If you're moving across the country and you cannot take your pet along on the journey, there are solutions for you. Shipping your pet via air freight or by a commercial airline is possible, although there are many different factors to consider. While flying your cat or dog on a plane may not be your preferred method, sometimes it is the only feasible way to get them to where they need to be. Here's some good information to help you determine how to put your furry friend on an airplane and make sure they arrive to their destination safely.
When Not to Send Your Pet By Air
Before you decide you want to ship your pet through an airline, there are a few circumstances where this option is not viable. If your pet is under eight weeks old, they are too young to be sent via air. If your pet is sick or injured, you certainly don't want to leave them unattended for too long, so sending them on a flight is not recommended. Remember that this experience can cause your pet to feel stress, and you don't want to amplify that if they are already unwell. Older pets should also not travel on airplanes. Some airlines also have weight restrictions on pets, so find out what the different regulations are for each airline if you have a larger dog.
For the protection of everyone involved, most airlines require you to fill out a form and provide proper documentation for yourself and your pet. Make sure your pet is up to date on all of their current vaccinations, and provide the airline with proof. The documentation must be official and come from a licensed veterinarian. It is usually needed approximately ten days before the animal flies. You should always confirm exactly what paperwork and documentation is required with the airline of your choosing before you pay for the flight.
You will need to provide your pet with the proper carry on kennel. This kennel should have plenty of room for your pet to be as comfortable as possible, including room for them to stand up and move around as well as lie down. Put a soft blanket in the kennel from home that can provide extra comfort. Your pet should have proper, current ID tags and a collar. You can also pack a leash and extra food for them. If you are travelling with your pet, some airlines allow you to place the kennel under your seat as you fly. Always include your personal contact information as well as a photo and the name of your pet in case they get lost.
At the Airport
On the day of the flight, be sure to arrive with plenty of time to spare. You will need to process your pet in the cargo area. Be sure the airline employees load your pet onto the correct area of the plane designated for cargo and not for luggage. It is recommended that you watch them load your pet onto the plane to ensure they get on the right flight and that they're being handled properly. You don't have to tip, but it's recommended to help make sure that the workers treat your pet properly and take good care of them on their journey.
If you need to transport your pet through an air freight service, contact a professional company, like Alaska Air Forwarding, for more information on their procedures and restrictions.