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Old 03-02-2012, 05:00 PM
 
146 posts, read 281,106 times
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The thought of it is terrifying. Can I really trust the airlines to get her across country safely and comfortably?
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:10 PM
 
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My cousin flew out here with her cat from Boston. Unlike flying with a dog, you can just have the cat in a soft sided cat carrier and stow it beneath the seat( or at least those were the rules a couple of years ago.) Still, my cousin claims that the cat found it traumatizing, but I couldn't tell if the cat were traumatized or not. I saw her a couple of days after the flight, and she was sleeping.
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:00 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,559 times
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My co-worker and I flew from Memphis TN, to Seattle. He brought his 3 pound chiwawa. Cost about $100 ( +/- ) had to have a little documentation from a vet semi-recently, and as the poster above stated, she stayed in a soft sided " airline " friendly pet carry on bag under the seat in front of him the whole way. This dog has traveled some before, but never the less didn't seem bothered one way or the other.

I know you asked about a cat, but my above example is the only thing close i have of experience.

JJ
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Old 03-03-2012, 04:18 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,837,187 times
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I have flown all over the world with cats. Domestic air travel with cats is a piece of cake.

It's very easy, contact the airline at least a week in advance of the flight and book an onboard reservation for the cat. Each airline has their own pet policies and animal container requirements; every airline posts these policies on their website.

Cats can usually be transported in the passenger section of the plane in an approved size/dimension container which must fit under the airline seat. There is usually a limit of two small pets per plane cabin, so you want to get your reservation in early to beat the rush. Soft pet carriers are better than hardbodied pet taxis, as the soft ones can better fit airline dimensions and squeeze under the seat.

The cost is generally in the $100 range per cat.

Domestic carriers do not require any kind of veterinary certification. You can get animal sleeping pills if you need to conk the pet out for the flight. Your choice.

The hairiest part is getting the cat through airline security--you will need a leash. The pet must be removed from the carrier going through airport security, the pet carrier will go through the x-ray equipment petless. This means that you have one freaked out cat in your arms in the middle of thousands of people in an airport, clawing the collar off your shirt. The cat could sprint. Need leash!

Once cleared through security, kitty goes back into the pet carrier and off you go.

Airport security and the uncontained cat is the most difficult part of the process.


P.S. The cat carrier counts as a piece of carry on luggage, so you want to account for that in you budget and baggage.
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:46 PM
 
Location: lynnwood, wa
93 posts, read 339,980 times
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I flew from Nashville to Seattle with my cats a few years ago. I read horror stories about putting them in cargo and while it's not to say bad things happen all the time - i didn't want to take ANY chances to instead i took the cats with me. The catch is, when taking a cat aboard a plane - you can only have one cat per person - so i paid to have two of my buddies fly with me to all three cats could come on the plane. Not all (most) airlines don't allow pets but a select few do - i think I flew Delta, don't remember for sure but I can check if you'd like?

When going through the security gate, the cat *does* need to be removed from the carrier - which can be a bit unnerving. You would through the metal detector with your cat in your arm. In one sense, my cats were so stunned - they didn't try to freak out, in another sense i held onto them with everything i had, just to be on the safe side. OH - also, i had cat leashes for each of them that i attached to them, so gosh forbid they got out of the carrier - the cat leash would serve as a second line of defense to keep them from getting away. Also, be sure and *microchip* your cats at the vet, it's not expensive and is yet another measure of defense gosh forbid they get away somehow.

My cats were *completely* freaked out by the plane ride, there was sadly no way to avoid that. Even worse, there were no direct flights available so we had to change over inbetween. Between grabbing the kitties in the morning, going to the airport, flying and walking, then going from the airport to their new home - i'm sure it wasn't their best day ... by far, but they were within my sights and control the whole time and arrived safetly.

From what i've read, the consensus is that it is **not** safe to give cats any sort of tranquilizer because something to do with the air pressure and a cat's lack of ability to regulate when not awake - it could be extremely dangerous. So i resisted the urge to tranquilize them and we goth through the day.

So...
Make sure the carrier you use is regulated for use on the airplane!!
Find an airline friendly carrier
Take them with you, as opposed to cargo.

