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 Cheapflights.com (www.cheapflights.com) 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>