Cats on a plane?
July 23, 2009 9:25 PM   Subscribe

Help me move two cats across the US.

I need to move two cats (and myself) from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. What's the best way to do this?

I've moved single cats across the country before, by air in the cabin. But all the airlines that I've called won't let me carry on two cats if I'm flying alone, even if I buy a second seat.

I've moved two cats by car before, but this time around I don't think I can afford the travel time.

Am I stuck with shipping them as air cargo? Any other ideas?
posted by sesquipedalian to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Pet Airways is a new airline that caters only to pets, they do not fly out of the bay area, but they to fly to D.C.

They do fly out of L.A. and Denver, so you could get them to one of those two locations and fly them to D.C. from there.
posted by eldvno at 9:33 PM on July 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

Can you drive them down to LA then fly to Washington? If so, there's the new Pet Airways.
posted by greta simone at 9:34 PM on July 23, 2009

Oops, eldvno got to it first.
posted by greta simone at 9:35 PM on July 23, 2009

If you can buy a second seat, can you beg/borrow/steal a friend to come to DC for a long weekend, and you each take a cat, either together or separately?

I moved from DC to SF with two cats, but my fantastic girlfriend flew out to DC and then flew back to SF with me, so we each had a cat. There's a maximum number of pets allowed in the cabin, so reserve early if you fly together.
posted by rtha at 9:47 PM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Continental Air has a "pet safe" program for shipping animals as cargo. We are going to be testing it out on a pet rat next month. (Most airlines will not take rodents. Alaska/Horizon is the only other that we found.)
posted by metahawk at 10:14 PM on July 23, 2009

I'm doing this next week--moving out across country with our two cats. I'm flying Alaska and they haven't had an issue with me having two carriers. (I think their web site says there's a limit of one carrier in first class and five in coach). No clue if they go SF to Washington.

I did have to buy a second seat, and IN ADDITION there's a $100 fee "per kennel", which is just shitty and annoying. Yes, that means it will cost me $650 to fly the damn cats. Not to mention the vet fee beforehand to make sure their health records are in order, and the $60 each for the carriers they'll be riding in.

Good thing we love them. I think we're going to need to send them to work in little kitty sweatshops or something to offset this expense.
posted by Sublimity at 10:35 PM on July 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

My two cats have suffered many flights, some international. Cargo is fine. They have the same air environment you do in the cabin. They're latched into an area behind the luggage which is accessible to the crew. Frankly, it's better to reduce the number of people moving around them.
posted by FuManchu at 4:24 AM on July 24, 2009

Am I stuck with shipping them as air cargo?

If you do, I used Midwest Airlines as recommended in this earlier question of mine and everyone was real nice and the cats were pretty cool with the whole thing I think.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:13 AM on July 24, 2009

I shipped my cat with American Airlines as cargo. He was well-taken care of, no problems whatsoever. I had to comply with their rules (the size and kind of crate, food, water, labels, etc.), but it was no trouble at all and he came out on the other end relatively unmarred although slightly stressed. It cost $100 or so.
posted by cachondeo45 at 7:36 AM on July 24, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers, everyone. I probably will ship them either as checked luggage or cargo, but now I feel a lot better about it.

For posterity's sake, apparently the airlines are required to file a report every time an animal dies or is injured during air travel. You can see the numbers in a monthly report, and it's literally on the order of one or two per month, out of thousands transported.
posted by sesquipedalian at 10:06 PM on July 25, 2009

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