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Old 13.06.2011, 16:51
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Continental Airlines dog import via Zurich?

Hi all,

I'm moving back to CH at the end of August, and this time bringing my [extremely beloved ] Australian Shepherd. I'm coming from upstate new york, but to make the air travel easier for her I'm planning to drive to a major airport where we can get a direct flight to Zurich. Previously I've used Continental Airlines to transport her via air within the US, and have been very happy with them -- and the direct Newark-Zurich flight would be great.

My *question* for you all is whether anyone has experience transporting dogs via Continental Airlines into Zurich. One concern I have is that all dogs go as cargo on Continental planes, even if you are on the same flight with them. [This is simply so that animals are not transported with luggage, and are in air-conditioned transport vehicles at all times]. I am afraid that this will mean she would automatically go to the cargo portion of the airport upon arrival, and then be considered and "unaccompanied" pet -- and it sounds like this entails a longer waiting time until I can pick her up, additional fees for the import and transportation at the airport, and generally a whole bunch of hassle.

Just wondering if anyone has experience with this?

Thanks very much!
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Old 13.06.2011, 17:20
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Re: Continental Airlines dog import via Zurich?

I'm not sure if this will be of much help, but...

I brought my cat here with me via Continental Airlines (direct flight from Newark) in April of 2009. However, I was able to bring her with me onto the plane in a cat-carrier, which was kept under the seat in front of me. I realize, though, that because of the size of your dog, he/she will (unfortunately) have to go into the animal-holding cargo area.

But I remember that I was so worried about the whole import process going smoothly that I never hesitated to contact either Continental Airlines or the customs office at Zurich airport to ask questions. And I found them to be very helpful. Also, Zurich airport is (relatively) quite small and I've never had to wait long for luggage there. So hopefully your dog will be brought to you quickly.

When I arrived, all I had to do was take my cat through the regular customs line. I handed them my vet certificate, they did a quick scan for her microchip and then off we went. I hope the process goes as smoothly for you!

P.S. Here is another agency that I contacted via email and found to be very helpful:

SWISS FEDERAL VETERINARY OFFICE (SFVO):
Schwarzenburgstrasse 155
CH -3003 Berne;
Fax nr. +41-31/324 82 56
Tel. nr. +41-31/323 85 24
Email: import.export@bvet.admin.ch
Web site: www.bvet.admin.ch
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Old 13.06.2011, 18:02
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Re: Continental Airlines dog import via Zurich?

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Hi all,

I'm moving back to CH at the end of August, and this time bringing my [extremely beloved ] Australian Shepherd. I'm coming from upstate new york, but to make the air travel easier for her I'm planning to drive to a major airport where we can get a direct flight to Zurich. Previously I've used Continental Airlines to transport her via air within the US, and have been very happy with them -- and the direct Newark-Zurich flight would be great.

My *question* for you all is whether anyone has experience transporting dogs via Continental Airlines into Zurich. One concern I have is that all dogs go as cargo on Continental planes, even if you are on the same flight with them. [This is simply so that animals are not transported with luggage, and are in air-conditioned transport vehicles at all times]. I am afraid that this will mean she would automatically go to the cargo portion of the airport upon arrival, and then be considered and "unaccompanied" pet -- and it sounds like this entails a longer waiting time until I can pick her up, additional fees for the import and transportation at the airport, and generally a whole bunch of hassle.

Just wondering if anyone has experience with this?

Thanks very much!
Yes, bringing dogs in through Cargo is more time consuming and if you don't arrive while a vet is on duty can result in unwanted delays. If you want to use a service, ACE Pet Moving is Zurich based and I highly recommend them. www.acepetmoving.com
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Old 13.06.2011, 19:39
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Re: Continental Airlines dog import via Zurich?

Katie, if you haven't already, double check with the airline whether or not they actually allow dogs to cross the Atlantic on them.

I can not recall whether my flight was Continental or United but that was the beginning of my problems regarding my dog.

Whichever it was (wish I could remember!), they didn't allow dogs on trans-Atlantic flights AT ALL... so don't just take it for granted if you've not already checked.
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Old 13.06.2011, 20:11
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Re: Continental Airlines dog import via Zurich?

Continental / United : in the process of merging.

Continental : non stop Newark - Zurich.
United : non stop Dulles - Zurich.

Wishing you the best.
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Old 13.06.2011, 20:17
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Re: Continental Airlines dog import via Zurich?

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Continental / United : in the process of merging.

Continental : non stop Newark - Zurich.
United : non stop Dulles - Zurich.

Wishing you the best.

When I flew United IAD - ZRH in May they said to me that at some point in the merge both airlines will only be taking dogs as cargo; no longer would they be accepted as accompanied baggage. But when you call to reserve the pet space on the phone they can explain fully. If you want them to go as excess, make sure you find out if space is available for pets on that flight BEFORE you book your ticket.

It's much easier to take them as excess baggage, in my opinion, and it costs less on that route at least.
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Old 13.06.2011, 20:23
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Re: Continental Airlines dog import via Zurich?

