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Pet carrier in the airplane cabin?

April 15th, 2007, 02:10 PM
Does anyone have direct experience taking their small dog or cat into an airplane cabin? WestJet sells the SMALL shirpa pet carrier and claims that it fits under the seat. My small dog will fit in the shirpa small carrier. But this carrier still seems a bit big to me to fit under an airplane seat. Has anyone actually used this carrier?


April 15th, 2007, 02:12 PM
If the carrier is suggested by the airline you are travelling on as inboard approved then they already know it fits. I know of a lovely Berner pup who travelled to Colorado that way.

April 15th, 2007, 04:28 PM
If Westjet is selling the carriers and stating that they fit under the seats then they must know what they're talking about. If you are still unsure then phone them for confirmation. :)

April 15th, 2007, 09:09 PM
I took my cat once from UK to USA in a small Sherpa - she was fine and the carrier fit nicely undre the seat in front -

Wish we could have brought Gomez to Australia in the cabin!!

Have a good trip

April 15th, 2007, 09:18 PM
I have travelled with my Siamese - and other cats - in the cabin (usually just one at a time however) without any problems. It is akin to travelling with small children. Often, the airline will allow you to board early so you can settle down earlier and have more time in doing so with less fuss.

I do not recommend travelling with a pet in cargo at all. Even though the stats show that many cats and dogs and other small animals survive the journey, recent studies have demonstrated that many do not and the stats are just too high for me to ever consider it, even in an emergency!

Do not allow your cat/dog of his / her Sherpa or other container out however and make sure you make the arrangements with lots of time to spare since only one pet (in most airlines, such is the norm). Do not merely show up at an airport and expect to be given a seat - you have to ask well in advance. Also, have many items for your pet to play with and do NOT give him or her any sedation - except perhaps Rescue remedy which makes most cats at least sleepy. Other meds like the benzodiazapines are too sedating and small animals need lots of oxygen and there is precious little of that to spare in an aircraft. I myself have asthma related probs so have to be careful in an airplane so I know it has to be worse for a small animal!

If your pet is not used to travel, take him or her for drives in tour car for awhile before the trip occurs so s/he is adjusted to driving in a moving vehicle. Bring water and food for your pet - the airliens will not provide this - some will but as a courtesy, it is not a policy and is dependent on happening upon a flight attendant who likes animals.

Good luck!

April 15th, 2007, 09:32 PM
Cyberkitten, I have to disagree with you on the cargo pet comment, sorry...

Thousands of pets travel safely and successfully in cargo everyday, including Gomez who did the ultimate trip from UK to Australia, and he was fine! He came out of his container rested and ready to play, safe and sound.

In the early 90's we also transported 2 cats from US to UK in the cargo hold and they travelled perfectly happy as well.

SO you could say I have done my own "studies" ...

Show dogs travel the world every day, and you can bet Great Danes are not in the cabin!

Yes, there are the stories and yes, there are exceptions, but the majority of dogs and cats travel very well in the cargo hold.

As long as you do your homework and use an airline that has a good pet policy and a temperate and pressurised cargo hold (which is most these days) and follow all their advice regarding size of crate, etc... there is absolutely no problem in pets travelling cargo.

April 15th, 2007, 10:16 PM
I must say I thought our cats would not fair well for the travel from UK to Canada, however they arrived fresher than the in-laws :laughing: in fact they were ready to play and the in-laws looked about to expire. And neither humans or cats were spring chickens.
I have no idea of statistics, but with everything the numbers evolve with knowledge and information so maybe it's a topic that need revisiting every now and then. :shrug:
I had no idea you could even take your pet in the cabin, if you can and they sell the required carriers then go for it, let us know how you get on if you take that route.

April 17th, 2007, 12:39 PM
I traveled once with my cat in a Sherpa bag in the cabin with me. Seems like if the carrier says 'airline approved' on it, it'll fit under most seats, although that could depend on the size of the airplane. If you will be flying in anything really small you would want to check for sure. The carrier does have to be big enough for the animal to stand up and turn around. My cat did great, she didn't make a sound even for the entire flight. However, one thing I have always wondered is if the animal should be allowed to go thru the x-ray security scan. I took my cat out and carried her with me while they scanned her carrier. It just seems like that could potentially be harmful. Also, if they go in the hold, are they getting x-rayed? I have heard some bad stories about animals dying in the hold, so not sure it is all that safe down there...