Oh, one last thing, on both flights - the flight crew put all of us in the back of the plane where -- this way whatever screeching the cats might do would not be heard by the remaining passengers - as we were pretty much right over the engine. Doesn't do much to make the cats any happier but it's all good - be prepared for the same. It might have been more so with me because of having 3 cats as opposed to one.

Let me know if you have any further questions
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Old 03-03-2012, 05:54 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA! Finally! :D
710 posts, read 1,285,569 times
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I'm doing this next month!!

It costs $125 on Continental (well, now, United) and I used my miles to upgrade to the First Class cabin so I'd have more space (both for me and him!). They only allow one pet in the First Class cabin per flight, and I think four total in Economy, so you'll want to book early if you have a particular flight in mind. I ended up scoping out the underseat space on my other flights when I was on that type of plane. I chose the aisle seat in First Class as it has little more room than the window seat. Also, I figure this way I can bolt from the plane quicker too as I'm sure the other First Class passengers will hate me! The economy seats are obviously smaller, but your best bet for underseat space (depending on plane) is almost always the middle or window seats.

I got one of those Sherpa bags. The medium and small are approved, the large you are pushing it. I'd prefer to have the large as my cat is 15Ibs (needless to say he's on a diet right now!), but I got the medium to be safe. It's small, but he'll be ok. I have it out in the bedroom right now for him to check out for the next month or so. I'll probably put him in it and carry him around a bit, then put him in the car and drive around but come back to my place so he doesn't associate it with anything bad (ie - the vet).

I'm really dreading the security part, but oh well, it has to be done. He's not too skittish, so I'm just going to hold on to him for dear life. He tends to more freeze up when he's scared. I hate the idea of a harness or leash as it's just so complicated to have that on him in the carrier or taking it off to put him back in, so I'll take me chances. He's microchipped and has a collar ID.

No to sedatives - it messes with their breathing. You can try that calming spray or something like that in the carrier if you want to do something. I'm thinking of doing that myself.

I'll report back here to let you know my experience though. My flight is April 28th!
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:48 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,205 times
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I have also flown all over the world with my cat. Always in cargo. Two weeks ago we flew from Paris to Seattle with him. It is always a bit nerve wracking for the both of us, but he made it fine. Also the vet said no to the sedatives. And the recommendations for a leash and harness are good too! If the cat goes in cargo, you won't need to go through security with him.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:36 AM
 
133 posts, read 217,465 times
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It's funny how many US airlines don't serve peanuts for fear of extremely rare peanut allergies, yet allow people to fly with cats and other pets right in the cabin...and cat allergies are extremely common.

It's like sitting down and someone lighting up a cigar or cigarette next to you. But both those are banned nowadays...

This mainly happens on US airlines too. British Air, Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Quantas: all of them require pets to be stowed/crated in the baggage compartment instead of in the passenger compartment.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:01 PM
 
3,045 posts, read 2,897,482 times
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Some airlines don't fly pets now I don't think. I'd double check. You also might want to check with your vet. They might have a mild sedative you could give your cat so they'll be calmed down during the flight. You also might want to do other things like throw a worn shirt in their soft kennel thing to keep your scent in there. Cats are territorial and don't travel well.

Quote:
Also, I figure this way I can bolt from the plane quicker too as I'm sure the other First Class passengers will hate me!
Usually we just hate parents who bring small children up there. Nobody is likely to care about your cat. You board early so you can get it under the seat in front of you. I'd also check your seat selection. Row 1 is a bulk head and has no seat storage in front of you. The FA's should know about your cat from the manifest and should make sure you get a seat that is appropriate.

Quote:
Need leash!
They come with several retractable leashes in their paws to keep you close
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:15 PM
 
1,626 posts, read 6,349,314 times
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Here's an example of a pet policy, this one from our hometown airline, Alaska:

Traveling with Pets - Alaska Airlines

Note the warning about "brachycephalic" (short-nosed) breeds in cargo. We have such a breed (dog) and so we would never put ours in a hold.

We had a cat for many years, but we never took her across the country by air - so no experience or advice to offer there.
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