Pet Travel: Tips on Booking an Airline Ticket for You and Your Pet

Airline pet travel tips for booking tickets for you and your petMany of our pet owners fly with their pets when going on vacation or traveling to see family or loved ones. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2012, 623 million people flew safely in the United States alone.

Whether it be the holiday season or any other time during the year, if you are interested in booking a trip with your pet in the near future, here are some tips for saving money when booking airline tickets during the holidays or any time of the year.

Book online, but always contact the airlines prior to booking your flight to verify there is room for your pet in the cabin or cargo hold of that flight. Online ticket prices will most likely always beat booking on the telephone with a reservations agent. Call back after booking to make a reservation for your pet.

Fly direct. Layover only when there is not a direct flight between your origination and destination cities. Keep layovers to 2 about 2 hours and avoid laying over in the UK and Japan if at all possible when traveling internationally to keep costs down. Do not change airlines if you are traveling with a pet. You will have to claim and re-check your pet. Changing planes is OK; changing airlines is not. It is fine to book a one way ticket to transport you and your pet to your destination and a different airline for the return trip. This can be a great way to save money on your airline tickets.

Consider alternate airports. Oftentimes, it can be easier and cheaper to fly into a nearby large airport, rent a car, and drive to a smaller city. If your pet likes riding in the car, this will certainly be more fun for your pet than landing and transferring to a smaller plane to take off again.

Book your flight about 6 weeks prior to the departure date if possible. Tickets tend to be below the average price at this time.

For impending weekend travel, book on a Tuesday around 3:00 PM EST. This is when the airlines have re-priced their seats on flights for the following weekend. Always verify on the telephone that there is room for your pet in the cabin or cargo hold prior to booking online and notify them after you make your reservations.

Fly on a Wednesday if you are traveling domestically. Business traffic is heaviest on Mondays and Fridays so fares tend to be more expensive on those days.

Take either the first flight out in the morning or the red eye at night. Ticket prices on early morning, dinner time, and red-eye flights tend to be cheaper than flights during normal daytime hours. Just be sure that, if you are flying internationally, your flight’s arrival time is during normal business hours during the week so you will not have to pay extra for a veterinarian to clear your pet.

Check Facebook and Twitter for special promotions. The airlines occasionally advertise special fares on social media. If you find one, move fast, as these bargains go quickly.

Check both large and small airline booking websites. Orbitz and Expedia are good to check, but don’t forget the smaller sites like Kayak which could have differing prices and deals on airline tickets. Also, be sure and check the airline’s website! Many airlines hold certain blocks of seats for their online booking and this can mean lower prices for you!

Fly off season. Transporting during the summer to or from hot weather cities can be challenging due to heat embargo rules. If possible, fly with your pet in the spring or autumn and avoid major holidays if possible. Baggage handlers are especially busy during holidays and time for attention to our pets and their needs may be limited. Tickets also tend to be more expensive during the holiday week due to higher demand.

Become a frequent flyer. These programs have become very popular with airline travelers and can afford significant savings. Some airlines even offer frequent flyer miles for traveling pets!

Be flexible. If you are willing and able to keep to a flexible schedule, your chances of finding inexpensive airline travel with your pet will be greater.

Airline travel can be expensive, especially if you are traveling with larger pets. These tips may help you save money next time you are booking your airline reservations.

53 comments to Pet Travel: Tips on Booking an Airline Ticket for You and Your Pet

  • Rachel – the US is very pet friendly. Your dog will need to travel with proof of rabies vaccination at least 30 days prior to entering the country and a health certificate. Your kitties should be vaccinated for rabies and it will probably be a requirement of Malaysia to leave. You will have no problems entering the US with 4 animals. You can find details here: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/unitedstates.cfm

    Poland’s requirements are a microchip followed by a rabies vaccination at least 21 days prior to entering the country. You will need an Annex II form for Poland. The number of pets you travel with to the EU are limited to 5 on a non-commercial transport. You can find details on taking a pet to Poland here: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/Poland.cfm
    Jason

  • Hello Ryoko – Myanmar is considered by the UK to be a high-rabies country and so there is a specific process to be followed: microchip, rabies vaccination (in that order), 30 day wait, then Blood Titer Test. Assuming an acceptable result, your Lab can enter the UK 3 calendar months after the day the blood was drawn. Your pet will need an Annex II form completed within 10 days of entry as well as a tapeworm treatment between one and five days of entry. Details and links to instructions and all forms required here if you need them: http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/UnitedKingdom.cfm.
    Susan

  • Rachel

    Hi,
    I may be relocating to either Tampa, Florida or Warsaw, Poland for work in 2015. I am from Malaysia. I am planning on bringing along my fur-kids – 2 or 3 cats plus 1 dog. what would be the best and most cost efficient method of bringing them to either one of these 2 locations? And would there be any restrictions as to the number of pets I can bring in to either one of the 2 locations stated above.

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