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Flying with a Small Dog

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robbySTX
(@robbystx)
Advanced Member

Ok.... So I finally took the plunge and adopted a small island dog!
I will be flying with her to the States in the cabin of the plane, under the seat. (Flying on American Airlines out of STX)
Can you give me info on what to do at the airport? Do I check in with her in her soft carrier? Or can she be on her leash ?
I know I have to put her carrier through the x-ray machine (without her)! So can she be on leash until we board the plane?
Am flying through Miami..... Can I take her out of her carrier while waiting for my connecting flight?
I have an appointment at the Vet seven days before our flight for Rabies shot and health certificate.
Any info you can give me will be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

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Topic starter Posted : March 22, 2013 10:56 am
VT2VI
(@vt2vi)
Advanced Member

I don't believe you can have her out inside the airport as they only allow service animals. But that doesn't mean there may not be a chance to take her out if you leave the gate area. And make certain that your carrier WILL fit under the seat. If it sticks out even just a little bit to much they can ask that you disembark. If you have a hard crate she can fly in baggage, but small dogs don't tend to do well in cargo/baggage. That's all I have on this.

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Posted : March 22, 2013 11:53 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Congrats on rescuing one of our island dogs!(tu)(tu)
Glad he/she has found a forever home!:D

This link may help: https://www.vimovingcenter.com/pets/

You should probably check directly with the airline you are flying with for their specific rules and regs regarding size of carrier and other conditions for traveling with a small dog. Good luck to you and the pup!

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Posted : March 22, 2013 12:34 pm
conchadoo
(@conchadoo)
Advanced Member

She only has to be in the crate while in the cabin of the plane, she must be on a leash at all times when out of the crate. Miami has a dog service area outside the terminal but you have to go Thur TSA again. Service dogs are not required to be crated but must be able to fit under the seat in front of you or on the floor in front of you and can't extend to the isle. You would have gone Thur US Customs in ST Croix already, your paper work should and will be checked there. No inspection in Florida when you come from STX. Have a safe trip.

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Posted : March 22, 2013 12:45 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

She will not be allowed out the carrier in he STX airport or MIA airport (although they are slightly more lenient about lettigthem sit on your lap in a reote corner of the gate area). When you check in in STX, she must be in carrier. You take her out of the carrier for security and must carry her through the X-ray. Then put her back in carrier. In Miami, I recommend buying a day pass to the admirals club if you have a longish layover. She won't be allowed out of the carrier in the main area, but you can get a shower room (under the pretense that you will be showering) and let her out there. Bring pee-pee pads to put down so she can pee. Also line the bottom of the carrier with pads just in case.

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Posted : March 22, 2013 1:53 pm
roadrunner
(@roadrunner)
Trusted Member

I've flown with my small dog many times to/from STX on American. I believe the official rule is that you can't take them out of the carrier except to go through security, but I've never had a problem with letting her out while on her leash. I try to do that in remote corners of the airport, but I've also done it in more crowded areas of lots of airports, without ever having a problem. She almost always attracts a lot of attention and seems to brighten other traveler's days. I'm always very careful to keep her away from other people, unless they express an obvious interest in petting her.

I always take her out of the secure area to the dog area outside the Miami airport. It's not far away, and although it's not a very impressive patch of ground, at least it's a place where she feels comfortable doing her business and sniffing around. I've never had a problem getting back through security, but I've always had a fairly long layover in Miami. I'd say that if you have at least 1.5-2 hours, it's easily doable. She absolutely refused to pee on newspapers in the San Juan airport on our first flight. Maybe pee pads would work better.

I also take one of her toys, a cup to put water in for her, and some food. Be sure you have a couple of days' supply of food for her in your carryon in case you have a flight delay. And don't take a squeaky toy! I learned that one the hard way. She was all excited to play, but I was afraid she was driving everyone at the gate nuts! Sometimes I put a shirt that I've worn recently (and not washed) in her carrier. Even though she's right there by my feet, I think that might help.

