dog at airport

Myths, Facts, and Tips for Traveling with Pets by Air

We all want our adored pet sitting right beside us as we fly across the blue skies. But, sometimes, that’s just not possible—especially if your pet is 20 or more pounds or longer than 22 inches. There’s only one other alternative—to put your pet in the cargo transport. But your precious furry friend doesn’t deserve that torment, right? Yet cargo transport is misunderstood by many people. In this blog, three delusions will be dispelled and we’ll give you fantastic tips on traveling with pets safely on an airplane.

Myth #1: Airline associates don’t understand how to deal with pets.

Fact: Every airline staff member that comes in contact with a pet is directed not to socialize with them or open their crate. They’re also trained and certified in how to take care of your pet.

Myth #2: The cargo transport and luggage compartment are one in the same; pets are cramped and in the darkness the entire flight.

Fact: Your pooch or kitty is safe and there’s no need to fear baggage falling on top of them. The luggage and cargo areas are completely separate. The cargo area is even lit during the flights.

Myth #3: In the cargo compartment, pets are sure to experience heat exhaustion or freeze.

Fact: Pets are just as safe as we are on planes; like the human cabin, the cargo area is pressure and temperature controlled. The severe temperature of the tarmac does affect things in the summer and winter; however, airlines can avoid the problem if they use climate controlled vehicles to transfer pets to the planes.

Millions of pets travel joyfully and safely in the cargo compartment each year without any trouble. As long as your veterinarian has declared your furry buddy in good health, then you shouldn’t have to worry about that at least. But you need to make sure your pet remains safe during the flight. Here are some great tips:


Just in case there’s an emergency, you should zip-tie a paper to the crate. This paper should be of good-quality card stock and must contain your picture, your veterinarian’s name and phone number and your emergency information. Likewise, your pet should be wearing a collar and ID tag with their name, your name and phone number, and your veterinarian’s information.

Also, make sure you have your pet’s health certificate with you. Airline employees may want to check that your pet is up-to-date on his or her vaccinations.

Acceptable IATA Crate

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has certain rules regarding crates for pets. Your pet’s crate must have a spring-loaded lock on the door and a waterproof bottom; it needs to have ventilation on each side as well. Measure your pet to ensure that you purchase the right size crate. Your furry pal shouldn’t be cramped or appear uncomfortable at all, otherwise you might not get through the gate.

On a side note, that plastic hardware that companies use nowadays on the crates just won’t cut it and is satisfactory at best; your pet’s safety is of the utmost importance. There have been instances—although few—where a crate assembled with plastic hardware breaks apart. Flying can be stressful enough without having to worry about that. So buy some metal hardware for your pet’s crate and you can be sure that it’ll hold together.


Giving your pet a tranquilizer for the trip could be extremely harmful. Your cat’s or dog’s body temperature won’t be regulated properly, your pooch’s ability to pant will be affected and other health problems could occur too. If your precious pal is an anxious, stressed or nervous traveler, try giving them an all-natural, safe herbal remedy to calm them such as Happy Traveler.


Provide your beloved pet with a good amount of water before and after the trip. When your pet is in the cargo compartment, there’s no question he or she will get thirsty; be sure to attach an airline-approved water container to the crate before they’re boarded. The Lixit Dog Waterer is a good choice and comes in three sizes including a 32 oz. container that’s perfect for kitties too.

Ask Questions

Every airline has different regulations on pets so make inquiries while setting up reservations. A few times during the reservation procedure, you should confirm that your pet will be put in the cargo compartment first and removed last. It’s your job to understand all of their pet rules, so ask all of the questions you need to ask. When you board the plane, notify the flight attendant that your pet is flying in the cargo transport.

Your cherished pet is like a child and keeping them safe while traveling by air is easier now that you know the facts and have these handy tips. So sit back, relax, and both of you can enjoy your flight!

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