Pet Cargo Myths and Facts

dogPets Flying in Cargo: Myths and Facts

Many myths exist about shipping pets as cargo, so we thought we'd review some of them and offer solutions for easing pre-travel worries about moving with your four-legged family members.

Myth: The pet cargo hold is dangerously hot or cold.

 

Reality:  

On most flights that accept pets, the cargo area itself is climate-controlled just like the passenger cabin above. So why do airlines have temperature restrictions? While many airlines have “Weather Embargoes” during the summer/winter months, it is not because of the cargo hold temperatures.

Airlines that are not “pet friendly” take all of their cargo to the plane at one time. Animals often end up waiting on the tarmac while the cargo is loaded or unloaded. It is this wait on the tarmac that causes the Weather Embargos and can be the most dangerous to pets.

PetRelocation Solution:

We only use pet friendly airlines that keep pets in climate controlled environments throughout the entire trip. This means that we are able to move pets year-round without any temperature embargoes.

All pets are kept in a climate-controlled area of the airline's cargo offices until all of the people and luggage have been loaded on the plane. Pets are then driven out in climate-controlled vehicles and boarded on the plane, which means they are never sitting out on the tarmac waiting.

When the plane lands, the pets are the first ones off the plane and driven back to the climate-controlled area at the pet cargo offices.  

Myth: The pet cargo hold is not pressurized.

 

Reality:

In most large “wide-bodied” aircraft, the pressure is the exact same as it is in the cabin above. 

PetRelocation Solution:

Just like we only use pet friendly airlines that keep pets in climate control, we only book pressurized flights for all live animal transportation. The air the humans breathe in cabin is the same air that is circulated through the bottom of the plane. 

Myth: Isn't it safer just to drive my pet?

 

Reality:

Unless you are planning on driving your pet or having a friend drive your pet, it is safer and faster to send your pet by air than it is to have a ground transportation company drive them. Long distance ground transportation can be more distressing for a pet than flying, and also more potentially complex and even dangerous due to the amount of time it takes and the stopping/starting/bathroom breaks involved.

Myth: Pets should be tranquilized/sedated prior to the flight because this will help them feel less stressed.

 

Reality:

It is unsafe to fly tranquilized/sedated pets.

  • Tranquilizers suppress the respiratory system, which makes it hard for a pet to cope with the changes in altitude and temperature. This is particularly true in “snub nosed” breeds.

  • A pet may react differently to the same drug, in the same dose, depending on his state of excitement and the altitude at which he is flying. No studies have been done to determine the effect of tranquilizers on pets at high altitudes.

PetRelocation Solution:

Crate training, crate training, crate training!

A pet that has been acclimated in advance to their pet travel crate will have much less stress when flying. Here area few tips for crate training dogs for travel and tips for crate training cats for travel

Ready to start planning your pet's safe move? Contact us to set up a consultation. 

 

 

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2009 and has been updated with new information.

Author:

PetRelocation Team

Topic:

Air Travel, Airlines, Ask the Experts

Pet:

Cats, Dogs

Country:

Comments

Add a Comment

By Gill on November 8, 2018 at 6:45 am

Hello, I would like to ask if you know how Turkish Airlines handles dogs? We booked a flight from France to Philippines and we are taking our 3-year old Labrador. Thank you for your help.
Reply

By Maegan at PetRelocation on November 13, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Hi Gill! The cargo hold where pets are flying on Turkish Airlines is climate controlled & pressurized, so they are considered a pet friendly airline. We have only used Turkish Airlines for direct flights for pets, so are not as familiar with their layover procedures in Instabul. If you are looking for a company like ours to manage the process and book your pet's travel, feel free to fill out our Arrange A Move form and a consultant will reach out to you soon. Hope this helps!
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By Denise on October 5, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Hello, We are relocating and I will be transporting our 4 year old lab from Boise, ID to Honolulu, HI in November. I am already finding that the process to bring a pet to Hawaii is a nightmare and I don't also want to be stressing about her treatment while flying. Can you give me advise on the most pet friendly airline?
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By Maegan at PetRelocation on November 13, 2018 at 2:17 pm

Hi Denise! We use Hawaiian Air, Aloha, and United Airlines to fly pets to Hawaii. A lot of our clients agree that moving a pet to Hawaii is a daunting process. If you are looking for a company like ours to manage the process and book your pet's travel, feel free to fill out our Arrange A Move form. Hope this helps!
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By Katrine on September 26, 2018 at 6:52 am

Hello We are sending nine month old puppy From Berlin to Boston ( or to Montreal) What is shortened trip as do not stressful What best airlines he is a English cocker spaniel Thanks
Reply

By Maegan at PetRelocation on September 28, 2018 at 11:44 am

Hi Katrine! British Airways, United & Lufthansa are all great options for your pup. If we can be of assistance booking your pet's trip, please fill out our arrange a move form and a consultant can reach out you about your move. Thanks!
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By Ana on September 28, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Lufthansa or KLM, those are the best with pets. I just had a bad experience with BA... my babies were suppsed to be in Seoul on Thursday and they said that they are here and at the airport they were nowhere to be found, after hundreds of calls they put them on the next flight and not even now, after 3 weeks I don’t know what happened there. My babies arrived full of piss, one pillow missing and even one bowl.
Reply

