“I’m traveling with my pet on a plane”. The first times these words leave your mouth, you might have shocked even yourself. While life is made a million times better by our sweet animal companions, there’s no denying that taking them along on trips is a daunting, potentially difficult task. But it doesn’t have to be! For this article, we are going to assume you are trying to take your kitty or your dog Buzzalong with you on a flight. What do you need to do? How can this be as streamlined and painless a process as possible?
Step 1: Identification of your pet for the trip
The last thing you need is to lose your "baby" somewhere in the airport, flight, or God forbid, in another country! Purchase an ID tag for your kitty’s collar, including your home address, cell number, and a temporary tag with the location and name of the hotel where you will be staying. If you want to really cover all of your bases, this may be a good time to consider microchipping. If your pet is already microchipped, double-check that it’s 100% up-to-date.
Step 2: Documents for your pet
Be sure that not only is your fur baby traveling with an ID connected to them, but that you also take any and all documents you could possibly need. Medical history, for example. Take a snapshot of these documents just in case of a worst-case emergency.
Step 3: Accessories
Make sure that your pets airline-approved pet carrier is well-ventilated and large enough for your baby to stand, sit, turn and lie down. It is a good thing to research beforehand everything that your airline provides for pet travel. For example, American Airlines pet policy brings detailed information about what breed can fly with you and what cannot. In addition a detailed overview of what countries you can access with your pet if you choose American Airlines as a travel partner.
Step 4: Pre-Flight Preparations
In this sense, cats and dogs are like kids. Your flight is going to be so much easier and you and for them, if she’s worn out before the trip. Play a wild game of fetch or whatever it takes before the trip. Try to do this just before you get on the taxi for the airport.
Step 5: The flight itself
Now that everything is prepared, you are embarking on your flight. What tips and tricks could make this part of the process easier?
- Call ahead. Only so many animals are allowed on each flight.
- Avoid traveling with your kitty on the holidays (airports are busier).
- Take non-stop flights if possible (no messing with bathrooms and taking care of your furbaby in a crowded airport).
- Prepare for flight delays (bring extra toys and snacks).
- Give them an ice cube before the flight. This helps ears pop and just generally avoid anxiety.
There you go - five steps to make air travel with your kitty a much more streamlined, stress-free process. This is the 21st century - there’s no reason for your dog or cat to not travel with you. Just be sure to take his or her needs and fears into consideration as well, and have a safe flight.