January 25, 2019

Traveling with Pets: What You Need to Know

A life with pets doesn’t have to be stagnant. Adopting cats and dogs may certainly tie you to a specific area, but it should never be limiting. Sure, you might have to leave the party early to walk Fido on time, but you can still take that all-inclusive tropical vacation you’ve been dreaming about for years. While some pet parents may opt to hire pet sitters during their travels, others will insist on bringing Fluffy along for the ride. While this is certainly possible (even encouraged!), we want you to be prepared before booking your pet’s flight. Here’s what you need to know.

Pet fees exist, and they’re expensive. If you want to bring your furry friend along for the ride, you’ll need to pay a hefty sum. If you’re traveling by air, this could mean up to $150 for an in-cabin friend—plus, the pet will likely count as your carry-on item. This cost varies from airline to airline, so you should research pet travel fees before making a decision.

There may be a limit on the number of pets allowed on your flight or train. When traveling with an animal, book as far in advance as possible. Most airlines and trains will only allow a certain number of animals in the cabin for any given trip. This number can be as high as 8 (the highest we’ve seen) and as low as 2. Always call before booking your ticket to ensure there will be space for the animal.

 

Not all breeds are permitted. Increasingly, America-based airlines are banning brachycephalic animals from their flights. These short- and snubbed-nosed cats and dogs (think: boxers, pugs, and Persian cats) may encounter life-threatening breathing issues while in transit. Additionally, large, aggressive breeds, such as Pitbulls, Akitas, and Chow Chows, may be banned from certain airlines.

 

Not all travel providers are created equal. As with most industries, some airlines and trains are more pet-friendly than others. Some providers, such as jetBlue and Alaska Air, have their own pet-friendly program initiatives to provide peace and comfort to both animals and their parents. Additionally, some airports, such as John F. Kennedy International in New York, have specialized services available to cats, dogs, and other animals traveling through their buildings. The extreme variation means pet parents should consider all options before making a decision.

Now, please don’t get scared off by the logistical mess above. Traveling with an animal can be an incredible and rewarding experience, and you should never let an airline or travel provider get in the way of bringing Fido on vacation. If, however, Fido does not have the temperament to sit quietly for a few hours, you may want to consider a sitter. Above all, your animal’s disposition and ability to withstand stress should be the determining factor in bringing a pet along on vacation.

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