Relocating a pet internationally is all about following the rules and regulations. There are rules and regulations for vaccinations, airlines, flights, countries, kennels, documentation and more.
In general, there are three accepted forms of air travel for pets. While our choice of flights is influenced mostly by our budget and preferences, pet options have more to do with breed, size, human companion, airline regulations and timing.
1 – In-Cabin, Just like us
For those pets that just cannot bare to be parted from their owners (or the other way around!), an in-cabin flight is likely to fit the bill. Unfortunately as pets do not have a seat of their own on any international airline, this method of flight is restricted to small dogs or cats that can fit underneath their human companion’s seat. Not all airlines and countries allow pets to fly in-cabin. It is also important to note that it is not always in the pet’s best interest.
Another aspect worth thinking about is the pet’s temperament. Dogs that howl and bark at home are likely to do the same on the plane.
2 – Checked Baggage – Meet you at the checkout
Is it safe? Let’s put the cards on the table. No one likes to think of his pet as baggage. After all, this is not our pajamas and suits we are sending to the baggage hold, but rather our four-legged best friend. Psychology and emotions aside, checked baggage is probably the best flight option for you and your pets from every perspective; cost, comfort and safety.
Pets flying as checked baggage are put in a special section, temperature-controlled and pressurized, within the baggage hold . At their destination, they are picked up separately from all the suitcases, and are then reunited with their owners.
3 – Cargo Flight – You go your way, I’ll go mine
If you need your pet to fly separately, cargo is the way to go. Although not a particularly cheap option, cargo allows you to fly your pet to any destination without getting on a flight yourself. Some countries and airlines allow pets to fly only as cargo. However, if you fly your pet as cargo, you will need someone at the destination airport to clear him through Customs and meet him.
The physical accommodation for your pet as cargo shipment is the same as checked baggage. A cargo shipment of a pet is on the same type of passenger flight and the pet will be in the same special section, temperature-controlled and pressurized, within the baggage hold. The difference is the airport check in procedure and release.