April 17th, 2007, 12:52 PM
i think that some airlines are more careful with animals in the cargo area. I'd do some research on that, but if you're allowed to bring them in teh cabin, there's not much to worry about. Unless you have a cat that hates being caged up and will protest the whole way....which is what *i'd* be worried about if i travelled with my cats haha...they never hold back on complaining:rolleyes:

April 17th, 2007, 09:10 PM
Also, if they go in the hold, are they getting x-rayed? I have heard some bad stories about animals dying in the hold, so not sure it is all that safe down there...

They don't get x-rayed if they go in the hold -

As I said above, there are the stories you hear about, but considering Thousands (yes thousands) of pets travel in the hold every day, it is quite safe for them to travel.

Many humans die in airplane cabins also, and people still travel -

Fact is, if you need to travel with your pet, and the airline does not allow cabin travel, or your dog is too big for it, travellingin the cargo hold of a good, pert responsible airline is safe.

Put it this way, you own a showdog in Australia, how do you compete in international shows if you do not shipyour dog in the cargo hold?

April 17th, 2007, 10:33 PM
I'll have to agree to disagree- we have debated this ad infanitem on this Board and my view will not ever change. There are too many studies and the scientist in me believes the ones that are well designed and point to the problems. I know many pets survive and do fine. That's not good enough for me personally or for my pets. If others wan to chance it, that is entirely up to them - it's your pet and you have the option. I will not critique you for it - I just want to have the option of caring for my pets the best way I know how and be allowed to do that. Fortunately,we live in a country where we can express our concerns about issues freely.

I did not want a debate. I was just responding to a question. I would never ever listen to one person's story of even say 1,000. I listen to scientific studies and airline reports. I have read the report of each hand every airlines and very significant report that was done well - kinda glossed over a few that were designed extremely poorly - even tho some of them agreed with me. I prefer proper scientific design or doing the study is hardly worth it. Personal stories cut no ice with me, as my dad would say. They are meaningless.

That said, based on the studies I have read from reputable organizations (veterinary or even transportation based or an intriguing one by some respiratologists that was not actually studying pets but used them to examine plane travel for people like me who have COPD) and I have to say that even tho I desperately hoped all would be OK, I was soooo wrong!! There were way too many serious incidents in the parlance of the industry (I hated the term incidents - clearly they did not want to come out and say, well we lost a hundred or so pets this year). There are a plethora of other studies and that is what I rely on. I could hear 5,000 stories from people saying it's safe - it won't ever convcince me. Maybe I am a little too intransigent on his issue but I am not alone - several reputable animal organizations (and I do not mean the extremists like PETA) but good breeders (is that an oxymoron, lol?) or Rescues will absolutely NOT use cargo. Granted, some do and yes, many cats survive. And I am so glad they do. My kitties will just not be among them because we all have worries and this is one of mine. I have researched it too much - and I do too much research in my work to know that the too many studies that show bad results cannot be pure coincidence. I do not believe in coincidence.

If someone asked me how many deaths were acceptable to me this year - from the patients we as a group - all of whom have an illness that can killlthem (Cancer, aplastic anemia, HIV, various hematological illnesses, etc etc) - my response would be NONE. Of course, it never sadly is none.

The same is true for animals in the cargo. If it is not necessary, why use it? I can understand if someone has a large dog and has no choice - but today my brother says if he ever has to take his dog somewhere, they will drive there. If it happens to be say, across the ocean, well , they'll go on a luxury liner.
Personally, I CAN do something about the cargo situation for my own animals or those I personally pay for in a rescue group I help. My cats are like my children. Either they are in the seats or they are not on the plane and we stay home. It may be tough lines but that is my fear. I know the percentages and they may well survive but I do not want them in a percentage that already is too high - even if not all studies are in double digits. It is a chance I am not at all ever willing to take if I have the option of not having to. (Thank Gawd!)

