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Old 12.09.2011, 21:09
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Flying a dog safely by plane.

Hi,

I've been reading posts on this site about flying pets over, however, I'm still a little concerned about flying my dog (lab) on a plane.

Its a query about Swiss Airlines' procedures handling pets kept in the Cargo bay as 'checked in luggage'. Are they quite considerate or proactive with live cargo, do they quickly unload it and take them to the terminal building away from the tarmac if its a warm day or whatever? Its going to be early October arriving in Zurich, I know its not mid summer but I heard it can be warm sometimes. He might have already started to grow an autumn/winter coat, owing to the cooler climate (Ireland), that combined with the experience of the flight I'm just a little concerned that's all.


I've heard its good to request the captain to tell you when the dog has been put into the pane, partly to know he hasn't been checked onto a plane to Australia or somewhere else by mistake and also to remind the crew to make sure the air and temperature controls are on suitably for live cargo. Would this be necessary with Swiss airlines or can I trust live cargo is treated with the same priority as humans (albeit he is being stashed in a cargo hold).

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:12
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

I`m interested in this thread as we have a family member flying here in December, bringing their little dog - a first time experience.

She was told she cannot buy a return ticket for the dog, and must book a return flight when she is here.

Is there a special hold for animals? As far as I know the normal luggage hold is a freezing area with no heating......? So there must be a special hold for animals?
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:26
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

Yes, there's a special place in the hold that is heated and pressurised.

I flew my puppy to here from Portugal in a cargo plane (ie no passengers) and she arrived without problems. They keep live animals in the terminal building until the last moment and make everything they can for their well-being. Regulations are quite strict.
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:29
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

Swiss has a Website about it: http://www.swiss.com/web/EN/services...675&Country=GB

I suggest to cut open a plastic container, fill it with water to 3/4 and freeze it. Take it to the airport in a cooling bag and put it in the transportation box when you have to check in your dog. Like this he will have fresh water for the flight instead of getting all wet when there are turbulences.
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:35
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

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Hi,

I've been reading posts on this site about flying pets over, however, I'm still a little concerned about flying my dog (lab) on a plane.

Its a query about Swiss Airlines' procedures handling pets kept in the Cargo bay as 'checked in luggage'. Are they quite considerate or proactive with live cargo, do they quickly unload it and take them to the terminal building away from the tarmac if its a warm day or whatever? Its going to be early October arriving in Zurich, I know its not mid summer but I heard it can be warm sometimes. He might have already started to grow an autumn/winter coat, owing to the cooler climate (Ireland), that combined with the experience of the flight I'm just a little concerned that's all.


I've heard its good to request the captain to tell you when the dog has been put into the pane, partly to know he hasn't been checked onto a plane to Australia or somewhere else by mistake and also to remind the crew to make sure the air and temperature controls are on suitably for live cargo. Would this be necessary with Swiss airlines or can I trust live cargo is treated with the same priority as humans (albeit he is being stashed in a cargo hold).

Thanks in advance for any advice.
I asked for confirmation that the dogs were loaded before take off. They took it as seriously as I did which made me comfortable.
They were unloaded and in the baggage claim before I even got through Customs which was a huge relief.
The hardest part was finding a porter to help me get through Customs.

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I`m interested in this thread as we have a family member flying here in December, bringing their little dog - a first time experience.

She was told she cannot buy a return ticket for the dog, and must book a return flight when she is here.

Is there a special hold for animals? As far as I know the normal luggage hold is a freezing area with no heating......? So there must be a special hold for animals?
Not so sure about that. Usually all you do is advise the airline that you have a dog with you and they guarantee the space is available (as there is a limit on the number of animals allowed on each flight). It's very important to verify this for the date of the owner's reservation. If it's a codeshare flight it often involves making the reservation, calling the operator to verify space, calling the codeshare airline back to book, then rephoning the operating airline to confirm the booking for the dog. Quite a pain but well worth it for the security of knowing the dog won't get bumped.
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:08
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

To the OP, I shouldn't worry at all as it's only a short flight. I flew my dogs from Zurich to Orlando a few weeks back and flew Eidleweiss (owned by Swiss Air) and they were great. I got some ice cubes at the airport and put them in for drinks.

I did tell the stewardess that my dogs were on board and she told me the the pilot had already gone below to check on them.

They arrived safely and none the worse for wear and this was after a 10hour flight.

The dogs were waiting for us when we arrived a baggage control.
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:09
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

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I`m interested in this thread as we have a family member flying here in December, bringing their little dog - a first time experience.

