Flying with large dog and American Airlines to STT
I am a long time poster, well 18 months or so, and a resident here on STT and I really need help on this.
I know that we have gone round and round umpteen times with this question:
The time has come for my beloved yellow lab to join us on STT now that the weather is cooler. Friends of ours are scheduled to fly her down this Tues :-), however I am being told by AA that she is too heavy to fly as "checked baggage" ( she is 86 lbs and crate is 28 lbs). There apparently is a 100 lb cutoff. I am positive that you fellow STT residents have flown your large bundles of love and slobber here on AA.
AA Cargo does not fly into STT. She is too large to fly out of PR on a puddle jumper. The plan is to go MIA direct to STT on Tues evening.
So, who has flown with a large dog on AA to STT.
You may have to investigate charter flight options, as AA is pretty strict:
"Pet Carrier Guidelines
Animals must have room to stand/turn around, sit and lie down in a natural position.
Kennels must be constructed of wood, metal, plastic or a similar material, leak-proof, escape proof and door must fasten securely and need ventilation on 2-sides in addition to the door. Kennels must also have a water container with outside access for filling, in case a delay occurs.
Collapsible Kennels (those which can fold down flat) can not be accepted due to the risk of collapse during transport.
The customer is required to secure rigid plastic kennels with releasable cable ties (see example at right) attached to all four corners. American Airlines will provide the ties to the customer at no cost.
The maximum size for checked kennels is a series 500 kennel with the following dimensions: 40" long x 27" wide x 30" high. However, this size kennel is not accepted on the Boeing MD-80 (S80). Kennels checked on MD-80s must be able to fit through the cargo door while remaining in an upright position. MD-80 cargo doors are 29" high x 53" wide.
Series 700 kennels are not allowed on any aircraft.
The maximum weight of a checked pet and kennel (combined) cannot exceed 100 lbs."
I'm not sure where your pet is coming from, but we're in the process of investing this ourselves, as we are planning to move our 2 dogs and a cat to STX in January. I don't want to throw another wrinkle into your issue, but you may have to consider the temperature(s) as well. American is very strict that "Pets can not be accepted when the ground temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.2 degrees C) at any location on the itinerary." For us, that eliminated American as an option, as it is already below 45 on a daily basis here in Ohio. You might also try to do a search on this site for other people trying to share a charter flight for their pets. Good luck!
continental does not fly into STT, and they also said they do not fly to STX. I was told this by 2 different "customer" service reps. they must have stopped flying into here with aninmals
OK, so here is the run down so far:
AA has weight restrictions, 100 lbs Max for dog and crate combined
AA Cargo does not fly to STT
Delta does not have weight restrictions, flights to here are out of ATL
What the airlines do not tell you is that customs closes at 3:30 so you have to arrive prior to. If you do not, your dog is brought to the Humane Society.
Sorry cheryl. Continental flew our dogs to San Juan and then we Chartered Mike Fosters plane to pick them up in San Jaun.
We are from Virginia and had our son drive the dogs to North Carolina to board a Continental flight. They flew the dogs to Houston to overnight because of heat restrictions. Houston has an excellent kennel on sight for overnight animals. They feed, water and walk the dogs. The next morning they flew our dogs to San Juan where hubby and pilot were waiting.
I was told that if you fly any live animal in "Cargo" US Customs requires Health certificates for the animals on Departure and Arrival.
This does not apply to flying a pet in the cabin or as checked baggage. The Airlines have a right to check for a health certificate for a pet flying in the cabin or as checked baggage. All Cargo falls under US Customs (so I was Told).
Could not afford the charter alone. No one ever contacted me with any serious interest so I had to make alternate plans.
Continental will take dogs and kennel over 100lbs. You just pay extra. They will fly you to Puerto Rico where you can get a private plane to take you to St.Croix or STT. I spoke with one who would do it anytime for $850. PM me if you want his #. He is located in ST.Croix.
As far as for me... I am driving from Houston to Miami and flying directly to STX with AA. I am just about 1lb under the combined the weight limit. So, my doggie is going on a lil diet for the next week just to be safe.
I will FINALLY be relocated in St.Croix Nov. 19th!!!!!
ok, here is the low down on flying into STT with a big pup. They DO clear customs, which must be done prior to 330, the health certificate needs to only state that they are healthy enough to fly. We just booked her on Delta Cargo originating out of Ft. Myers FL (RSW), she will then fly to ATL where Delta has a kennel area and she will spend the night. In the morning she will fly out of ATL direct to STT, Delta clears her thru customs prior to departure.
Now here is the frustrating and confusing part. My mom, myself and MIke have all seperately called Delta Cargo throughout the past few weeks and we have all been told different information! We've been told she is too heavy, told prices ranging from 600 to 840, told that she needs to be quarantined, told that my parents need to bring her to MIA 5 hrs prior to departure and that they only fly Florida cargo out of MIA, and told that we are considered international! Yikes, cant they get it together?
