Can the family fly with Fido?

We talk a lot about flying with kids on this blog but now I need to know about flying with your dog!

The rich and famous do it all the time, but I’m trying to figure out how possible and how terrible it would be to fly with our 16-pound Shih Tzu (and three kids)?

Michael wants all of us to join him on trip out West later this summer — including the dog. But he’s never flown before.

I’ve heard horror tales of dogs dying from the heat (on the ground) or freezing to death (in the air) being in the cargo holds of planes so I feel like putting him below the plane is a non-starter. (Just imagine waiting for the carrier to come around the luggage conveyor and there being our dead pet inside. Can you imagine what the kids would do?)

You can try to convince me otherwise on putting the dog below the plane if you’ve had good experiences with this. Although it looks like according to Delta’s rules we couldn’t check the pet as baggage between May 15 through Sept 15 or anytime the ground temp is 85 degrees or above.

From Delta’s Web site:

“Weather Restrictions

Summer Restrictions—May 15 through September 15

  • Pets cannot be checked as baggage on Delta and Aeromexico operated flights.
  • Pets may be shipped as cargo. See below for year-round temperature restrictions including live birds and snub-nosed breeds.
  • Prices for shipping pets as cargo are different from shipping pets as baggage. And, cargo locations may not be located in the airport terminal, so be sure to contact 1-888-SENDPET (736-3738) for details.

Winter Embargo—November 1 through March 31

Animals will not be accepted as checked baggage on flights operated between Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) and Sun Valley, ID (SUN), Twin Falls, ID (TWF), or Jackson Hole, WY (JAC).

Year-round Restrictions

Delta will not accept animals as checked baggage but may ship as cargo during extreme weather if at any point during the animal’s trip the temperature is forecast to be:

Below

Above

  • 20° Fahrenheit (-7°C)
  • 75° Fahrenheit (21.1°C) for for snub- or pug-nosed dogs and cats. See chart below.
  • 85° Fahrenheit (29.4°C) for all other breeds.”

The site says you can ship as cargo but I’m not even clear on what that means – they would fly in the body of a different plane and meet you there? I think that would be scary for the pet not to be with you. I wouldn’t stick a kid alone on a plane.

So then there’s flying as a carry on. I’m just not completely sure he could fit below the seat – maybe in a soft carrier. I’m also not sure what you do if he’s barking the whole time. (I’m thinking the dog is staying home.)

From Delta’s Web site:

“Pets As Carry On

Your pet can travel with you in the cabin for a one-way fee of 125 USD/CAD* (to be collected at check-in) for travel within U.S./Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico (200 USD/CAD/EUR* for travel outside the U.S., excluding Brazil where the fee is 75 USD/CAD/EUR*). Fee is $100 to/from/within Asia.

Pets permitted in the cabin include dogs, cats, and household birds. The following restrictions apply:

  • Your pet must be small enough to fit comfortably in a kennel under the seat directly in front of you. Maximum carry-on kennel dimensions are determined by your flight. You must contact Delta Reservations to determine the appropriate kennel size.
  • Your pet must remain inside the kennel (with door secured) while in a Delta boarding area (during boarding and deplaning), a Delta airport lounge, and while onboard the aircraft.
  • Your pet must be at least 8 weeks old.
  • You may not carry on more than one pet.
  • Your pet in-cabin counts as one piece of carry-on baggage.
  • If you’re traveling to Hawaii, your pet won’t be able to go with you in the cabin, and other restrictions may apply. See Pets to Hawaii for more information.
  • *CAD amount will be charged exit Canada, and EUR amount will be charged exit Europe. Fees established by the contract of carriage in effect at the time of ticket issuance will apply.”

So tell me your experiences of flying with a dog. What is the best way to make it work? Do you drug the dog even as a carry on? How many pounds can the dog be and actually fit under the seat? Do they have to stay in the carrier the whole flight? Do they have to stay under the seat the whole flight? What about those rich ladies with the doggies in their purses? Can a parent actually control three kids and a dog on a plane?

