moving my dog
We are in the initial phases of a move to STJ and are trying to figure out the best way to get our 12 yr old, 40 lb dog to the island from DC. She hasn't flown before and is too big to sit with us in the cabin. Does anyone have suggestions on preferred airlines or other creative options? All insight appreciated...Thank you!
Sorry about the short response earlier. I was trying to do about a dozen things at once. LOL...
My information may be a little dated but I'll do my best. Trade is correct regarding the heat restrictions. I flew my pets out of Dulles at the end of August, 3 years ago, so it can definitely be done this time of year. At that time, the temperatures they used to determine whether the pets could fly were the temperatures at the time of departure and at the time of arrival for each segment. Early morning Northern Virginia temperatures this time of year won't present any problem for you. St Thomas temperatures may. You'll want to book an early morning flight so that you arrive in St Thomas before the heat of the day.
Direct flights to St Thomas 3 years ago were infrequent. I highly recommend a direct flight! United Airlines has a special number you can call for questions regarding flying with your pets. They're very helpful. They can provide you with all the vet info, minimum crate sizes etc. One note about United. They make the call as to whether the pets can fly on the morning of the flight. You can be bumped off the flight with no notice. If you're flying out later in the fall, that may not be a problem.
You have to remove your pets from the crates inside Dulles Airport so that customs can search the crate. That may not be a concern for you with your dog but it was a nightmare with my cat.
United was great. Pets are offloaded before the baggage is. The Traffic is light at the St Thomas airport so no problem walking your dog as soon as you greet him/her.
I'm afriad I have very little information that will help you get from St Thomas to St John. The taxi drivers I spoke with wanted an additional $100 per pet!
Best of luck!
My little boy has an unbreakable spirit so I was never really concerned about him. He just wanted to play as soon as we hit the ground. He has a long, thick coat and he stresses a lot this time of year (he hates the heat) even though he's sporting an island cut - very stylish! 😀
I was very concerned about my cat. She hates to be crated but she came through just fine.
What's your dog's temperment like? Is he/she very timid? The age of the dog gives me a little pause. The breeder I bought my boy from was willing to fly some dogs to their new owners but refused to fly others. She made the call based each individual dog.
Oh! I forgot to mention that there are also minumum temperatures for flying. We normally don't get the frigid weather in Northern Virginia until Dec or Jan but it has snowed before in October so keep that in mind too.
If you don't rent a car on STT for the trip, you will need to hire a private taxi to get to the ferry dock. When I traveled here with my cat, the taxi charge was $55 to make the trip with me, three bags, and the kitty (I used Rachel, 340-771-2986 -- her fees increase per person, and she may charge more for a dog). I elected not to do the car rental approach for a number of reasons, the biggest of which was that there was only one car barge running at the time and the wait ranged from unpredictable to eternal.
Rescue Remedy (either in your dog's water or applied directly to her ears or tongue) is a flower essence that may help calm her during travel -- unfortunately, the effects are not long-lasting enough for an entire flight.
Be aware that you do not have any control at all over what happens after you hand over her crate to travel as cargo -- you sign a waiver absolving the airline of all responsibility if your pet becomes ill or dies. I know of dogs who have flown that have been sprayed with water or traumatized in some other way during the trip, who were never quite the same again. For this reason, I personally would never have an animal flown as cargo; I'd figure out a way to charter a flight instead.
Bohlke Air and Air Propel are two I've seen mentioned on this board, but there are others -- mostly based out of Florida. I recall that someone who was researching last summer found prices to be around $7,000 to $8,000 to charter an entire plane one-way from Miami to STT. If that amount of money is prohibitive, consider posting here or on the classifieds to see if anyone wants to share the flight and cost.
I may be interested in going in on a charter from Miami to STT. We have our 80 lb lab still in Florida with my parents, just waiting for the temps to cool down. If you ship the dog as "cargo" when you fly with them on the same plane, the airlines have specific rules about it. Basically though it is that at no point in your itinerary can the temp be 85 or above. You have to book the animal 3 days in advance and then at that time they will look at the forecast for all points on your itinerary. American Airlines Cargo will allow you to ship your dog as cargo with out you being on the flight, same rules apply for temps. All this info is on the websites for the airlines. Our dog was going to be $150.00 on AA if we were on the flight. AA Cargo charges about $450 to send the dog alone. Basically it works out to be the same cost if you figure in your RT ticket.
Anyways, regarding the charter flight it might be something to look into if a couple or more of us went in on the cost.
