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Old 20.12.2019, 04:18
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Pet friendly airline

Hello! We are relocating from Los Ángeles to Lugano early next year. We will be flying with a small dog and cat as well as a 3year old and 1 year old children.

What is the best airline to fly? We want pets in cabin not cargo. Also since we will land in Milan what documents do we need ?
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Old 20.12.2019, 08:59
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Re: Pet friendly airline

I'm not sure any airline is truly pet friendly anymore. For current advice, you should likely contact a professional pet shipper. One in Switzerland with a good reputation is Ace Pet Moving.

Your best bet is to fly one direct non-stop flight. Screw ups tend to happen when changing planes.

Flight options to Lugano are limited, so fly into ZH and then drive or take a train to your final Lugano destination. If you can't do a direct flight, a good second option is to break the journey with an overnight stay where you pup can get exercise and relax.

As you are likely aware, most airlines have an in-cabin limit of 8kg - that means animal plus carrier. Additionally, the carrier must fit under the seat - which can be tricky in some cabin configurations.

For instance, my guy is only 6kg, so within the weight limit. But he is leggy, so his carrier is too tall to fit under any but seat 4A business class on a Swiss Airbus. He can't fly first class, as the second bench seat, the only stowage option in the unit configuration, is too low. The first class cabin crew suggested he could go in a closet for take off and landing but no one could assure me that there was sufficient air circulation... and we all know the story of that poor dog in an overhead bin on United. So... despite being under the weight limit, my little 'un has limited flight options. Bottom line: Check out stowage measurements of the planes you are likely to fly as well as weight.

With two very small children and two animals that's a lot of wrangling through the airport. Were it me, I would consider using the services of a professional pet shipper to at least help with the logistics of getting to, through, and from the airport. Or maybe bring an adult friend or family member along on the trip to help. Neither are inexpensive options, but hey...

Good luck with your travel plans, and I hope your four footed friends enjoy their time in Switzerland.


ETA: If you are being brought to Switzerland by a company, and if negotiations over your relocation package are still open, try to negotiate in the cost of your pet's travel. It can be a significant amount.
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Old 20.12.2019, 10:42
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Re: Pet friendly airline

I too recommend a non-stop flight, which will really limit your choices. Don’t go via the UK as their quarantine rules are tough.

Pardon me if I say you are crazy to think of a long, long flight with two infants and two pets. I certainly am glad I won’t be travelling on the flights you are on.

Once you figure out the airline, they will tell you the documentation.
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Old 20.12.2019, 14:10
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Re: Pet friendly airline

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...my guy is only 6kg, so within the weight limit. But he is leggy, so his carrier is too tall to fit under any but seat 4A business class on a Swiss Airbus. He can't fly first class....

Your guy is trying to tell you its time to go private jet, Greta or no Greta.
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Old 20.12.2019, 18:17
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Re: Pet friendly airline

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Your guy is trying to tell you its time to go private jet, Greta or no Greta.
Believe it or not, I actually looked into it once back when OH was offered a move over the pond at one of the (many) times one of the mutts was unable to fly.

I had read articles about deadheading a private flight, supposedly as a more affordable option... but apparently these are few and far between, only available at last minute notice - and still very, very expensive.

It cost us less for me to stay here and OH fly back and forth for two years.

Dogs. Gotta luv 'em.
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Old 21.12.2019, 01:04
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Re: Pet friendly airline

Cabin rules are strict for pets but flying them via a pet company has prohibite costs.

I would suggest to take a direct flight with Swiss and fly into Zurich.

Take the pets as "extra luggage" - these.costs a few hundred per pet but is easier for you. Only caveat since you are traveling with small children is that they may only take the pets very last minute at the counter leaving you little time to get through the airport. But I am hoping that with 2 pets and 2 kids you will be 2 adults?

The airline will request very little documents and it will surprise you - you need to follow the entry procedure for Switzerland or Italy (and here again I believe Switzerland will be simpler and less bureaucratic).

