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How to transport animals on an airplane: detailed instructions
How to transport animals on an airplane: detailed instructions

Important rules and life hacks for those who are planning a flight with a pet in the country or abroad.

How to transport animals on an airplane: detailed instructions
How to transport animals on an airplane: detailed instructions

Imagine: you are going on a trip. Destination and dates are selected, suitcases are packed. But what about the pet? Should you check it in with your luggage or take it with you to the salon? What preparatory procedures will have to be carried out and are any documents needed? It all depends on the animal and the country of import.

Who cannot be transported by plane

Air transportation of fish and sea animals (which need an aquatic environment), rodents, reptiles (turtles, lizards, etc.), arthropods (for example, spiders), animals and birds taken from the wild (untamed), and pets whose mass with carrying capacity exceeds 50 kg.

Among dogs, breeds related to brachiocephalic are prohibited (due to the structure of the muzzle, they can suffocate during the flight):

  • bulldog (English, French, American),
  • pug,
  • Pekingese,
  • shih tzu,
  • boxer,
  • griffin (Belgian, Brussels),
  • boston terrier,
  • dogue de bordeaux,
  • Japanese chin.

As a rule, you can not transport a pet younger than 3-4 months: he must develop immunity after vaccination against rabies, which is usually done at 12 weeks.

It is better to check with your airline for a complete list of prohibited animals.

General rules

It doesn't matter if it is a dog, cat or bird - the main thing is that the pet fits into the carrier and is on the list of allowed animals with your airline.

1. Get comprehensive vaccinations

At the time of planning a trip (it does not matter whether it is in the country or abroad), the animal must be comprehensively vaccinated, treated for worms and chipping. In the veterinary clinic, you need to get an international veterinary passport, which will contain notes about these procedures.

Make sure the vaccines given to your pet are FED approved. And remember: after the rabies vaccination and between the day of departure, 30 days must pass. Therefore, plan your trip in advance.

2. Find out the airline's rules for transporting animals

Usually, you can take your pet with you to the salon under the following conditions:

  • the weight of the pet together with the container is not more than 8 kg;
  • the dimensions of the rigid carrying in length, width and height do not exceed 44 × 30 × 26 cm;
  • the size of a soft closed-type carrying bag in the sum of three dimensions does not exceed 126 cm.

You will need a blanket or a cape made of breathable fabric to cover the carrier: for a pet, the airport and the flight itself will be a lot of stress. You may also need wet wipes, some food, and water. If you are transporting a bird, be sure to cover the carrier to prevent the animal from making noise.

For different airlines, the maximum carrying dimensions may differ, so it is better to check them on the official website or by phone.

If the dimensions do not fit into this standard, you will have to check in the animal in the luggage compartment. An exception may be a service dog or a guide dog: they can be taken to the salon, but only if you have documents confirming the status (usually, the transport of such animals is free).

Remember that flying in the luggage compartment is not only stressful for the animal, but also a potential danger: there have been many cases when pets suffocated from lack of oxygen. Therefore, carefully weigh the pros and cons before taking such a step.

When bringing a pet into the United States at the airport, you may be asked to undergo additional checks: for example, ask about the pet's favorite treat or check for water, measure the carry with a tape measure (if the staff decide that there is too little space, you will face a fine) or require you to release the pet to make sure that you are the owner.

Also, when entering the United States with a pet, you need to be ready to answer any question from the veterinary passport (and - yes, it must be with a photo of the pet and in English).

Sometimes, when importing an animal to other countries, the results of additional blood tests are needed. Therefore, it is very important to study the requirements on the website of the official department of the country of import.

3. Buy a ticket

But first, call the airline to find out if it is possible to transport your pet on your chosen flight. If so, buy a ticket for yourself, call the airline again and reserve a seat for your pet (usually the number of animals on board is limited). The animal will sit at your feet. You will buy a ticket for it on the spot, at the airport.

4. Obtain a Form No. 1 veterinary certificate five days before the flight

When the pet is quarantined after vaccinations (after 30 days), apply with him and the veterinary passport to the state veterinary clinic no earlier than five days before the trip in order to receive a veterinary certificate of form No. 1. This cannot be done in a regular veterinary clinic: the organization must have a license to issue such a certificate.