If there are indeed a bunch of dogs in the states waiting for their owners to bring them to their new island homes it may be worth it for all of us to go in together on a charter. Have any of you heard of the new Pet Airways that specializes in flying pets only ( http://petairways.com/)? They do not currently fly to the Carribbean, but perhaps if they knew of the demand for their services, they might be willing to work with us...
Ted Kennedy use to fly all the time with his Dogs on American Airlines all the time, It's not that difficult. There is a limit on the number of dogs per passenger not sure check with the Airline. Summer months leaving STX or STT might be a problem with afternoon flights with the Major Airlines, You can always get off the island regardless of Temp with Cape Air with you pet.
Aussie, sorry to alarm you -- but I've heard too many bad experiences. Cargo travel puts your animal in with the suitcases, into a completely foreign environment where s/he is separated from you, handled by strangers who might find it amusing to "mess with" your animal, then put into a dark space surrounded by strange loud noises, and having to deal with atmospheric pressure changes. Your pet has no clue what's going on with the strange sensations s/he's suddenly experiencing, and no one to comfort him or her. That's the best case, assuming everything goes well and there are no malfunctions with temperature/pressure in the hold (it happens), and that your pet's crate is properly secured -- and even if it is, only the carrier will be held in place if there's air turbulence, not your animal (ouch).
At best a dog has a five-year-old's capacity for understanding the world. If you wouldn't want your five-year-old child to be shipped like luggage, then you shouldn't do it to an animal, either.
PetAirways.com is doing a wonderful thing, and there's another company called Companion Air that does something similar. Service to the Caribbean is much needed.
Thanks fdr. All good points. I guess I knew all that when I flew them down and I just accepted it. How else ya gonna get 'em here? At least getting to St Thomas was a direct flight. My critters were with me within 5 minutes of landing. Getting stateside from St Croix is a whole different matter unless your final destination is Miami or Atlanta - NOT! I decided long ago that the layover(s) will not be in St Thomas or Puerto Rico! CRAAAP!
A charter is not in my budget. Maybe I can get them home (wherever that will be) by sea kayak like the guy that posted here long ago and said that he got here by sea kayak and was living off the shrimp he caught. Ah...just trying to make light about something that I don't find in the least bit humorous...
Have been following this great site for over a year but not brave enough to join in. My husband and I are also moving to paradise and I have done extensive research on how to get our "Scrappy Do" (Scottish Terrier) there safely. Here's what I just found-there is a new pet airline that only transports animals. The animals fly in the "passenger compartment and are checked every 15min by an attendant. The company is called Pet Airways and flys twin-engine Beech 1900 turboprops. They operate out of Washington, New York, Denver, Chicago, and Los Angeles. They are hoping to expand to 25 cities over the next 2 years. One-way fares range from $149.99 to $399.99 depending on animal's size and destination. For information, go to www.petairways.com. Not sure if they go to the islands, but with all of us needing their services maybe we can put on a little pressure and they would consider us next.
I just wrote Petairways @
and suggested there could be a need for a monthly run to the islands.
I would ask you to do the same. Perhaps if enough of us do write it will happen.
I am in the process of relocating to STX.
My husband is already living on the island while I am stuck in the states with my 75lb dog until the weather cools or I find some alternative to flying cargo. I can leave anytime between now and November. If there are several of us who could split the cost of a charter from Miami to STX I am VERY interested!!!
I live in Texas but plan on driving to Miami with my dog so she will only have one short flight to go on.
I have been doing Internet research for months trying to find the safest way to get her to the island. If all else fails I will have to put her in cargo and pray for the best.
Great idea, Michael. PetAirways even has a specific form for this: http://www.petairways.com/content/where-would-you-fly
I emailed Pet Airways as well. They responded that they have not even expanded to Florida yet, where they are headquartered, but that they have spoken with a number of veterinary schools in the Caribbean and they know there is great demand, so it is on their radar for expansion some time in the future. I asked how many dogs we would need to assemble for a one time flight to be worth their while, and am awaiting their response. Stay tuned.
Yes. I still am looking for anyone to share a charter flight with me. I have to book my flights soon and the thought of putting my dog in cargo is making me sick. My dates are semi flexible but I have to leave soon after Nov.15th. Please contact me and we can arrange something if you are serious about getting your dog to the island safely. If you are going to STT or STJ I am sure we can work together on something too.
I am leaving from Houston and moving to St.Croix. I plan to drive to Florida and somehow fly to St.Croix. I am traveling alone with one 75lb dog. There will be room for three or four more people and a few dogs.