Shipping Birds: The Story of Sparrow, the Pet Travel Pioneer

Here's an offbeat pet travel story to illustrate that pet relocation can involve much more than cats in carriers and golden retrievers in crates. In this business, we constantly encounter animals that don't exactly qualify as ordinary, which can be fun but also a little complicated.

Take Sparrow, for example. Sparrow is an African Grey Parrot planning to travel from South Africa to the UK. For those of you who aren't familiar, African Greys are medium-sized parrots originating in the rainforests of West and Central Africa. They are intelligent birds known for their social behavior and their longevity, and when it comes to shipping birds internationally, they definitely require some extra planning.  Sparrow isn't a customer, but when we found out about her on our Facebook page for the first time we were really intrigued by her story!

Here's what Sparrow's mom, Taryn, had to say about their recent experiences trying to book a flight from Cape Town to London:

We are due to fly from Johannesburg to Cape Town and then to London on the 28th of November. We were faced with a huge problem, as the UK government insists that our African Grey fly on the same plane as we do... The problem is, we are booked on Virgin Atlantic and they only take cats and dogs. After months of trying to convince the government and trying to make a plan to get her onto a British Airways flight on her own, we still hit a brick wall. So, we appealed to Virgin Atlantic and thanks to their wonderful support and help she is making history by being the first parrot to fly Virgin Atlantic.

Congratulations on making it work! It's encouraging to hear about companies who are willing to be a little flexible by accommodating uncommon pet passengers.

We hope this international adventure runs smoothly!


PetRelocation Team




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