distinctive information when transporting animals and pets

What you should know to help prepare for the flight distinctive information when transporting animals and pets


Information for Transporting Animals and Pets

The transportation of animals and pets is undertaken by most major airlines subject to certain conditions and restrictions. Airlines will usually recommend that arrangements for pet travel be handled by travel agents who come under the PET umbrella and specialise in the field. These agents are able to take care of all aspects of pet travel from collection of the animal to delivery at the intended destination. PET travel agents will be familiar with the necessary documentation and veterinary certification requirements of the country of origin as well as the country being visited. Quarantine issues will be dealt with and appropriate containers provided. It can be arranged for the assistive dogs of disabled persons to accompany their owners in the passenger cabin if compliance with regulations have been met, and it is recommended that any such arrangements be made well in advance of a flight. Costs involved will depend on the animal’s size and on charges levied in the country of destination as this can differ significantly. Size also determines whether the animal may travel on a passenger aircraft. Because of space constraints in the cargo holds only smaller domestic pets can be accommodated; larger animals must travel by freight

Up to what size?

Regulations require that the crates in which animals are transported allow for the animal to stand at its full height and turn around and lay down with ease. Although airline policies may differ this generally allows for medium sized animals to travel in the cargo hold of passenger aircraft. Fully grown cats, medium-sized dogs and other animals of that approximate size would qualify. Pet travel agents would be able to give advice on the maximum allowable size and weight. For animals that are taken aboard a flight as hand luggage, the same crating rules apply and the container must be storable under a passenger’s seat.

Requirements for a travel container

The container provided for an animal’s travel must allow for its ease in basic movement. It should be well ventilated yet not allow for an animal’s nose or paws to protrude through the ventilation openings. It should also be manufactured from a material of sufficient strength to offer protection should air turbulence occur that may cause movement. Spacers that prevent the container from bumping directly into others should also be fitted. The container’s latch must be secure enough to contain the animal during the flight and during the occasions when the box is being handled. Food and water bowls must also be fixed items in the container and be easily accessible; mats are available that will keep the container odour-free and dry.

Evidence of an Animal’s Health

Stringent veterinary regulations govern the transport of animals and prior to a flight these will need to be complied with. A certificate of health must be submitted that declares an animal fit to travel. The pet importation laws will differ between countries and an animal’s owner will have to ascertain the exact requirements pertaining to a particular country and comply with all vaccination demands. PETS travel agents will have knowledge of all compliance documentation and quarantine issues. Although certain conditions do apply PETS may offer a quarantine-free re-entry to the UK.

Policy Differences between Airlines

Policy variations exist between airlines with regard to whether animals can be transported on a passenger flight, how they are transported, and the size and weight of the animals in question. Some airlines allow animals to be checked with baggage, but specify the presence of the passenger on the same flight; if pets travel as cargo then this rule will not apply. There are also pet travel agents who specialise in the transport of animals and who will ensure compliance with the aviation laws regarding animal transportation pertinent to any particular country. British Airways is one airline that now insists on the service of PET travel agents.

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