Is it Safe for your Pet to Fly? Pet Travel Safety Quiz

Sad, sad story.

Seven Dead Puppies

Ground crews in Chicago unloading 14 kenneled dogs from an American Airlines flight Tuesday noticed some of the pups looked “lethargic” and they were shipped off to a vet.

Sadly, seven of the puppies died. And no one’s sure why.

UPDATE 8-18-10: American now says heat “may have been a factor” in the animal deaths, but added that the temperatures on the day of the flight in question were within acceptable limits for transporting pets. According to a prepared statement, the airline also believes that “the health of the seven dogs…may have been compromised prior to them being transported” since 17 other animals transported on the same flight had no health issues that the airline is aware of, though no specific information on any possible “compromise” is offered.

Airline Employees Have Pets, Too

American Airlines says they are taking this very seriously and an investigation is underway; spokesman Tim Smith told FareCompare that “American safely transports more than 100,000 pets per year,” and I know the animal lovers there (I’m sure they are legion) have to be sick about this.

Price Tag for Pet Transportation

Like anything on the airlines these days, pet transportation comes with a hefty price tag: checked animal fees vary from airline to airline but can cost hundreds of dollars plus some airlines like Southwest, only allow pets in the cabin. Our airline fee chart shows the costs of flying your pet on most airlines. NOTE: Fees and regulations regarding pet transport change all the time so always check with your airline before you travel.

Pet Restrictions

If you’ll be flying with your pet, remember that you don’t just toss your animal into a carrier and that’s it; airlines such as American often have extremely detailed restrictions regarding pets on planes, but face it, bad things can and do happen; remember, just last month, the Dept. of Transportation issued a report about how “short-snouted dogs” were much more likely than other breeds to die on planes. In the case of these seven puppy deaths, we do not know the breed of these animals (or not yet, anyway).

To Fly Or Not?

So – would you have you pet travel as “checked-baggage”? It’s a good question. Think about what is best for your animal, and only you can answer that.

Meantime, see how much you know about the subject in general – airline pet transportation – take the true-or-false quiz below. Let us know how you did.



Published: August 5, 2010