Travelling with Pets

29 Jun

Do airlines really want us to bring pets along?  That’s the question I find myself asking after the last few days.

First, I should say that we’ll be taking our dog and cat over to Amsterdam separately – the cat goes with us in August, and the dog will come over in November after we’ve traveled back to the States.  We did this because we thought the cat would be the easiest – she’s small and fits in a shoulder bag.  Our dog Churchill is about 40 pounds, so maneuvering him, the cat, and the luggage to a new apartment through a transportation system we’re not yet familiar with would be too daunting of a task.  Therefore, they will travel separately.

My goal with traveling is to find the shortest possible route, since the pets will be crated during travel.  Last year when we went to Amsterdam, we flew STL to Atlanta, and then Atlanta direct to Amsterdam on KLM.  Unfortunately, that is not an option this time, as the current price for that trip is somewhere over $3,000 per person.  Yikes!

St. Louis’ airport is dominated by flights from American Airlines.  American is partnered with British Airways, which means pretty much all of their flights stop in the UK.  Due to quarantine rules in the UK, we cannot stop there when we have a pet on-board.  This eliminates roughly 70% of the flights from St. Louis.

We finally settled on a certain flight, with 2 stops (Newark, NJ and Copenhagen, Denmark), and started contacting the airlines to verify that an in-cabin cat would be allowed.  SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) could only say no other pets were currently booked on their 2 legs, but I had to call Continental to check on the other leg.  SAS told me to call before making the booking, which I did.  They then told me to call back after making the booking, which I also did.  When calling this time, they told me I should have called before making the booking.  When I told them I had, the agent got all bitchy with me.  I hung up and called back to get a new person, and Torii (the cat) is now awaiting confirmation that she can fly.

Now that we’re through that part of the planning, I have to find a carrier that confirms to SAS Airlines’ incredibly strict regulations on what size carrier can be used.  I’ve looked at roughly 500 different carriers, and none meet the requirements exactly, so I purchased one that met 95% of the requirements.  I guess I’ll call back and verify with them that this carrier will work.

At least Churchill should be easier – he’ll be flying in the Cargo hold, which just means we have to find a flight with heated/air-conditioned space in the Cargo area.


Posted by on June 29, 2010 in Moving


4 responses to “Travelling with Pets

  1. Heather

    October 2, 2010 at 20:00

    Hello! I found your blog because my husband and I are moving to AMS next September 2011. My brother currently lives there and after visiting him several times we decided to make the move. We have 2 pugs and any tips on taking them on the plane will be much appreciated. I’ve got the standards down and we plan to fly a straight flight out of ATL on Delta which should make it easier but any little tricks or advice would be great! I hope it’s not too traumatic for them!

  2. Heather

    October 2, 2010 at 21:04

    Oh and I forgot to tell you my husband is from St. Louis too (he’s 36).

    • thedewaddict

      October 2, 2010 at 22:03

      Cool, small world! We obsessed over finding a carrier for our cat that met the very stringent requirements of SAS airlines. When we checked in STL, all the agent cared about was the health certificate signed by the vet. After that, not a single person even noticed that we had a cat. She was nice and quiet. We did have to take her out of her carrier at security, so make sure you have leashes handy for your dogs. We just carried her through. Bringing our dog back with us next month should be interesting, but he will be in the cargo hold instead of in the cabin with us. Most airlines don’t want you to sedate the pets, and our vet recommended against it. He did say to give our cat a half teaspoon of Benadryl to calm her down if she freaked out, but she never did. Good thing, since we had to throw away the Benadryl at a security checkpoint anyway. Congrats on moving to A’dam next year!

      • Heather

        October 2, 2010 at 23:57

        Good to know-Thanks! Please let us know how it goes with the dog. Our dogs will have to go in the cargo hold too as they are too big according to Delta to be in the cabin with us so please let us know how that goes! I look forward to reading more about your adventure as we prepare for ours!


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