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800-532-2890

Come Fly With Me

 

© 2003 Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation

United Airlines

The decision about flying with or shipping your Kerry Blue Terrier by air should probably be made following the same advice we give people about becoming Kerry Blue Terrier owners ­ Get the information before you decide, both to buy or to fly! The following information on how to best fly with or ship your Kerry Blue Terrier is summarized from the KBL newslist of August 4, 5 and 6, 2002. It is based on the advice of both veteran and novice shippers/receivers. Please remember, this information is just advice, nothing more or less. It is arranged by topic: PREPARING: (Airline/flight, the Kerry Blue); ON BOARD; INTERMEDIATE AIRPORT; and RECEIVING AIRPORT.

(By the way, my Kerry Blue Terrier, Deidre Rhianon Bluestockings, tells me that she would like to fly, but it would be to catch Robins, not to visit her relatives in Denver.)

PREPARING: THE AIRLINE AND FLIGHT

GOOD TRACK RECORD : Airlines reported with good track records among those on the list serve are Air France, Lufthansa, United Airlines and US Air. There may be others, but these specific good reports were received on these.

CALL FIRST: Call the airline (or go on line to the airline's web site) to find out their policies and procedures with animals. Get contact names if possible. Find out about the specific airlines requirements, including the 'advance reservation' requirements and crate requirements. Find out the shipping cost so that you can notify the receiving party.

SMALL DOGS: Small dogs may travel in appropriate containers in the main sitting cabin with their human. Several points must be noted however. There is still an extra cost for the dog. There are still requirements for health certificates, etc. The dog has to be kept in the container that has to be stowed under the seat for the entire flight, at least on the airlines I have seen. More important for the Kerry puppy shipper, however, is the fact that there may be a weight restriction of 12 pounds. A 3-month-old Kerry puppy might not (probably would not) fit this weight limitation. Call your airlines if you are thinking about this as a possible option.

THE CRATE: Make sure the crate you purchase meets airline requirements. Also make sure that the crate is big enough for your KBT to turn around in. Some crates come with "LIVE ANIMAL" stickers. Others come with arrows so you can indicate the "UP" direction. Your airline will supply you with its required 'stickers.' If the crate has a floor, it may be possible to put the papers (health, AKC, etc) in a plastic sack, under the floor. Otherwise they can be taped to the top of the crate.

PAPERWORK: Bring a copy of the health certificate to show the shipping agent. (Send a copy to the receiver/proud parent.) Arrive in plenty of time to fill out the airline's paperwork. Put any papers you are sending in a large envelope and tape it securely to the top of the crate. Make sure you have the receiver's address and phone number as well as name for the shipping tag that goes on the crate.

THE FLIGHT: Try to arrange for a non-stop flight if possible. Minimally arrange for the flight with the least amount of transfers. Avoid night stop flights. There were suggestions for early morning or later evening flights to avoid the heat of the day at the airport. Animals cannot be flown above 85 degrees Fahrenheit so if you are shipping in the late spring, you and the receiver need to be prepared for possible delays in shipping due to extreme heat. It should also be noted that some airlines will not ship animals during the summer. Check your airlines if you are thinking about shipping in the summer.

CHECKING IN -- BAGGAGE OR AIR FREIGHT: On some airlines, animals may be checked in with passengers and "bag tagged" at which point a cargo agent is called to pick-up the crate at the point of check-in. Animals that are checked as "baggage" are taken by separate cart to the baggage claim area and not placed on the regular baggage carousel.

If you are not traveling with your Kerry, she may be shipped as Air Freight and thus shipped from the air freight facility and will not have bag tags but will have airway bills with the shipper's name and the consignee's name on the bill in a clear plastic envelope stuck to the top of the crate. United Airlines has a shipper/receiver card with the address and phone number of both that is attached to the handle of the crate. Again, check with your airline to see their requirements.

