29 Nov 2017 15:15 IST

Travelling with your pet? A few things to remember

The to-do list includes specific crate for the animals and several documents

Do you plan to fly with your pet? Then do look out for any ‘enemy pet’ that could be travelling in the same flight.

If your dog is the kind that goes into a barking fit when he spots a cat, then make sure he doesn’t have any feline company on board. Otherwise, this could be reason enough for the airline to ground either your pet or his enemy. No kidding.

The best way to avoid such a situation is to inform the airline as soon as one firms up travel plans. Some airlines require this to be done 72 hours before the travel.

This is one of the many things that a pet owner has to be mindful of while travelling with a pet. As it is, it’s never easy being a pet parent in India, where not much of the social infrastructure is friendly to animals. Flying makes it a little more complicated.

Few options

Most airlines allow passengers with special needs to be accompanied by a guide dog. Many more allow pets, but only up to a particular size, to be carried in the cabin. Air India notes that only ‘small inoffensive domestic pets’ are allowed. Others put a limit of 5 kg, including the weight of the crate. Also remember to keep a mat in the crate, in case your pet wants to answer the nature’s call; and if you want to avoid your co-passenger complaining of wetness beneath his shoes!

Remember this. Even if you haven’t checked-in a baggage, a pet is always counted as an excess baggage and be ready to pay for it. Many airlines, double the rate when it comes to pets. Talk about being pet friendly.

Choices become fewer if one wants to fly bigger breeds of dogs or heavier pets. Jet Airways, which does allow disabled guests to be accompanied by service dogs, has stopped flying animals. Among the few airline who do allow these animals in their cargo, Air India and SpiceJet have a set of detailed instructions to follow.

The travel

Apart from updated vaccination reports and a fit-to-fly certificate from your vet, the pet should be carried in a crate approved by the IATA. While one could hire a pet re-locater to do the needful, there are few options if you are moving your pet within India. Otherwise, do it yourself.

Instead of heading straight to the terminal on the day of travel, head first to the cargo complex. There, your pet will be weighed, the documents will be examined and payments made. Then you check-in your pet.

If one is unsure how the pet will fare during the travel, sedate him with the help of your vet. Once you land at the destination and have collected the baggage, head again to the cargo side to receive your pet. One more thing. Do inform the pilot that your pet is travelling so that he can turn on the air flow and make the cargo area in the aircraft more conducive for the beloved animal.

(The article first appeared in The Hindu BusinessLine.)