Travel Picks: Top 10 tips for flying with pets

Fri Nov 4, 2011 10:53am EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Traveling with pets can be a nerve-racking adventure for first-time fliers - and even more so for their owners. But preparing ahead, from organized feeding schedules to vet visits, is a strategic way to guarantee you and your furry friend will be fine 35,000 feet in the air.

Online travel adviser ( offers its top 10 tips for flying with pets. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Calculate the costs

The charges associated with carrying pets onboard - whether checked or in the cabin - add up quickly. Research airlines' different rates ahead of time and factor the canine and feline fees into the total cost of airfare - both yours and your pet's - before pressing book. Delta Air Lines for instance, attaches a hefty $200 fee per kennel to check a pet for one-way flights; cabin riders do less financial damage at $125 per kennel. And a good rule of thumb: like general airfare, discount airlines like Southwest ($75) and JetBlue ($100) often charge less for pets.

2. Call the airline

Start by checking your airline's website for regulations, but also get a verbal confirmation that you and your pet are set to fly. Many airlines limit the total number of animals allowed within the cabin on each flight, so it's important that a reservation be made sooner rather than later -and confirmed 24-48 hours before departure. American Airlines, for instance, caps the number of four-legged fliers at seven per flight: two in First Class and five in Business and Coach.

3. Rehearse nearby

First-time fliers are sometimes overwhelmed - justifiably - by a 35,000-foot ascent, so it's important to schedule trial runs before the big day of flight. If you live in a city, take your pet for a ride on the subway or other modes of public transportation to familiarize it with both the movement and the crowds. Since the American Veterinary Medical Association frowns upon sedation - the combination of tranquilizers and high altitudes can prove fatal - it's best to travel with calm, drug-free pets.

4. Visit the vet   Continued...

<p>Cats wait to be loaded into trucks after arriving from Lebanon by cargo jet at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, September 26, 2006. REUTERS/Steve Marcus</p>