Pet Travel Options: Can Pets Ride the Train?
As summer vacation season approaches, some pet jet setters are finding that hot weather makes air travel a little tougher to handle. Many airlines tighten their pet travel restrictions during this time, and (partially due to heat-related considerations) Delta has banned the transport of snub-nosed breeds altogether. This leaves us wondering, are there other travel options for our best furry friends?
One alternative that human travelers often prefer is travel by rail. It may take longer, but hopping on a train feels like a different kind of adventure than dealing with airline shenanigans, and sometimes it can seem challenging to locate and take advantage of all the pet-friendly airports out there.
Unfortunately, Amtrak, a major US train company, does not allow pets onto train cars (service animals are a different story, but you must show proper documentation). The National Association of Railroad Passengers outlines the restrictions.
What about other modes of ground transport? In the United States, pets (of a certain size) are allowed on various buses, trains and light rail systems. There are no universal rules when it comes to bus and subway pet travel, so it's important to check things out ahead of time and observe all posted rules. Here's a handy run-down from Dogfriendly.com.
Expats and world travelers take note: pets are allowed on trains in many European countries. Many of these railway systems require that pets wear a muzzle or remain inside a travel crate of some kind, extra fees often apply, and when it comes to occupying train cars with strangers, the comfort levels of others must be taken into account. Again, it's important to do your research ahead of time in order to find out about fees and restrictions before you hit the rails.
So there you have it. Like or not, for long trips and overseas journeys, air travel will still be the best bet for most of us. Travelers with small, well-behaved dogs who want to travel shorter distances are in a better position to try out other means of travel, but even then there are no guarantees.