131 comments Add your comment

srh

June 9th, 2010
1:14 pm

I agree with the others on petsitters, or a neighbor. With a trusted neighbor who also has a pet, you can pay back the favor when they are out of town. I once had a old cat on meds, and I paid someone $50/day to stay in the house for a few days while I was gone. Yes, I know that’s a lot of money, but for me it was piece of mind. Now I would pay someone 10-15 a day to visit, or just switch with a neighbor.

Becky

June 9th, 2010
1:24 pm

@MJG.. I don’t know, thats why I said what I did..I know that the teenager in my family probably wouldn’t do it 4 times per day..I know that my sister (VA) boards her dogs every time she goes away and it usually cost her anywhere from $400-600 per week..I’ve never paid to leave an animal, I have so uch family here, that has never been an issue.. I know that it’s reasonable (to me) but I know how some kids are and tha’s why I even questioned it..

SC

June 9th, 2010
1:26 pm

Last year I traveled to Miami with my 5lb Maltese. He was able to fit under the sit and the trip went well. i think it’s find if your dog can fit under the sit and the flight is no more than 31/c hours. I would not check my pet as cargo. Too many things can go wrong. I want a piece a mind while traveling for myself and family.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 9th, 2010
1:27 pm

Photius does have a point…there is no way taking the dog doesn’t turn into a pretty entertaining trainwreck. Here are some of the blog titles I find likely to see upon the return:

“I can’t believe Delta lost my dog and ruined my vacation…no one told me that would happen”

“I complained so much to the flight attendents about the welfare of my dog that they relocated my dog to first class and me and the kids to the seats closest to the toilet…and it smelled like shih-tzu!”

“Michael, the kids, and my dog ALL had a better vacation than me….and I’m jealous”

“I drove my dog insane and she hijacked the plane and parachuted out just like D.B. Cooper!”

“Matyrdom is really, really hard”

Fire Frank Wren

June 9th, 2010
1:42 pm

I flew with our dachshund when it was only $75 each way. I carried her on in a soft bag that looked like a ladies shoulder bag, and our vet gave us a doggie sedative to give her. It worked great, and we had no problems, including barking.

I’d never check her, however, in a million years.

Photius

June 9th, 2010
1:46 pm

PLEASE DO IT, THERESA! CALL TLC – GET THEM TO FILM IT.

Becky

June 9th, 2010
1:56 pm

@Tiger and Photius..Y’all guys are cracking me up..Of course both of you are soooo right on this..

Theresa, as you know, well love you, but you are kinda kooky at times..Yeah, I know that it makes for getting all of us on here talking, so guess it’s justified..

yeah, I went there

June 9th, 2010
1:56 pm

for the price of taking a dog, it would be cheaper just to get a new one while on vacation

Denise

June 9th, 2010
2:04 pm

I personally would not want to have to deal with the sounds and smells of anyone else’s pet. I don’t want to sit next to a woman with too much perfume (I get migraines!) and I’m sure she her perfume smells better than ode to puppy (in moderation).

In this particular situation, Theresa, this is a bad idea for YOU. Last week you expressed concern that you wouldn’t have your cell across a water park just in case your babysitter needed you. You want your eyes on your kids at all times. I’m not saying that it’s bad but you will be distracted if Fido is around.

I am not being sarcastic with this question; I honestly don’t know. How long can a dog or cat go without having to pee or poop? What if you have the pet below the plane and there is a delay? Hell, even if the dog is under your seat, you can’t take it out to go relieve itself. Am I concerned about something that animal owners aren’t? As a passenger, I would be very upset if Fido and Muffy wouldn’t relieve themselves that close to my nose.

FCM

June 9th, 2010
2:16 pm

@ Tiger and Photious I agree with Becky….I am cracking up here. Those titles for blogs are awesome!

