First things first: Not all pets should fly.
Not all pets travel well, though this is not necessarily an excuse for a recent incident with India-based Jet Airways. However, to say airlines don’t care about pets is not true either; see the report about a Delta Air Lines pet incident below.
Jet Airways Pet Incident
A cat that was scheduled to accompany its owner on a flight from New Delhi to Singapore (with the feline traveling in cargo) never made it. The animal somehow escaped its traveling kennel and was run over on the tarmac. The owner claims she made sure the kennel’s door was closed and sealed, but she also notes the cat was “agitated” as she handed it over to airline personnel and somehow it got out. Despite media reports that the airline has “a good reputation” for pet transportation, the bereaved pet owner is said to believe the airline “killed my pet” and is seeking an apology.
Delta Pet Incident
It’s a fact of life that sometimes pets are injured or even die while traveling on airplanes. U.S. carriers follow strict regulations to insure the safety of animals including refusal to transport certain breeds (especially short-snouted dogs), while some refuse to carry any pets at all during temperature extremes.
What follows is a verbatim report received by the Department of Transportation – which requires such documentation – about a ‘live animal incident’ last fall on a Delta flight. This one had a positive outcome, and while not all do, note the apparent care and concern on the airline took in dealing with this situation (but let us know if you think they could have done better).
Reporting Period: September 2012
Type of Incident: Injury. Breed: 5 year old Catahoula Leopard dog mix. Name: Buster
Description of Incident: Buster was traveling internationally with his owners and chewed through his travel kennel and escaped and by squeezing through the area he damaged and the kennel door. The dog was captured by airport employees within 15 minutes after escape. Injuries sustained to his teeth/gums, paws and neck area were treated by a veterinarian.
Cause of Incident: Buster’s injuries were self-inflicted while damaging his kennel and escaping through a narrow space between the damaged kennel wall and door. Injuries to its paws may have been further exacerbated by the rough airport pavement while fleeing.
Corrective Action Taken: The dog was taken to a vet for treatment and rebooked on a flight the next day. Buster was provided with anti-anxiety drugs by the vet for the remaining legs of his trip.
Important Note about Pet Policies
Airline rules and regulations – not to mention the expensive pet fees – can and do change all the time. If you’re planning a trip with your animal, contact your airline for the latest information.