She was told she cannot buy a return ticket for the dog, and must book a return flight when she is here.

Is there a special hold for animals? As far as I know the normal luggage hold is a freezing area with no heating......? So there must be a special hold for animals?
It will be pressurised and heated. No problems.
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:27
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

Ive had a little one come over from the USA . He was fine and with 3 different flights the stewardess came over everytime and gave me a card that said the dog was ok and doing great. I had a big one come over from greece and he was fine also ; both in the middle of summer.

Make sure you have newspapers in the kennel cause they WILL make a mess and I can tell you that no taxi , train etc is going to transport you with a kennel that will smell like that. Just go for a good run with the dog before and all will be fine
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:28
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

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...Its a query about Swiss Airlines' procedures handling pets kept in the Cargo bay as 'checked in luggage'. Are they quite considerate or proactive with live cargo, do they quickly unload it and take them to the terminal building away from the tarmac if its a warm day or whatever? Its going to be early October arriving in Zurich, I know its not mid summer but I heard it can be warm sometimes. He might have already started to grow an autumn/winter coat, owing to the cooler climate (Ireland), that combined with the experience of the flight I'm just a little concerned that's all.


I've heard its good to request the captain to tell you when the dog has been put into the pane, partly to know he hasn't been checked onto a plane to Australia or somewhere else by mistake and also to remind the crew to make sure the air and temperature controls are on suitably for live cargo. Would this be necessary with Swiss airlines or can I trust live cargo is treated with the same priority as humans (albeit he is being stashed in a cargo hold).

Thanks in advance for any advice.
I flew my cat over on Swiss from Chicago in April. They were fantastic. The guy at the airport answered all my questions and was really great with my cat--you could tell he was an animal-lover. Then, my cat was waiting for me at baggage claim when I arrived in Zurich, and he actually seems relatively calm--and definitely better than when I put him under my seat for a short flight in the continental US.

Just think of this: the Swiss take great pride in their work and do their jobs very well (precise, to the point, and with great care). This is no different. I have never felt more comfortable handing my cat over to someone than I did with these Swiss employees. And they proved me right with how they handled my precious cargo.

About the other stuff, there is always one part of the cargo hold that is pressurized like the cabin. This is where your pets go. Make sure you reserve as far in advance as possible because they have a limited amount of space for pets and once it is gone, it is gone.

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...family member flying here in December, bringing their little dog... She was told she cannot buy a return ticket for the dog, and must book a return flight when she is here. ...
erm, see above about the cargo hold.

The main problem with flying the dog over in the dead of winter is that there are strict regulations based on outside temperatures (both in summer and in winter). In your case, because it is winter, if it is too cold, they will not even allow the animal on the plane. And in some cases, they just don't fly pets in certain months (from certain cities) because 90% of the days during that month don't meet the temperature restriction. This could be why they wouldn't book you a return flight for your animal.

So you need to talk to your specific carrier. Also, be aware, American-based carriers will not allow pets in the cabin on long-haul flights (there are very few exceptions here), so you must fly with an international-based carrier (like Swiss). And it is much more expensive to put them in the cabin (weight-based) and there is a max weight restriction, just like there is with your hand luggage. With Swiss, pretty sure it is 7-8kg--that is kennel + animal not just animal alone. HTH.
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:30
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

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Hi,

I've been reading posts on this site about flying pets over, however, I'm still a little concerned about flying my dog (lab) on a plane.

Its a query about Swiss Airlines' procedures handling pets kept in the Cargo bay as 'checked in luggage'. Are they quite considerate or proactive with live cargo, do they quickly unload it and take them to the terminal building away from the tarmac if its a warm day or whatever? Its going to be early October arriving in Zurich, I know its not mid summer but I heard it can be warm sometimes. He might have already started to grow an autumn/winter coat, owing to the cooler climate (Ireland), that combined with the experience of the flight I'm just a little concerned that's all.


I've heard its good to request the captain to tell you when the dog has been put into the pane, partly to know he hasn't been checked onto a plane to Australia or somewhere else by mistake and also to remind the crew to make sure the air and temperature controls are on suitably for live cargo. Would this be necessary with Swiss airlines or can I trust live cargo is treated with the same priority as humans (albeit he is being stashed in a cargo hold).

Thanks in advance for any advice.
You shouldn't be too worried about this because it is going to be a reasonably short flight in the first place. However, you should not take anything for granted either and make sure everything is pre-arranged, confirmed and reconfirmed. Every airline worth its salt will have people trained in the carriage of Live Animals (AVI).