It's nice to see that so many other people travel with their dogs. (tu)

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Posted : March 22, 2013 2:09 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

I've been yelled at by people in the STX airport for not having my dog in a carrier (baggage area, waiting to pick people up). Once inside the the terminal I let him stick his head out ofthe bag, but thats all I tried. Other airports I've never had a problem. I haven't flown with him for a couple of years now (used to do it several times a year), so maybe they've eased up.

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Posted : March 22, 2013 2:24 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

Stxem is correct. Animals must remain in the carrier at all times on the plane and in the airport. Good note to find a family bathroom and let them out to pee and run around. We did this with our two cats when we moved here in January. Worked great.

Congrats on your island puppy!!!

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Posted : March 22, 2013 2:58 pm
conchadoo
(@conchadoo)
Advanced Member

Both STX and Miami have dog service areas outside the terminal.Dogs must be on a leash at all times. There is NO AIRPORT RULE OR POLICY that dogs must be in a crate while in the terminal (just on a leash) the leash laws come from the territory law and the state law. The Airline makes the policy regarding the dog in the cabin on the plane.

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Posted : March 22, 2013 4:10 pm
robbySTX
(@robbystx)
Advanced Member

Thanks everyone for all your help!
Anyone else have any other info that might be helpful?

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Topic starter Posted : March 22, 2013 4:13 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

I believe there is a "no dogs" sign by the baggage pickup area in the STX airport and around the check-in desks. But inside, I've also been told to put my dog back in his carrier, even when he was sitting on my lap, and on a leash. Maybe they just don't like me.

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Posted : March 22, 2013 6:15 pm
rmb2830
(@rmb2830)
Advanced Member

Interesting how many different experiences there are...I know stx folks are insistent about dogs being in carriers, while I've had employees in miami tell me i didn't have to use the bag in the airport, and San Juan is happy with them on a leash too. Atlanta has rules like stx, but I've seen dogs loose in the Admirals club there, not even on a leash, while the ACs in JFK, SJU and MIA want the dogs in their bag!

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Posted : March 22, 2013 6:19 pm
conchadoo
(@conchadoo)
Advanced Member

STX has signs about no dogs except service dogs for people that are picking up or dropping off passengers by the baggage and outside ticket counters. This does not apply to ticketed passengers inside the terminal. A lot of the people that work at the Air Port in STX get carried away with their importance. I travel twice a month with a service dog at times a TSA or Airline employee in the terminal will tell me to put a muzzle on my service dog. I politely ask them to show me the rule that states my service dog needs a muzzle. I will follow up with a copy of the ADA law and the US Justice department 800 number.

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Posted : March 22, 2013 6:41 pm
robbySTX
(@robbystx)
Advanced Member

Has anyone had issues with the airlines questioning if the carrier is too small for their dog?
I bought a Sherpa bag for her size (which should fit under the seat according to AA's guidelines).
She fits in it OK, but I am worried they might say it is too small (?).
She likes small spaces, and can move around in it, but standing next to it she makes it look like it maybe too small.
I am afraid that when I take her out of her carrier the airline may question if it is the right size....
Any experiences from anyone??
Thanks again !!!

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Topic starter Posted : March 24, 2013 4:13 pm
jostvandog
(@jostvandog)
Advanced Member

The dog must be able to stnad up and turnaround easily in order to travel in a kennel. Also I never have had a problem with my dogs on a leash at STX. We all go to the airport to pick up Mommy often and have never had a problem

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Posted : March 24, 2013 5:25 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Have you tried putting her in the bag as yet? You'll know for sure if it's too small for her if you do.
May want to start getting her used to being in it now, prior to boarding your flt., stateside.
Give her a treat when she goes in and maybe a favorite (non squeaky) toy or as someone mentioned a t-shirt of yours.
Leave her in for a few minutes at first and build up the time. Keep rewarding with her favorite treat or snack.
Pack some treats for her and her water dish to carry on plane with you.

