The Dangers of Air Travel for Pets
One of the obstacles that can occur when you want to go on vacation with your family is to find places that will accommodate every member of your family, especially your furrier members. Another issue is how you are going to get to your destination. Drive or fly?
Unless your pet is small enough to fit under your seat and you can bring them in the cabin, it is not recommended that you fly your pet.
- Placed In The Cargo Hold
Although flying is more efficient, it places a lot more stress on your pets than driving. It can be dangerous, no matter how smooth the landing, how timely the departure, or how friendly the flight attendants. If you think flying is stressful for you, imagine how much more stressful it can be for an unknowing dog or cat when they are packed away in the cargo hold of a commercial jet.
The cargo section of an airplane is where the passengers’ luggage goes – as well as any cat or dog that is coming on the trip, too. The conditions within the cargo hold are not usually pet-friendly; temperatures can vary widely, ranging from considerably higher to considerably lower then the outside temperature. Also, pets will be exposed to the open air during unloading, and can experience changes in both temperature and humidity.
Noise can also be an issue. By nature, dogs and cats have significantly better hearing than humans. So any noise that may appear soft and relatively quiet to us can seem loud and booming to your pet. Air pressure can also be a scary factor because it can drop significantly, making your pet uncomfortable.
There have been numerous cases where pets have died while being contained in the cargo hold on various flights.
- Dangers On The Ground
A lot can go wrong from the time you check in your pet in with baggage handlers to the time your flight reaches its destination. Your dog or cat can be sent to the wrong place due to a routing error. Being separated from your pet may cause problems, depending on its water and food supply as well as the climate in the place they are being held. Pets traveling as cargo can be left in extreme cold, heat or rain while handlers transport and load them onto the airplane from the tarmac. Even after loading, pets may sit in sweltering heat or freezing conditions until the airplane takes off and climate control turns on.
There is also a chance that your pet’s kennel or cage can get tipped, crushed or opened during transport, loading, or unloading.
- Booking Considerations
If possible, it is recommended that you book a direct flight. This will minimize the amount of time your pet is in a confined space on a plane, the tarmac and loading areas. If you have to take a connection, try to book a trip that has ample time between flights so that baggage handlers can get your pet to the next plane as well as ensure its well-being.
Be sure to take further precautions for travelling with your pet by acquiring a kennel that is big enough for your pet to stand, lie down and turn around comfortably in. It must also have numerous ventilation slots and a water and food tray. It is also advisable that a note be placed on the outside of the cage, stating your contact information, your name, your pet’s name and the flight itinerary.
Also inform flight attendants and airline personnel that you are transporting a pet in the luggage compartment.
If you feel you must take your pet with you on your next vacation, your best bet is to go somewhere you can drive to – or simply leave your pet with a trusted family member or friend. Although you may see your pet as a family member, the airlines usually just see them as cargo.
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