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Air Travel

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I am going to be traveling with my two darlings soon and I was wondering if anyone had any stories to share about air travel with kitties. I will be bringing one on the plane with me (in the little sherpa bag) but the other kittie is going on a seperate airline in animal cargo. I am nervous that she will freak out or something will happen or the pressure will be bad or something. I read a figure that said 1 in 5000 pets dies on airplanes -- is this true and if so, what is going on?? why do they get sick?

post #2 of 11
I am absolutley not trying to scare you, but you should know that Animal Cargo is treated like regular luggage. That means they aren't tied down in any way and are tossed in and out like they would a suitcase. I saw this on a hidden camera 20/20 once, but more importantly a very close friend of ours works for a major airline and has nothing good to say in the way the animals are treated.
Please, please, please try to see if the cat can go with you on board under the seat.
post #3 of 11
I will post more later but I travel alot with my babies and I take two with me in the same Sherpa Bag. Is there a problem with them traveling together. Like I said before, get ready for some great tips. FYI, I travel at least 9 times a year with them.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
well the problem isn't the kitties or me its the airlines. not one airline will let me bring two on (traveling alone) - even if they are in the same bag. The only exception to this rule is if they are both under 6 months but one is 1 year (the mommy) and the other is about 5 months (baby). i have tried everything but they won't budge!!
post #5 of 11
I've done it many times with no problems as long as they each of a health certificate. I will give you more details later as I am at work. If you don't mind me asking, what airline are you flying?

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
well I am flying United (and the kitten will be in the cabin with me) but the mamma is flying continental down below. united won't check pets anymore!! northwest said that it was not a good idea since she would have to go through minneapolis (sorry i spelled it wrong!) and it will be december -- too cold. no other airlines will let you send a pet alone! (i am going from washington, DC to seattle)
post #7 of 11
As promised. I too will be flying on Thursday to a show and just got off the phone with American Airlines and explained that I will be bringing a mom and kitten on the plane in a Sherpa Bag. I always have reservations for my cats. They said that would be no problem as long as they have their health certificates which need to be issued within 10 days of your flight. They also confirmed that there would be no other pets in cabin as they are only allowed 2 per plane and that's whether they are my 2 or someone else's. If there was another pet on the plane and I only had a reservation for one, then the other would not be allowed even if it's in the same carrier. I have traveled with Continental, TWA, Delta, America West and a few others with no problems. I do not like flying Northwest so I don't know their policy. I would contact the airlines and explain your situation with them. I also suggest that if you need to ship one, then call Delta as they are the only ones I like to ship animals although I do not believe in shipping. I do know people with dogs that do ship and they like them. I also put my cats on harnesses because I do not allow them to do through the x-ray machine and if they get spooked, then I have a tight grip on them. Please let me know if I can help in any other way. I also do not use any tranquilizers.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
i have read some horrible things about sedated animals flying so don't worry, i won't do that. most airlines won't even let a pet fly if they know it has been sedated. i am flying united (just the mamma was flying continental). i have talked to them several times about it and each time they say only one cat. are you putting them in the same bag? i have two sherpa roll-up bags (i know if the mom goes cargo she goes in a hard kennel) but i hadnt thought of putting them in the same bag. what size do you have? how big are your kitties? thank you SOO much for your advice!!!
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
this is minnie
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
this is elsa (the baby!)
post #11 of 11
Unless you're moving to Seattle, of course, is there any chance that you could have someone look after your cats? Maybe it would be less stressful for you and your cats that way .
I just traveled with my kitty for the first time a couple of days ago. He flew once before (on his way to me). He traveled in the cabin both times (once on UAL, once on US).
I have to say that the airlines didn't seem too concerned about checking anything about the cat. Kitty had a health certificate both times but no one asked for them. I know this has happened to other folks as well. I got the certificate to be on the safe side.
Not that I'm encouraging naughty behavior...but if the airline allows two cats to travel in one bag under certain circumstances (you said an exception is if the cats were both under 6 mos), then maybe you can make reservations for the cats and put them in a carrier large enough for the two of them. Maybe the agent won't try to verify your cats' ages. If the agent asks for the health certificates though he/she will see the ages.
A few times when a friend of mine was traveling with her cat, no one even asked for the fee! She made reservations for the cat but when she checked in at the ticket counter the agents didn't mention the cat. Twice now (once just last month) she hasn't mentioned the cat and just took her boarding pass and headed to her flight. The cat was accounted for in the airline's sytem but at the airport it's like he didn't exist. BIG CAVEAT: If you try any of the above, you risk having an agent take one look at you and your contraband kitties and tell you you can't get on your flight .
Now that I think about it, if at the ticket counter I hadn't verified that my cat had a space on the flight (I made a reservation for him), I really don't think the agent would have said anything to me either! Go figure. I should add that my cat and my friend's cat are pretty mellow, and we have carriers that look like a gym bag and backpack.
Some general tips if you do fly with your cats: A man who travels with his 13 year old cat several times a year said that if a cat travels well in a car then air travel should be no problem. He might have a point. If you haven't taken more than a really short trip in the car with your cats, it might be worth it to see how they react during a longer drive.
All airports that I know of in the States make you take your pet out of the carrier and walk him/her through the metal detector with you. Just the carrier goes through the x-ray machines. Frannie is right - harnesses and leashes are an excellent idea. Having a cat out in an airport can be quite an experience. My friend told me that when he brought my kitty to me that kitty tried to make a break for it at security. But, when I went through security with the kitty he was fine. He seemed to be almost relieved to get back into the carrier.
I've read that most cats are good air travelers since it's a survival tactic to stay quiet (and safe) if they can't fight a threat or run from it (this assumes that all of the activity on the plane is the perceived threat).
Check to see if there are other pets on board that are near you. On my flight, there was a dog in the row ahead of me. I heard scratching noises and thought it was my cat. When I checked on him, he was practically asleep. Then, I heard the woman in front of me trying to soothe her dog. I think the dog knew the cat was there and was annoyed. My cat, of course, could not have cared less that there was a dog around . If your cat(s) is (are) skittish around other animals, you may want to trade seats with someone.
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