Moving Your Pets By Air

If you are relocating your family and pets, you can either transport your pets by car or by air. Transporting your pets by air can be convenient if you are moving a long distance — one that is too far to drive.

Not all airlines will accept pets for transportation. Those that do often have specific regulations and requirements that your pet and carrier will have to meet. If your pet can fit into a carrier that is small enough to fit underneath a seat, they may be permitted to travel in the cabin.

Here’s how you can make your trip go as smoothly as possible:

  1. Make your reservations well in advance. The number of pets allowed on any flight may be limited.
  2. Ask about transportation charges and pet insurance when you make your reservations.
  3. Make sure your carrier meets the airline’s requirements. It should be large enough that your pet can stand up and turn around inside. It should have appropriate cross-ventilation. Some airlines do sell their own carriers; you can also find appropriate travel carriers from pet supply stores.
  4. Make sure your carrier is marked with your name, address, and phone number.
  5. The carrier should have a leak-proof bottom. Line it with some sort of absorbent pad in case of accidents. You should also pad the carrier for comfortable travel.
  6. Make sure you have the appropriate health documents.
  7. Talk to your veterinarian about the possibility of sedation for travel.

On your day of departure, make sure you are at the airport early. Your pet should be fed five to six hours before flight time to allow time to digest and eliminate. Water can be given up to two hours before departure time. Before handing your pet over to airline folks, give him a last chance to walk and empty his bladder. This is also a good time to administer any medications he may need.