Its been 3 weeks since our amazing trip to the BlogPaws conference in beautiful Lake Las Vegas, Nevada and Basil’s first airplane ride. We think that Basil is now officially the amazing flying dog!
I wanted to share some tips and tricks that we learned from flying with a four-legged friend. As well as a photo or two. I’ll also give you a short review of the SturdiBag pet carrier that we used and that helped Basil take another giant step for dog-kind.
Tip 1: Give Yourself More Time Than You Think You Need!
When it comes to traveling on airplanes or just plain going to the airport, even when I’m traveling without Basil, I always show up WAY too early. I find that sometimes its a breeze and sometimes the line to just check-in is a mile long. Too many times have I been in line at check-in or for security and there is a frantic traveler in front of me yelling and complaining that he or she is going to miss their flight if they don’t get through this line NOW. I never want to be that person so I would rather be too early than too late!
As for traveling with your pet this tip is even more important. Most airlines do require that you make a “reservation” for your pet before your flight but this reservation is not a guarantee that your pet will be on this flight. When going to Las Vegas we flew on US Airways. They were great but they do have a 6 pet per plane max. This means if 6 pets show up to your flight before you do…Sorry, you are out of luck and that so called “reservation” means nothing! For our flight from Charlotte to Las Vegas for the BlogPaws conference I was slightly concerned, being that Charlotte is an US Airways/American Airlines hub, that there would be more than 6 pets on our flight. To make sure Basil made the flight and the conference we showed up the airport 3 1/2 hours early. This may seem like a lot but it was what made me comfortable and gave me a little piece of mind. As it turned out, we were the only pet on the plane that day but again, better safe than sorry!
Tip 2: Be Kind!
This one may seem like common sense but you would be surprised how many grown adults don’t follow it. Every person you have to deal with when traveling through an airport is just doing their job. From the clerk at the check-in counter to the person that scans your ticket at the gate and the flight attendants, they are all there to do their jobs and serve you. This doesn’t mean you can walk all over them! With just a simple smile and a thank you it really does make all the difference.
In our case, Basil and his pet carrier is slightly larger than the approved pet size allowed on most airlines. This means at any point before the plane takes off we could be confronted and asked to leave. I didn’t want this to happened and we were fortunate enough to not have any issues and everyone we spoke to had zero problem with Basil or his carrier. I do know, for a fact, that this would be a different story if I was overtly rude and chose to complain about issues that couldn’t be resolved. So, just remember to be kind and if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all!
Tip 3: Know Where the Pet Potty is!
For this trip I booked a direct flight with no layovers so that Basil don’t have to “hold it” for too long but I know that sometimes that is not an option. Do research on each airport before you travel. If you can’t or forget I would recommend using the time once the plane touches down on the tarmac and they allow you to switch on your phone to look up where the pet area is in that airport. Will you have to exit the airport and go through security again? Do they even have a spot for pets? The last thing you want to worry about when in an unfamiliar airport is cleaning up an accident. I also have read a tip from a fellow pet blogger, Dog Jaunt that said to bring pee pads. If your pet needs to go while on the plane, this is a way to take your buddy to the tiny airplane bathroom and set up a pad. Also, if you are unable to get to the pet potty or maybe have a short layover, you have a back up plan.
Our first airplane trip with Basil was pretty smooth and what helped a lot was the SturdiBag pet carrier we had ordered. I choose this bag after doing hours and hours of research online and reading more than my fair share of reviews. I found the large size SturdiBag to fit our 20+ lb. Boston terrier perfect. Its soft sides make it fit nicely under the US Airways seats and the super soft pad inside make Basil feel comfortable. Disclaimer! The large size SturdiBag is 2 inches longer than most airlines listed max size. Please be aware of this if you do choose this bag.
The only down side to this fabulous pet carrier is there is only one door, on the front. If both front and back zipped open it would make it much easier for my dog to enter and exit the carrier. Other than that, I loved the bag and would purchase it again in a heart beat!
Hope you enjoyed this post and we can’t want to get back up into the friendly skies and log some more air miles under Basil’s collar.
Travel well, nap well, live well!
-Abbey & Basil