Most airlines have strict rules for pet travel.
On the fly
Kathryn A. Kahler
We've offered advice for making road trips comfortable for both you and your pet. There may be times, however, when you have no choice but to fly. Whether it's a hunting trip to Canada, a cat show in New England, a national field trial or just an extended vacation in southern climes, the skies will be much friendlier for your pet if you do your homework ahead of time.
Government and airline restrictions
Most airlines have strict rules for pet travel, so it's best to read them carefully before booking your flight. Check out Airline Pet Policies for a comprehensive, airline-by-airline list of restrictions. You'll usually have the option of carrying small dogs and cats in a carrier with you in the cabin, checking them as baggage into the temperature controlled cargo area, or sending them as cargo.
Pets must be at least eight Kathryn A. Kahler weeks old and weaned, and in good health. Airlines may not require health certificates, but you should check with your vet about individual state requirements or for destinations outside the U.S. All states require proof of current rabies vaccination for dogs over 12 weeks old and some also require it for cats. Refer to U.S. Department of State for travel tips and a listing of foreign embassies you should contact for their health requirements.
Some airlines only allow dogs and cats and all have strict rules about the size and structure of travel crates, feeding and watering instructions, temperature restrictions and the number of pets they allow per flight. Most make special accommodations for service animals.
Plan to spend more
Charges vary with each airline, but the cost to take a pet in cabin is around $100 and as checked baggage, about $150. For pets traveling as cargo, plan to spend anywhere from $50 to $200, depending on kennel size. Some airlines require reservations for in-cabin pets and limit the total number of reservations per flight on a first-come, first-served basis – another reason to do your homework before booking your flight.
Consider these general guidelines before your trip to make the flight less stressful, if not enjoyable for your pet:
Have gun-dog, will travel
Most hunters who take their four-legged companions on long-distance hunting trips or field trials prefer to drive, but more are opting to fly. The same travel rules and suggestions apply to hunting dogs. Whether by land or air, here are a few tips you may want to consider when traveling with them:
Staff writer Kathryn A. Kahler writes from Madison.