For many people, air travel is as normal as getting on a bus. And travelling with their pets is also common practice this day and age. Up until very recently, strict airline regulations forced pets to travel in the hold inside a carrier. But things are changing and thanks to Delta Airlines, new rules are standing by to shake up the old ones.
Almost all airlines allow dogs, cats and birds to be transported on their aircraft. But each airline has its own rules about what part of the plane they will travel in and what size and shape the carrier should be. Anyone with a dog suffers knowing that it cannot be fun for their pet to be enclosed in a carrier in the hold for hours on end. The wellness and safety of the animal, and the happiness of the owner, are among the reasons some airlines, Delta at the top of the line, has opened its cabins to dogs, cats and birds, without any sort of limit as to how many per flight.
Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, Alitalia and Air France already allows us to bring our dog or cat on board with us, for a fee that goes from 20 to 200 euro (depending on the destination and airline) to be paid when you check in at the airport. In order to be allowed on board in the cabin, the pet must have been vaccinated, have an electronic ID chip and a passport declaring them to be healthy.
For the moment, this service applies only to small-medium animals that weigh less than 10 kg, as they do have to travel in a carrier that can fit under the seat, where there is not really a lot of space. Unfortunately, seeing as there is no single regulation governing the onboard access of cats and dogs, every airline can establish the maximum number of pets it will allow on any of their flights, which can cause some problems for the passengers who find themselves having to leave their pet behind when they check in.
Large pets still have to travel in carriers in the hold. Delta has specialized personnel that accompany the animal from the time it is checked in to when it actually boards the plane, and the airline complies with all the standards and safety measures that apply to the transport of non-human travellers to ensure they are not handled like luggage.
When we fly with our pets, we need to have a carrier they can stay in for the entire duration of the flight. The type suggested is a hard-case plastic one. By law, the carrier must ensure that the animal is physically comfortable, it has to have apertures for air on at least two sides, a blanket that will take absorb any ‘accidents’ and two bowls, one for water and the other for food. If you look at the Atlas line manufactured by Ferplast, you will find the perfect model for your pet. Still, before heading out to the airport, check to make sure the one you choose matches the dimensions the airline requires and if the animal may actually travel with you. It’s better to be 100% sure than watch the plane take off without you!
We hope the new trends, that is, Delta’s decision to let all small pets travel in the cabin with its owners, will encourage a similar attitude on the part of the other airlines. It’s a trend that meets the need of pets and their owners, and, with any luck, it will result in Delta’s competitors falling in line with these new ideas, letting our beloved pets travel safely with us close at hand.