As a result of the helpful comments I received for the questions I posed on Sunday about pets too large to fly in airline cabins I learned the following:

  • No one flies their pet via air cargo or in a baggage hold for a vacation. The need to transport a pet for a move is another matter entirely
  • Some airlines are far better than others for transporting pets. Continental’s Pet Cargo service gets very high marks.
  • For the most part, problems occur on the ground, not in pressurized and temperature-controlled hold areas (although pets sometimes end up in areas that are not temperature/pressure controlled by accident) explained the third point as follows:

The issue is that many of these airlines that have temperature restrictions are not set up to keep pets in climate control when they are being transferred on and off the planes. This requires air conditioned/heated vans and climate-controlled holding facilities at origin and destination (pets typically have to be checked in at least 90 minutes prior to their flight and sometimes up to 4 hours prior to international flights).
That’s what makes the real difference between a “pet friendly airline” and one that is not. Airlines like Continental, Lufthansa and KLM all have specialized vehicles for transporting pets to and from the planes, as well as climate controlled areas where the pets are kept while waiting to be loaded on their flights.

9 thoughts on “Friday Focus: It’s pet transport, not travel”

  1. I recommend Continental to people adopting from the rescue I volunteer with, and transported my own dog that way the one time I had to fly him. They have a dedicated service department for pets, and climate-controlled facilities, as you mention. Everyone I know gives Continental high marks. I have never transported a dog through Lufthansa or KLM, but I will keep them in mind for international trips. Thank you for the tips!

  2. Thank you so much for that true meaning of pet-friendly transport by Pet Relocation. Lufthansa is the airline I choose to ship my Lhasa Apso Tsering from Germany to Chicago decades ago on the second leg of my trip home from New Delhi – they even left the lights on in cargo for the dogs:) I had to make a detour to London to meet my future in-laws and of course would not quarantine my dog. Staff were so careful and loving – real dog people! Made me much less worried than I would have been otherwise.

    1. Mary, one of the things I love about blogging is the way you slowly develop relationships with/get information about your readers. Now I know that you a) lived in India and b) were married to a Brit! I’ll look forward to continued illuminations…

  3. Thanks for mentioning They are excellent. I receive many questions about pet transport since my animal rescue charity is located in Latin America. Thanks for answering some FAQ’s! I have been on your blog before (love it), but came today from the Saturday Pet Blog Hop!

    1. And thank you for stopping by! I’ve admired the work you do for a long time — found you on Twitter a while back — and I urge everyone to check out your site to read about it too.

  4. I used a pet moving service when I moved from Texas, USA, to Melbourne, Australia. To arrange it by myself was too hard and some wouldn’t work with the general public–all too close to 9/11. I even slept in one pair of jammies for five days so that I could put the top in one and the bottoms in another for softness and a little bit of (manky) me. Nope. Not allowed anymore. They could only travel with shredded paper. That would have saved me some unpleasant mornings.

    The man whose company I chose said that the pets would be loaded last minute because it was July. If there was any delay, they didn’t want pets in the cargo compartment. If my pets didn’t get loaded on the original flight, he’d let me know. They didn’t. He did.

    My cats made it safely to Australia. The worst part about my prep was taking the form with “Semen” nice and large across the top. I can’t remember the name of the form, something like “Animal and Semen Transport”. All I remember is having to take that form to every vet, notary public, whatnot with the s-word written across it.

    Found you on the hop.

  5. From reading the comments, it appears pet transport by air has improved much. Especially after some highly publicized deaths. But I always assumed if I had to transport my dog long distance that I’d look into boat travel. Is that something the large liners offer?

    1. A very interesting question, Pamela. As far as I know, for leisure travel, only Cunard’s Queen Mary allows pets on board. And if your dog isn’t permitted on deck but has to travel as cargo… well, that would be even more dangerous than flying because of delays of unpacking at ports and because of the length of time the dog would be in the hold. But I’ll check it out.

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