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3 More Frequently Asked Pet Travel Questions

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 by

pug sweater

Owners traveling with pets for the first time often have lots of questions.

A few weeks ago we posted some of the most common questions that come up when a pet owner starts planning a trip with their pet. Today we’ll discuss three more common concerns of people traveling with pets.

Remember, these are basic answers and not every situation will have the same solution. If you have any specific questions that you want answered, submit your questions to the pet travel experts at PetRelocation, and you might see your questions (and an answer) appear on their blog. Additionally, be sure to check out questions that have already been answered.

1. Can my pet fly alone?

There are lots of reasons why owners might have to fly separately from their pets. International moves have so many components, that oftentimes it is easier to book separate flights for the pet and owner.

In fact, the majority of relocations handled by PetRelocation involve flying a pet separately from his owner. Most pets fly as cargo, so there is really little difference between a pet flying with their owner and a pet taking a solo trip—either way, the pets and owners don’t see each other during the flight.

cat in cardboard box

This is not what “pet shipping” looks like.

The main consideration when a pet flies alone is who will take care of the pet on the ground. Often, when owners send their pets on separate flights, they need to recruit someone to take the pet to the airport of origin and to pick the pet up from the airport of destination.

If your pet is flying separately and you cannot personally drop your pet off and/or pick him up from the airport, consider hiring a ground transportation specialist who can deliver your pet to the airport and bring him from the airport to your new home. Check out IPATA (International Pet and Animal Transportation Association) for ground transportation services in your location(s). Using a door-to-door pet shipping service (such as PetRelocation) means that ground transportation is arranged on each end of the flight, meaning less work for you!

2. Which is the best airline for flying pets?

If you’re a frequent flyer, you probably realize that not all airlines are created equal. This is especially true when it comes to airline pet policies, which can vary widely. While some airlines may treat pets like any other piece of cargo, there are a handful of airlines which have specific pet policies designed to ensure the safety and comfort of traveling animals.

gray cat in crate

Crates keep pets comfortable and safe during the flight, but how they are handled on the ground depends on the airline.

Flying in cargo is pretty much the same across the board, but what really matters is how pets are treated while they are on the ground. Ideally, pets will be the last cargo loaded onto a plane and the first cargo taken off. This ensures that they are not exposed to the elements (extreme heat or cold) for too long a time, and that they are quickly transferred from the climate-controlled plane to a climate-controlled vehicle or airport.

Airlines with pet-specific policies are considered “pet-friendly”. The three pet-friendly airlines which PetRelocation often uses and recommends are: United, KLM, and Lufthansa. Of course, these airlines don’t fly to every location in the world, so if you are traveling to a destination that is out of reach of one of these airlines, be sure to research the pet policies of your options and to contact your airline directly to confirm how your pet will be handled.

3. Is there a quarantine requirement in my country of destination and is there any way to avoid quarantine?

As you learned in our last FAQ post, import requirements vary from country to country. To find out if your destination requires a quarantine period, look up the country’s import requirements using PetRelocation’s search or the website of the Ministry of Agriculture of your destination country.

In the case of a country with a mandatory quarantine (such as Australia, Malaysia, or Singapore), you will not be able to avoid quarantine. Some destinations (such as Hawaii) may have an early release option dependent on meeting certain qualifications. However, if you are flying to a place with a quarantine requirement in place, it is safest to assume that your pet will spend the required amount of time in quarantine and to prepare for that.

kuala lumpur quarantine

A view of a quarantine facility in Kuala Lumpur.

What questions do you have about pet travel? Do you have any experiences traveling with pets? Share your thoughts and concerns in the comments below!