Nichole

June 9th, 2010
2:16 pm

I fly with my 6lb chihuahua all the time and he rides in the cabin under the seat in front of me. I see people do it all the time. I would advise you to fly the dog in the cabin if possible. If the dog’s not accustomed to be in the carrier or bag for long periods of time visit the vet from some ACE(Doggie Narcotic) to help calm them down. I’ve only had to use it once, and thats cus my peanut is the social butterfly and likes to socialize with everyone and will cry if he cant. He is now 5 and has been flying since he was 8weeks old, and LOVES IT. You as an owner knows when your pet needs to use the bathroom, so you should plan accordingly, my dog has never used the bathroom in his bag or on the plane AND Delta and most other airports have dog parks within them, in case you have a layover.

FCM

June 9th, 2010
2:21 pm

IF TLC films maybe everyone gets a free vacation TWG! Something to consider. Get yourself a new hairdo and wardrobe out of it. Heck you can get a nanny for the dog AND one for the kids too! (Yes, I am saying this to amuse myself and others).

Photius

June 9th, 2010
2:24 pm

NEW TLC SHOW: “MOM & MICHAEL + 3 WITH FLEAS, AIRBONE NON-STOP” (In this episode we witness Theresa have a total emotional meltdown 15 minutes before boarding; watch as Michael secretly scores Valuim at the airport as he gives two pills for her and one for himself while he slams bourbon as the vomit/urine express hurls through the air at 500mph) PLEASE THERESA MAKE YOUR AIRPLANE RESERVATIONS TODAY!

ABC

June 9th, 2010
2:26 pm

Theresa–can you tell us why your husband wants the dog to go with you in the first place? Sorry, but that’s just a weird request in my opinion.

Have. You. Lost. Your. Mind?!

June 9th, 2010
2:30 pm

And FYI: celebrities are idiots! I’ve worked with many and can count on one hand who actually had some common sense. Don’t take your cues from them.

Babs

June 9th, 2010
2:31 pm

The best thing for a pet is to stay in their own home, if possible while your gone. There is a service that is called Critter Sitters and from what I know they do a good job of taking care of pets for a reasonable fee. My daughter does this and she is very conscientious when taking care of other people’s pets.

Cynthia

June 9th, 2010
2:31 pm

Take it from me….I flew International with my small dog (12 lbs) and 2 children – DO IT! Especially if this is helping your husband cope with separation from everyone – after all the dog is part of the family. I gave my doggie – that had never traveled by air before and quite frankly was NOT the best car traveler – a herbal sedative (Pet Calm found at Pet Smart)….he was happy as all…in fact at one point I thought to myself…omg…he has not made a peep and I looked in his carrier and his was layed out on his back snoozing! We waited over 2 hours AND had a gate change in the Atlanta airport…..I also took him out for periods of time in the airport. People say you can’t etc, but I did it…just keep the pet close and away from others. On top of it all….that was MY first time traveling international by myself…let alone with my 2 children also! It was all SO WORTH IT! Safe travels!!

CantonMom

June 9th, 2010
2:36 pm

I love my kids and my dog – but I would much rather travel with my dog than my three kids. :)

Have. You. Lost. Your. Mind?!

June 9th, 2010
2:36 pm

Pat Air is new, but they have a great idea with great intentions… I think based off of their own horror story.

Have. You. Lost. Your. Mind?!

June 9th, 2010
2:40 pm

*Pet Airlines….there IS a difference from Pet Air

Tonya

June 9th, 2010
2:42 pm

I fly with my 12 pound SHIH-TZU all the time on Air Tran. He boards the plane with me and sits underneath the seat where I rest my seat. I would not feel comfortable putting my pet in Cargo if it came down to that I would just leave him with a doggie sitter. I have to be able to see him and know that he is breathing ok,etc. Good Luck!

Patty Burke

June 9th, 2010
2:44 pm

I don’t care about anyone else or their allergies! Or the sanitation of the plane for that matter! What I care about is me, my pet, and my family. Everybody else can die for all I care.

Terri

June 9th, 2010
2:46 pm

I fly with my 13lb Jack Russell mix on AirTran all the time. Most of the time, no one realizes he’s there until we’re deplaning and they see him in the carrier.

melissa

June 9th, 2010
2:48 pm

my terrier flew here from Idaho with no problems last year in july. She was 8 wks old and flew by herself, personally I would rather fly with dogs than kids. He should fit under the seat fine and if my dog could fit under the seat now I would NEVER leave her home.

