Too Hot to Fly: Summer Airline Pet Embargoes

If you’re traveling with your pet this summer and plan to fly to your destination, make sure you familiarize yourself with the airline’s pet embargo policy before you book your flight. During the summer, many airlines don’t allow pets aboard flights-as checked baggage or as cargo-when temperatures are high. Airline pet embargoes are in the best interest of your pet and play a vital role in ensuring his safety.

Not only is air travel stressful for your pet, but it can also pose serious health risks. Being confined in his carrier for long periods of time during the hottest months of the year is potentially dangerous for your pet and may lead to dehydration and heatstroke. In addition, certain breeds, such as brachycephalic (snub-nosed) dogs and cats, are susceptible to pulmonary distress when temperatures are extreme.

According to the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA), embargoes protect pets from exposure to extreme heat while they’re in the holding areas and terminal facilities, while moving them between terminals and aircraft, or while they’re on an aircraft awaiting departure.

“Heat embargoes are critical during the summer months,” says Sally Smith, past president of IPATA. “They protect our pets and keep them safe and comfortable while traveling.”

Since airlines impose embargoes to ensure your pet’s safety, there are no exceptions. However, if an embargo is in effect on the day of your flight, the airline will work with you to re-route your flight, if possible, or schedule your flight for another day.

Although each airline establishes its own policies for pet embargoes, the following are a few commercial airlines and some of their regulations.

Alaska Airlines – Although Alaska Airlines doesn’t have any embargoes scheduled this summer, if temperatures are too high for pets to travel safely, they may place an embargo. However, your pet may travel with you in the cabin if he fits in an approved carrier that can be placed under your seat.

American Airlines – To ensure your pet isn’t exposed to extreme heat, American Airlines imposes an embargo any time the current or forecasted temperature is above 85 degrees Fahrenheit at any location on the itinerary. However, if your pet fits in an approved carrier that can be placed under your seat, he can travel with you in the cabin.

Delta Air Lines – To ensure the safety of your pet, Delta places an embargo on pets as checked baggage from May 15 through September 15. If at any point-origin, transit, destination-the temperature is forecast to be above 85 degrees Fahrenheit-or 75 degrees Fahrenheit for brachycephalic pets-your pet can’t travel. However, your pet may be able to fly as cargo via the Summer Live Animal Program. (Restrictions apply, particularly for brachycephalic pets.) Launched in 2011, the program, which is in effect from May 15 through October 15, lifts temperature restrictions and provides safe transportation of your pet in select cities. Delta Cargo uses climate-controlled vans to pick up and deliver your pet to or from the plane, holding areas, and cargo facilities. Your pet is also loaded or unloaded according to specific time frames. In addition, your pet may travel with you in the cabin if he fits in an approved carrier that can be placed under your seat.

Southwest Airlines – Since Southwest Airlines doesn’t allow pets to travel as checked baggage or in the cargo hold, they don’t impose pet embargoes. Your small cat or dog can travel with you in the cabin in an approved carrier that is small enough to fit under your seat.

Since each airline has a different summer pet embargo policy, visit TripsWithPets.com and review our Airline Pet Policies. And don’t forget to review our Pet Travel Tips for Flying and check out the airline-approved carriers at the TWP Store.

Your pet’s safety is your top priority. Choosing an airline that fits your needs can help ensure the flight is a positive experience for both you and your four-legged family member.

Tips for Holiday Travel With Your Pet

Most people travel for their holiday celebrations and they usually take their family with them. There are some that just can’t live without their pets as well. If you intend to travel with your pet you have to plan ahead to make the journey pleasant and comfortable for both you and the animal.

· Traveling by Car

If you are going for a road trip for the holidays, make sure that you do not let the pet loose inside your vehicle. You can get your pet a safety harness that can be attached to your car’s seat belt system. Or you can just put your pet in a cage. A pet carrier is also a good idea, but could be more expensive too. Always put your pet in the back seat.

· Traveling by Air

If you are flying to your destination, a pet carrier is a must to comply with airline regulations. Check with the airlines regarding the pet carrier dimensions to ensure that you will be buying the right-sized one. A pet can travel by air in the cabin if it doesn’t exceed 22 pounds in weight, 18 inches in length and 11 inches tall.

For international traveling, you will need certain documents for your pet before you can take it with you. It would best if you can give at least 6 weeks allowance to start taking care of the papers.

Do not travel with your pet unless you have it checked and vaccinated by the veterinarian. Always carry your pet’s current health certificate along with the record of vaccinations.

· Pet Foods

Take plenty of pet foods; you can never be sure if your pets’ favorite brand of pet foods will be available at your destination, so it is better to be sure.

· Feeding Instructions

If you are flying, feed your pet with a light snack 5 to 6 hours before departure. Do not give your pet any liquid 2 hours before departure. If you are going by the car, try not to feed your pet while you are moving.

· Put ID Tags

Whether you are taking your pet for domestic or international traveling, it is best if you can attach an ID tag to your pet. The ID tag must contain your home address and telephone number as well as your destination’s address and telephone number.

Before you take off it is also important to check if your pet is going to be welcome at your destination. If you are visiting relatives, you need to let them know that you will be bringing your pet. If you are staying at a hotel, check about the accommodation’s rules and regulations regarding pets.

Also make sure that your pet is travel-ready. Animals can be more fidgety than kids during long journeys. If your pet has never been anywhere else but home, you can start making him travel-ready by taking him to the supermarket, the park or at the mall.

Finally, try to be as patient as possible. You need to understand that you are not going to deal with your pet alone; you are also going to have to deal with other people’s reaction to your pet.