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Old 05-07-2009, 02:14 PM   #1
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Default [News] Ways to Fly Cheaper and Hassle-free with Pets

NEW YORK (AP) - We dress them up. We feed them gourmet foods. We treat them like members of the family. So when we have to fly - whether it be on a beach vacation or to grandma's house, our pets are often a first-class priority.

Bringing animals on flights has become more commonplace in recent years, but some airlines now have strict regulations - and even stricter prices - to pack a pooch or carry a cat. But with increasing concern for the welfare of canine and feline alike, there are a growing number of options to transport pets in the friendly skies.

And some airlines can be more pet-friendly than others.

Rules For The Cabin

AirTran, Spirit and JetBlue only allow pets to fly in the cabin. That's great for animal lovers who argue that precious pets shouldn't be relegated to the cargo hold, but not so great for owners with medium or large dogs. Pups in the cabin must be able to fit (read: stand up and turn around) in a carrier small enough to slide under the seat in front of you during flight. Generally, this maxes out at about 20 pounds.

US Airways only allows pets in the cabin, but they will permit them as checked baggage for nonstop US Airways Shuttle flights between Boston, New York and Washington D.C.

Though pets are allowed in the cabin on these airlines, they set limits on the number of pets that can be onboard a flight, ranging from 3 to 7, depending on the airline and size of the jet. So it's best to book early and call the airline to tell them you're traveling with a pet as soon as possible.

JetBlue is the only U.S. airline that allows animals in the cabin on international flights. As a bonus, you'll also earn extra frequent flier points for traveling with your pet.

For pets traveling in the cabin, AirTran charges the least among big carriers at $69. Most U.S. airlines charge between $100 and $125, but bringing a pet in the cabin on Delta and Northwest flights costs $150.

Traveling as Cargo

For those traveling as checked baggage, Delta and Northwest are the most expensive at $275. The least expensive in this category are Alaska Airlines and Midwest at $100, and Frontier which prices its checked pets fees between $100 and $200.

Frontier only allows pets as checked baggage. Southwest doesn't allow pets at all, except for service animals.

In all cases, the airlines won't charge you a first or second bag fee for your dog on top of the pet fee. But some airlines will count the kennel as a piece of checked luggage, so if you have more than two bags, you might get slammed with another fee.

But aside from the fees, traveling with a pet can sometimes be a frustrating and even scary experience. Although it's rare, a handful of pets get lost or killed each year when traveling on airlines.

Bon Voyage Tips

While some incidents can't be avoided, preparation, experts say, is the key to having a safe and uneventful flight.

Here are some basic tips to ensure happy trails in the air:

- Make sure your pet is fit to fly. Have a veterinarian examine your pet and give a clean bill of health before the flight. Most airlines require health certificates. You may also have to bring along vaccination records.

- If you have a snub-nosed dog or cat, like a pug or Persian, check with your vet to make sure they can fly. Some of these types of animals have breathing troubles that could be complicated at high altitudes.

- Consider microchipping your pet. The device, about the size of a grain of rice, can be implanted for less than $100. And because the process gives the pet a unique ID that can be accessed if your cat or dog gets lost, chances of finding them can grow exponentially. Also make sure all tags and licenses are up-to-date with your most recent address and contact number.

- Try to choose a less hectic time to travel to avoid stress on your animal. Weekdays are ideal.

- Choose a nonstop flight whenever possible.

- If you are flying during the summer and your pet is traveling in cargo, try and schedule the flight in the early morning or evening, when temperatures are lowest. If you're heading out in the winter, aim for a midday flight. Because the temperature in the cargo areas can be extreme, most carriers only allow pets on board if the air temperature is greater than 45 degrees or less than 85. That excludes a lot of the peak summer and winter travel season, so it's best to keep an eye on the forecast before going to the airport.

- Let the airline know you are traveling with a pet when you book, so you can make sure there is room for your dog or cat onboard.

- Don't feed your pet two hours before departure to ensure it will be comfortable with the lack of potty breaks ahead. Try freezing water in a dish to fit in the carrier, so it will melt gradually during flight and avoid spillage.

- Exercise with your pet a couple hours before flight to tire them out and help them relax. Adam Goldfarb, Director of Pets at Risk program at the Humane Society, recommends against the use of sedatives because the pet won't be able to protect itself if the carrier shifts during flight. Pets can also have reactions to the sedatives that may not be caught during flight. Sedation can be especially dangerous for those breeds already prone to breathing problems.

- Secure pertinent information to your pet carrier such as the flight number, destination and your pet's name and age if they are traveling below deck. "Live Animal" and "This End Up" stickers are recommended by the American Humane Association. Carry a recent photo to whip out if your pet gets lost.

- Come to the airport armed with the relevant paperwork such as a recent health certificate and vaccination records for your pet if the airline requires it.

- Consider putting a harness on your cat if it won't be with you in the cabin. If security personnel remove the cat from the carrierit will lessen the chance the cat will get loose.

There are also other options popping up for pet lovers looking for a more comforting experience. Pet Airways, which launches in July, will send your pet between major cities including New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles for $250 one-way (an introductory fare of $150).

Dogs and cats will fly in a main cabin where seats have been replaced by kennels, and pets will be escorted to the four-leg only flight by attendants that will monitor the pets during flight.

