As someone who is of the opinion that pets are family, I’m experiencing some heavy feels this morning after reading this news story out of New York .
After a 14 hour flight Etihad Airways flight from Abu Dhabi to New York’s JFK, a couple was notified that their two-year-old pet cat Felix escaped upon arrival after a cargo manager discovered that the cat’s carrier was partially crushed.
In the case of small animals, I highly recommend finding an airline that allows shipment in-cabin if possible. You can find information about whether pets are allowed in-cabin on individual carriers at the following links (via Dogjaunt):
In the case above, Etihad doesn’t allow even small cats to travel in cabin and charged $1,200 to ship Felix in the cargo hold. Options for international air travel with pets in cabin are slim and heavily depend on location and airline, so what other options are there?
In the case where your animals must travel as part of checked baggage, ensure they have a clean bill of health and are prepared for the journey. This includes plenty of water and food available the day before travel and a recent vet visit. Most airlines require a recent statement from a veterinarian stating that the animal is up to date on immunizations and is fit to travel anyway.
I’d also highly recommend a pet GPS tracker. The was funded on IndieGogo last year and seems to be a very solid and robust product. At around $200 USD the initial cost is steep, but as anyone with a pet should know, they’re worth every penny. The tag attaches to the animal’s collar so that they can be located if their carrier is compromised and they are able to escape.
If you’re flying on Delta, the airline has released a available at select US airports. The unit attaches to the pet’s crate and can alert Delta to the carrier’s location, condition, and temperature. Unfortunately it would not track the pet itself if it were to escape the carrier, but may provide an early warning if the crate is overturned or damaged. The unit comes at no additional charge for pets checked as baggage, with payment of the standard $50 pet charge.
I’m hoping for a happy ending to this story. My thoughts are with the family and especially Felix for having to endure this ordeal!