The holiday season is here! And while visions of sugar plums are dancing in our heads, so are flashes of flight delays and long hours on the tarmac.
Air travel is often a hassle, especially during the holidays, and unfortunately, adding a pet to the mix often makes it more difficult. But fear not: “The Points Guy” Brian Kelly is here with advice to help you and Fido make it to where you need to go this winter as smoothly as possible.
Of course, Kelly has experience jetting across the world, but what does he know about pet travel? A lot! One of his most frequent travel companions is his French Bulldog Miles, who is part of ThePointsGuy.com’s PointsPups.
Take a look at the tips and secrets Kelly has for all those pet lovers getting on a plane this holiday season.
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Kelly admits the first time he brought now-5-year-old Miles on a plane, he was mildly freaking out. This doesn’t do anyone any good, especially your pet, who can often pick up on your stress levels. While the idea of pet plane travel may seem daunting, everything is easier if you approach it with a calm attitude. Additionally, never try to sneak your pet on a plane to avoid stress — this will only cause more problems.
Most airlines only allowed a limited number of pets in the cabin of each flight. It is important to book a ticket for you and your pet as far in advance as possible, so you furry friend doesn’t get caught without a spot. After booking, make sure you have a comfortable carrier for your pet, and start introducing the carrier to him early (treats help). This way, when it is time to fly, your pet will feel prepared.
Oftentimes airlines will not let you check in online if you are bringing a pet with you. Make sure you factor extra time into your travel schedule to arrive at the airport and check in at the desk.
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Know the Rules
Before heading out to the airport, make sure to review the rules of the airlines and airports you are using, since they can vary. No matter what the rules say, make sure to have a copy of your pet’s clean bill of health from the vet on hand, so you can present it if there are any issues. Additionally, be prepared to take your pet out of its carrier at security and hold him through the security check process. This is standard procedure.
Avoid Putting Your Pet in Cargo
Unfortunately, airlines do not let pets over 25 lbs. fly in the cabin unless they are service animals. This means larger pets who travel by plane will have to go in the cargo. Kelly recommends avoiding this option, since he has heard horror stories about lost or injured pets. If your pet is too large to fly in the cabin, consider another form of travel or finding a sitter for your furry friend.
Get the Perks
Airlines like JetBlue have frequent flyer programs for your pets, so make sure you get those points. If you have a credit card that provides travel perks, check to see if it will cover the cost of pet travel fees, as some do. Also make sure to use these travel-friendly cards to pay for your pet’s ticket, because their fee usually earns you points as well. Finally, if you have TSA Pre, your pet does too. You can both skip the big general line!