Version date: June 29, 2014
THE AIRLINE REQUIRES THAT YOUR PET IS AT THE AIRPORT AT LEAST 2 TO 4 HOURS PRIOR TO FLIGHT. Depending on the destination, this is a requirement of all airlines. They are considering the safety of the pets, and the passengers - it is quite apart from our service, and is unavoidable.
WHY? Trained airline employees known as "load masters" enter the individual kennel dimensions and weights in to their computer schematic. These computer models constantly recalculate oxygen use, and fuel requirements to safely make the journey, while distancing your pets away from hazardous cargoes, as the airline's warehouse receives each piece. It is very complicated, it takes time, and that's why the 2 hour short flight wait, 4 hour long flight wait.
DAY/DAYS BEFORE FLIGHT Ever since we started Petflight, we have always separated pet from owner for at least 24 hours. The pet has been taken to a specific veterinary hospital, of our choosing. In most cases, the purpose is to complete veterinary work that is required by the countries where the pets are going to; but this is also for stress management. So often, we are picking up pets from homes that are in the process of being dismantled by moving companies (a very stressful environment for any animal). The animal hospital, we take them to, prepares them with love, and caring so the fear has all but gone by the time they arrive at the airport - they are curious, but not afraid - they have adjusted to being away from home. No pet is ever tranquilized, and this time at the veterinary clinic makes sure that the pet is healthy for travel.
Pets departing from their home may look scared, but by the time they have spent (even a few hours) in the calming, kind, matter-of-fact surroundings at the vet, their fear subsides - even those who have to undergo treatments. By the time they are ready to leave, for some far off country, they do not show fear, and are eager to be on their way.
WHERE DO MY PETS GO IN THE AIRPLANE? Your pet will travel in a pressurized, heated, and oxygenated cargo compartment located just below the passenger compartment. Kennels are tied down to thin steel skids that are firmly fixed to the cargo deck which precludes any kennel movement. Many dogs, and cats might be on a flight, and there may also be other live cargo such as bees, day old chicks, lobsters, fish, horses, even a tiger or two in the belly of the aircraft with (but away from) printing presses, antique cars, rubber duckies, and passenger luggage.
Unless your pet is older than 3 months, and so incredibly tiny that it fits under the airline seat, the pet will not be traveling in the passenger compartment with you, no matter what someone might tell you otherwise. The pet will be traveling in the live cargo hold of a passenger aircraft.
Since September 11th 2001, safety screening has become more stringent, taking more time to accomplish as crates and boxes are X-Rayed, and/or searched. If you decide to forego a pet shipper's service, you will find yourself in the airline's noisy, beeping, banging, screeching, scraping, big and scary warehouse, taking your pet out of it's kennel, while the kennel is hand searched for explosives, drugs, weapons, and/or electronic devices. When they are quite satisfied that the kennel is not going to explode, or hide drugs, they then decide if your pet is in the proper size kennel - if not, you pay (right there, and then) for a much bigger kennel, and the air freight difference (which can be thousands of dollars more).
SURPRISE! We've seen it a dozen times - we are at the airport, and someone is privately trying to book their own pet in to an airline. They are surprised, and indignant that the kennel they crammed their pet in to is inadequate, and their paperwork is incomplete. The airline representative is trying to explain that they must get their documentation corrected, and completed first, before they then pay thousands of dollars more money for the difference that the larger kennel size will cost them now. With a pet shipper, you forgo these last second worries. Petflight is well aware of the size that your pets kennel must be, we have confirmed that all the paperwork will be accepted at the destination, and (importantly) the airlines know us - they know that the pets we tender are healthy, the kennel is proper, the labels are correct, the paperwork is right, and that the pet has been de-stressed at a vet clinic for at least 24 hours prior to flight.