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jenninedinburgh Jun 12th 2016 1:00 pm

Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 
Hello,

As I have found this forum extremely useful, I want to share our experience of bring our pets to the USA from the UK.

I will first say that leaving out pets behind in the UK was not an option. They are truly a part of our family and it was not even a consideration.

Having researched our options, we decided to purchase a couple of Sleepypod Airs and take them in the cabin with us. Sleepypod Air | Dog Airline Carrier and Cat Airline Carrier | Airline Approved Pet Carrier - Sleepypod® | The safest pet company | Dog Carrier | Cat Carrier | Dog Harness


We decided to take them in the cabin with us for a few reasons:
  1. I read a lot about the experiences of pets who were flown in the hold and was really nervous about it
  2. I also read some experiences of pets who were flown in the hold to our destination airport Atlanta and how they would be out on the tarmac with all of the luggage in the hot summer sun
  3. the price quoted to fly them in the hold from Edinburgh was high at £1400

Having consulted Google quite a bit, I found that there are three airlines, Air France, KLM, and Lufthansa that will allow cats in the cabin flying out of the UK. The caveat is that one will have to connect somewhere in Europe and then fly direct to the USA from there (Paris for Air France for example) as there are no airlines that fly directly from the UK to the USA that allow cats in the cabin due to UK regulations.

We were VERY nervous about the prospect of flying them in the cabin with us and also taking them through security. Security wasn't an issue as we did not have to walk them through the scanner as I had read about, but were allowed to take them to a private room so that the security officers at Edinburgh airport could feel inside and around their Sleepypods. They could not have been NICER! They actually said that they hardly ever had cats to come through and were quite excited about it :) In fact, all of the airport personnel were very kind to our critters throughout the whole day! :) The cats were amazing too. They did not cry very much at all - only in the taxi to the airport and that was it! We would reach into their carriers from time to time on the plane and give them a pet and put some water on our fingers for them to lick off. We also found family bathrooms in Amsterdam and Atlanta where we unzipped their carriers and let them out for some fresh air and water (although they did not drink any until we were actually home - which was HOURS later). They also jumped straight back into their carriers as they weren't sure about where they were, so the visit to the bathroom made us feel better, but not sure about them.

For any potential accidents, I purchased DryFur pads to place inside their carriers. We followed the vet's advice and did not feed them in the morning before our flight. They did not soil the pads at all over the course of the 22 hours it took us to get door to door from Edinburgh to South Carolina https://www.amazon.com/DryFur-Carrie...rds=dryfur+pad.

The only problem we had was a result of issues with the airline rather than the cats. We booked our tickets on Air France months in advance and had booked the cats in the cabin with us. Our flight was scheduled at 06:35 AM from EDI to CDG. At 10 pm the night before our flight, after we had already gone to bed, we got a text message advising that our flight had been cancelled. We got up and spent 2 hours on the phone getting booked on another flight on KLM only to arrive at the airport to find that they had double booked us on another Air France flight and part of the KLM flight WITHOUT the cats (Air France, KLM and Delta are all the same company, but their systems don't seem to be very well integrated yet)! It was a nightmare with them! Good thing we arrived at the airport early as we stood at the check in counter for an hour and a half while they tried to sort it all out. We're not sure if the flight was cancelled due to the strikes in France (no reason was ever given), but my advice to anyone is if you are travelling in the summer, DON'T choose Air France as the risk of strikes is higher.

My overall position is that I highly recommend taking your cats in the cabin with you if possible. It's cheaper (100 euros each) and I think they much preferred being with us rather than being shuffled around with luggage and being scared to death about what was going on around them.

md95065 Jun 12th 2016 4:48 pm

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 
:goodpost:

For the record, while Air France, KLM, and Delta are part of the "Skyteam" group of code sharing partners, they are not "all the same company".

jenninedinburgh Jun 12th 2016 6:58 pm

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 

Originally Posted by md95065 (Post 11971427)
:goodpost:

For the record, while Air France, KLM, and Delta are part of the "Skyteam" group of code sharing partners, they are not "all the same company".

If we are being precise ;), they are classed as a joint venture - "The joint-venture set up between Air France-KLM, Delta and Alitalia is now the most advanced model of cooperation between airlines. It involves the joint operations and the sharing of revenues and costs of more than 250 daily transatlantic flights operated daily by Air France, KLM Delta and Alitalia."



Joint-venture : Air France - Corporate

LondonSquirrel Jun 12th 2016 7:48 pm

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 
Oh good for you, getting them over in the cabin. I think it's pretty silly that cats and small dogs who will fit under the seat cannot be accommodated in the cabin on direct UK to US flights. Glad they were fine. How do they like America so far?

jenninedinburgh Jun 12th 2016 9:46 pm

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 

Originally Posted by LondonSquirrel (Post 11971553)
Oh good for you, getting them over in the cabin. I think it's pretty silly that cats and small dogs who will fit under the seat cannot be accommodated in the cabin on direct UK to US flights. Glad they were fine. How do they like America so far?

