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.