That said, a lot depends upon the breed as well. A Labrador should be quite ok for air travel but its always a good idea to check with your vet.

Will you be be sending the dog as a part of your checked baggage or a separate cargo consignment? Different procedures may apply depending upon this.

Correct documentation is also very important, otherwise the clearance at the destination can be delayed. Sometimes, lack of proper documentation can lead to real tragedy. Since your dog will travel from an EU country to CH, it shouldn't be too difficult. However, if it involves transportation to/from a non-EU country, it can get quite tedious. Please make sure this is organised properly.

Whichever way it is sent, the Captain is always informed by the ground handling staff through a document called NOTOC (Special Load Notification To Captain) about all sorts of special loads going in the various holds of the plane (e.g. Dangerous Goods, Live Animals, Human Remains and so on...). In case of Live Animals, this tells the Captain the ventilation and the temperature etc. that needs to be set in the hold. There are actually feeding and watering instructions as well for the owner/shipper which the airline should convey. If you need any further details, please PM me.
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:39
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

Hi Beam, I brought my dog over from Spain and it wasn't a problem. Make sure your dog has a passport, is chiped and has all required shots (documented), and also check the airline website for any other requirements. I've heard that for dogs who get nervous easily they can be medicated, but personally I'd like avoid that unless absolutely necessary.
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:53
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

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Hi Beam, I brought my dog over from Spain and it wasn't a problem. Make sure your dog has a passport, is chiped and has all required shots (documented), and also check the airline website for any other requirements. I've heard that for dogs who get nervous easily they can be medicated, but personally I'd like avoid that unless absolutely necessary.
The use of tranquillisers during air transportation is not recommended. Its done in exceptional circumstances and obviously by trained personell (Vets).
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Old 13.09.2011, 00:50
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

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Make sure you have newspapers in the kennel cause they WILL make a mess and I can tell you that no taxi , train etc is going to transport you with a kennel that will smell like that. Just go for a good run with the dog before and all will be fine
Mine did the whole trip without any mess.
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Old 14.09.2011, 14:07
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

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reserve as far in advance as possible because they have a limited amount of space for pets and once it is gone, it is gone.



erm, see above about the cargo hold.

The main problem with flying the dog over in the dead of winter is that there are strict regulations based on outside temperatures (both in summer and in winter). In your case, because it is winter, if it is too cold, they will not even allow the animal on the plane. And in some cases, they just don't fly pets in certain months (from certain cities) because 90% of the days during that month don't meet the temperature restriction. This could be why they wouldn't book you a return flight for your animal.

.
The little dog is flying to CH from South Africa ... Summer there, Winter here - flight is booked, he is chipped, got his passport/shots, etc, and everything in order.

His owner is staying here for 6 months, so is returning in Switzerlands summer to SA (winter there, but not as cold as here).

She is just puzzled about why she is unable to book the return flight for him. He is her "baby" and she is worried about this.
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Old 14.09.2011, 16:18
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

Am I the only one who read this as "Flying a plane safely by dog"
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Old 14.09.2011, 16:26
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

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About the other stuff, there is always one part of the cargo hold that is pressurized like the cabin.

on large passenger planes, the complete cargo hold is pressurised and they have a "bulk cargo" area which is temperature controlled.

the smaller avro AC that swiss operate also have a small seperate animal bay that is temp controlled.
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Old 14.09.2011, 16:34
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

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The little dog is flying to CH from South Africa ... Summer there, Winter here - flight is booked, he is chipped, got his passport/shots, etc, and everything in order.

His owner is staying here for 6 months, so is returning in Switzerlands summer to SA (winter there, but not as cold as here).

She is just puzzled about why she is unable to book the return flight for him. He is her "baby" and she is worried about this.
Don't let her worry too much about this. It is most likely because it is too far in advance of the flight. Also, lots of times, they like the animal to be currently in the country you want to fly them from before they will book it to go somewhere else. So try booking once she arrives. The flight itself should be no problem as long as there are no other customs or quarantine issues.
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Old 14.09.2011, 16:45
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

Airlines may have embargoes during certain times of the year depending on the specie of the animal being tendered for transportation. Its better to check with the airline concerned as to what its reason is for not confirming the return booking.
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Old 22.09.2011, 16:29
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Re: Flying a dog safely by plane.

Hi guys, I just want to thank you all for your advice, I decided I will fly with Swiss as they seem to have a good reputation. I just found a beautiful farm to live on in Zurich Canton so I look forward to flying my best pal over soon.. he's going to enjoy the Swiss country life I'm sure!
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