Flying with Pets: They Don’t Have to “Ruff” It When They Travel

For many people, the joy of a vacation or out-of-town trip means experiencing the thrills and adventures with those they love most. While this typically brings to mind people’s spouses, significant others, children, grandchildren, etc.… more and more, the list includes the family pets.

For practically anyone that has traveled via the commercial airlines, you know all too well how exhausting the experience can be between the long lines, layovers and hassle of traveling on the carrier’s schedule and not your own. Add traveling commercially with your pet to the mix, and you easily understand why many animal advocates typically discourage you from traveling on the airlines with them.

But air travel with your pets doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, many pet owners who take their pets with them on business trips or vacations through the use of private aviation will often times tell you a different story. Bringing their companion to ride alongside them on their lap, at their feet or in their kennel, makes the flight all the more enjoyable!

Flying Commercial vs. Flying Private with Your Pet

This may come as a surprise to many people, but booking your pets on the commercial airlines requires more documentation, procedures and legwork than booking an airline ticket for a human passenger! The amount of paperwork and guidelines that need to be followed can be quite overwhelming. From the type of material that your kennel is made of, to how you store your pet’s food, the added time required before and after your flight to drop off and pick up your pet, can be quite burdensome. This extra work not only adds to your own personal stress, but it can also be quite encumbering for your pet as well.

If your pet isn’t one of the lucky few who can secure a spot stowed in a kennel underneath the seat in front of you, then it’s important to consider the various factors that your animal may face when flying commercially. A study by the American Association of Laboratory Animals Science found that temperatures in the cargo hold of a commercial aircraft can shift by 50 degrees or more during a typical flight. There is also added stress on the animal when you consider the fact that they will have to be contained within their kennel for the entire duration of the trip. Even worse, they can be frightened as they encounter unfamiliar and often loud environments while passing through freight and baggage facilities.

By choosing to fly on a private aircraft with your pet, you will have peace of mind knowing that he or she is safe and secure. And that alone will help get your trip started off on the right foot. Not only will you have your pet fly right alongside you in the comfort of the temperature-controlled cabin, but you’ll know if they need a quick drink, need to stretch their legs or even if they want the added comfort of snuggling in your lap with their favorite blanket. Plus the comfort in knowing that you’re right there to help them!

Flying private also gives you more leeway regarding the number of pets that you can take with you as well as the type of animals you can bring along since a number of breeds are not allowed to fly commercially. And if you stop for fuel or to stretch your legs, your animal is free to join you! They don’t have to remain cooped up in their kennel until they reach their final destination.

Ensuring a Pleasant Trip for Your Faithful Companion

While the actual flight to your destination is important when traveling with pets, there are also a number of other steps that pet owners should keep in mind to make their pet’s travel experience an enjoyable one.

Prior to Travel

  • Visit your vet at least 10 days prior to your departure. Make sure to obtain a health certificate showing that vaccinations are up to date, IDs are current, and necessary prescriptions have been filled. It’s also good to make sure you have your vet’s contact information on file should you need to reach your vet while you’re out of town.
  • Pack the necessary supplies you’ll need for the duration of the trip. Be sure your pet has plenty of food and water, their favorite treats, harness devices, food bowls, absorbent waste pads and even their favorite toys. If traveling outside of the United States, be sure you have the necessary documentation required for your pet since that varies from country to country.
  • Acquaint your animal with any new travel items you’ve purchased for them. If you bought them a new travel kennel, leave the kennel door open in your house a couple of days prior to departure and put their favorite toy or other familiar object inside. That way your pet is more at ease once they are placed inside of it.

Day of Travel

  • Limit food and water intake the day of your trip. A lot of people like to fill a dish with water overnight and let it freeze. During travel, the ice will slowly melt ensuring that your pet is able to stay hydrated and it doesn’t make a big mess either.
  • Exercise is not only a great way to make sure your pet is able to stretch it’s legs prior to departure, but often times a tired pet is able to get more rest while inflight
  • Ensure the safety of your pet, especially during takeoff and landing, by making sure they are properly secured either in their kennel or in a seat with a safety harness

Arriving at Your Destination

  • Provide food and water to make sure your pet is staying hydrated and getting the nutrition it needs
  • Exercise your pet and give them the chance to stretch after their time spent traveling
  • Lodging options for pets have certainly grown over the past few years. Make sure your hotel is able to accommodate your pet. You might even consider the many great services that some locations provide in order to pamper your pet to ensure that they are enjoying their trip as well!
Flying with Pets

While there are many factors to consider when traveling with your pet, being able to travel in the comfort of a private aircraft versus the commercial airlines is sure to make your trip all the more enjoyable. To find out more about private travel with your favorite companion, contact KCAC Aviation at (913) 324-1250.

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