PREPARING THE KERRY BLUE TERRIER


HEALTH CERTIFICATES: The airline will require an up-to-date health certificate. Have this done a few days before the dog is to travel. Your vet will issue the certificate after an exam.

SEDATION: The strongest recommendations were to not sedate. There was only one recommendation for light sedation. Talk to your vet about this if your dog if especially nervous or 'flighty.'

ELIMINATION: Let the dog urinate and eliminate before crating. (One recommendation was to 'match' if dog hasn't gone. "Matching - take one or two paper matches from the match book. Wet the sulfur end in your mouth then insert the sulfur end in into the dog's rectum 1/2 way so that about a 1/2 inch is visible. If the dog has stool in the rectum, it will defecate within 5 minutes. The match comes out with the stool. If the dog does not 'go' within the 5 minutes, remove the match and throw it away." You might want to check with your vet about this procedure.)

DOG AND CRATE: If you are shipping a puppy or a dog that has never been crated, let it get used to being in the crate for several days to a week before you ship. Don't spring it on the puppy the day of the flight.

FOOD AND DRINK: There were mixed recommendations regarding whether to let the dog drink immediately before crating or not. One recommendation was to not feed the day before. United Airlines require that the shipper certify that the dog has been fed and watered within 4 hours before the flight. United also requires that a sack of food be attached to the crate so that the animal may be fed on long flights (24 hours for adult dogs, 12 hours for puppies.)

COLLARS - Although there was some concern expressed on collars getting accidentally caught on the crate in flight, there still were general recommendations to have your Kerry travel with a collar for purposes of identification. The strongest recommendation is for a buckle type collar. Use a "Pocket Pal" (can be purchased) or make a cloth sleeve to fit any tags into so as to reduce the chances of the tags getting caught. Another suggestion as a compromise was to use a cloth collar and print the identification on the inside of the collar. Never use any of the training type collars.

TOYS: There are general recommendations to not include any toys or chewables so as to eliminate the possibility of chocking on something. {My puppy traveled safely with a toy and a towel with her mother's scent on it with no problem.}

WATER IN THE TRAYS: Crates are required to have a food and water tray. There were some recommendations to freeze water in the trays for the journey. As the frozen tray of water thaws the dog can get some water. If you simply fill the trays with water, it was pointed out, the water could spill on the dog and or around the crate during travel. It was also noted that dogs can go all night without food and water and so there may not be a need for water in the crate during short flights. A bottle water dispenser (like you can get for rabbits) was suggested as an alternate to water in a tray. Plastic bottles should be used rather than glass ones. Check with your airline for their watering policy if the flight is long.

SECURITY BLANKET: Consider shipping Master or Miss Blue with a 'security blanket' (with the scent of the mother dog or other scent that the dog is familiar with). This might lessen the stress of the journey, and make it a little easier on the adopting parents.

WAITING FOR THE FLIGHT: "Hang-out" with your dog before the flight or if a flight is delayed. Be sure to call the receiving party if the flight is delayed and then again when the flight leaves so that they can know when to pick the dog up.

BEFORE THE PLANE LEAVES: It is suggested that you consider reminding the ticket agent to remind the crew of the plane that there is a dog on board. Do this immediately before the agent goes down the jetway to close the air craft prior to pushback.

ON BOARD: Airline people who wrote in suggest that essentially all parts of the plane are pressurized. The airline will assure you that the compartment the dog is in is heated. Heat is necessary because it is very cold in the upper atmosphere where the plane is flying. Animals are last on and first off the plane. If you are flying with your Kerry, you might consider asking a flight attendant to notify the pilot that your animal in on board. A story was shared indicating when this request was made on one flight, the pilot subsequently announced to the entire plane that "Lyric" was on board.

IMTERMEDIATE AIRPORT: If the shipping is through connecting flights/airports, and you are traveling with the dog and have a long delay between flights, consider getting the dog at the intermediate airport, walk the dog, etc, and then re-board the dog. Call the airlines beforehand if you would like to do this to find out their policy and procedures.