We have brought cats from Pakistan - not first class but certainly not in cargo, lol For some reason, I am thinking of Emily the US cat who wandered on a plane and ended up in France and came back in First Class. Luckily, she made it there alive and they were not taking any chances on the way back.

April 17th, 2007, 11:55 PM
Allrighty then....

Let's just hope you never have to move overseas or to a country with quarantine that will not allow pets to come in any other way.

Australia does allow them to come in by "luxury sea liner" like you say, but that is 15 day trip and they must stay in a crate in the ship's kennel the entire time, I looked into it. You can't bring them on your own boat b/c it's almost impossible to get here without stopping at a country that is vetted by the Aus quarantine.

And by the way, I also live ina country where I can express my concerns freely, and it concerns me that some people have such a static view such as I would NEVER travel with my pets in cargo... life is short, things will change, and one day you may be faced with that option, and I always find it's best to keep an open mind about all points of view - nothing is absolute...

Just curious, do your studies tell you how many pets do survive as opposed to those that don't?

Oh, and Emily, the cat from France, came back in first class b/c the whole issue had become a media event, the airline looked ike a hero, returning the kitty in first class.... She was not the first cat to have gotten shipped by mistake, I personallyknow of 2 a few years who got shipped in moving boxes to HK (6 weeks by boat) by mistake, they wree fine, and you can bet they were returned in a crate in the cargo hold - the event was never reported to the media, so you probably did not hear about it.... Oh, and they were just fine....

April 18th, 2007, 01:08 AM
Good news rarely makes the news.. Only tiem anyone hears about pets and airlines is when something goes bad. I think people would be bored to tears if every successful pet flight made th papers.

So many animals get shipped, only a small few ever make the headlines. There's no need to make people needlessly scared of flying a pet when they have no choice.

April 18th, 2007, 10:26 PM
Gheez, lighten up! :) I am not as static as you think and know all lof the laws - I have spent way too much time in my life travelling, mostly with Drs without Borders but have no desire to take my babies to some of those places. And there are all kinds of ways around things - I do know the quarantine laws. I did not check to see where you lived but my comment about living where I could express my opinion prob came across the wrong way and if it did, I am sorry about that - It drives o distraction when ppl say that as if other countries do not have that freedom. I know many do - all countries have pros and cons. I love being a Canadian (tho I do hold dual citizenship) but I am not one of these ppl who thinks just because I live here, we are better than anyone else. I don't think any country is better. Perhaps my Irish heritage has taught me that while nationalism can accomplish some good, it can also create some bad things as well. (Like useless civil wars!).

I am entitled to my opinion and there you have it. Obviously you disagree and that's fine with me. Let's just try to be civil about it. I see no point in adding in theoretical possibilities when you have no idea what my life is like - I would never presume to make suggestions to you. I think I did say fortunately I can do that now. If, God forbid, something happens in the future (and all my cats fit into the cabin thankfully and I have talked to ppl in other counties about this - ie politicians in charge of it so I know I am still OK). There is a ,0000001& chance of me moving to Australia tho it does seem like a great country, <g> Ireland is a different matter but I have discussed it with the Minister tho given the Irish voting method of Single Transferable Vote, one never knows who the Minister in charge of Foreign Relations will be(I hesitate to says Affairs - sorry Peter if you are reading this tho I doubt you are, lol) . I do know when I was being recruited by one of the universities there, they said they would help me overcome some of those rules. Even when a Texas Univ was trying to get me to go there, they offered to fly my pets and me there on a private plane. (and if worse came to worse, that is another alternative.) I never say never!!

I simply really really love my current position - and I suppose I manage to engage in my altruistic need and my desire to travel at the same time in my work with Doctors without Borders. (Tho it does not necly bring one to vacation resorts but I do meet exciting and intriguing people and would not give that up either, in spite of my health issues). <My cats have travelled to the US in comfort and safety and since they are like my children, unless absolutely forced, I will always put their safety and comfort ahead of everything else. I could list a plethora of studies but I have learned there is no point debating when one has a certain opinion that is unlikely to change - unless it is a matter of life and death - an issue I do have to debate daily - so I have no desire to change yours if that is it. I just pray your pets always survive cargo and truly do wish you the best!! It is just not something I would ever choose and I did think this is about choice - not what if this and that and the other thing. The here and now in other words.

