Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum

This discussion was prompted this morning because of a FRANTIC call from a client of mine and his family who were relocating for the company I work for.  As you may or may not know I have been a corporate travel agent for 19+ years and I have probably forgot more airline issues that most people see on the news in a lifetime. 


This morning my frantic caller and his family were delayed on a flight from Orlando to Seattle, WA.  They are a family of 6 with 2 cocker spaniels who had to travel as cargo.  They were delayed over 2 hours and they were already away from the gate when the delay occurred.  The airline flight attendants refused to give them any information on what was being done to make sure their 2 dogs were ok in the cargo section, all they would say is "I am sure they are fine" - How sure are they?  As sure as the people that flew the dogs in articles I have below?  My client called the airline number that is used specifically for transporting animals.  Their response, if the flight is delayed more than 4 HOURS we will remove them from the plane.  What about the passengers on the plane?  They are supposed to let them off after 4 hours but I have had PLENTY of clients stuck for 4+ to 6 hours after a plane has left the runway.  Even if they are taken from the plane where are they going to be kept? Who is going to watch them?  I have seen such a disregard for the HUMANS the airlines transport I just cannot imagine that the under-staffed, debt ridden airlines are going to be overly concerned with our four-legged family members. 


Here are a few statistics that I just found online that are very scary and interesting at the same time.....

Since record-keeping by the U.S. Department of Transportation began in May 2005, 30 pets became injured during air transport, 17 pets became lost and 49 pets died, how many were actually injured, died or lost is the big question, because of the loophole below.....

The DOT interprets the relevant U.S. law (49 U.S.C. § 41721) as applying only to animals considered “pets,” commercial airlines are not required to report losses, injuries or deaths of animals who are considered “not owned” at the time of their transport—this includes dogs shipped by breeders and puppy mills, as well as show dogs being transported by handlers.


Then I went even further and decided to check my deleted email box and in the course of probably 30 seconds copied all of these airline issues - and mind you I probably have 30 more but here were just a few to start my debate....  What if there had been dogs on these flights?  What would happen?


U.S.: Report of engine fire forces emergency landing in Arkansas
16-May-2011 01:27:42 AM (GMT) LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Little Rock National Airport officials say a report of an engine fire has forced an American Airlines flight to make an emergency landing.

 U.S.: Smoke in cabin forces American Airlines flight to return to airport
15-May-2011 09:35:48 PM (GMT) PHOENIX - An American Airlines flight headed to Chicago was forced to return to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport after the pilot reported light smoke in the cabin.

Aruba, U.S.: Flight returns to airport after bird strike
14-May-2011 09:26:26 PM (GMT) A JetBlue flight headed for Aruba was forced to return to New York's JFK airport on Saturday after a bird strike.

 U.S.: Report of fumes in cockpit, cabin prompt flight to return to Arizona airport
16-May-2011 08:31:34 PM (GMT) MESA, Ariz. (AP) - An Allegiant Airlines flight was forced to return to the airport in Mesa, Ariz., after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit.

 U.S.: Thunderstorms cause flight delays to Chicago  **Many of these were on the runways and away from the gates when the delays occured.
13-May-2011 06:58:43 PM (GMT) The FAA's Air Traffic Control System Command Center on Friday afternoon reported significant flight delays at the following airport:
U.S.: Alert light forces Boston-bound plane to return to Orlando airport
17-May-2011 12:38:14 PM (GMT) From media reports: The Orlando Sentinel reported on Tuesday morning that Boston-bound JetBlue flight 960 was forced to return to the Orlando International Airport in Florida on Monday evening after a maintenance light went on in the cockpit.

 U.S.: Phoenix-New York City flight lands safely after reportedly being hit by lightning
17-May-2011 03:04:15 PM (GMT) From media reports: DNA Info reported on Tuesday morning that JetBlue flight 180 from Phoenix has landed safely at John F. Kennedy International Airport after reportedly being hit by lightning.

 U.S.: Regional flight blocks runway at Denver airport after landing gear collapses
17-May-2011 04:52:35 PM (GMT) From media reports: The Denver Post reported a Great Lakes plane from Pueblo landed safely at Denver International Airport on Tuesday morning after part of its landing gear collapsed.

 U.S.: Passenger death forces American Airlines flight to divert to Virginia
19-May-2011 10:37:58 AM (GMT) NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - An American Airlines flight was diverted to Virginia after a male passenger died on board.
U.S.: Power outage disrupts flights at Vermont airport
19-May-2011 04:36:30 PM (GMT) From media reports: The Burlington Free Press reported six to eight late-night incoming flights were canceled at Vermont's Burlington International Airport on Wednesday night after lights on the main runway failed. The exact number of flights affected was not known at the time of the news report.

