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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
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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Laura
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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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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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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Mom to Isabella & Raider
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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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Mom to Isabella & Raider
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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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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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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Mom to Isabella & Raider
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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.
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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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/customer-service/baggage/carryon-bags-pol.html

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I always tried to keep both carryons small enough so they both fit in front of me. I can never get stuff in the overhead bins without a struggle.

What makes carryons such a hassle is taking stuff out for security. Once I had a separate tote bag with my laptop sweater and liquids bag and the security at front of the line (NOT TSA apparently) wouldn't let me through the line, even when I explained it would all be in my two bags after security. She made me shove it all in, only for me to have to drag it back out as soon as I passed.

It's dealing with laptop that's frustrating. But I wouldn't dare put it in checked bags...I like my items to arrive on one piece! ;-)

I'm going with Burbank for their lack of lines, even though that means no direct flight ( and having to walk up stairs to get onto plane). Had a bad experience at Ontario just trying to get out of the airport once. nd LAX is stressful and you have to take your bags yourself to TSA screeners after you have checked them in with airline and had them weighed ( unless you pay for skycap service out front).

I just wish pet carriers had more pockets. Or that someone would make one with a detachable pocket for your liquid bag or something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As far as removing leash and collar and hdong as I walk thru...what if I use a metal free leash? And how do I hold my hands above my head in the X-ray tube if I'm holding a dog?
 

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Mom to Isabella & Raider
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You won't be going through the imaging machine, only the metal detector. After exiting the metal detector, you will continue holding your dog, but will be asked to provide a swab sample of your hands while waiting for your pet carrier and personal items to exit the X-Ray machine.

The link above details Southwest Airlines carryon policy, which indicates it's TSA rules, not necessarily theirs. That may or may not mean it's set in stone, but it all comes down to time of year (peak travel times means less leniency) and the individuals at the ticket counter, gate and attendants in the plane. At one time or another, I've been questioned at all three points while traveling with my dog regarding my tote which wouldn't be large enough to accommodate my 17" laptop.

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Whether your leash is metal or not, it almost certainly has metal on the clasp. The collar, like belts, jackets and shoes, must be removed and sent through the ex ray tube, per TSA regulation. You will not be allowed to walk your dog through the detector unfettered. The only exception to those rules would possibly be service animals.

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You know what? I just remembered I have a retractable leash with a plastic clasp that I avoid using because they pose a danger to dogs. But that too would be sent through the x- ray tube as nefarious agents could potentially be hidden inside. I just don't see a scenario in which one's dog would be allowed to walk through security, except for possibly a service animal. And if by fluke it happened, almost certainly would not twice on the return trip home. Sorry :(

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Max and I travel frequently internationally - up until recently we always had to make a stop in Houston....now we are lucky whereby we can fly direct - a longer flight but he is a good traveller.

We use a medium sized sherpa bag - I like that it has three sides of mesh for ventilation and I find the pocket on the end more than sufficient for a collapsible water bowl, pee pee pad, collar/leash, poop bag, and any papers he needs. I never bother taking a bottle of water as you always have to get rid of it before security.

Going through security is the only real 'drama' - most of the airlines let you pre-pay online or on the phone for the dog on the flight and most airline staff are generally pleasant at check-in - my only one problem has ever been on US Airways - the lady there was a real grouch....I also travel with a laptop - most of my 'personal' things are in a small wheelie and that goes overhead - I have never had an issue with that being one bag and Max the other. I get to check in and take Max out of the bag and hold him while all our stuff goes through Xray - then you walk through the metal detector and they ooh and aah over Max before asking to swab your hands....after that is just is a juggling act putting everything back together in your bag, putting shoes on etc !!!

Max is pee pee trained so if all else fails before boarding we go into the bathroom...in between flights if there is enough time I do try and take outside to the pet relief area - you mentioned you are stopping in Las Vegas - I live there part of the year - both terminals there have pet relief areas outside.

During the flight Max mainly sleeps - sometimes depending on who else is in my row or if there is turbulence I put the bag on my lap and open slightly to give some water etc....I never give Max any form of sedative - he is a good quiet boy and I don't need to - most of the time the people on the plane don't even realise there is a dog in my bag !
 

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Jen, Timmy and Mae
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Thanks for starting this thread Ewok. I'm planning on flying with Timmy for the first time too, we're leaving Christmas day. I'm flying USAir so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't get a grumpy ticket agent. I have to gamble and pay for Timmy as a cabin pet the day we go to the airport to leave and there is a max of 6 pets per flight, hopefully we don't have any issues. I got my first USAirway time change email the other day. We were originally going to leave at 4:00 and now the flight is leaving at 1:00 which is killing my Christmas breakfast host plans. I hope this isn't a taste of what is to come. We're going to Florida to visit my parents, my mom has had a rough time of things lately with her health but now she seems to be on the mend and if I can't get Timmy down she'll be so bummed. He rates right up there with my kids, she calls him her grand dog.

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.
So glad to hear there's another 15 pounder out there who is flying. What carrier are you using? I actually bought the medium sherpa bag but it seems way too small for him to fit in comfortably. Someone recommended a Sturdi bag which I bought, it's size large and seems a bit bigger then the Sherpa. Only issue with the Sturdi bag is that it doesn't open on the top and my sissy boy doesn't/won't walk in from the side he gives me a hard time. Once he's in the bag he's fine. Timmy also uses a booster/bag in the car I think it's a Pet Gear. This shaped bag is more square and I'm going to measure it and see it I might be able to use that one since he's so familiar with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You know what? I just remembered I have a retractable leash with a plastic clasp that I avoid using because they pose a danger to dogs. But that too would be sent through the x- ray tube as nefarious agents could potentially be hidden inside. I just don't see a scenario in which one's dog would be allowed to walk through security, except for possibly a service animal. And if by fluke it happened, almost certainly would not twice on the return trip home. Sorry :(

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I don't mean having her walk thru. But I would prefer if she could keep a non metal collar and leash on in case she gets gets free. Because of the way Burbank is set up, it would be possible to get from the security area to the loading zone in one mad dash. Or RLH as I guess you call it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The sherpa carriers have a guarantee that if the airline won't let you on they will pay for your ticket or something like that.

I could I guess get the official southwest carrier. But she is so used her sherpa...
 

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I've had my Desilu cry only a bit during the flights, and with the noise of the plane no one heard it. I barely heard it, myself.

I fly with her often, and she's used to it by now. I'm so grateful for the option. I hate boarding her.
 
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