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Pet Air Travel: How to Travel With Pets

Prep your pet for flight

We love our furry family members and want to include them in all of our life’s happiest moments: evening trips to the park, weekend campouts and long summer days at the lake. If your dog loves to do everything you do, you may have wondered if they are ready to travel by plane. Traveling with pets requires a lot of careful research and preparation. As you consider whether or not bringing a pet is a viable option, these are a few important tips to help you get your pet ready for travel.

Be mindful of your pet’s personality

Some pets, dogs especially, live for any adventure with their favorite humans. They love meeting new people and do not get nervous when they are out of their element. For other pets, however, the travel experience can be incredibly stressful and may cause the pet to get sick or refuse to eat. If you want to bring your pet, consider whether they have the right personality for travel or if it would be better for them to stay home. If you’re unsure, test things out by taking your pets on a weekend trip in the car before trying a longer trip by plane.

Get your pet’s vaccines up-to-date

Before you travel, schedule a wellness visit for your pet, and make sure they have a clean bill of health, are fit to fly, and have all the vaccines required by the carrier. Your airline may require documentation demonstrating proof of immunizations and vet’s approval.

Fly an IATA-approved carrier

Your everyday pet carrier may not be compliant with IATA regulations, which include specific requirements for ventilation, size, stability, access to food and water and absorbent lining. You should always check with your airline to see if they impose additional crate regulations, keeping in mind that international flights will have stricter rules than domestic flights. Let your pet get acclimated and comfortable with the carrier several weeks before you depart.

Book a nonstop flight

If you choose to bring a pet on the plane, their safety, health, and comfort should be your top priority. The longer the trip, the more taxing it will be on your furry friend. It’s best to opt for the shortest flight possible, avoiding stops and transfers altogether. Even for a short, simple itinerary, traveling with pets is a challenge, but an airport transfer can get really complicated if there is any sudden change in plans.

Get a pet tracker

Don’t leave home without a pet tracker! If your dog gets lost in an unfamiliar place, he probably won’t know where to start looking for you. A little device like one of these can help you locate your pet if lost and give you peace of mind as you travel.

Make sure your accommodations are pet-friendly

As you plan your vacation, be sure to select hotels that allow pets. A great resource for this is Bring Fido, which allows you to search hotels, vacation rentals, restaurants, hiking trails, and other activities that allow pets.

Know your airline’s policy

Rules for traveling with pets differ greatly depending on the airline and destination. Many have restrictions on the breeds you may bring on board. Check out your airline’s pet policy long before you book your trip. Some airlines have a maximum limit for pets on board, so you will also want to register your pet to fly at the same time you book your tickets to ensure there is enough space.

Airline Pet Policies

Above all else, check with the airline you’re flying with. They will be the best source for your furry accommodations:

AeroMexico

Air Canada

Air France

Air New Zealand

Air Tahiti Nui

Alitalia

All Nippon

American

Asiana

Austrian Air

Avianca

British Airways

Brussels

Cathay Pacific

China Southern

Condor

Copa

Delta

Egyptair

Emirates

El Al

Eva Air

Iberia

Icelandair

Japan Airlines

Jet Airways

KLM Airlines

Korean (Call Korean Air)

Lan Chile

Lot Polish

Lufthansa

Norwegian Air

Philippine Airlines

Qantas

Qatar

SAS

South African

Swiss

TAM

Thai Airways

Turkish Airlines

United

Virgin Australia

Virgin Atlantic

Shawna Levet

Shawna is passionate about helping travel agents grow their business and expand their knowledge as travel experts. She has been in the travel industry since 2011, helping agents and travelers alike find the best negotiated airfare and travel coverage to meet their needs.

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