A colleague of mine recently bought a small plane and I am beginning to wonder if I myself should engage in flying lessons - it certainly would ensure I would not have to worry about airlines et al. But I don't thin kI have time so maybe I can persuade my bf to do it, lol (I can hear him now,m you want me to learn to fly because WHAT, lol) He does love my babies but somehow, I am not certain that would be his reason for taking flying lessons, lol

Actually, we have a wonderful program with corporations who fly sick children to needy places (like when the Wish Foundation takes a child to Fla or to say Pittsburgh which has a great heart-lung transplant program). He did take a few of us the year the Red Sox won the World series to Boston so he'd prob fly my pets. He even built condos for his lobster, lol (But that is another story!) Alas, we did not see THE winning game but we saw the one the night before - if anyone here is a baseball fan. :)

Anyway -- we'll have to agree to disagree on this issue and truly, I do wish you well. I am not at all in any mood to debate, not here or about pets. I watch too many ppl die to ever think of this as earth shattering! And we are all entitled to our views on these varied subjects. I come here for recreation, not significant debate that is upsetting and have made a rule that I will not allow myself to get upset over this stuff any more. (Now backyard breeding, pet food regulation, neglected pets... that is another subject). ou know the old political saying - pick the important rights you can win. This one does results sadly in the needless deaths of animals but there is so little I can do about it that I need to focus my energies on those things I can change!! (Like laws on food regulation and puppy mills and helping ppl with kittens and bunnies and poodles or info I do know something about, - which is not to suggest I do not know anything about flight and O2 supply for pets in airplanes, esp cargo holds <Shudder> but that my stress at the end of the day and my post traumatic stress from my most recent Docs sans Borders session is not going to be helped by getting too upset over something like this. I have already allowed some stuff here to bother me too much and now I have decided I never will again. (To be frank, some comments made here (ie The Board itself, not this thread)still bother me but I have decided there is little I can do to change what ppl say so I'll just be myself and like be like my meezers - we are Siamese if you please, we are Siamese if you don't please, lol)

In other words, I respect anyone's right to their opinion as long as they are not overly nasty about it and understand that any comments I make are made in as kind and gentle and as diplomatically as possible and hope they reciprocate. That is what discussion and sharing ideas is all about.

So, to paraphrase the Siamese song - if you want to place your pets in the cargo hold and are convinced it's safe, that's fine, there is nothing I can do anyway, If you don't - thats fine too. I just implore you to read the scientific studies if you have not already - tho I know it is time consuming since there are so many out there. Make sure you read the academic ones and not just the stuff that some people claim is academic and really is just junk science online. (Alas, that is one of the problems of the internet.) There are scientific ones that will support your opinion and some mine or the other side if you will - tho they do note some pets die and I guess that's my point. One death is too many!

Will I be moving down under? Not likely, lol (Tho I love to visit and it is a great country tho I am not certain I agree with all of the policies of the current PM there.) They do have an interesting political voting system too - it's not STV like Ireland but a form of prop representation. (I went there once on a political visit and was most impressed.) NZ is a kewl country as well - they have so many firsts!! I wonder if that is due ti a pioneer mentality which one would ascribe to North America which like Oz and NZ are countries of immigrants.

Anyway - I am getting offtrack and have a early morning in surgery and my staff and patient will not appreciate me if I am late and crabby, lol

April 19th, 2007, 03:06 AM
Well, either way, I think we have scared off the original poster!!

I wish there had been some kind of "connection" I could have exploited here to bypass the quarantine, but alas, no one can...

Do you remember when the UK ambassador in HK's term was over? He wanted to return to the UK, and they desperately wanted him to take another post within the UK gov. but he declined b/c he would not put his dogs in a 6 month quarantine, to this day, I'm not sure if he has returned...

On a happy note, if you do decide to go to Ireland, you can now get a pet-passport for your kitties and as long as they are in your country for 6 months before being imported, they don't have to do quarantine at all...