Ways to fly cheaper and hassle-free with pets | KOMO News - Seattle, Washington | Consumer News
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:22 PM   #2
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Great info! Thanks for posting this. My only comment is to correct the statement above that reads that "JetBlue is the only U.S. airline that allows animals in the cabin on international flights." I have personally flown internationally on United with Meg, and I have friends who have flown internationally on Delta with their dogs.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:49 PM   #3
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I think the airlines have upped the price of flying with a pet so that people will stop flying with their pet. Alot of times they are more peaceful than flying with a crying baby or restless toddler. Don't get me wrong I like children.
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Old 05-08-2009, 08:41 AM   #4
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Thanks for the information! I have never flown with Ben before, so this will come in handy
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:42 PM   #5
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Default Pet points

Jet Blue also gives you frequent flier points for bringing your doggie aboard -- two points per flight -- which is a nice addition, given that the cost of bringing the pup on board is pretty steep ($100).
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:06 PM   #6
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I fly once or twice a month, round trip with my girl. Usually Jet Blue. It is challanging.. She is usually quiet, but if she doesn't like the smell of someone, or gets a bad vibe, I get really embarrassed. She won't quit barking! She is not happy in her carrier under the seat, and I try to purchase a seat in the first few rows. (it costs about $25.00 more). This season many times the seat next to me would be empty and I sneak her out to sit with me.
She is getting use to the routine, as we have been doing this constantly since I got her.
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Old 05-08-2009, 05:16 PM   #7
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SilkyLexy, I live in MA/FL too -- and do the JetBlue thing. You're lucky to have been able to sneak your puppy out of the bag. The one time I did it, I got caught! (: Don't forget to get your Pet Trueblue points.....
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:51 PM   #8
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The prices the airlines charge are outrageous for pets traveling under the seat. I have always maintained that for pets under the seat, they should charge no more than for an extra bag at the most. In fact, a small dog like a Yorkie weights considerably less than a bag, so even that would be a good deal for the airline.

And you do have to be careful of flight attendants that will yell at you if you have a barker that just wants to at least stick its head out of the carrier. I have head some very stupid excuses why that is problematic, but the best thing to do is to get a window seat and "read" the news paper (blocking the flight attendant’s view). After I learned a lesson, I no longer take any chances. I have usually found the folks sitting next to me are fine with it and will assist in keeping the flight attendants from getting too nosy. This way, everyone wins - the flight attendants are doing their job, and you are stopping your dog from barking so the fellow passengers don't have to suffer through the barking, and your Yorkie is not scared.
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:37 AM   #9
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I've been on both sides of this story: I've traveled with my dog and I've been a flight attendant. I agree, the airlines raised their prices to ridiculous amounts which kept me from taking my dog on any trips. As a former flight attendant I can honestly say, that I've never had a dog disturb any of my flights. Other than the fact, that I didn't get any work done because I wanted to play with the dog And I always allowed the owner to take the dog out of the kennel, if it was o.k. with the passengers next to them. But, unfortunately there are flight attendants that are just plain mean or like to throw the rule book at anybody they can. I think, any dog lover will bend the rules at the appropriate times.
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:15 AM   #10
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Good post.

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Old 05-16-2009, 09:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnieWalker View Post
I've been on both sides of this story: I've traveled with my dog and I've been a flight attendant. I agree, the airlines raised their prices to ridiculous amounts which kept me from taking my dog on any trips. As a former flight attendant I can honestly say, that I've never had a dog disturb any of my flights. Other than the fact, that I didn't get any work done because I wanted to play with the dog And I always allowed the owner to take the dog out of the kennel, if it was o.k. with the passengers next to them. But, unfortunately there are flight attendants that are just plain mean or like to throw the rule book at anybody they can. I think, any dog lover will bend the rules at the appropriate times.
You are my kind of flight attendant! But I guess I've been stuck with the kind that do everything "by the book" as you suggest, even when my old Yorkie used to bark incessantly if I did not let him stick his head out to see what was going on around him. There were times when I have had no choice except to fly with my Yorkie (being relocated due to work for a 6 month assignment). One of these was a cross-country flight; the other was only a 1000 miler. The evil attendant on my return from the west coast with Pippin taught me to not take any chances.

Too bad not all attendants are/were as thoughtful as you. The evil lady had this asinine story about allergies. Total crap. A Yorkie really does not shed any more than a person, and they are tiny. I was on a flight recently with an army bomb sniffing German Shepard hogging all the floor space (in a window isle of course). I did not mind sitting next to the handler and his dog at all being a dog lover and appreciating that these people and animals are doing for us,, however, if you were allergic to pet hair, I think a 140 Shepard would be a little more problematic than a 5 lb Yorkie, and there is no carrier for the Shepard in the cabin!
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:58 AM   #12
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FE - thank you for this fantastic thread. Great informatin to have on hand for the beginning of summer.
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Old 05-19-2009, 08:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogears View Post
I think the airlines have upped the price of flying with a pet so that people will stop flying with their pet. Alot of times they are more peaceful than flying with a crying baby or restless toddler. Don't get me wrong I like children.
dogears, I'll take 10 smelly barking yorkies over a crying baby or whiney toddler any day haha...some how the barks arent as painful, and I like kids too
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Old 05-26-2009, 10:33 AM   #14
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A new airline called Pet Airways is strictly a pet airline that allows for your pets to fly first class round trip... the only thing is you can't fly with them. It costs $149 each way as an introductory offer but for those of you with larger dogs who don't want to place them below the cabin, this may be the way you want to go with your pet(s). Check out their website at: Pet Airways is a pet airline for more information.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:45 AM   #15
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Has anyone on here contacted or used the Pet Airways yet? I am courious about the service . Is it going to be a lasting thing? I think that it would be great to have this available to us dog lovers.
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