A friend of mine is a travel addict, so much so, that every time I text or call her, I need to first begin by asking her where she is.
Her 3-year-old Maltese dog joins her in these adventures, and before she books her ticket, she conducts intensive research to understand what are the policies of the airlines, hotels, service providers’ policy on accompanying pets are.
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Travelling with pets is becoming increasingly popular, and it is quite possible to make it a hassle-free experience if you follow certain rules. Here is a list of provisions that may help you.
• Before you embark on your journey and make arrangements to take your pet, do get a go-ahead from your vet regarding the same.
• Once that is done, find yourself a pet-friendly airline; your pet will need to have a rabies vaccination certificate before being allowed to board.
• Some airlines specify the number of pets that can be carried, in addition to the size of the transport kennels. For instance, an airline policy reads, ”the pet must be properly carried in soft ventilated bags/kennel in the prescribed size which cannot exceed 18″ x 18″ x 12″. The weight of the pet, including the container, should not exceed five kg. For carriage in the cabin. Pets of larger size/weight will be carried in the cargo hold
• In most airlines, two pets are allowed per passenger. Any additional pets could be charged extra.
• Your pet must be atleast 8-10 weeks old at the time of undertaking any air travel.
• Airlines have the right to refuse to take any pet on-board if they feel that the pet is aggressive, is pregnant, or has unweaned offsprings.
• For the comfort of your pet, choose a well-ventilated, non-chewable, tamper-and-leak-proof crate, testing it in advance with your pet and labelling it with relevant pet and owner details.
• Do remember that these are general guidelines, and each airline has its own policy on letting pets travel by air. Do your research before booking a flight.
• For example, in case you are travelling by Air India, you need to know that small inoffensive domestic pets such as dogs, cats and birds, accompanied by valid Health and Rabies vaccination certificates, will be accepted on Air India domestic flights in the cabin or in cargo hold at owner’s risk and subject to requirements of the carrier. Such carriage is subject to the approval of the commander of the flight.
• As a rule, IndiGo does not permit the carriage of animals on its flights. The only exception to this rule are guide dogs for blind passengers.
• SpiceJet carries live animals on the Boeing B737-800 and 900 series aircraft, only in the hold. No live animal is allowed in the passenger cabin. The rule also states that animals such as dogs, cats and other pets must be properly crated and accompanied by valid health and vaccination certificates and other documents required for carriage by air.
• Also, note that most airlines will ensure that you sign a consent form before your pet is allowed to be on the flight, and typically the form will read :‘The owner will assume all the risks of injury, sickness or death of the pet accepted for carriage.’
Do read the consent form thoroughly before you sign it.
• If you are carrying animals like donkeys, sheep, goats, dogs and other animals or birds you will be required to pay an additional fee of Rs 30, under section 77-A of the Indian Railway Act.
• If you are travelling with small or big dogs like Labradors, Boxer, German Shepherds, you will have to either reserve two berths or a four-berth compartment in a First AC coach, exclusively for your use after paying all the charges that are likely to be levied for this
• If you are travelling by first AC, then you may take your dog along only with the concurrence of your fellow passengers upon payment of the charges. This charge will be levied on a pre-paid basis. If for some reason any passenger objects subsequently, the dog might be removed to the Guard’s van and no refund will be provided.
• If the dog is smaller, then there are boxes available for a starting cost of Rs 10, depending on the size of the dog and box required.
• Do remember to provide water and food for your pet; the railway authorities do not have arrangements for the same.
• You must also ensure that you provide your dog with collars and chains.
• Dogs detected unbooked will be charged at six times the Luggage Scale Rate subject to a minimum of Rs 50.
General tips to remember
• Just as you would like to have a hassle-free journey, make the journey comfortable for your pet as well.
• If you are travelling by car with your pet, you could embark on a few short trips to get a feel of how your pet will react. Remember, pets can also get car-sick.
• While your pet may enjoy sticking its head out of the window, do not encourage this. It could potentially lead to accidents.
• Ensure that your pet is sufficiently hydrated and also provide adequate and frequent stops.
• Carry all valid documents with you during your journey; including a certificate from the vet, and all vaccination proof.
• Keep a familiar blanket or toy with your pet in the crate; this will ease them into the travel.
• Most vets urge you not to sedate the pet while travelling.
With these tips in mind, we hope that you and your pet have a happy and safe journey!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)