They love it here - thanks for asking. A lot more room to run around and an amazing view out the window of lots of birds and trees. There is a bird bath in the back garden that is very popular in the evenings. Birds fly into it, flap their wings around and fly out. It's entertaining to us and them :)

Pulaski Jun 13th 2016 2:19 am

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 

Originally Posted by LondonSquirrel (Post 11971553)
..... I think it's pretty silly that cats and small dogs who will fit under the seat cannot be accommodated in the cabin on direct UK to US flights. .....

I am glad that I never have to share cabin space with a cat or dog on flights into or out of the UK. Don't get me wrong, I like dogs, and have co-owned five cats since coming to the US, but airline cabins are already poorly ventilated and full of stinky, whining human beings. I find the thought of sharing cabin space with a small animal unpleasant, especially if it is the person behind me who has an animal with them, because it would be under my seat, whining and whimpering, coughing, vomiting, peeing, or cräpping. :frown:

lansbury Jun 13th 2016 6:35 am

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 

Originally Posted by Pulaski (Post 11971716)
I am glad that I never have to share cabin space with a cat or dog on flights into or out of the UK. Don't get me wrong, I like dogs, and have co-owned five cats since coming to the US, but airline cabins are already poorly ventilated and full of stinky, whining human beings. I find the thought of sharing cabin space with a small animal unpleasant, especially if it is the person behind me who has an animal with them, because it would be under my seat, whining and whimpering, coughing, vomiting, peeing, or cräpping. :frown:

Any cretin who brings animals in the cabin should be thrown out mid Atlantic closely followed by their pet carrier.

LondonSquirrel Jun 13th 2016 7:54 am

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 

Originally Posted by lansbury (Post 11971810)
Any cretin who brings animals in the cabin should be thrown out mid Atlantic closely followed by their pet carrier.

Obviously many European countries don't agree.

audio Jun 13th 2016 9:32 am

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 
Every year I make a round trip from Paris with my cat and dog. They are too large for the cabin.
I use AF and every year I have problems.
To my knowledge there is no way on-line, a pet can be booked at the same time as yourself. So you have to prepay first for passengers and then phone hoping the airline will accept your pet on the same flight, remembering there is a forfeit for changing the already reserved date(s)
Despite knowing Paris CDG quite well, wading through the scrum at the airport with two pets to the check-in desk, to find that the agent has idea what to do is a nightmare.
Same can be said with some Delta agents at ATL.

For animals in the cabin, I have to agree with Pulaski and Lansbury in #6&7.

MidAtlantic Jun 13th 2016 12:40 pm

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 

Originally Posted by lansbury (Post 11971810)
Any cretin who brings animals in the cabin should be thrown out mid Atlantic closely followed by their pet carrier.

No need to get personal :p

lansbury Jun 13th 2016 2:53 pm

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 

Originally Posted by LondonSquirrel (Post 11971862)
Obviously many European countries don't agree.

I don't particularly care what most European countries do. Inflicting your flea ridden pets on others in a confined cabin is grossly inconsiderate especially on those of us who have allergies.

lansbury Jun 13th 2016 2:54 pm

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 

Originally Posted by MidAtlantic (Post 11972090)
No need to get personal :p

Let me know if to many land in your yard and I'll send a skip round. :lol:

BubbleChog Jun 13th 2016 2:58 pm

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 
I'm glad the OP and her furry friends are settling in well but given that some flights have to be peanut free for some allergy sufferers I don't know how pets in the cabin is still allowed. I wouldn't think to advise an airline that my husband has a severe cat allergy and don't relish the thought of attempting to use his epi-pen at 40,000 feet.

Rete Jun 13th 2016 3:29 pm

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 
Glad it worked out for you Jennie. I took my cat by plane from New York to Mississippi two years ago and it was great for both her and I to have her in her carrier under the seat. While it was only a short flight in comparison, she was quiet and didn't pee or crap in her carrier. There is a $100 fee from JetBlue for taking your animal with you. Well worth it in my opinion for her safety and my concern.

As for allergies, I would drop those people out the back door who bath in their perfume and scented deodorants. I change seats when I can but usually have to hold something over my noise for during the flight and have the personal 'fan' on to dispel their odor. :ohmy:

katzgar Jun 13th 2016 5:14 pm

Re: Our experience flying cats in the cabin transatlantic
 
I have heard of flying squirrels but never flying cats. Does the US class them as an invasive species?


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