Airline where pet can fly w/o certificate of health from vet. Sandy Emergency!
November 2, 2012 9:58 AM   Subscribe

Emergency! Does anyone know of an airline (or other option) that allows pets to fly as cargo without a certificate of health from the vet? I know there are one or two.

I'm in an emergency sandy situation. I have no power, water, cell service and am moving across the country flight booked Nov 12. I have a dog and have to get my dog to the vet (walk 30+ blocks and she has a torn acl) to get her a bill of health to fly as cargo per most airline regulations. She's too big to fly in cabin (30 lb corgi.) I know there are one or two airlines that don't require a bill of health but I have zero time to do a deep internet search as I can only use internet briefly and only if I walk 30 blocks and many avenues. Also we are expecting a freezing storm Monday and she can not fly AT ALL if temps are below 45. I need to get her on a plane ASAP. Can someone please advise?
posted by LLF246 to Pets & Animals (28 answers total)
Are you certain your vet won't email or fax you the certificate? My old regular vet had the certs at the office, the medical info is very basic and I'm not even certain they required an actual vet to examine the pet, just to sign off. Given the circumstances they might be able to do something for you. Apologies if you've tried, but if you haven't it's another avenue. I guess a nearer vet could be an option too?
posted by crabintheocean at 10:04 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: There is a blackout and all businesses within 30 blocks are not open. I am trying to book her with a vet far out but since there is no gasoline in the city and public transit is so limited getting there is very difficult. We can walk (though that's far) but my dog is injured. I have called and asked if a vet will provide one in the emergency without a visit but have been denied. Any vets on metafilter that could advise would be beneficial too.
posted by LLF246 at 10:15 AM on November 2, 2012

Which airport(s) can you leave from? Where are you going?
posted by crabintheocean at 10:22 AM on November 2, 2012

Response by poster: I can leave from LGA or JFK and flying into DFW. I would take AUS if for some reason DFW doesn't work (though DFW should be easier).
posted by LLF246 at 10:26 AM on November 2, 2012

There are vets at some airports, apparently including JFK. May be worth a try.

Dr. Lori Harms – Port Veterinarian
Main Phone: (718) 553-3570
Fax: (718) 553-3572

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm local time

Hours for In-Person Health Certificate Endorsement:
Monday – Thursday 8:30 am – 11:30 am and 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm local time
Friday 8:30 am – 11:30 am local time
posted by walla at 10:38 AM on November 2, 2012

If youncan stuff her into a bag right now I would suggest just taking her on the subway to a vet uptown. Also maybe contact the mayor's alliance for nyc's animals and ask for advice? Although I think their offices may be affected by the blackout.

ok! here is their list of 24h emergency vets -

stuff dog in bag, get on subway, go to emergency vet.
posted by elizardbits at 10:39 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Pet Friendly Travel link makes it look like Delta doesn't require a health certificate, but they actually do require one (it's just listed on a different page).

I Googled this pretty hard and there do not appear to be any commercial airlines that fly a route between NYC and Texas that do not require a health certificate for animals in cargo.
posted by phoenixy at 10:40 AM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

sorry, im assuming you are in manhattan and not an outer boro.
posted by elizardbits at 10:40 AM on November 2, 2012

I have flown pets with Delta and needed a cert for sure. I'm searching and not finding any airline that takes cargo pets without health certificates, and I'm finding suggestions that it's a requirement in many states and so is universal policy. I think you may be unable to do this this way.
posted by crabintheocean at 10:42 AM on November 2, 2012

Yeah, I would just try carrying the dog to a vet. Not ideal for you but it seems like it would solve the problem. You might need to spring for a cab if they are really far away; most cabbies in philly don't mind a contained dog, hopefully it's the same there. Best of luck, and I'm sorry you are going through this!
posted by two lights above the sea at 10:47 AM on November 2, 2012

The subway is not running below roughly 40th street—in other words, where the power is still out in Manhattan. See this map. "Getting on the subway" is not going to be an option for the OP.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:09 AM on November 2, 2012

Response by poster: Closest vet appt I can get is tomorrow at 9:30 AM way up town. There are no cabs or car services til Mon due to the gasoline shortage (and no subway anywhere near me due to outage as stated above). The vet at JFK sounds like it would be the best bet except I won't make it in time before they close today and closed on weekends. Monday the temperatures will be too cold for her to fly. But thank you very much metafilter community and please let me know if anyone can think of any other options. I booked a 9:30 AM appt tomorrow with a vet far away and will just do my best to deal with the terrible bus situation and a heavy hurt dog.
posted by LLF246 at 11:24 AM on November 2, 2012

where exactlyin nyc are you located?
posted by elizardbits at 11:32 AM on November 2, 2012

also, sorry, im a little confused - you want the dog to fly solo some time this weekend while you travel on nov 12th? or you want to fly with all your stuff plus the dog in cargo some time this weekend, before it's too cold on monday?
posted by elizardbits at 11:37 AM on November 2, 2012

How about taking one of the subway replacement busses that are running through lower manhattan? The lines might be long but then you can hook up with the subways which are running uptown.

