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dog transport question

dog transport question

Old Jun 12th 2012, 1:37 am
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Default dog transport question

We've booked our lovely dog to fly on the same flight as my husband and kids later this month from Heathrow to JFK with American Airlines. It's only meant to be $175 to ship him with them which with another 150 pounds for the cage is going to save us over $1000 compared with shipping with a pet agent.

I've spoken with AA but not convinced completely that this is going to work though.

The AA rep told me that we need to bring the dog to check-in at Heathrow and just check-in 4 hours before the flight. Is that correct? I've never seen pets at check in before!

The other thing is that our dog is officially a boxer-mix. AA refuse to fly boxers or boxer-mixes because they are brachycephalic but our dog is obviously not brachycephalic and has a lovely long healthy nose. I'm thinking of asking the vet to either change his documents to just 'mixed breed' - he's a rescue dog anyhow so it doesn't really matter - or getting her to sign off that he's not brachycephalic, although our luck we'll end up with a jobsworth who won't see past the reason for the rules.

Another issue is the temperature policy. If the temp is above 29 degrees either side, they won't fly. When we booked the flights, the agent recommended we book as late as possible at night so we land in NYC (where it's more likely to be a problem) when it's cooler. My concern again is with a jobsworth who will look at the temperature in New York when we check in and use the current temperature (ie middle of the afternoon when it's hottest) and refuse to fly him.

Finally, does anyone know if customs in JFK can deal with a dog at weekends? I was reading that some airports don't process animals at weekends. I'm hoping a big airport like JFK will be 24/7 but wondering if anyone has had experience? They'll be landing late Saturday evening.

We do ahve a contingency plan if all goes wrong and the dog will be back with my Mum to be shipped separately for the mega-bucks with a pet agent but hoping that we can do it this way with AA.

If anyone has any advice, it'll be much appreciated!!

Thanks!
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Old Jun 12th 2012, 4:36 am
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Default Re: dog transport question

Originally Posted by LillyRobeson View Post
Finally, does anyone know if customs in JFK can deal with a dog at weekends? I was reading that some airports don't process animals at weekends. I'm hoping a big airport like JFK will be 24/7 but wondering if anyone has had experience? They'll be landing late Saturday evening.
We flew our cat through a pet shipper and had to collect her from the BA cargo terminal after 7pm on a weekday evening and had to get her paperwork authorised by the customs office, literally at the far end of one of the runways, which was still open and looked to be pretty 24/7. As your dog will be "checked" hopefully your husband will be able to collect him at the baggage claim and not deal with the remote customs office at all. We did have a problem in that customs would only deal with the person named on the cat's docs (me) and not my wife who initially went to customs, so if you can get you both named on the paperwork, that might give you some more flexibility.
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Old Jun 12th 2012, 6:40 am
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Default Re: dog transport question

Originally Posted by LillyRobeson View Post
The AA rep told me that we need to bring the dog to check-in at Heathrow and just check-in 4 hours before the flight. Is that correct? I've never seen pets at check in before!
We waiting at check in with ours. You get some very funny looks!
My only advice is to try and get everything in writing. We didn't have as many potentional problems as you (ie breed, temp etc) and still needed our confirmation emails for most stages.
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Old Jun 12th 2012, 10:42 am
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Default Re: dog transport question

We checked in at heathrow with our cats......yes got a few strange looks. We thought it was strange that we hadn't seen any animals in there before, but then you realise that it's a very busy place, most of the time you're looking for your counter and once you've check in you're not going to see them anyway.

Customs at the weekends is just like customs during the week. We flew into philly and it was as simple as picking them up in the luggage hall (it may have been the oversized luggage counter) and then going through as normal. It may have been the animal control section that has a different weekend schedule.

Unfortunately you can't control the heat in NY so it's good that you have a back up. You can't control jobs worths either, but if you get a print out of the weather forcast or have your smartphone handy, for support.

Your vet may not feel comfortable changing paper work, but they should feel okay with documenting that they've had no brachycephalic issues.

