Flying With a Pet? First Learn the Ropes

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Traveling by plane with your furry friends can be expensive for you and in some cases dangerous for the animal. Here's what you need to know.

Although traveling with your furry family members can be difficult (and really expensive,) it’s sometimes unavoidable.

If you are planning to fly with your pet this summer, here’s what you should know:

  • Pet policies vary by carrier: All airlines have their own pet guidelines in place. Some airlines only allow smaller animals, while others have banned certain breeds from traveling in cargo. Check your airline’s website or call to find out what the airline’s pet policy is so you don’t have any issues when you arrive at the airport.
  • They need a reservation: Fluffy and Fido need a reservation to fly, just like you, warns ABC News. After calling your airline to see if animals are allowed, you need to check on their fees (which vary by airline) and make a reservation. You could pay as little as $75 on Frontier (one-way) or as much as $200 (one-way) on other airlines, including American. Remember, all pet tickets are one-way, so make sure you plan accordingly.
  • Pets have to go through TSA security, too: Although Fido has to wait in the sometimes hellishly long airport security line with you, getting your pet through security is typically not difficult. Click here for more information from TSA about taking your pet through security. Here’s a hint: Don’t put your pet on the conveyor belt with your purse and shoes. Seriously.
  • No purse pets: Typically, your pet won’t be allowed to travel in your purse. In-cabin pets must be contained in a carrier and fit – and be stowed – under your seat. “Airlines have specific rules for travel carriers including size and strength requirements so be sure to check this out for both cabin and cargo transport long before the departure date,” says ABC.
  • Beware of the temperature. If it’s really hot, this Trip Advisor pets website warns that many airlines won’t allow pets on flights as baggage or cargo. “Heat embargoes are critical during the summer months,” Sally Smith, past president of the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association told the website. “They protect our pets and keep them safe and comfortable while traveling.” Trip Advisor says that most airlines will work with you to reroute your flight or schedule it for another day if a heat embargo is in place.
  • Different rules apply for service dogs: If you are traveling with your service animal, check with the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) for guidance.

Click here for lots of great tips from the Humane Society on helping your pet have a stress-free flight.

Have you flown with your pet? Share your experiences – good and bad – below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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