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Old 21.12.2019, 13:58
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Re: Pet friendly airline

Thank you so much I think the direct flight is the way to go. My dog is small so will look into the Swiss air biz class. I want to avoid in cargo móving o don’t trust airlines to protect my animal in there. My kids have now flown twice to Switzerland in the past 6 months snd are pretty good. We will use the opportunity to drive from Zurich to see the country a bit as we have been in Lugano mostly! Thanks again for your help!
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Old 21.12.2019, 14:48
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Re: Pet friendly airline

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Thank you so much I think the direct flight is the way to go. My dog is small so will look into the Swiss air biz class. I want to avoid in cargo móving o don’t trust airlines to protect my animal in there. My kids have now flown twice to Switzerland in the past 6 months snd are pretty good. We will use the opportunity to drive from Zurich to see the country a bit as we have been in Lugano mostly! Thanks again for your help!
Am pretty sure Swiss does not take dogs in Biz class but check it out.

I know how you feel about "handing over" the dog. We did it from Switzerland to Singapore and with a snub nose breed. But they were very good. Whatever way you choose will work out

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Old 21.12.2019, 19:36
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Re: Pet friendly airline

on a slow news day the media loves to tell you stories of the horror of travelling with pets. Bulldogs in the overhead lockers, miniature zebras crapping in the aisles, etc.

While these things occur it is literally one in a million. The industry has developed standards (Live Animal Regulations) that almost all network airlines follow to the letter. You pets are less likely to be injured in their hands, than on your trip to the airport.

You will have a challenge finding an airline that will accept two cabin dogs, particularly on international flights, and two children under 12.

Good luck.
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Old 21.12.2019, 21:02
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Re: Pet friendly airline

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Am pretty sure Swiss does not take dogs in Biz class but check it out.
Swiss takes dogs and cats in the cabin in biz and first on the ZRH-ORD route. I've looked longingly across the aisle at several beautifully behaved little dogs sitting quietly at their person's feet on my many trips to and fro, wishing my guys were

1. Small enough to travel in cabin
2. As well behaved

Some routes might not take animals, though. You should contact Swiss directly - and get the answer in writing!
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Old 23.12.2019, 13:13
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Re: Pet friendly airline

I've flown with my dogs long-haul several times in both business and economy class. (and also in the cargo-hold for animals) Done it all.

And all of the times, zero problems. Made sure to train our dog to be happy in the airline carrier months before the trip. During the flight, you are not allowed to take your dog/cat out of the carrier - ours just stuck his head out when giving water - but aside of that, was happily chewing on a bone or quietly sleeping. You are not allowed to feed your dog on the day of travel - just water. (I guess this won't apply if your flight is late at night though....then you can feed breakfast but not dinner)

Our dogs haven't made a peep so as long as you train them to be happy and feeling safe in a carrier, I don't see why it will be such a hassle traveling with kids. And since you've mentioned your kids have already flown this route and are pretty chill, I believe you can do without a pet relocation company. Unless your husband's company agrees to pay for it (which I doubt in today's environment), it gets very expensive.

Have a look at the below link for rules & regulations on bringing dogs & cats into Switzerland. It really is pretty straight forward.

https://www.blv.admin.ch/blv/en/home...frettchen.html

I have never owned a cat, so that part I don't know, but for dogs, as long as you have all the vaccinations incl rabies done, de-worming, health certificate, import docs in place, it really is not that difficult. You're lucky that Switzerland doesn't have quarantine from the US, so that makes it already easy.

Re flying in business class, you will most likely be asked to put your pet up in the overhead for take-off & landing. My boyfriend flew with 2 small dogs with SWISS in biz class from LAX to ZRH many years ago, and he said while in his seat, he kept the overhead a bit open with his hands during these times (ah - the things that tall people can do)

Good luck - Switzerland (and overall Europe) is a wonderful place to live with dogs as you can take them almost everywhere
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Old 16.02.2020, 11:41
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Re: Pet friendly airline

Hi All! I wanted to provide and update and thanks to everyone for their advice. We were able to fly Swiss air direct from lax to Zurich in business class with no problems. Our cat ran away before the move so only traveling with dog in cabin as emotional support animal (which he is certified for). The customs process was very easy and would have taken 2 minutes instead of 5 but the guy was training a new associate. We stayed at the radisson blu attached to the airport for the night to ease the travel which is also pet friendly!
 

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