Disclaimer: I last looked into this over 2 years ago, though it's unlikely anythng has changed. Please verify EACH piece of info I state here, in case it has changed or my memory has failed.

Continental ostensibly has a great animal transport program, but it is handled by cargo, so it's very expensive.

If I recall correctly, an Australian Shepherd isn't a small dog. Small dogs are easy because most airlines will transport them as luggage for a small fee.

When I was planning my move to CH, I had everything lined up to bring my 80 pound lab mix, who unfortunately had to be put down shortly before the trip. What I discovered is that moving a large dog is very difficult, because US-based airlines won't take large animals as luggage at all, only as costly cargo.

As it turns out, Swiss will take large dogs as luggage, making it not only FAR cheaper, but also having a greater chance that the dog will travel on the same flight. If you can, skip Continental (though I like them for petless travel) and go Swiss instead.

As for other requirements, you need to have the dog microchipped with a non-US microchip — the border agents do NOT guarantee they can scan a US microchip and may turn the animal away at the border. Banfield (PetSmart's vet clinics) will install both a US and an ISO (international) chip at low cost, so I recommend that. None of my local vets had ISO chips available, and weren't even sure they could order them — though they are available online at outrageous cost. (Funny coincidence: Banfield's chips are Swiss-made.)

You also have to have proof of rabies vaccination from at least 90 days before travel.

Then, less than 30 days before travel, you need to get a health certificate from the USDA. You need a USDA-notarized EU health certificate (CH no longer has its own). You need to make an appointment in advance for this!

Armed with all that bureaucracy, bringing your furry friend should be straightforward.
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Old 13.06.2011, 20:42
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Re: Continental Airlines dog import via Zurich?

I just got here via Zurich last week with my dog (with another airline but with the same process) and everything went well. I know it's a huge worry but rest assured that many have done it (and survived and thrived). I second the recommendation of Ace Pet Movers...they are great. They will save you a lot of hassles on this end with the paperwork. I think they get a pretty good rate on live cargo, also, so they may not be that much more expensive than booking it yourself.
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Old 13.06.2011, 20:45
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Re: Continental Airlines dog import via Zurich?

Why not fly Swiss? I know for a fact that they allow pets as accompanied baggage. We flew back from Tokyo with three dogs and a bird and it was as smooth as a hot knife through butter. They were absolutely great.

I also "third" the recommendation for ACE. They are really good.

Last edited by Snoopy; 13.06.2011 at 20:47. Reason: ACE has already been seconded...
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Old 15.06.2011, 03:06
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Re: Continental Airlines dog import via Zurich?

Thanks so much to all for your help! Snoopy, I think you're right -- the simplest thing is probably for me to just fly Swiss since it sounds like many people have had good experiences with them. The only drawback is the drive into NYC to get to JFK (Newark is much easier)...but, that is probably easier that navigating the cargo ordeal in Zurich with my dog, which is where I'm afraid Continental would put me.

She is a very small Aussie, only 27 lbs, so size is not an issue. Although I do wish I could shrink her just a little bit just for travel so I could bring her in the cabin with me! What I'd give to just be able to buy her a seat on the plane... We're all set on paperwork, etc, but thanks for the reminders there too.

Thanks again to all! CHanuck, congrats on getting your big pup over there!
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Old 20.06.2011, 21:15
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Don't forget to looking into summer travel restrictions

I suspect you will have difficulty with many (most?) airlines to transport your pet at the end of August. I know that Delta airlines has a pet travel embargo from May 15 - September 15. During this time, dogs may not pay as oversized baggage and instead must fly cargo. A previous poster already mentioned that this is a significant financial and time hassle.

When I was checking around the best way to get my pet here, I ran into similar regulations at other airlines. Just another thing to keep on top of.

Good luck!

If you're interested in trying Delta, I had a positive experience (even with an unexpected landing and plane chance). I detailed my experience in this thread: Our experience importing our dog from the US to Switzerland
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Old 20.06.2011, 21:31
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Re: Continental Airlines dog import via Zurich?

We sent our dog via continental in August 2007. No problems, because at that time, continental had their pet safe program. Basically the animals were kept on the tarmac in an airconditioned vehicle until boarding was safe, and there were secure kenneling services at Newark. Our dog flew from Raleigh to Newark, was kenneled for a couple of hours and then flew on to Zurich. We picked her up without any problems. Here's the web site -- you might want to contact them.

http://www.continental.com/web/en-US...s/default.aspx

We were very happy with their service, but there may have been changes in the last 4 years, and with the merger, there may be less service availabe.

I'd make sure you import the dog on a weekday so that there is a vet onsite.

Also, I don't recommend this, but we did have the wrong paperwork afterall, and the vet just waved us through. Also, I had Lily microchipped with a European standard microchip in the US, but they couldn't find it once she got to Switzerland and her vet here had to chip her again. Crap happens.

Good luck! But I'd check with continental.
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