With the launch this past week of Pet Airways — the airline that only carries pets, no humans — it might be good to see how other airlines rate.
Petfinder.com, which is a Web site for finding pets at shelters around the country, has rated the five most pet-friendly airlines for 2009.
Finding a good and safe airline for your pet is vital for pet owners who must travel. Small pets can be taken in the cabin if the carrier fits under a seat. But if your dog is larger, you are at the mercy of whoever handles your dog in the cargo area.
Here is Petfinder.com’s list:
5. United Airlines: Nondiscriminating
United Airlines accepts small cats, dogs and birds in the cabin; rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs as checked baggage and other animals including parrots, cockatiels and ferrets, in United Cargo.
4. American Airlines: Zoo trusted
American Airlines has an animal-trained staff known for transporting animals from popular zoos in cargo.
3. Airtran: Budget friendly
Airtran is currently the least expensive airline to fly with your small pet; just $69 each way.
2. JetBlue Airways: Full-service pet love
JetBlue launched its JetPaws program last summer and provides a pet carrier bag tag, two TrueBlue points each way, a welcome e-mail and a free pet travel guide.
1. Continental: Safety first
Continental’s PetSafe program, as a 24-hour Live Animal Desk, (800) 575-3335, tracking the pets from origin to destination. It is pricier than other programs, but it’s climate-controlled, allows roomy carriers and has designated cargo staff.
For more information on what makes each airline pet friendly, visit http://blog.petfinder.com/petfinder/2009/05/14/petfinder-names-the-top-5-most.
For more information on Pet Airways, visit www.petairways.com.
If you are planning to save money by traveling by car this summer, you join the more than 29 million people the Travel Industry Association says traveled with their pet over the last few years.
The Travel Industry Association suggests:
• Prepare a doggie bag of cleanup supplies, a travel bed, portable feeding/watering bowls, food and water, a pet first-aid kit, and lots of toys. You also should have copies of your pet’s medical records (shots, etc.) in case you have to seek medical aid on the road.
• Restrain your pets in a crate or with a harness to keep it safe.
• Check with your insurance company to see if your pets are covered in case of an accident.
• Make sure your pet has proper identification and license. An ID tag should have your cell phone number or the number of a friend or family member who knows how to reach you. You also may want to have a photo in case the worst happens and you have to search for a loose pet.
• Give your pet water and take breaks while driving to let your pet exercise, relieve itself and move around. Never leave your pet alone in a car.
• Stick to routine. Don’t change foods and bring familiar toys, bedding etc.
Pet safety kit
Bark Buckle UP, a nonprofit organization educating pet owners on pet travel safety, is offering a free Bark Buckle UP First Responder Approved Pet Safety Kit — to tell first responders how to deal with your buddy — especially if you are seriously injured.
The kit includes a first responder vehicle decal you can place on your window that says there may be an injured or scared family pet inside. Then, first responders can look for the pet identification card in the glove box, which gives your emergency contacts to come get your pet.
To get the kit:
1. Visit www.BarkBuckle UP.com to register your pet’s information including owner, veterinarian, emergency contacts and notes.
2. Upload your pet’s photo.
3. Bark Buckle UP will then print and ship your custom pet safety card and first responder decal (additional first responder decals are available upon request).
4. Pet owners should affix the decal on window and place the pet information card in the vehicle’s glove box.