So, you’ve weighed the pros and cons of various transportation methods and you’ve decided that flying best meets your pet travel needs this summer. It may seem like your next steps are simply booking a ticket for you and Pugsy and jumping on a plane, but in reality it’s a bit more complicated than that. Flying with pets during the summer is more difficult than flying any other time of year, as many airlines have added restrictions in order to keep pets safe during warmer weather months. Here’s a quick rundown of what you should know before booking your flight.
Where It Matters Most
Many pet owners are initially hesitant about flying their pets as cargo, as they might imagine that airplane cargo holds are cramped, noisy, and not climate controlled or pressurized. This image is generally not accurate, as most airlines have cargo holds that are pressurized and climate-controlled just like the plane’s cabin (where human passengers ride).
Because of this, it is not the plane ride itself, but the time spent sitting in the grounded plane which leaves pets most susceptible to high temperatures. Pet-friendly airlines (such as United, KLM, and Lufthansa) have precautions in place to make sure that pets are the last cargo items loaded onto the plane before takeoff and the first items taken off after landing. Most of these airlines also use climate-controlled vehicles to transport pets between the plane and airport, and specially-trained pet handlers who know how to work with pets and keep them safe and calm.
In order to make sure that pets can travel safely in the summer, many airlines place breed or size restrictions or embargoes during the summer months. For example, United Airlines will not fly any adult pugs or pug-nosed breeds between May 15 and September 15. This is because these breeds, which are known as brachycephalic or snub-nosed breeds, have delicate respiratory systems which can easily lead to breathing difficulties in cases of high temperatures or stress. Because of the way dogs regulate their body temperatures, difficulty breathing can lead to difficulty keeping cool in the summer heat, which in turn can lead to heat stroke.
If you have a breed of pet which falls into this category, flying her during the summer months is not the safest idea. However, if doing so is your only option, be sure to call your airline directly to ask about their summer pet policies.
Though summer means warm weather most places, some parts of the world are downright HOT during the summer months. Some airlines will avoid flying pets to cities which experience extreme temperatures, or will only allow pets to fly in at certain times of day.
For example, Phoenix (PHX) airport will only accept pets being flown in before 9 am or after 9 pm. Palm Springs (PSP) airport won’t accept any pets during summer months, and Dubai (DXB) has year-round restrictions on brachycephalic breeds. If you are planning on flying to (or through) a city with especially hot temperatures, make sure that they will be accepting pets during the summer months.
If you do decide to fly with your pet this summer, one of the most important steps you can take as a pet owner is to make sure that your pet’s crate is the correct size. Pets keep cool by panting, so you want to make sure that your pet has plenty of room for proper ventilation in her crate.
Check out PetRelocation’s guide to picking the right size crate to make sure that your furry friend has plenty of room in her crate. If you’re flying with a snub-nosed breed, you’ll need to use those measurements to determine her crate size, then get one size bigger to make sure that your pug-nosed pooch can get all the air she needs during travel.
These are just a few of the summer pet travel precautions you should take when flying your pet. For more comprehensive pet air travel tips, be sure to read over our Air Travel Checklist.
Have any questions about summer pet air travel? Have any advice of your own? Submit a question or leave a comment below.