U.S.: Threat forces American Eagle flight to return to airport
20-May-2011 03:10:52 AM (GMT) An American Eagle flight from Chicago to Fargo, North Dakota, was forced to return to O'Hare International Airport after a warning was found onboard.

 U.S.: At least two flights canceled at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport
20-May-2011 02:23:33 PM (GMT) From media reports: The Times-Tribune reported on Friday morning that at least two flights have been canceled at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport because of stormy weather moving through Pittston Township, Pennsylvania.


There are so many options, in my opinion, to having a puppy or dog shipped.  One that jumps to mind if you have to fly is book the flight for yourself - go and pick up your puppy and bring it back on the plane under the seat with you.  Anymore you can always find a decent airfare, it might be more than having it shipped as cargo but in the big picture we all know that doodles are not inexpensive, what is a few hundered more dollars to make sure that your puppy is not traumatized by some disgruntled airline worker that could careless?  


Let's hear your thoughts!!!!! 

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Replies to This Discussion

Wow that is scary!  I am not sure what I will do when I am in the market for my next pup.  My breeder is in Canada and if she is still breeding when I am in the market for another pup I will be buying from her.  She shipped my first pup to me and Maya was fine.  Everything went smoothly.  When I picked up my rescue pup I flew with him in the cabin and he was 8 weeks old and he really didn't fit in the airlines guidelines of flying in the cabin.  He was too big!  Luckily he had a crazy birth story and the airline agent had a soft heart and let him on!

The problem is also made worse by where you live.  If a flight is delayed right now in Fort Myers - it is in the upper 90's here everyday - is the cargo area air-conditioned?  Or when we fly from our home in MI - out of South Bend - it is many times below zero in the winter.  IMHO - too dangerous.  Fly yourself or drive to get your puppy. 

I believe airlines will not fly any dog in cargo if the temps are below 45 or above 85 degrees.
I asked Continental and Delta this question because I was curious when you mentioned the air conditioning and the both said that they are not but they are pressurized and use the in cabin air. Not sure exactly what that means but it sounds like no.
This is terrible! I know for a fact that the cargo area is not air-conditioned and that if it is hot enough outside it can reach over 100 degrees in the cargo area. I have heard of maybe 2 or 3 doggie specific planes. But none of them go out of the U.S yet. And later on we plan to go to Colombia and want to bring Huff with us. I really Hope someone fixes this.
Well, I tend to always fall on the side of better safe than sorry. I have heard horrible things about dogs traveling via airplane, many detailed above. In my opinion, whether or not they are all 100 percent true is irrelevant. If there are that many bad rumors, and deaths surrounding these flights, they aren't something I'm going to touch. I would MUCH rather road trip it to pick up my pup. No flying!

There's also the issue of noise. The sound in the cargo hold of an aircraft is beyond deafening, or so I have been told by airline personnel. I know there are many people here who have had their pups shipped, and everyone says the dogs were fine, but you could say that about any traumatic experience. While it's happening, it's terrifying. Afterwards, you may see you're fine and you get over it, but it was still a horrible experience. When people say "Oh, little Bozo was not affected, he was wagging his tail when we got him, I always think "Yeah, he was so thrilled to be out of there, everything seemed wonderful! Cruella de Ville could have been there to meet him and he would have been wagging his tail.

Outside of an emergency situation, I personally would never allow any dog to fly in cargo regardless of there being people who check on them, temperature, delays, etc.  If I were purchasing a puppy from a breeder, and he was too big to travel in the passenger compartment, I would make it my business to find one within driving distance of my home, or take a road trip, or figure out some other way to get the dog.

Sounds like we are pretty much all on the same page.  I totally agree with Karen.  I researched Doodles for over a year before I got Gracie Doodle.  I never even considered looking at breeders that I could not drive to.  Flying has always been out of the question in my book.  I would drive to the ends of the earth for my Gracie and she will NEVER be put on an airplane (she is a tiny horse though...ha ha).

Buddy flew to us in the month of October and all was fine.  I had to fly out to the breeder and fly Kona back with me in the cabin becuase it was still over 100 degrees in Sept. when she came home.  I think it was almost more stressful for poor Kona as we had a loooong layover between flights.  I also upgraded to 1st class thinking we would have a nice comfy time going home and ended up with a screaming toddler non stop for two hours seated in the first row of coach.  I think the roar of the engines would have been preferable to me, especially since I paid to upgrade!  So she and I traveled from morning to evening, whereas Buddy was a non stop 3 hour flight, offloaded first, and we both drove home in 15minutes from the airport.

Here are Kona and I "getting to know each other" on our Layover:

Aw... What a sweetie.  Bonding during layover could be worth the layover...

Did I ever tell you about the doodle kisses that made me fall in love?  Remind me next time I see you :)


Another option is choosing a breeder near enough to where you could drive to pick up - even if you have an overnight stay.



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