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!


cat in soft sided carrier

Though some pet owners take their furry friends with them wherever they go, many owners never think about the mechanics of pet travel until they find themselves planning a big trip or a move halfway across the world. As such, there are a handful of common questions that come up whenever an owner is moving their pet for the first time. Here are 3 of the most frequently asked pet travel questions, along with some basic answers.

Remember, there are a lot of individual factors at play in pet travel, so these questions and answers may not apply to everyone. If you want to have a specific question answered, submit your question to the pet travel experts at PetRelocation and it may appear on the blog! And be sure check out questions which have already been answered.

1. What are the requirements for getting my pet into my place of destination?

Pet import requirements vary from country to country, and sometimes even from state to state. A good first resource for determining what you will need to bring your pet to a specific destination is PetRelocation’s guide to international pet import requirements. There, you will be able to select your place of destination and you will be led to a list of requirements for that country (or state).

world map

Pet import regulations vary from country to country.

To make sure you are getting the most current information possible (especially important for countries that are not as frequently visited by pets), you should try to check the official website of your place of destination to confirm pet import requirements. IATA is another good resource for people traveling internationally by plane.

2. How much will my pet move cost?

The price of moving pets depends on a variety of factors including the mode(s) of transportation, the distance to your destination, and the size of the pet. That being said, transporting pets is more often than not a pretty pricey affair. Check out this post on the PetRelocation blog about all of the factors that go into shipping a pet to get an idea of why pet travel is so expensive.

It can be a bit cheaper to handle pet moves on one’s own, but many find that hiring a pet relocation expert is worth the extra money. Hiring an expert can relieve some of the stress of orchestrating a pet move, as pet move specialists are well-acquainted with the requirements imposed by countries and airlines, and know which forms you need to fill out and when they need to be completed. If you are considering a pet move and are interested in consulting a pet relocation specialist, fill out PetRelocation’s quote form for a free price estimate.

3. I’m nervous about flying my pet as cargo…can my pets fly in the plane cabin with me?

Policies vary by airline, but the general rule of thumb is that only pets which can fit in carriers which can be stowed under an airplane seat are allowed to fly in-cabin. If you’ve ridden on an airplane recently, you’ll know how tiny that space under the seat is. That means that only the smallest of pets—think kittens or toy dogs—are able to fly in-cabin. Additionally, many airlines allow only one in-cabin pet per passenger (or even per flight), meaning that transporting multiple pets in-cabin is highly unlikely. Thus, the majority of pets end up riding as cargo.

The good news is that riding in cargo is nowhere near as cramped and scary as most pet owners imagine. Most cargo holds on planes are pressurized and climate-controlled, meaning that pets in cargo experience conditions which are similar to those in-cabin. Additionally, some believe that riding as cargo is actually less stressful for pets, as they are not subjected to the sights, sounds, and smells of a plane cabin full of humans.

monkey in cockpit

Monkey riding in cockpit via Wikimedia

There are, of course, lots of other questions that come up when a pet owner begins planning a pet move. Look forward to future posts which address other common questions relating to pet travel, and feel free to submit questions of your own.

Do you have any experiences with pet travel? What questions do you have about traveling with pets? Let us know in the comments below!