If you have plans on relocating or taking an extended holiday abroad, taking your beloved pets with you during a flight is a priority. Unfortunately, air travel is not very pet-friendly. Air travel with pets isn’t a simple process where you just book flights and show up in time for your flight. There are a lot of requirements and preparations that go along with having your pets on board. In this blog article, we will help you prepare for a flight with your pet to avoid any complications in the airport or customs.
The first step is to visit your pet’s veterinarian. Long haul flights can be strenuous and stressful for pets. Only the veterinarian can tell if your pet is healthy enough to go on a trip. Group travel insurance, unfortunately, doesn’t cover pets. This is why it is vital to ensure that they are fit to travel long distances. They’ll have to do a complete check-up, run a series of tests, and update your pet’s vaccination. They will also be able to give your pet the necessary documentation for your flight. A health certificate and a record of your pet’s medical history are often required by airport, airline, as well as customs security.
The second step is by booking your ticket. Each airline has their own conditions and requirements when it comes to travelling with pets. Familiarise yourself with the policies of your airline of choice regarding their pet travel options. Most airlines only allow specific breeds on their planes. If you find that your pet can travel with you, you will need to invest in a pet carrier. Depending on the size and breed of your pet, it must have enough room to walk around in the carrier. Size restrictions vary per airline so keep that in mind before purchasing. There is also a limit on the number of animals a plane can accommodate at a time.
Generally, there are three options available to pet owners – inside the cabin, as checked-in baggage, and as cargo.
In the Cabin
There are only a handful of airlines that allow pets inside the cabin with you and most of these will have very strict regulations that you’ll have to follow. Pets in the cabin will have to be inside a pet carrier at all times. The only pets allowed in the cabin are cats and dogs. Other animals will have to be in the cargo hold.
As Checked-in Baggage and Cargo
Pet carriers that cannot fit under your seat will have to be checked-in or put in the cargo hold. (It is important that you inform the Captain before take-off that your pet is flying with you. They will ensure that the pressure and air-conditioning inside the cargo hold is optimal for your pet.)
Prepping your Pet for the Flight
A week or two before the flight, make sure you allow your pet to get used to being inside the pet carrier. They’ll spend a lot of time there not only for the duration of the flight but also during airport security and customs checks. This is an important step because if the airline finds that your pet is in distress, they may deny your pet entry to the flight.
Make sure you feed and walk your pet four hours before the flight. Some airlines may not allow you to feed them in the airport. In the airport, you will have to fill in forms and go through customs. It is advisable that you go to the airport early to avoid any possible delays. Otherwise, if you decide to leave your dog or cat in a kennel, cattery or pet hotel for the duration of your insured trip, be sure to opt for the “Pet Hotel” optional benefit in the case you are delayed and unable to collect your pet on the day intended.
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