What Does it Mean for Your Pet to Travel by Excess Baggage?
Depending on how you want your pet to travel, you could choose the cargo option. This is where the pet is stored within the luggage holding area to the rear of the plane. However, if you want your pet with you, there’s the option to go for the excess baggage travel method. This is where you can have your family pet alongside you in the cabin for a fee. Be aware, this option may not be available with all airline companies. The main airlines which currently offer this service are:
• American Airlines
• Delta Airlines
• Air Canada
• Southwest airlines
Can Any Pet Travel by Excess Baggage?
Unfortunately, depending on the size of your pet you may not have the option to travel as Excess Baggage. If you have a large animal, they will need to be transported by using the cargo method.
If you have an emotional support dog, they may be accepted into the cabin but will need to check this with your flight provider.
Generally speaking, a pet is allowed in the cabin if its weight does not exceed 8kg, but this can change so it is always best to check with your flight provider. The dog must also be placed inside a soft material bag for the majority of the flight and be kept underneath the seat where they can be monitored by the owner.
Taking the above into consideration, you may need to have a rethink whether having your pet in the cabin is the best choice. It is usually safer and far more spacious (which your pet will thank you for!) to allow your animal to be kept inside the cargo hold area. When travelling by cargo, your pet will be strapped down securely inside a travelling kennel which is roughly the same size as a first-class sleeper.
There’s also the fact that the cargo area is temperature-controlled and is inaccessible for the duration of the flight. This means that your pet will be undisturbed once they have adapted to their surroundings and will be kept at a comfortable temperature.
What are the Costs Involved in Travelling with My Pet as Excess Baggage?
Depending on the airline company, the price for a one-way trip varies between USD$50 – $125 for your pet to travel with excess baggage. This has been incresing with COVID also in 2022.
When the pet travels by excess baggage, they will be treated no differently than an additional suitcase. This means that the airline company does not accept any liability for any damage to your pet’s health during the flight. However, if they are travelling by cargo, this then changes, and your pet will become the responsibility of the flight company.
Making the Booking
If you are keen on your pet travelling as Excess Baggage, the pet will be linked to your flight booking and must be booked in advance by speaking with your chosen airline company. It is important to check before making your booking that the airline does offer excess baggage as an option for your pet. They may insist on the cargo method, even if they meet the weight restrictions.
Nearly all airline companies will only allow a maximum of two pets to travel by excess baggage. This means if you’re travelling as a large group/family, this may not work for you.
If you have a flight booked that requires a layover, the connecting airline company may not permit excess baggage travel or any pets in the cabin. If this has been overlooked by the owner, this could cause a great deal of stress for both you and your travelling pet. Make sure you check with all the airline companies that your pet will be catered for.
Excess Baggage Travel and Cargo Differences
Let’s take a look at the two travel options available to your pet so you can decide what works best. We recommend you also take a look at the neat table we made on this page!
The limitations on Excess Baggage travel are:
• Size restrictions on your pet
• Uncomfortable travelling conditions if inadequate space
• Supervision required from the pet owner
• Could be additional stress for owner if the anxious animal cannot be calmed
• Multiple pets will not be permitted on one ticket
• Not all connecting flights will support this method
Cargo transport may present the following problems:
• Longer waiting times to be loaded onto the plane and removed on arrival, potentially increasing stress for your pet
• There is no supervision in the cargo holding area by members of staff
• There are some articles online which say the temperature control isn’t always in great shape in the cargo holding area, meaning uncomfortable conditions for your pet. Although our experience doen’t support that suggestion.
Excess Baggage Vs. Cargo
There will be more cost involved when it comes to using the cargo option over excess baggage. This is because it requires more assistance from the airline company to ensure that they are well catered for and strapped down securely. When your pet is flying excess baggage, this liability is transferred over to the owner.
One big benefit of excess baggage is that your pet is never too far from you. This can play a massive part in your pet’s health when travelling. Anxiety is a very common issue with all pets and can present health problems later on. When travelling by cargo, your pet may start to feel alone and worried due to the noise levels in the hold. Excess baggage gives you that peace of mind that your pet is not suffering from being too far away from you.
As your pet will be handled by an airline worker, they will not always have received the full training in how to handle animals. Having the option of keeping your pet close, will give you that added peace of mind.
The price of excess baggage varies depending on the airline company and the route. Unless you have an extremely small dog, it will usually be the smaller pets that can travel using this method such as reptiles. The cargo option is going to be your only option if you have a large dog breed and need to fly internationally.
After weighing up the pros and cons of both methods, it would appear that the cargo method is the best when it comes to supporting your pet. However, if your pet has a specific health issue, that’s a good reason to keep them close by. Most airline companies will support you in your decision as long as you provide all the details as early as possible to allow them to make the correct preparations.
We also can help with pets either flying Excess baggage or Cargo, so feel free to call us, or fill in the form linked below!
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