JATL

June 9th, 2010
2:49 pm

@Tiger and Photius -LMAO over here! Maybe if TLC films it, they can conceive again and start their own mega-family. Years of free vacays to boot, but they’ll probably have to adopt a dog for each kid to keep it fresh….

I also love Critter Sitters! That’s where we found our first wonderful sitter!

jays

June 9th, 2010
2:54 pm

Because I can fit my little dog under the seat and he doesn’t bark or pee or poop, I assume that’s sanitary and healthy enough for everyone.

And yes, I’m that ignorant.

Alan

June 9th, 2010
2:58 pm

I’m trying to be as impartial as I can here but this practice of bringing pets in the cabin should be banned. I don’t care how well behaved the animal is. I love dogs (and cats for that matter) but this is clear cut to me.

Doglover

June 9th, 2010
3:01 pm

So some of you would rather fly with screaming kids, smelly poop, kicking your seat back but would not want to fly with a dog who is quietly sleeping under the seat…interesting
In all my years of flying I have never seen an unruly dog in the cabin, must say somthing about dog owners.

Alan

June 9th, 2010
3:05 pm

Doglover,

What is your point? That kids should be banned from the cabin?

You’re obviously ignoring the allergy issues here. I’ve never heard of people being allergic to kids.

tb

June 9th, 2010
3:14 pm

I think I’d rather sit next to pet than kids anyday

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 9th, 2010
3:15 pm

I just can’t help but think how many of those little mini-crown royal bottles $150 each way would get me. Dog in a kennel safe at home, crown and coke in hand (or both) on the plane….sounds like a good start to a vacation.

Seriously though, I see a conflict….as a guy, isn’t it obvious the shih-tzu was a dog intended for a wife and/or kids? When we got a dog, my only request was to get one that I could hold my head high while walking in public…this immediately eliminated any dog in the “toy” breed, or could be mistaken for a “toy” breed, or required more hair maintenance that you’re average teenage girl….or that just looked so cute with a bow in it’s hair. Not really a manly dog if you get my drift, so I’m not sure why Michael even wants to bring it out west unless he plans on “accidentally” losing the dog to a coyote.

On the flip side, I really would understand why Michael might want to bring a member of the family who accepted him unconditionally, had no expectations of him, didn’t point out his shortcomings, and wouldn’t return from vacation to tell the world what a bad idea of his it was to bring a dog on vacation.

Debbie

June 9th, 2010
3:17 pm

Never would fly with my dog. If you want to take a trip and include your dog take a road trip. We have done this several times very successfully. Lots of dog friendly locations. We crate her in the car for her safety and everyone elses. I would be too worried to fly with her. If you cannot take a road trip and must fly find a good dog sitter or kennel/dog hotel that you trust.

Have. You. Lost. Your. Mind?!

June 9th, 2010
3:19 pm

@Melissa If she flew by herself, how can you know there were no problems?

Have. You. Lost. Your. Mind?!

June 9th, 2010
3:21 pm

This is a VERY BAD idea all around and something that no RESPONISIBLE pet owner would do to an animal! This really is torture.

#1- 16lbs is too large for the cabin which at a far stretch is the only acceptable circumstance and you have to have permission before hand. They require to carrier and dog fit AND REMAIN under the seat in front of you. Have you seen the space under the seat in front of you in a middle seat lately? My laptop won’t fit! It is very uncomfortable for them and most do not do well with the air pressure.

#2- Delta recently and unapologetically lost yet another dog.

#3- Checked with baggage = handled like baggage!!!! Throwing, slamming, etc…

My parents and now I have flown, traveled and lived the world over. My mother is retired from TWA. I can’t even begin with the horror stories she has in this area.

Camp Woof and a few others have web cams that DO come in handy.

Yasmine

June 9th, 2010
3:27 pm

I have been flying with my Yorkie in the plane for years. Most times people don’t know there is a dog on the plane until we are exiting. Vet told me to give him a small dosage of Benadryl and he is sedated for about 2-3 hours (only take short trips with him). I only fly with him on Airtran now since they are the cheapest.

