Posted March 6, 2009 by Katie Blais
I might have to babysit next weekend. My upstairs neighbors are going to Florida and leaving Allie, my honorary niece, at home. It's too bad Allie won’t be able to hit the beach and relax with the rest of her family—she is so cute and well behaved, but her parents didn’t want to shell out an extra $200 for her plane ticket. Oh … did I mention that Allie, real name Alligator, is a three-pound Chihuahua they rescued off the side of the road this winter? With Allie being involuntary sidelined from vacation I got to wondering … what are some of the fees and etiquette involved in traveling with man’s best friend?
Well first things first, it isn’t cheap to travel with a pet, even a dog as small as Allie, who weighs less than most purses, will cost you a minimum of $69 O/W to well over $100 with some carriers. Pet owners also need to get their hands on a vet certificate—which makes sense—you don’t want to expose your fellow passengers to rabies or the mange, but that’s another charge even before you hit the tarmac. Add on the airline-approved carrier box and new pet wardrobe for the trip and things really start to add up.
Dogs 15 pounds or lighter can stay in the cabin with you, granted they remain in their carrier under your seat for the entire flight; oh and the carrier also counts a carry-on item, so make sure to pack all other essentials in one bag.
Also, you have to act fast when flying with pets, since most airlines have a cap on how many furry friends can be onboard at a time. JetBlue, for example, only allows four pets at a time. But ... what JetBlue lacks in available space for pets it does seem to make up for with its “JetPaws" program, which comes complete with a great downloadable guide featuring tips on traveling with your pet as well as pet-friendly recommendations once you get to your destination.
So if you really can’t leave your precious pup (or cat as the case may be) at home and you don’t have an awesome downstairs neighbor like moi to watch your pet, get ready to shell out some cash and forgo extra luggage. For many pet owners this is no longer a small price to pay to have their little snookens come on vacation; it can sometimes end up costing more than their own round-trip ticket!
Pet fees are of course only some of the airline fees you can encounter when planning your next trip, so get your wallet ready whether Fluffy comes along or not.
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