Freight DogsFinally a forum for those midnight prowler types who utilise the unglamorous parts of airports that many of us never get to see. Freight Dogs is for pilots and crew who operate mostly without SLF.
Hopefully I have posted this in the right forum and someone in here could help me out.
I am in the RAF and living in Las Vegas, but I am due to be posted back to the UK at the end of the year. We have a dog (25kg) and over the last 12 months have had her sorted with paperwork, jabs etc, to fly back to the UK.
Can anyone recommend a carrier, preferably the cheaper the better, who can fly our dog unaccompanied, from Las Vegas McCarran to either any of the London airports or Manchester? we will have someone the other end to pick her up so kennels wont be needed, and if any of the carriers offer Military Discount, then that would be ideal.
We have tried to call the Virgin Atlantic Cargo office for a quote on the 1-800-828-6822 number, but we have spent the last few mornings on hold after which it cuts off and they shut the office.
Any insider advise or help would be greatly appreciated.
I have allways been concerned with the scenerio of flying a dog (pet/family member) in the lowers as you have no idea if the flight crew will monitor temperature or give a damb. Not to mention on many fleet types lower bay temps on long flights are hard to keep warm.
If you can bring aboard on an AMC flight that would be great, I do not expect there would be quarintine issues between the us and uk, best check on it though.
You unfortunately have two requests which do not go together i.e. Flying an animal and cheap as possible.
The only carriers worth considering are BA and VS in that order. BA has far more experience than any other airline and the reputation of looking after AVI properly. Both BA & VS are direct flights and consequently much fairer on the animal which should be the major concern here. I presume when you say you have the paperwork sorted you mean the animal is chipped and entering under the Pets Passport scheme to prevent 6 months quarantine.
I shouldn't worry too much about flying them in the belly holds, i think the holds drop 2deg per sector hour from the ambient temp at departure airport which given Vegas, will be hot anyway but never known a crew to forget the hold heating when animals are being carried. Far more likely to bake or freeze the great unwashed upstairs.
Regarding costs, all airlines normally charge the same which is based on the IATA rate plus surcharge and the kennel size has to conform to the AVI regulations which if I remember right, must be:- Length = tip of animals nose to base of tail Width = distance across animals shoulder x 2 Height = bottom of foot to tip of ears plus half again.
The weight is not really important as the airlines will charge you based on volume I.e. H x W x L (in cms) divided by 6000 gives you the volume weight in kilos. Count on around $20 per kilo plus charges.
The above may be out of date a bit so check the rules with the airlines or DEFRA
(1) is the animal already adult , or is it still juvenile & growing ?
(2) if is adult & no longer growing then get a good kennel sized as described in post above
(3) do this NOW. too often I have seen dogs put in a kennel when the owner comes to the airport & meets up with the kennel supplier. the dog is scared to death because it has no experience of this and can't understand why it is being forced into a (relatively) small room.
(4) when you've got your kennel leave it, with door open in an area frequented by the dog for a couple of days, leave the door open.
(5) after a few days put one of the dog's blankets in the kennel, leave the door open.
(6) don't do anything to "make" the dog go in the kennel. just leave it a few days and occasionally, during the day and when someone is around & about, put in a toy, or a water bowl, or a feed bowl with a "treat" in it. eventually dog will make it's own mind up to explore. never shut the door at this stage.
(7) once dog starts to use kennel itself (and it will, usualy during the day) move any remaining items of bedding from the dog's bed into the kennel it will then voluntarily use the kennel at night. don't close the door at this stage.
(8) once the dog is using the kennel as it's night-time sleeping HDQ on a regular basis you know the dog is quite happy with it's new 'home in the house'
(9) tricky bit might be the next stage, which is to get the dog used to the idea of travelling whilst in its 'home'. In full sight of dog, take kennel (with its bedding, toys etc but not food & water bowls) & put in the car, hope you've got a station-wagon or 'hatchback' ... leave all doors open (car & kennel) arrange kennel so dog has easy access into car and from car into kennel. leave dog to puzzle over this wierd behaviour by the dog's "gods". if dog doesn't react encourage dog to get into car next to the kennel. then encourage dog into the kennel. If dog doesn't seem keen don;t force it, just give up for the day and try it again tomorrow. (or try in the morning and again in the afternoon); eventually dog will get in the kennel in the car.
(10) once dog in kennel in car, close kennel door & go for a short drive around the block and back again. let dog out of kennel & car and make a big fuss of him when he leaps out. Put kennel back in house in the usual position for night-time sleeping.
(11) at this stage you can start to drive longer distances, making a point to go to lot's of interesting places for "walkies" - dog will start to associate "kennel in car = funtime walkies"
(12) you can also start to shut the kennel door overnight, at first just leave it ajar, but eventually leave it shut overnight. it is also important to associate dog with being enclosed. Also toilet training, before shutting dog in kennel associate this with last thing at night wee & sniff about. after this you're a bit on your own, read all the bunf you can get hold of regarding dogs & long journeys, especially the IATA stuff
hope all this helps.... I have instructed clients in this way for 30 years & never had any bad feedback. 14 year-old to Jakarta, 12-year old to B.A. etc etc.
