Flying Dogs in Summertime
I wanted to share our experience flying with our dogs last month so it may help some others out because it is very difficult. We flew from STX to ATL. Most people know there is an embargo period from May 15-Sept 15 (we flew in June) that restricts any animals flying as "checked baggage." This also applies to any time the temperature exceeds 85 degrees, which obviously is everyday there. But you can fly your pets through Delta's PetFirst program as cargo. I'm sure there are other airlines that do this but from our experience flying down there with the dogs I was comfortable going with them again. Also, to use the PetFirst program the airport has to have a temperature controlled holding area. San Juan and Atlanta both have temperature controlled holding areas. You will have to call the PetFirst number to find out if specific airports have them.
We flew with 3 dogs ( 60lbs, 50 lbs, and 15 lbs) from STX to SJU with Seaborne airlines on a Tuesday flight at 6:10 am in order to beat the heat restrictions of 85 degrees. Seaborne has a 70 lb weight limit (includes dog and kennel) and our biggest dog was slightly over the limit but they allowed it without any problems. They may have restrictions on kennel sizes if your dog is bigger than that but you would need to check with them on measurements. Each flight is able to accomodate 2 dogs in cargo and so I reserved their spots ahead of time to make sure. We were also able to bring the smallest one as a carry on with no problem. They each were $100 (carry on and as cargo). Also, you must look up the all the kennel restrictions (must have holes on three sides, certain metal fixings, etc.) and have the Health Certificate and rabies certificate for each dog.
When we got to SJU we had to pick up the two dogs flying in cargo from the luggage area (they were wheeled out by the airport staff). Our next flight left at 12:50 from SJU to ATL so we had an hour or so to kill to let the dogs out and go the bathroom. We let them out of their kennels right near the luggage area and let them do there thing then got a taxi cab (van) to go to the Delta Cargo Facility. I think it was about $20. I had copies of the address and numbers of the Cargo facility (delta has a list on their cargo site) to make sure there was no confusion because we don't speak spanish. We had done this before so knew it was a possibilty for trouble. It seems that most drivers don't know where the Delta Cargo is but know the general area with directions. It is at the very end of a long line of warehouse facilities and is very hard to see because UPS or FEDEX trucks block seeing the last building. But we found it without problems and it took about 1.5 hours to get them all checked in and paperwork filed. I had all the paperwork necessary and so we had no issues with anything, it just takes a while. So we went back to the airport and had about 2-21/2 hours to get checked back in and board our flight. Also, we did not bring any checked luggage to avoid having to wait for luggage and to not have to deal with that and two large kennels and a carry on dog.We had to check the carry in dog at the counter though because they check the health certificate and the kennel. By the time we got checked in and through security, we had about 45 minutes to spare.
When we got to ATL, we got right off the plane and were picked up by family and again had the address for the Delta Cargo area and GPS took us straight there. We had to wait about 15 minutes for the dogs to get there but they got there without any issues. I think the cost for shipping our two biggest dogs in cargo was about $1100 from SJU to ATL with Delta and I think $100 for the carry on dog. It is really expensive but this probably is the only option other than a private charter. We considered the private charter but it was about 3-4x this amount and only flew us to Miami.
I hope this helps others because it was a nightmare our first flight down to St. Croix. I spoke to dozens of Delta people and got different anwers to every thing!
Also, I want to thank Island Animal Clinic for getting all of our dogs Health Certificates, printed all their records, and gave us duplicates of everything. It was very helpful to have a second copy because Delta kept one and I didn't think about it but have all their records still.
Wow, that sounds like way too much work!
A few years ago, we used STX as our intermediate stop on our way down island to our new home with our 3 dogs.
We made our arrangements on American Airlines and they were FABULOUS!
We drove do Miami and I dropped my wife and 3 dogs off at the American Airlines curb while I returned the rental car. When I returned to the airport, she had an American Airlines Pet Representative issuing the tickets and documents for her at the counter. This woman was truly into customer service. She got a cart and my wife put the dogs in their crates curbside. She wheeled the cart into the terminal and then issued all the documents and boarding passes. She then took us to a secure area where we had to take the dogs out of the crates so the crates could be scanned. She then told us to go to the gate and that she would take care of the pups from there. The plane boarded and all the luggage was loaded and then we saw a cart being pulled to the place with all 3 crates on them. A few minutes later, we were off and when we got to STX, the dogs were in the luggage area by the time we arrived.
Was this in the summer, gonetropo? What about American's 85 degree restriction?
Chelseapalmer- I don't see stx on Delta's list of destinations with temperature-controlled holding areas (ha!). They took your dog anyway?
This was in late November but the issue still remained Miami and we had to be careful.
Recently, when leaving STX, we have seen many dogs on the early morning flight (7:20am) to Miami, in cargo. I doubt if it would be allowed on the late afternoon flight.