There are plenty of statements and rules from airlines when it comes to pets traveling with them on their planes. There are clear regulations on the types of dogs that can fly in the cabin or the hold, and the carriers they need. However, few talk about the rules of the airport. What do owners need to know about the airport experience if they have a long wait between check-in and departure?
General Rules When Planning for Airline Travel
It is important that dog owners remember these simple rules for stress free airport experience. Dogs and cats must be at least eight weeks old in order to travel. Food will be provided every 24 hours where required and water at least every 12 hours. However, owners need to provide written instructions for food and water requirements with the carrier. This paperwork also needs to contain the pet’s contact details and a health certificate.
How much freedom do dogs have to get out, stretch their legs and relieve themselves?
There is a bit of a grey area when it comes to airports that call themselves pet friendly. An increasing number of international airports now have pet relief areas in place to allow dogs to have the space to have a comfortable bathroom break, exercise and provide support for their owner. However, that last part is the key factor here. Some airports are focused on the service dogs that are free to fly in the cabin and are there for a service, not on pets. Others go further with “dog parks” at the terminal for all pets. This is great for those that want to tire out a pet so they sleep on the flight, or allow to relieve themselves to avoid accidents in the carrier.
A big concern with any pets in an airport situation is the security check
You have to remember that your dogs are not exempt from this process. They must be removed from the carrier, so that the carrier can go through the x-ray machine to be checked like any other form of luggage. Then owners must walk the dog through the scanner. The dog must be calm, controlled and there must be a leash available for the pet between the scanner and retrieving the carrier. However, the leash cannot be attached in the scanner because of metallic elements. Dogs that set off the scanner will be subjected to a pat down, even service dogs. It is also important to keep dogs under control in areas where there are sniffer dogs at work.
Dogs are welcome at a number of airports, but don’t push the boundaries
There are measures in place to ensure the health and safety of all pets during airline travel and the airport experience. Walks and bathroom breaks are an option in the right areas. However, make sure they are in the right areas and your pets are secure and accounted for at other times. Follow the rules and think about the situation from the perspective of the security agents and other passengers. Bend the rules and the dog may not get to fly.