Last edited by G&T ice n slice; 10th Aug 2011 at 09:22.
To be honest I do NOT like seeing dogs (or even cats [[ptuh]]) in "open" mesh wire kennels and I also dislike those terrible plastic things. much better is a strong kennel in wood & plywood (it will last for years)
I would also strongly advise you to use only a carrier with a direct flight non-stop - watch out for carriers that show a direct flight but mean "it's direct via ATL/DTW/IAD/JFK/IAH/DFW/MSP etc etc etc"
Check with your selected carrier(s) that they do not have their own special regs above & beyond the scope of the IATA LAR.
make sure that your kennel has something on it to identify the pet - I always liked the ones that cam by with "Hi my name is Fido and I'm a dog, my master is sending me from (place) to (place) with (carrier name). In an emergency you can get reach someone at (city of origin and fone nbr at place of origin) or someone at (city of destination and fone nbr at place of destination). I'm going to (address in destination) etc etc etc.... Corny as heck but what the hey.
I know Aer Lingus are quite experience in the transportation of pets. When i worked at JFK for them we had at least 2 animals a day travelling from Dublin or back. It was relatively easy on the animal as sometimes the flight can be done in 5 hours but normally between 5-7 hours depending upon the direction of the flight. Then all you would have to do is either get the boat from Dublin to the UK or again get EI to fly from Dublin to London or Manchester. They fly from JFK Chicago Boston and Orlando, although i know they have connections with Jet Blue but am not sure if B6 transport animals.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I used to work for a rather large airline who did an awful lot of AVI into Manchester.
Firstly a 25Kg dog sounds like quite a hefty creature, so volume wise you may be looking at around USD3000+. I would suggest you contact an airfreight agent in the states that specialises in AVI as it will be quite difficult to get an IATA approved box with Dims suitable for that size of dog.
Also it might be handy to speak to a specialist in the UK about import documentation etc, the major company (or was) if you are flying into Manchester is a company called Skymaster.
As far as flights go, I'd go with the VS route to Manchester, it will be perfectly fine in H5, ambient temperatures in there, it never gets too cold, I mean we imported fish from SIN in H5!
It should be an absolute doddle, in all my time dealing with AVI I cannot remember a single instance of anything going wrong if it was handled correctly.
Hi, I take my dog (33kg) France to USA each year for a 6 month stay. Things I have learnt, Try very hard to arrange a one sector non stop flight. If the dog has not been in the UK for over 6 months, I’m sure there is a quarantine issue. Cost of my dog on VS or BA is about $1500 one way! Most vets do not like the idea of calming drugs but I have used herbal stuff, I think it works. Make sure there is plenty of water in a special non spill bowl and attach a plastic bag with some dried food on the outside of the crate with a note of when he was last fed/watered in case of delays. Leave a part of your clothing (unwashed) in the cage as a comfort toy. Give your dog plenty of exercise immediately before the flight. For my dog’s safety, it scares the hell out of me every time but it has to be done. Good luck
You are obviously a very good caregiver to your dog and have posted great advice. My dogs get stressed on a 8 hour car ride. Never had to muzzle my dogs, did not consider the need if crated in flight. Just wondering why the carrier may want to and the dangers of doing so. My wife is insistant on placing food and water in the car, they rarely touch it until we meet our destination and sometimes for hours after.
We recently did the same route with 2 dogs, I second what an earlier poster said, "it won't be cheap!".
There are no direct flights from McCarran until the temps drop - October ish! Arranging transfers yourself, especially if the pets are unaccompanied can be a nightmare.
Ours flew to LHR via Newark with Continental and were well looked after. We used a company called petcarrier.com, a lady called Janice arranged everything, very efficient.
Top tips - Use the Nellis Vets to sort paperwork, saves a fortune! You will still need all that LOA though, well would have done before all the cuts! (cost us close to $3k in the end)
Ron, cheers for that.
This is exactly what we have decided to do. VA and BA were massively expensive, think Virgin quoted £2000, and because you cant fly from McCarran with them i'd have to drive to LAX as well.
Mrs. Billy spoke to a company the other day called PBS, and for Chip to fly Continental from here via Houston, its gonna be about $1400 all in. Luckily we saw this coming and got all the paperwork and rabies stuff sorted a few months ago.
Just got to get it booked in the next week or so, and then concentrate on getting the house packed.
Grounded27 It was not the carrier but when the dog had to be removed from the crate for a security check the TSA became pretty nervous and may have demanded a muzzle if I wasn’t present. He is not ferocious but some people are afraid of dogs I guess. My dog doesn't touch a drop of water either on a 10 hour trip, strange. It maybe they don't know how long they may have to hold it for.