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Posted : March 24, 2013 5:53 pm
robbySTX
(@robbystx)
Advanced Member

Oh yeah!! I have been putting her in her carrier for several weeks now!
I also just started taking her in it in the car for a ride!!
So far....so good!!
Fingers crossed!!!

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Topic starter Posted : March 24, 2013 6:01 pm
VT2VI
(@vt2vi)
Advanced Member

(tu)

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Posted : March 24, 2013 6:46 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

I really just don't think the airport people like me (especially this one lady at the STX airport) and I fly enough for them to know me.

I have had problems in the past with the carrier being too small (both in STX and MIA--no other airports ever hassled me). It was the largest size, airline approved Sherpa, but my dog is long-legged. So he could technically stand-up and turn around, however he couldn't stand up "straight." Which it does NOT stated in the rules. They only have to stand-up and turn around. How "erect" they can stand-up is vague. I used this as one of my arguments in my asenal of methods to get us through check-in. And make sure the dog + carrier is under 20lbs. Another argument I used to throw in there was that my dog sleeps in his carrier, is totally comfortable (which he is. He LOVES his bag), etc etc. On a couple of occasions, it took some signficant pleading, especially with one particular lady. Know the rules inside and out. Print them out if necessary with appropriate sections highlighted to prove your point. Sometimes they really just want to give you a hard time for no reason. But its worth it, once you get them through!

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Posted : March 24, 2013 9:39 pm
rmb2830
(@rmb2830)
Advanced Member

have to agree..we've had issues with a heavyset eagle lady...she didn't like the size of our carrier either..yet my dog will jump right in if it's on the floor...he sure doesn't mind it, and he's a better traveler than lots of people!

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Posted : March 24, 2013 9:46 pm
robbySTX
(@robbystx)
Advanced Member

That is my concern! My dog has short legs but is long....your basic Crucian dog!
She can move around in the carrier as she is quite a "little worm", but the carrier isn't an ideal size for her body shape!
She does curl up pretty small when she does sleep. But I am sure as this is all new to her she may be a little anxious, even though I have been working with her in the carrier.
Just afraid they will hassle me, and being the first time flying with her I don't want to get bumped off the plane because they think her carrier is too small.

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Topic starter Posted : March 24, 2013 10:24 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Why not go to airport with dog and carrier and check it out?

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Posted : March 24, 2013 11:10 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

Why not go to airport with dog and carrier and check it out?

I really dont recommend this. Because if they have a problem wih you or the dog or the carrier, they will remember you and it will be even harder to deal with day of the flight. Jut go on the day, be super nice, but tough if needed. As long as you're under the weight limit, can tue around and basically stand up, you are within the rules. Stand your ground! They like to claim things that aren't true and give you a hard time just because.

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Posted : March 25, 2013 12:46 am
robbySTX
(@robbystx)
Advanced Member

I agree!! I don't want to go there ahead of time and have a "bad scene" before I actually leave!
stxem.... What size (dimensions) is your carrier that you use??
I have a medium Sherpa carrier which my dog is at the weight limit for it.
Am now scrambling to maybe get size large ( a few inches bigger all around ).
Flying out in two weeks!!
Thanks everyone for all your help!

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Topic starter Posted : March 25, 2013 10:12 am
DixieChick
(@DixieChick)
Trusted Member

travel twice a year with small dog. sometimes we sneak him out. we find a quite corner of airport. and unzip and let him stick his head out. if a long layover he goes outside for a quick pee. tito has made at least 12 trips.

i got waylaid once in philly by someone wanting to check his size and bag. some attendants just dont like dogs. i heard this woman say....
dogs should not be allowed to fly.

robby my dog is cruzan and sounds like the same body shape as yours. have never had any trouble here and once they let you on board here they have to let you continue your flight. we always put tito in carrier before we check in.

how much does your dog weigh?

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Posted : March 25, 2013 11:31 am
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