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first flight - need advice
Old 12-06-2012, 06:26 PM   #1
Ewokpup
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first flight - need advice

So soon it will be Bama's first flight. She's had a long car trip before (LA to SF), but never been on a plane. And it looks like the first flight will be me and her, no husband. I've never flown with any animal before (I did drive a yorkie cross country)....so I'm very new at this (obviously).

So I have a million questions and seek advice. There's the usual-what to do if she starts whining in her carrier, what to pack in her carrier, do I put a harness on her and clip it to the inside of the carrier (some carriers have that option), what do I do about potty breaks. Are any airlines better than others.

The other odd question is about carry-ons. I had the perfect system for flying solo, wiith my laptop bag-purse combo going under my seat, and another bag up above. Now pup counts as one carryon, under my seat. Does anyone have a suggestion of style/type of bag for my second carryon? It needs to be able to hold my laptop (which I think is around 17 inches), and I'd love it if I could easily get out the laptop for security as well as my liquids bag. And wheels would be great. I found a great deal on a carryon on amazon, but when it arrived I discovered my laptop doesn't exactly fit in there.

Also, we probably will fly southwest out of burbank...love this airport-short security lines. Then we will have to change planes somewhere to get to Texas. One of those possible layover cities would be Vegas. Is this absolutely a bad city to pick? Or is it so loud that if she is whining no one will hear her? She also is about to turn 7 months which means she should be hitting a fear imprint period soon supposedly.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:28 PM   #2
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Also, I know this sounds goofy, but I have a 'flotation device' for her. I had seen a life jacket on sale, and my parents do have a boat, so I figured why not. Although I don't think I'll let Bama anywhere near the bayou-there are alligators. I was going to take it on the trip, and so I figured I might as well pack it in my carry-on. ;-)
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:44 PM   #3
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I've flown Coach back and forth from SF to DFW several times. This is the pet carrier I used:

http://www.kobipets.com/shop/pet-carriers.html

I really like it, has places for papers and a small flexible water thing. We've flown American and Virgin, love Virgin... Everyone has headphones on watching tv so even if there is noise, nobody hears it. I would not hook him to anything in the crate, you want him to be able to move around a bit.

The one mistake I made the second flight was to take him out for a minute. Not good, (it's technically against the rules, but everyone around me including the flight attendants were cooing over him) but then it's impossible to get them to stay in without making a fuss.

Most airports have little potty places, but the best thing I found was to take him into the bathroom and put down a pee pad. Luckily although he goes outside primarily we did train him on pee pads too. Makes traveling a breeze, hotel rooms, even next to the car at a gas station. Such a good boy...

As far as carry on, that's a tough one. I ended up checking since he was my carry on. I used my briefcase as a purse/laptop bag and put it in the overhead.

It's really not bad, I'd go for non stop if you can (i realize that's tough with Southwest if your going into Love Field, there 's a regulation in place about the number of non stops that they can take)

Coach was really young the first time we flew and the vet told me not to worry too much about water, but that food was more of an issue when they are young. But seven months you should be ok. I wouldn't feed him too soon before going.

Good luck!
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:27 PM   #4
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We have a sherpa carrier that she uses a lot. And loves to nap on top of. She has a habit sometimes of digging in her carrier and trying to get the bottom pad off.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:52 PM   #5
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I fly with Isabella every 8 to 12 weeks on Southwest and have since she was about 7 months old. She fits perfectly in the PetEgo JetSet bag but I plan to look into other options before my next flight as I'll be flying with both. The PetEgo fits collapsable trike wheels I'd hoped to gate check, but Southwest makes pet owners check strollers with baggage

I also carry a large-ish tote that holds my iPad, wallet, sunglasses and all I need for Isabella . . .collapsable bowl for a little drink, a couple of treats, bully stick and an extra disposable carrier pad just in case (have never needed it). She flat refuses a pee pad everything else gets checked in.


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Old 12-06-2012, 09:55 PM   #6
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. . .forgot to add . . .while taking our pups out in flight is a no no . . .in every flight, I've removed a shoe and stuck my foot in the carrier and that alone is all Isabella needs to remain calm all the way through the flight.


