travel with your pet by plane

Travel with your pet by plane

Transport companies for passengers, whether by sea, land, or air, are increasingly aware of the new reality of families where the pet is a full member. In addition to seeing a commercial opportunity, to offer you the possibility to travel with your pet and to accommodate them. Examples of evolving businesses include some maritime companies like Trasmed. Which qualifies as “pet-friendly” and allows travelers to choose to travel with up to two dogs in the cabin. Or to travel in the seating area where the animal cannot exceed 8 kg, carrier included, or to use cabins equipped with video surveillance.

On the other hand, passenger transport companies by road, commonly known as buses, do not allow pets to travel with passengers on buses, except for service dogs accompanied by their owners. Others must travel in the cargo hold in their corresponding carrier.

Airlines, halfway between, are more accustomed to transporting all kinds of pets. Except for small ones, they must also travel in the cargo hold in areas equipped to accommodate carriers. Although each company has its own regulations on this matter, we have compiled a series of tips and general rules that will be useful if you plan to travel by plane with your dog.

Tips if you travel with your pet by plane

Even though your pet is included in this list, it’s always recommended to call the airline with which you will be traveling to confirm explicitly that there are no issues. The next step is to meet the following conditions: Ensure you have all necessary documents. It is essential that, in addition to having a microchip and being dewormed (both internally and externally), the dog has a passport issued by the veterinarian indicating the registration of all required vaccines, including rabies administered at least 21 days before your flight. Ensure you have an approved carrier crate with the correct measurements to travel with the airline you have chosen, comfortable for the animal with good ventilation and waterproof surfaces.

Check that your dog has the appropriate size and weight to travel in the cabin or cargo hold. If it weighs up to 8 kilograms, carrier included, you can transport it in the cabin, provided you have completed the necessary formalities in advance and your pet is within the number of dogs allowed per flight, a figure that varies from one airline to another. Choose flight schedules and dates that are not too crowded to ensure that your pet can receive increased attention from the staff. Do not feed your dog in the hours before the flight; this will prevent vomiting or soiling of the carrier crate due to stress or nausea. However, do not forget to include a water tray for it to hydrate until reaching its destination.

Special Attention to Brachycephalic Dogs

Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, or Brussels Griffons are examples of brachycephalic dogs characterized by a short, flattened muzzle that cannot be transported in the aircraft cargo hold as they have an increased risk of respiratory problems or heatstroke due to stress or high temperatures. This category of dogs can only travel in the cabin, provided they meet the specific conditions of each airline regarding cabin transport.

In summary, both airlines and other public transportation methods still have a long way to go to adapt and improve the transport of the most cherished and pampered members of modern families. However, we increasingly see how they seek to increase the comfort and services of their trips. Whether for commercial reasons or for the well-being of animals, which is excellent news for families with traveling pets.ç

How to transport pets in the cargo hold

The cabin of the airplane is reserved for smaller pets, as we are surrounded by people who do not want to be disturbed and have the right to enjoy a quiet flight.

Therefore, slightly larger animals must travel in the airplane’s cargo hold. The cargo hold is the “belly” of the plane, where luggage goes. This area can be regulated with temperatures between 0 and 25 degrees Celsius, so if you want to take your pet, the temperature can be adjusted to make it comfortable.

That being said, which animals can we transport in the cargo hold? Generally, we can transport dogs and cats, except for those considered dangerous breeds.

Some airlines also have regulations regarding brachycephalic breeds (like the French Bulldog), as they have respiratory difficulties and are very sensitive to temperature changes, so they could not travel in the cargo hold.

To transport other dogs and cats in the cargo hold, we must meet the following conditions, which may vary slightly depending on the airline:
  • Have a transport crate made of sturdy material, with a closure ensuring it will not open at any time. Is also comfortable for the size of the animal and allows it to stand in a natural position.
  • Generally, you can transport two adult animals accustomed to cohabitating and weighing up to 14 kg each in the same container. Also a maximum of three animals under 6 months of the same litter.
  • In total, the maximum weight allowed is usually 45 kg (sum of the weight of the animal and the crate). If it exceeds this weight, you will have to transport it as cargo on a plane specialized for pets.
  • To ensure the comfort of the animal, airlines have rules regarding layovers. For example, the transit time between flights should not be less than 90 minutes (in case of delays) or exceed 4 hours.

Finally, it is essential to know that airport staff must be informed of the presence of your animal. Therefore, they will generally only accept reservation requests within a maximum of 48 hours before the departure of a flight. Once you have made the reservation and the weight and breed of your dog or cat have been accepted. You can take it to the airport and transport it in the cargo hold without any problems, then retrieve it from the baggage carousel.

Where to leave your pet if you are going on a trip?

If you plan to travel with your pet, it is important to find a care option that guarantees its well-being and safety. Here are some tips on where to leave your pet:

  • Trusted family member or friend: If you have a family member or friend who is willing and experienced in pet care, this can be the perfect option. Make sure they feel comfortable taking care of your pet and know its specific needs.
  • Professional pet care: Look for a professional caregiver, such as a pet sitter or dog walker. Has good references and solid experience in animal care. You can find these professionals on specialized apps and websites.
  • Pet boarding: If you have no one available nearby, consider a pet boarding facility. Research the different options available in your area to ensure they offer a clean and safe environment and have qualified staff to properly care for animals.
  • In-home care: Hire a caregiver who will come to your home to take care of your pet. This is particularly useful for animals that feel more comfortable in their home environment and can avoid the stress associated with a change of location.
  • Pet exchange: If you have friends or acquaintances with pets, they may consider a pet exchange. This means you take care of their pets while they are on vacation and vice versa.

Despite all these solutions, some people decide to abandon their pet before a trip.

To learn about the consequences associated with this type of mistreatment, in the next section, we will discover the fines incurred for abandoning a pet.

Penalties for abandoning a pet

The Penal Code establishes penalties for those who abandon animals in conditions endangering their lives or integrity.

These individuals may face fines ranging from 1 to 6 months, and in some cases, they may also be prohibited from working in professions or businesses related to animals.

In addition to criminal consequences, different provinces also have administrative sanctions to address the problem. These include significant fines, and in many cases, they are higher than those imposed through criminal proceedings.

For example, in the region of Murcia in Spain, animal abandonment is a very serious offense that can result in fines of up to 30,000 euros, while in Madrid, the penalty can reach 45,000 euros.

The procedure for enforcing sanctions begins when an abandoned animal is found, and attempts are made to locate the owner through identification microchips. If the owner does not appear within the specified time frame, the animal is considered abandoned and is transferred to official centers.

As a final piece of advice, the best thing to do if we travel without our pet is to leave it in the care of responsible individuals. And if you travel with your pet with us, we must provide it with an optimal environment to travel with as little stress as possible.