Can’t part with your pooch when you fly from the United States to Europe? If he’s under 10 pounds, you just might be able to get away with Fido under your seat for a fee with a little advance planning.
Think any airline will allow your small dog as long as you have him in a pet carrier? Think again, and then let your fingers do the walking and call your airline to see what its specific pet policy is. Most airlines have restrictions limiting carry-on Fidos to one or two per transatlantic flight, with pet carriers of specific dimensions to fit under the seat or under the seat in front of you.
All dogs, cats, and often, small birds, traveling in-cabin must have proper veterinary documentation of vaccinations. Carry copies of these documents with you, just like you would a copy of your passport or travel insurance, as you may need to fill-in an in-flight form for your animal before landing. Most Zoo Sanitary Certificates and import permits are completed before even getting on the plane. You might want to check your travel insurance policy to see what provisions it includes, if any, regarding traveling with your pet.
Most airlines, such as British Air, KLM, Northwest, and Iberia Air do not allow small dogs to travel in-cabin to the United Kingdom, even if you are stopping there to change planes or airlines. Bypass the U.K. on your way to mainland Europe, and you should have no problem.
If the flight is very long, including those with layovers in Europe before traveling to Asia or the Middle East, or if there are multiple plane changes in order to reach your destination, you will likely be asked to check Fido as baggage or cargo.
Note that most pets must be stored as cargo; and, when runway temperatures top 84 degrees Fahrenheit, pets may be refused. An acclimation certificate may be required should the runway temperature dip below 45 degrees. Check with the specific flight for all rules regarding your pet. Flight personnel must keep cargo bays transporting pets regulated to the same temperature and pressure that your cabin is set.
Some final tips for traveling from the U.S. to Europe with Fido:
- Make sure that your pet is at least eight weeks old before traveling. This is a requirement by the USDA. Your pet must also be fully weaned.
- Book nonstop flights.
- Avoid traveling during high traffic times such as holidays and weekends.
- Travel in early morning or late evenings in the summer to avoid extreme heat fluctuations.
- Get your vet’s health certificate no more than seven to 10 days in advance of travel.
- Don’t sedate your pet as tranquilizers have unpredictable side effects at high altitudes–pets have died as a result. If Fido needs a little extra mood medicine to mellow out, follow your vet’s advice.