1911A1

June 9th, 2010
3:29 pm

Tiger, you’re in rare form today…ROFL

JATL

June 9th, 2010
3:43 pm

Personally I had rather fly seated near dogs or cats intead of kids any day, and I have two children -but the dogs and cats are usually relaxing! HOWEVER, due to the number of people who are allergic (and there are quite a few of them), I completely understand the complaint about them being in the cabin. Far more people are allergic to pets than peanuts, and it would suck to head off on vacation or to see family members and arrive swollen, red-eyed and sneezing your guts out.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 9th, 2010
3:44 pm

@1911A1..thanks!

I’m starting to think that the dog hangs out with Michael during the superbowl, has some chips and dip, laughs at the commercials, and rolls it’s eyes with Michael at Theresa when she complains that the commercials portray women in an unfavorable light!

the more I think about it, the more I like this dog!

dogsnotkids

June 9th, 2010
4:01 pm

I have flown with my dogs in the cabin several times. As good as it gets. While deboarding, from one of the flights, someone noticed my dog in his Sherpa bag. There had been one very loud and obnoxious boy (around 6 or 7 years old), and one screaming baby for 1-1/2 hours of the 2-1/2 hour flight. The individual that noticed my dog very loudly exclaimed that a dog had flown on the flight. Evem more loudly he exclaimed how much better behaved my dog was than the human kids on board. TAKE THE DOG – LEAVE THE KIDS WITH THE SITTERS!

dogsnotkids 2

June 9th, 2010
4:05 pm

I think everyone knows that a well behaved dog does not bother people with allergies. Everyone knows that!

Campbell

June 9th, 2010
4:11 pm

Please check out this blog for details on Delta’s New Summer live animal program. This will help clear some misconceptions. http://www.pettravel.com/blog/

jb

June 9th, 2010
4:20 pm

Just read on yahoo that Delta mixed up two kids and sent them to the wrong destinations. Imagine the care they give to pets!

Kristen

June 9th, 2010
4:21 pm

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp-You shouldn’t have an animal….ever.

Tired of this and Ghost: How about this: I don’t want to be in a plane with YOUR KIDS. My dog would sit in the plane and not make a peep. I HIGHLY doubt your kids could do the same.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 9th, 2010
4:42 pm

@Kristen…Why, because I won’t take her on vacation with me?

Becky

June 9th, 2010
4:47 pm

@Tiger..I won’t ever take an animal on vacation with me either..

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 9th, 2010
4:51 pm

@Becky..that’s why I’m confused with Kristen’s comment to me. I don’t think I’ve said anything disparaging towards pets….granted I may have expressed my lack of appreciation for “girly dogs”, but I don’t dislike them, just wouldn’t want to own one.

Becky

June 9th, 2010
4:54 pm

@Tiger..I understand very well..Some people only want to see things one way..Their way..As I said a couple of blogs ago, we are all different..You saw where I was raked thru the coals because I said that I didn’t understand why you would take a nanny/sitter on a family vacation..I guess if that is what you want to do fine, it’s just not something that I could ever see me doing, hence “family vacation”..

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 9th, 2010
4:56 pm

@becky…I get it. To each their own. I just left the kid with Grandma for the the weekend so my wife and I could get away and just have some adult relax time.

I wonder if Kristen thinks because of that I shouldn’t ever have a kid…..ever. ;-)

Becky

June 9th, 2010
4:59 pm

@Tiger..Amen..Out of here, hope all have a great evening…

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

June 9th, 2010
5:00 pm

Just to be fair to all and to show I’m not a bad guy though…if there are any dogs reading this blog and I said anything to offend you, please accept my apologies.

For those of you dogs who don’t read english, allow me to translate my apology…

BARK BARK….WOOF…GRRRRRRRRR….BOWOWOW…….GRRRRRR…YIP YIP……hmmmhmmmhmmmmmmmm….BARK!

I hope to have made amends to any canine readers I may have offended.