The pet will be examined and you will receive a certificate that the animal comes from an area where rabies has not been reported, and that the animal has been vaccinated, microchipped and processed in accordance with international standards. Also, the document must indicate the person with whom the pet is traveling.

The certificate is valid for five days. Before going to the state veterinary clinic, it is better to call there and specify what tests are needed. Sometimes doctors require you to be tested for worms.

The veterinary passport should also contain a mark that the pet is healthy and has the right to move: the necessary vaccinations have been made and the quarantine has been maintained.

5. Notify the airport veterinary service that you are flying with the animal

This is a reinsurance point and many don't. But just in case, you can call or send a letter there 3-5 days before the flight so that the right employee is present to inspect the pet. Also, 15 days in advance, write a letter (in English) to the veterinary control of the airport of the country of entry. There is no specific template, just indicate the number, flight and that you will be arriving with your pet. To find out the required e-mail address, you can call the country's embassy or see the information on its website.

6. Arrive at the airport in advance

If you are flying abroad, it is better to arrive four hours before departure. If the flight is within the Russian Federation, then 2-3 hours will be enough. You will be asked to remove the pet from the carrier for inspection: you must lead the animal through the metal detector frame on a leash or carry it on your hands. But if the animal is in a panic and it is not possible to get it out of the carrier, demand alternative methods of inspection and control.

7. After the inspection at the airport entrance, visit the veterinary service room

Experts will examine the animal, check the certificate and veterinary passport. If you are traveling in the Russian Federation, a stamp is put on the veterinary certificate (valid for five days, after this period you will have to receive a new certificate and go through the procedure again). When flying abroad, the veterinary service staff will take the certificate, and in exchange they will issue a certificate of form No. 5a in English, valid for 90 days.

On European routes, in addition to the form No. 5a veterinary certificate, you will be given an EU veterinary certificate (European certificate). Certificate No. 5a is not asked abroad, it is only needed to return home. A European certificate is required to enter Europe. To speed up the process, you can download, print and fill out the necessary certificates in advance, and at the airport you can only assure them. Bring some copies with you, including blank ones, just in case.

8. Go to the airline counter and buy a pet ticket

After screening and obtaining all stamps, proceed to the passenger check-in counter. Let us know if you are taking your pet with you to the salon or checking it into the luggage compartment: the choice of the rack depends on this, where you will be sent for a surcharge for a place for the animal. Drop off your baggage after check-in.

As we said above, if the carrier does not meet the requirements of the airline, you will not be able to take your pet with you to the cabin. In this case, be sure to warn the captain or stewards that there is an animal on board. They will take the necessary measures, such as turning on the heating in the luggage compartment.

9. During the flight and baggage claim, follow the general rules

In the cabin, stewards must provide you with an extra strap to attach the carrier to your seatbelt. During the flight, you must not let the pet out of the carrier or feed it.

A service dog or guide dog must be muzzled, collared and on a leash next to you throughout the flight. It is forbidden to place your pet on the seat or in the area of someone else's passenger seat.

Upon arrival at the destination airport, if the pet was flying in the luggage compartment, look for it on the luggage belt or next to it.

After collecting your luggage, take your pet to the airport veterinary office.

How to prepare an animal for the flight: advice from a zoopsychologist

Zoopsychologist Marina Evgenievna maintains a blog on Instagram, where she shares her experience and tips on caring for pets. Before the flight, she recommends:

1. 10-14 days before the flight, start giving your pet a sedative

As a rule, sedatives have a cumulative effect, so it is worth taking the course in advance. Carefully read the contraindications, or even better - consult your veterinarian.

2. Train your pet in advance to carry it

Leave the carrier open where the animal likes to be. You can put a treat or a favorite toy inside - this will make it easier for your pet to overcome fear and get used to being inside. In no case do not force it - this approach will only make it worse.

3. Do not feed your pet less than 4 hours before the flight

Food can make you feel sick.