SMALL AIRPORT: It is suggested that at a small airport there may only be one or two people working and you will want to keep your eyes on your dog as much as possible.

AT THE RECEIVING AIRPORT

BEFORE THE DAY OF THE FLIGHT: Strong recommendation from experienced travelers/shippers to call the airlines to find out exactly where the pickup point will be before you go to the airport. Some airline web sites have directions to their cargo locations on their web site. Also try for directions after you get an address from the airline.

DAY OF THE FLIGHT: Check to insure that the flight is still scheduled and what the anticipated arrival time is. Call the shipper/received to make sure everything is still in order to ship and/or receive. Get to the pickup point on time or ahead of the arrival time regardless of what the airline tells you about how long it may be before your dog arrives from the airplane.

PREPARATION: Bring your own leash, as they are not allowed in the crate. Bring a spare collar if you are not sure if the shipper has put one on the dog. A show slip-collar-leash was suggested as an alternate. Bring water and food, just in case so that you will be prepared to water and feed. The food that has been attached to the crate may not be easily opened.

SHARED FLIGHTS: If your puppy is sharing the flight with another puppy and you have not purchased the flight crate, bring a travel crate for the ride home (or see suggestion below about a security blanket.)

ARRIVAL: There is paperwork to sign indicating that you have received the dog. Be prepared for this slight delay.

OPENING THE CRATE: Open the crate in a reasonably secure area. Be prepared for a puppy to bound out. There has been a case reported where a Kerry bolted out of her crate and ran into traffic and was killed. We suggest that you park your car near a grassy spot (so that the dog can eliminate) and open the crate in the car.

Of course, occasionally the reverse it true and the dog does not want to come out of the crate. Do not force the dog out. Take the puppy in the crate to your transportation if the Blue Earth Dog doesn't want to come out. (And see immediately above. This is probably the safest thing to do anyway.)

BRING A FRIEND: Picking the puppy or dog up with a second party is advised-One person to deal with the puppy and the other to sign the paperwork and deal with the crate, etc.

SECURITY BLANKET REVISITED: This is an alternate to the 'home-scent' security blanket. Consider bringing a 'new-home-security-blanket, that is with your (the receiving owner's) scent on it. The specific suggestion was to wrap the puppy up in the new home security blanket as she sits on your lap on the way home. This might help puppy to get used to her new surroundings, including you, a little sooner. Get your spouse or a friend to drive you and puppy home.

IF YOU ARE TRAVELING WITH A PARTNER: Split the tasks ­ One deal with the luggage, etc, and the other deal with getting the dog. Consider pre-booking the transportation rather than getting stuck in a car rental line. For long fights, consider having your partner fly the day before in order to secure transportation that allows room for your crate, etc. They will also be fresher to deal with whatever needs to be taken care of.

URL's containing information about flying and dogs:

Veterinarians
http://veterinarians.com/articles/tips-for-traveling-with-your-pets.html

Alaska Air
http://www.alaskaair.com/content/cargo/petstreak.aspx

American
https://www.aacargo.com/learn/animals.html

Delta Pet Services
http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us
/special-travel-needs/pets.html

United
http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/travel/animals/default.aspx

Air Canada
http://www.aircanada.com/cargo/en/solutions/ac_live/index.html

Pet Transport Services

PetAir
http://www.flypets.com/blog/index.php/category/welcome/

Air Animal
http://www.airanimal.com

Thanks to all the many Kerry Blue Terrier owners who responded to Louise Lang's request for information and advice on flying/shipping a Kerry Blue Terrier. The list of contributors is:Marilyn Brotherton; Helen Eiden; John Van den Bergh; Daryl Enstone; Captain Earl Palmer; Roland Pemberton; Richard & Carol Basler; Barbara Kam; Jennifer Mulholland; Randy Hayes; Angelica Amador; George Kalogeras; Sharon Ponsford; Charlotte Crosswhite; Charles Ross; Susan Wright; and David Hale.

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