aside, checked baggage is probably the best flight option for you and your pets from every perspective; cost, comfort and safety.
Pets flying as checked baggage are put in a special section, temperature-controlled and pressurized, within the baggage hold . At their destination, they are picked up separately from all the suitcases, and are then reunited with their owners.
3 – Cargo Flight – You go your way, I'll go mineIf you need your pet to fly separately, cargo is the way to go. Although not a particularly cheap option, cargo allows you to fly your pet to any destination without getting on a flight yourself. Some countries and airlines allow pets to fly only as cargo. However, if you fly your pet as cargo, you will need someone at the destination airport to clear him through Customs and meet him.
Now that you know the three methods of flying, the choice is yours. Take everything into account: country and airline regulations, weather conditions, your pet's breed and size, the timetable, the cost, your comfort, health, safety and veterinary considerations… or you could just contact a flight management to help you choose the best flight option for you. Now, only one question remains: Do you want to fly first class or coach?