I'm not sure what the pet policy is on the bussess right now but normally dogs in carriers on the bus seem to be ok (and you might get some leeway if you explain you're on your way to the vet).
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 11:42 AM on November 2, 2012

I've flown Continental twice from NYC to Houston and back with a cat, and while they claim to require a certificate of health, no one ever asked to see the certificate. I've also had friends fly without even buying their pet a ticket, and they've never run into trouble.
posted by lunalaguna at 11:46 AM on November 2, 2012

I've also had friends fly without even buying their pet a ticket, and they've never run into trouble.

I don't know how this is possible when the pet is flying cargo. It also means that if anything goes wrong, you can make no claims against the airline, and it certainly means that an airline can boot you off a flight if they choose. When flying out of NY is going to be difficult enough right now, I can't imagine anyone wanting to take that chance.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:52 AM on November 2, 2012

Where are you and where is the vet appt? Cross streets helpful. I am pretty sure that pets in carriers on buses is ok right now because I saw a lady with a dog in a carrier on the bus yesterday. You can probably take the bus.
posted by bedhead at 11:54 AM on November 2, 2012

When I traveled Airtran, Delta, and Jet Blue with my cat this summer (DC to NOLA) they didn't ask to look at my vet certificate, or do any paperwork documenting that I had a cat with me as a carryon. I'm not sure if this is because I was traveling using my military ID, but those are the ones I would check if possible.
posted by spunweb at 12:05 PM on November 2, 2012

Oh, and they didn't weigh her as a carryon. They just measured the carrier itself to see if THAT was a carry on size.
posted by spunweb at 12:06 PM on November 2, 2012

There are cabs operating downtown, as my partner has been taking one home from work every day this week from near Battery Park. It might take a bit of waiting, but it'll save you and pups from a long walk.
posted by BigJen at 12:22 PM on November 2, 2012

they didn't ask to look at my vet certificate, or do any paperwork documenting that I had a cat with me as a carryon.

Pets carried on are treated very differently than pets in cargo. A 30-pound corgi can't go under a seat.

I have skirted the health certificate problem in the past by ... crying. I obviously can't promise this will work for you. (Since then, and that was in 2004, I have just gotten the certificate, although I have only been asked for it about half the time.)

Good luck!
posted by purpleclover at 12:38 PM on November 2, 2012

What about one of the pet ground transport services? I have no idea how the price would compare to shipping her via cargo, but it's an option. And it would give you several more days to get the certificate. Google "ground transportation pet" for some ideas.

Are you trying to fly with her, on the same flight, or ship her alone via cargo? There are different rules.
posted by barnone at 12:53 PM on November 2, 2012

Another idea: Vet who makes house calls. Instead of struggling to get your dog to the vet, find a vet to come to you? Might be expensive but not much more expensive than an emergency vet!

No experience with these vets but one of them might do the trick!

City Pets
Dr. Carolyn Quagliata - Village House Care Veterinarian (yelp)
Visiting Vet NYC
House call service
NYC House Vet
At Home Vet (yelp)
posted by barnone at 1:10 PM on November 2, 2012

I've flown Continental twice from NYC to Houston and back with a cat, and while they claim to require a certificate of health, no one ever asked to see the certificate.

I think the Continental situation has changed since they merged with United. When Continental was actually Continental, they didn't require the certificates, at least at one point, but I don't think that applies any longer.
posted by phoenixy at 1:33 PM on November 2, 2012

A last ditch option would be to have your dog stay with a friend/pet sitter until things get back to normal and then have them put her on a plane once all the details have been worked out. It's one way you don't have to rush and panic.

Put her on a non stop flight if you can, or try something like Pet Air. (I have no idea if they are recommended or not...)
posted by Vaike at 5:52 PM on November 2, 2012

Are you sure? From Delta's website:

"A health certificate is required when shipping your pet as cargo. While Delta does not require a health certificate for carried-on or checked pets, upon arrival, the certificate may be required by the state."

It definitely seems that shipping as cargo (e.g., without being a ticketed passenger yourself) always requires a health certificate, but traveling as checked luggage does not.

You're right, but the OP specifically asked about shipping as cargo. The OP mentioned that she already has a flight booked so I assume she wasn't planning on accompanying the pet. (One, somewhat expensive, option is to buy another ticket and have a friend check the dog as luggage.) OP, does your booked flight let you check the dog without a health certificate? That might be another option.
posted by phoenixy at 9:13 PM on November 2, 2012

Response by poster: $410 for the vet visit but got it done this morning on a Saturday. And will try to get her on a direct flight as cargo today. Cargo is awful for the dogs and I wish there were another way, but I haven't found any other pet travel option that flies from NYC to Texas. Thank you so much for looking into this with me everyone.
posted by LLF246 at 9:05 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

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