COVID-19 has affected people traveling with their pets all over the world. However, it may come as a surprise to you that our furry clients traveling domestically, within the United States, have experienced some of the biggest setbacks. While PetRelocation will always strive to keep your furbaby’s journey on track, here are a few roadblocks you may encounter when moving pets within the United States.
Challenges Booking a Flight
In March 2020 all airlines suspended their pet travel programs for pets traveling within the United States. At the time of this posting (October 2020), only two airlines have resumed their programs for domestic travel, though at a reduced number of flights and airports. While we are incredibly grateful to have those options to offer our clients, we want to make sure that pet parents understand the limitations that are still very much in play.
For instance, most airlines offer flight bookings for live animals within an approved booking window. This is usually about two weeks to ten days before your proposed day of travel. PetRelocation submits a flight booking on the earliest possible day, but this doesn’t always guarantee a travel date. Many airlines are giving priority to pets flying on the same flight with their owners while also restricting the number of pets that can travel on a given plane. So, with fewer flights allowing fewer spots for pets- flying pets within the US has become rather competitive.
Hunter moved from mainland USA to Hawaii
On top of the limitations to flights and the number of live animals allowed due to COVID-19, we are seeing a trend across all domestic airlines regarding the size and breeds of pets they will fly. If your pet requires an extra-large crate or if your pet is a snub-nosed animal, it’s unlikely that we will be able to secure a domestic flight for that pet.
So, what are the options if your furry friend cannot fly? We encourage you to look into ground transportation for your needs. Driving your pet can be a great option, but we’d like to be transparent that when hiring a professional it can be more expensive than many expect.
The reality is that ground transportation requires more hands-on attention from our dedicated partners and takes much longer than flying. For our partner’s safety and the safety of your pets, we require stops every two to four hours and never ask our partners to be on the road more than 10 hours a day. This means that if the trip cannot be made in a day, drivers will stay the night in pet-friendly accommodations along the way. Therefore, the price is often much higher than if your pet could fly.
Costs will vary depending on your specific needs, but typically our ground transportation rates start at $2,200 - $2,400 for a 10-hour drive and increase to around $6,000 - $6,400 for a cross-country journey with one pet. Comparatively, this is often double the cost of flying a pet along the same route.
You can read more about our method of ground transportation here.
- Moving Pets To and From Canada: Currently, no airlines are flying pets as cargo into Canada from the United States as the border remains closed. While ground transportation may be an option for crossing the border with your pets, there are strict regulations in place.
- Moving Pets To and From Guam: At this time we cannot assist with most pets moving to or from Guam. There are very few exceptions made for military families only. Unfortunately, we are unable to speculate when this issue will be resolved.
- Travel to Hawaii: While pet travel to Hawaii from mainland US is possible right now, we are experiencing delayed wait times due to flight limitations and the limited number of pets airlines will take. If you’re moving your pets to Hawaii, take a moment to read about the common pet travel obstacles you may face.
- Expect Longer Travel Times: Due to limited routing and options, many pets are experiencing longer journeys. Your pet may now be required to stay a night with our partners before their flight or have an overnight layover.