January 7, 2019

Airline travel with dogs

Hopping on a plane with your dog. If you’ve never done this before, it can be extremely intimidating.
Since I was traveling to the US from Europe for a longer period of time, I wanted to bring my youngest dog with me.

So my research began…. Can he travel in cabin with me? Which airlines allow this? Which carrier do I need? How long before the flight do I give him the last meal before departing?
So I googled, watched YouTube videos, talked to people who had traveled with their pup before etc.

Bash weighs 15 pounds so he was allowed to travel in cabin with me, underneath the seat in front of me. I ended up traveling with United Airlines and it was such a good experience!
Amsterdam does not have pet relief areas, which is beyond annoying since I dealt with a 4 hour delay departing there. The staff of United at the gate though, went above and beyond to ensure I could still take Bash for a quick pee before we boarded.
Luckily, the States have pet relief areas at every airport.

For the carrier I ended up getting him the Sleepypod Air. It’s expensive, but it’s amazing quality and just the largest size you can get that is still allowed in cabin, since you can adjust the size of it in width so it always fits underneath the seat in front of you. I did have him walk through the airport and put him in the carrier when we actually started boarding since we had quite a bit of traveling ahead of us.
I ordered the carrier for him a few months in advance and got him adjusted to it slowly every day. I put treats in there every time and after a few days, he started jumping up and down when I grabbed the carrier since he knew treats would be in store.

I gave him the last meal before departing about 4 hours before our flight was supposed to depart. I did give him some treats in the airport, during the flight and ensured he got water during the flight too. Obviously I managed his water intake since he couldn’t go potty anywhere (I tried to get him to go on a pad in the bathroom but he refused to go) but I did ensure he stayed hydrated during the flight.

The fees for in cabin travel are extremely reasonable with United, I paid $125 for one way and I wouldn’t have wanted him to travel anywhere but in cabin with me.
Bash did amazingly well. I ended up opening the carrier for him a bit so he could pop his head out and look around him. The only thing he didn’t like was the take off and landing part. That scared him a bit but other than that, he did so amazingly well!

Customs upon arrival in the US were great with him too. They check the paperwork and ensure you can continue as quickly as possible since they get that your dog has to go badly after an 11 hour flight.

Bash has adjusted to Arizona life so amazingly well and he’s loving it here. I’m so happy I decided to bring him with me, despite traveling with a dog by yourself feels very intimidating.
I’ve honestly never received so many smiles and chatted with so many people while walking through the airport, waiting at the gate (so many people come over to chat!) and on the plane too.

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