Travel Tips travelling with pets puppy lucy being carried

Published on January 19th, 2016 | by Crissandra Ayroso

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8 Tips for Travelling with Pets

Nitro and Ramsey are two globetrotting, jet-setting pups, and when they travel, they like to make sure that they’re comfortable, safe and on time for their flights.

Our Flightie Allison Wallace recently appeared on CTV with Nitro and Ramsey’s mom, Ann Luu, to talk about tips for travelling with your beloved pets. From planning ahead with your airline, to how to prepare your pet for travel, here are 8 tips for travelling with your pet:

CTV_Ally_Pets

Nitro tests out the inside of the soft-sided carrier, while Ramsey tests the outside of the hard-sided carrier.

 

1. Plan ahead

air nz safety video

Research which airlines that work best for you and your pet.

Research airline requirements for pet size and weight restrictions, carrier measurements, and cost information. Keep maximum pet allowance in mind: There is a maximum number of pets allowed onboard and in checked baggage on a given flight, due to limited room or peak travel seasons, so it’s important to know how many are registered for the flight you want to book.

On Air Canada and WestJet, passengers are each allowed to travel with one pet in the cabin. Both Air Canada and WestJet allow up to two pets per passenger as checked baggage.

 

2. What to know about flying your pets onboard

CTV_Ally_Pets_4

When in-cabin, Nitro is in-fashion.

If your pet is under a certain size and weight you will be permitted to bring your pet onboard in an airline approved pet carrier. You will be required to stow your pet in the carrier underneath the seat in front of you, so it’s important to make sure that your carrier meets the airline’s requirements.

 

3. What to know about flying your pets in checked baggage

CTV_Ally_Pets_3

Ramsey, the party animal, sniffs out his safe, airline-approved pet carrier.

If your pet is flying in checked baggage, pets must be under a certain size and weight and travel in an airline approved pet carrier. Pet carriers must be leak-proof, hard-sided with ventilation and no part of the animal is allowed to protrude from the carrier (to keep them safe from surrounding carriers and baggage) and big enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably.

Remember that not all aircraft have heated or air-conditioned cargo, so keep the time of year in mind when flying pets as blackout dates will apply.

For pets that exceed the onboard and checked baggage size and weight restrictions, pet owners have the option to fly pets in cargo.

 

4. Use a travel agent to book your flight

Ultra Shop consultant and client

Ask for help from an expert when booking flights for you and your pet.

If your flight has a codeshare (an airline that another airline partners with for one leg of your journey), the rules may change and you’ll see that pets will be restricted altogether, or that you’ll only be permitted to fly all the way through when travelling with your pet.
(Ask a Travel Expert for more information on codeshare flights!)

 

5. Register your pet

Harveysocks

Harvey is ready to take on the world.

Once you’ve booked your flight, you must register your pet for travel on the same flight as yours. You’ll be asked to provide the weight and breed of your pet, along with carrier measurements. Unregistered pets will not be accepted at the airport. Air Canada recommends registering your pet within 24 hours of completing your booking. This allows you a grace period to make any changes without charge in case your pet cannot be accommodated. WestJet recommends registering your pet within 48 hours of completing your booking.

 

6. Consult with your veterinarian

Lucysconcerned2

Lucy takes precaution and opts for safety first.

Make sure that your pet is fit to fly, don’t require any additional vaccinations and have any refills of medications needed. Your airline might also require that your vet provides documents that your pet is healthy and allowed to fly.

 

7. Prepare your pet for travel

Lucy_Ontheroad

Lucy remembers to pack her favourite blankets for her next flight.

Get your pet familiar with their kennel or crate and be sure to pack toys and a blanket that smell like home to make sure your pet is as happy and comfortable as possible. Make sure your pet has ID tags on at all times.

 

8. What to do on the day of your flight

airport

Arrive at least 30 minutes earlier than the recommended check-in time.

Give your pets plenty of exercise before kennel/crate time.
Avoid feeding your pet 6-8 hours prior to departure, or giving them water 2 hours prior to departure. It’s important to make sure that your pet is not hungry or dehydrated, but you don’t want your pet stressed out if they need a bathroom break. Arrive at least 30 minutes before the recommended check-in time to make time to see an agent. This extra time will also give you and your pet enough time to get familiar with your travel surroundings and conditions, or to check your pet in at checked baggage.

 

Size and weight restrictions, carrier measurements, and costs

Air Canada

Pets travelling in the cabin:

  • Cats and dogs must each weigh under 10 kg, including the weight of the carrier
  • Carrier dimensions
    Hard-sided carriers: 9” x 15.5” x 21.5”
    Soft-sided carriers: 10.5” x 15.5” x 21.5”
  • Costs
    $50 each way within Canada and Canada/U.S. (except Hawaii – animals must be sent via AC Cargo); $100 each way international

Pets travelling in checked baggage:

  • Cats and dogs must each weigh under 32 kg, including the weight of the carrier
  • Carrier dimensions
    Hard-sided carriers: 115” in linear dimensions (length + width + height)
  • Costs
    $105 each way within Canada and Canada/U.S. (except Hawaii – animals must be sent via AC Cargo); $270 each way international

Pets travelling in cargo:

  • For cats and dogs that weigh over 32 kg, or exceed the maximum carrier dimensions, Air Canada Cargo can ship your pet. Ask a Travel Expert for help with rates and assistance.

WestJet

Pets travelling in the cabin:

  • Pets must each weigh under 10 kg, including the weight of the carrier
  • Carrier dimensions
    Soft-sided carriers: 8.5” x 16” x 17.5”
  • Costs
    $50-$60 each way

Pets travelling in checked baggage:

  • Pets must weigh under 45kg, including the weight of the carrier
  • Carrier dimensions
    Hard-sided carriers: 40” x 27” x 30”
  • Costs
    $75-$90 each way

Pets travelling in cargo:

  • For pets that weigh over 32 kg, or exceed the maximum carrier dimensions, WestJet cargo can ship your pet. Ask a Travel Expert for help with rates and assistance.

 

For more information about travelling with your pet, contact a Flight Centre Travel Expert by connecting with us online, calling 1-877-967-5302, or visiting your closest Flight Centre store.

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About the Author

Crissandra Ayroso

is a copywriter for Flight Centre. She loves road trips, beach weather, sampling local wine. She, like Helen Hunt in the 1996 disaster-rama (that’s short for drama) Twister, is a tornado chaser, in the travel sense. She chases moments, all revealing. Ephemeral. Whether it’s ordering room service and eating in bed, finding the highest rooftop for the best views of the surroundings, feeling like a small dot in the middle of the ocean on a boat, or getting lost and stumbling upon hidden gems, no moment is too big or small to chase. Just like the category F5 that brought Helen Hunt back together with her estranged husband, respected TV weatherman, Bill Paxton.



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