Carrying Your Cat on a Commercial Flight

It seems that you can take your kitty easily on a commercial flight. The reality is different. Logistics can be a chore, and you may have to pay extra and also fill up agonizingly long documentation. The airline’s pet policy will affect your chances. It is thus essential for you to do some homework. Once you do that, both you and your furball can jet in comfort. It is to be noted that most airlines adopt the same rules and regulations for both dogs and cats present in the aircraft.

In-cabin or cargo

Your cat has two travel options: in the cabin with you or as cargo in the pet-special cargo hold. The airline staff will permit your cat to travel with you if the animal and its carrier can fit below the seat placed in front of your seat. The rule of thumb is a cat weighing 20 pounds or less. Most cat owners can quickly jump this space hurdle. The space under the seat differs among airlines and the aircraft model in question. Airlines generally restrict the number of pets on a flight, and it is essential that you dial beforehand the airline in question and ask. You cannot buy an extra seat to make room for your cat. If you are cost conscious, make your cat a part of your cargo. This is not as bad as it appears. Your kitty will be perfectly comfortable, flying in a temperature controlled, pressurized compartment. Remember that your cat will be considered as cargo and will operate as one. Many animal rights activists are against such an arrangement and insists the airline should fly the pet with its owner in the cabin at all times. Alternatively, you can hire the services of a pet shipping company.

Cost is key

Flying with your cat could be a costly proposition. You have to reserve a seat for the cat, but your kitty cannot sit on it. A typical carrier charges over $100 for pet each way. Budget flight costs hover around $90. The fee has to be paid before you board the aircraft. There could be other costs too, like pre-flight veterinary check-ups and purchasing a pet carrier. The veterinarian must examine your cat to ensure the animal is healthy to fly on a plane. If you have decided to put the animal in the cargo hold, do understand some airlines follow a restrictive policy on allowing a few breeds to be carried on a flight. To give an example. American Airlines will outright reject any brachycephalic cats like Himalayan, Burmese, and Persian due to the probability of respiratory distress occurring at high altitudes. The airline may also specify the size of the crate in which the cat will be kept. It must be large enough so that the cat can stand and look around.

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