So, last night Mike booked her (tu) to fly on Monday for $620 direct out of RSW (thought they didnt fly out of there :S ? ) So, not only are we saving about 300, we are getting her out of an airport closer to my parents than MIA and they only need to be there 2 hrs prior!!
My advice to everyone is to make detailed notes, if you get a rep that puts you on hold and comes back with a half assed result, hang up and call back!
I will post here on Tuesday when she is safe and sound!
ok all, here is the latest on our dog flying on Delta Cargo to STT.
For all of you with dogs please remember that there is a difference between Cargo and regular airline flights! Differences being that with Cargo you do NOT need to accompany your dog on the flight (they go alone) and they accept large dogs ( dog and crate have no weight restsrictions). Regular airline flights have restrictions on weight: dog and crate can not exceed 100 lbs combined, and you have to accompany them buy being on their flight.
As I had mentioned earlier in my posts, our dog is 86 lbs and the crate is about 25 or so : therefore, she is too large to fly regular "checked baggage" on an airline so she had to go Cargo on Delta (AA Cargo does not fly into STT). After much misinformation from Delta reps as to what was needed ( vet certificates), where she could board etc... we were finally able to get a supervisor on the phone that booked her. We were quoted $630.00 from RSW to ATL where she would overnight, then take the 10 am flight out of ATL to STT. We were also told that she would clear customs before she left ATL. So we think great, we can just go and get her and be gone.....NO!
She arrived on the 3:03 flight today, we were told to wait for her where baggage comes out in the main airport baggage area. After about 10 minutes I didnt think that was right information, so I went over to the Delta counter and asked again. "No, you need to pick her up in Cargo", which is just past the airport entrance. Ugh, so I drive like a crazy woman over to cargo where she is to be unloaded, give them my name and wait....all the while my dog is sitting in un-airconditioned space. Finally someone comes to me and says how do you want to pay? I looked at the paper work provided and saw that our $630 was now $787.84.....? How could this be when I was given a confirmation # with a total? "Do you want to take the dog or not"? "Of course I want to take the dog", I put up an argument about the difference in the quote which was met with a shrugged shoulder. I pay, then am told to go to the Excise office to get a stamp and then to customs to clear the dog. "What, that should have already happened in ATL per my reservation"? then, someone pokes their head around the corner of a door and says "Customs is closed for the day, closed at 330". Now I start to panic cause if I cant clear my dog she cant go home with me. 🙁 A woman there finally says to me "you can take the dog, if you promise to go to customs tomorrow and bring the papers back directly to me". "Yes, thank you" I say to her, but her supervisor is now just walking in and he is quite a "by the books" kinda guy. As I am trying to get my dog out of the crate to stretch he says " You can not release the dog with out clearing her first". I look over at the woman, who had less than 10 second ago told me to go to customs tomorrow, for help . She puts up an argument with her boss as to the fact that it is too late for customs and that I promised her I would bring back the signed, stamped forms asap tomorrow. He obliges me. I thank him and release my dog from her confined quarters., go outside to pee and load up into the Jeep finally!
So, get a reservation number and definitively ask "what are these charges are for, is it including the overnight stay"? And, most importantly, allow your bank account/credit card to have a few extra hundred dollars for "incidentals" that they didnt think to mention!
It blows me away that an airline as respectable as Delta can be so F@$&#* up when it comes to pet travel. It's almost as bad as BMV!!!!
But most importantly we have our dog, Allie, here with us tonight! She appears to be in good health and spirits from her 2 day travel experience. She drank 4 full bowls of water immediately upon arriving to her new home, and implied with her eyes when out for our evening walk that she is not thrilled with the hills here!
Moving story complete now that she is here!
We are planning on taking her to the beach to help her ailing hips. She loves to swim and dig in the sand. I remember one time that we had a hurricane off shore in FL and I took her to the Naples pier, she proceeded to frantically dig a huge hole in the sand and lay there. Jim Santori and The Weather Channel took footage of her as the "calm before the storm"....really cute. Also, you dont need to pay to have their nails trimmed when they dig in the sand!(tu)
Glad the dog is ok!
Anytime you get involved with Custom's/Excise etc. it is going to cost more than you think and more than the stateside vendor tells you. Most stateside vendor's have no idea how Custom's work here. I think this is the reason why many stateside companies just decide that it isn't worth doing business down here and won't ship/sell to the VI (or let us participate in contests/download netflix etc.). This is what getting a VI Constitution in place should really be about, enabling more efficient commerce, setting all the other silliness aside.
So did you really go back to customs? Thumbs up to the lady in the excise office for using some commong sense and letting you take your dog home. On the upside the ladies over there have always been very helpful when I didn't understand the system. Expensive (unexpectedly my first few times) but helpful!
If you get it sorted and figure out the discrepancy in price let us know. I'm going to guess that Delta didn't know the custom's rates for things here (which is based on Danish code) and our excise tax system. In the end, if this is the case, I think I'd begrudgingly eat the extra and just be glad SOMEONE could get you're pup here safely!