Hope everything goes okay, let up know what happens.

A
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Old Jun 13th 2012, 1:45 am
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Default Re: dog transport question

Thank you for all your help. I spoke wtih AA again today. Apparently, yes, it is indeed check-in at heathrow. The rep told me to get the vet to certify that the dog isn't brachycephalic which shold be fine. And she said they'll go by the forecast temperature at JFK on landing. Plus she said JFK process animals at weekends and dog comes out at the baggage collection hall. So, fingers crossed, this may work!!

I'll keep you updated!
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Old Jun 13th 2012, 3:15 am
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Default Re: dog transport question

If you have time, you could always get a DNA test done on the dog. There's a chance we may be moving back to Singapore, who have quite a few restrictions on breeds you can import, so we thought we'd get our rescue mutt certified. Vet warned us it was a bit hit and miss, but we thought we'd do it anyway, just for a laugh. When we got her from the pound she was described as a lab/border collie mix, which she looks like, and is what our vet guessed. When we got her dna tested, it came back as a cocker spaniel, french terrier, american terrier (pitt bull) and chow mix. Hmmm...if they can get it that far out, your boxer mix may turn out to be a chihuahua/great dane mix, so no worries on the brachycephalic..is..itis...
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Old Jun 23rd 2012, 8:02 pm
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Default Re: dog transport question

Dog didn't fly. Jobsworth at Heathrow said 'no, boxer-mix'. Fuming with AA and their misinformation!! The dog is happily being spoiled by my Mum in London at the moment but now we have to figure out how to bring him over.
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Old Jun 23rd 2012, 8:26 pm
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Default Re: dog transport question

Sorry to gatecrash the thread but we'll be looking to fly our cat over with us. Is it as simple as dontacting the airline and going through them or is there a more complicated route? How much roughly does it cost?
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Old Jun 23rd 2012, 8:44 pm
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Default Re: dog transport question

Originally Posted by LillyRobeson View Post
Dog didn't fly. Jobsworth at Heathrow said 'no, boxer-mix'. Fuming with AA and their misinformation!! The dog is happily being spoiled by my Mum in London at the moment but now we have to figure out how to bring him over.
Sorry to hear that. Are you going with another airline or the QM2?
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Old Jun 23rd 2012, 9:10 pm
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Default Re: dog transport question

Originally Posted by Weeze View Post
Sorry to hear that. Are you going with another airline or the QM2?
Since I'm here and husband and kids are in the air right now, we'll have to go through a pet agent and fly him. Don't think the QM2 takes unaccompanied dogs!
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Old Jun 26th 2012, 9:04 pm
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Default Re: dog transport question

So sorry to hear they didnt fly your dog, TOTAL CRAP, If it helps you at all we used PBS when we shipped our dog as a pet agent and they were excellent. Good luck
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Old Jun 27th 2012, 2:41 am
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Default Re: dog transport question

How much did it cost? It's all soooo expensive! The cheapest is £880 only if the mutt and crate are under 45kg. Right now they're at 45kg but the dog will probably be 10kg heavier after a couple of weeks at my mum's Then the rest go up to £1420!!! Just to ship a dog for gods sake!!
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Old Jun 27th 2012, 8:48 am
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Default Re: dog transport question

We got a quote from Virgin. £410 one way to Boston.
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Old Jun 27th 2012, 12:59 pm
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Default Re: dog transport question

We used PBS to arrange the flights but got the crate etc. ourselves - they were really good and very professional. (unlike some of the 'full-service' agencies we contacted)
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Old Jun 27th 2012, 2:37 pm
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Default Re: dog transport question

Hello again. £822, rip off! Yes, when we used PBS we also got the crate ourselves, put the dog on a diet (seriously) dropped him off at the terminal and picked him up at the other end. I have written a dogblog about his journey on this site, check it out. Also definitely get the paperwork to say mixed breed, if he doesnt look like a boxer should be fine. Good luck.
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