What you should know before flying with your pet

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

OK, so here’s the deal. Eli gets car sick. Big time. So I’m really happy that we no longer have to make 300-plus mile drives from Virginia to Connecticut when we go on vacation. The longest road trips we take these days are the five-minute variety (that’s how long it takes to get from our house to the vet). Of course, he’s never happy about the destination (unless it’s the return trip) but that’s beside the point.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

Returning to the topic at hand, I’m really, really, really happy I’ve never had to fly with him. And I hope I never will — because he hates his cat carrier and I doubt he would be happy in the cabin. I also doubt the passengers would be happy about having him in the cabin — listening babies cry on planes is bad enough — listening to a cat yowl the whole time would be torture.

Having said that, I will sprout wings and fly myself before I ever let anyone put Eli in the cargo hold of any aircraft. I don’t care how safe it supposedly is. I’ve read too many horror stories: pets escape, pets get hurt, and pets die. So to reiterate, no, thank you very much. I am not trusting any airline with my cat. Ever.

All you need to know about flying with Fido or Fluffy

In the interest of full disclosure, recent incidents aboard and following United Airlines flights have renewed, if not prompted, my personal vehemence on this topic. I mean a guy getting dragged off an overbooked flight is bad enough, but a giant rabbit’s death after flying on the airline is beyond words.

If anything good has come out of the latter, it’s that the incident grabbed plenty of headlines and generated public awareness about flying with pets.

You can read a really good story about your rights and options as a pet owner, the precautions you should take, and more here. While researching the topic, I also found a comprehensive and informative story that specifically pertains to the transportation of pets in aircraft cargo holds.

For brevity’s sake, I won’t rehash both articles. But suffice it to say that when it comes to the pets that one writer described as “precious cargo,” there’s no such thing as being overly informed, or being too careful.


How do you feel about flying with your pet? Share your opinion by voting in the following poll.

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