By Maegan at PetRelocation on September 28, 2018 at 1:36 pm

Hi Ana! That sounds so stressful! We are terribly sorry to hear about your experience with British Airways and are glad to hear your pets are finally reunited with you.
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By Yolanda Dickerson on September 17, 2018 at 11:47 am

Hello I will be flying my son dog home to him from Kansas city, mo to San Diego, Ca in early part of Oct in cargo. She is a 2 yr old lab and very playful I have been kennel training her getting ready and she is doing so good. What I want to know is do you thing she will be safe flying along in the cargo.
Reply

By Maegan at PetRelocation on September 21, 2018 at 3:58 pm

Hi Yolanda! Thanks for your question. Cargo travel for pets when done correctly is very safe & we move hundreds of pets safely in the cargo hold every year! In our experience, the most important factors of your pet move will be: that she has been cleared by your vet that she is healthy & "fit-to-fly", you are choosing a pet-safe airline, and she is acclimated to her travel kennel. If you are concerned with her health, your vet can also do blood tests to make sure she has no pre-existing conditions. Hope this helps!
Reply

By Carol on September 4, 2018 at 6:38 pm

I have booked a direct flight from Victoria, BC Canada to Toronto, Ontario, Canada on Air Canada for Sept 27th, 2018. The aircraft we are booked on is a Canada Rouge Airbus 321. We have our small dog booked to travel in the baggage hold of the aircraft and when we booked our flights we gave the details for the dog and the crate so they documented that our dog was travelling with us. They did say that there's a heat embargo from May to Sept 30th where if the outside air temperature is 29C they will not accept the dog in cargo. I understand this but what I want to make sure and I asked the travel agent at the time of booking, is the section in the hold where my dog will be placed is it climate and heat controlled the same as the passenger cabin? I am concerned and very anxious that it won't be heated and presssurised?? Should I be? Thanks
Reply

By Maegan at PetRelocation on September 7, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Hi Carol! We use Air Canada all the time and have always had good experiences with them. Air Canada is a pet safe airline which means where your pup is flying it will be temperature controlled & pressurized. It is the same air circulating for your pup as it is for passengers in the top of the cabin! There are temperature restrictions because pets are sensitive during loading & unloading of the aircraft, and they do not want pets to exposed to any extreme weather elements for too long of a period. Hope this helps ease your concerns!
Reply

By Carol Taylor on September 7, 2018 at 6:17 pm

Thank you for your comments. I feel relieved knowing that you have used Air Canada to transport your pets and have confidence with them.
Reply

By Ana Mitulescu on August 2, 2018 at 6:53 pm

I want to relocate my pets from Nassau, Bahamas to Seoul, South Korea with Air Canada but I read on their site that they have temperature embargoes...It is true?
Reply

By Maegan at PetRelocation on August 3, 2018 at 12:53 pm

Hi Ana! Air Canada does have temperature restrictions. Based on our notes, they will not accept pets if the temperature is greater than 95F and when temps are below 34F. There is also embargoes on flights to Asia & the Middle East until August 31. You can confirm with the booking agents when you book your pets flight on specific embargoes regarding your pets' flight. Hope this helps!
Reply

By Ana Mitulescu on August 3, 2018 at 1:01 pm

Thank you! The big problem is that here in Bahamas the temperature is lower then 94 just between January and April when is cold in Canada and Asia...I will go with BA then, because they said that is all right to send them at the beggining of september.
Reply

By Jane Cassar on April 19, 2018 at 3:16 am

My dog is travelling as accompany luggage with Air Malta. Is there temperature control for them
Reply

By Maegan at PetRelocation on April 19, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Hi Jane! Thanks for your question. We've never experienced a pet flying on Air Malta before. My best suggestion would be to contact the airline for clarification. If you'd like suggestions of airlines we typically partner with for pet travel, please check out this blog post here. And if you'd like a quote for our door-to-door services, please click on this Arrange A Move Form. Thanks again!
Reply

By Ellen on April 9, 2018 at 9:33 pm

My dog has flown from CA to Europe 4 times and for the most part it has not been too hard on either the dog or us. However, after the TSA inspects the crate, the dog inside the crate is wheeled off by airport staff on one of those airline baggage carts that are not even flat and it makes her water slosh all over the place. I never know what happens to our dog once she is wheeled away. Exactly what kind of equipment is used to transport the dog inside the crate through the airport and onto the plane? The total weight of the dog and the crate exceeds 100 lbs. Is it just a couple of guys lifting the crate, or do they have some special equipment? Likewise, at the end of the flight, I find the dog sitting on a platform in her crate but cannot take her out until she clears customs. I have to muscle the crate and dog onto another baggage cart and am always close to dropping her. How do airport personnel manage this?
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