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Old 12-06-2012, 10:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaireVoyant View Post
I fly with Isabella every 8 to 12 weeks on Southwest and have since she was about 7 months old. She fits perfectly in the PetEgo JetSet bag but I plan to look into other options before my next flight as I'll be flying with both. The PetEgo fits collapsable trike wheels I'd hoped to gate check, but Southwest makes pet owners check strollers with baggage

I also carry a large-ish tote that holds my iPad, wallet, sunglasses and all I need for Isabella . . .collapsable bowl for a little drink, a couple of treats, bully stick and an extra disposable carrier pad just in case (have never needed it). She flat refuses a pee pad everything else gets checked in.


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I'm thinking I need something for my stuff with wheels...I used to do a purse and bookbag years ago while traveling and I'd end up with neck and shoulder pain. So I've learned that it's best for me to have one carry-on that is wheeled.

Bama uses pee pads. It's a struggle to get her to go outside, we really have to work on it, because she couldn't go out on the grass until about four months (we have no yard, so all grass we have access to is also used by who knows what other animals).
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ewokpup View Post
I'm thinking I need something for my stuff with wheels...I used to do a purse and bookbag years ago while traveling and I'd end up with neck and shoulder pain. So I've learned that it's best for me to have one carry-on that is wheeled.
Just be sure to check with the airline first . . .most rules, Southwest included, state "one bag plus one small, personal item." Since the dog carrier will count as your "one bag" . . .that only leaves "one small, personal item" and I wouldn't think a wheeled carry on would fit the description.


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Old 12-06-2012, 10:56 PM   #9
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According to Southwest's site . . .the carry on rule is regulated by TSA so you mightn't find any US carriers allowing two standard carry ons:

http://www.southwest.com/html/custom...-bags-pol.html


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Old 12-06-2012, 11:18 PM   #10
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Ah I've counted my pup as my personal item, since he's fitting underneath my seat. I have a wheeled carry-on that I put in the overhead bin. However, lately I find it easier just to check the bag. Lugging around a pup is enough trouble with security, etc.

Also, just some logistics FYI that surprised me the first time I flew with a pet. For American at least, you must check-in with an attendant and pay then, getting a special ticker for your pup. Often this takes forever because everyone in that line, even if it's only like 3 people, need some major help (ie flight cancelled etc). Depending on the ticket agent is how much grief I get for trying to bring my dog aboard. It's a 20 or 25 lb weight limit and depending how surly they are, they'll question my 16 lb Hav as "too big" and make me 'prove' he's the right size ('well his weight's okay but he looks a little cramped' 'it's just a lot of fur!'). I've once had to get manager to come and approve my pup. So the check-in process can be anywhere from 5 to 45 mins.

During security is another fun time, because after you wrangle your pup into the carrier for the ticket agent, you get to take him out and carry him through the metal detector (so no collar on!) while the bag goes through the x-ray. This is even more fun if you travel with a cat who freaks out with all the loud noises and new people; I've gotten bad scratches trying to keep my grip on her. For me, the hardest part is getting Marlowe back in his carrier after walking through the metal detector. It doesn't help that half the people want to say hello to the cute pup and the other half want you to hurry help and get out of the way in the security line.

As for planning, I never feed Marlowe before the flight (he gets motion sick and once is more than enough of cleaning puke out of the carrier in the airport bathroom for me). I make sure he pees in the parking lot at the airport. I always fly non-stop. I let Marlowe out as soon as I exit security and let him pee outside before I go pick up my bag or anything. You can have your pup on a leash in baggage claim .

Oh the actual flight - not a big deal. Marlowe never barks anyway, so at most he'll whimper as we take off - a finger or two in the carrier helps keep him calm. After that, he's fast asleep. If you sit towards the back of the plane, any noise your pup makes will definitely be drowned out. Most people are like 'oh! i didn't realize you had a dog this whole time!" as we deplane.

Flying is a real headache. At this point, I'll drive with my pup if I'm going anywhere for any length of time (ie >1 wk). For short weekend trips, I think we're both happier if Marlowe is boarded (kennel free place) or stays with a friend.

Last edited by marlowe'sgirl; 12-06-2012 at 11:25 PM.
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