Jan 11, 2012

Daily thoughts - My Cats' "Visa"Journey part 2

What is considered an airline approved carrier when traveling internationally?

It actually vary depending on what airline you plan to use.

I learned the hard way that you cannot rely on a tag that says airline approved for a carrier to be considered as such. I had to email, tweet, call customer service and still not get a consistent answer. And this went on for over a week. But the obvious was actually staring me in the face when I saw it online:

Which can be found on this link along with the requirements when you plan to travel with your beloved pet. Of course I just wanted the person's answer to conform to what i wanted to hear. I already bought the carrier and it was wishful thinking that I hoped it was the right one. Actually it met most of the requirements except that it had to be secured by metal bolts.

It took me a day to look around the city to look for that carrier I bought. Also it was heavy and I propped it on my lap on a special tricycle ride. "Special" meaning I had to pay for the whole ride because no other passenger could get on the tricycle carriage since I had a humongous carrier on me. It would be too troublesome to replace it and look for another carrier and go through the whole ordeal all over again.
 the new carrier (Left ) as compared to the old one (right)
When my husband flew to NY in 2010, DELTA accepted the carrier as shown ( the smaller carrier ) on top. But for reasons Im not sure of (but most probably is meant to protect the animals on board), they have stopped accepting carriers that are secured by plastic latches only (unless it has metal bolts).

I spent a great deal of time researching this online. I was worried of being denied at the airport. I couldnt imagine not being able to bring my 2 cats with me. If it came to that, I likely would rather not leave at all. That would be a tragedy. We wont be able to afford another ticket and my husband would be very pissed. This link proved very informative. Finally after more than a week of exchanging emails and tweets with a DELTA representative (I also was given a credit of miles by DELTA because I complained that a rep hung up on me), I had my answer. No choice, its either I get another carrier that was secured by metal bolts/screws or modify the one I already had. The latter seem more promising.

The good thing was I already knew who to talk to. Mel the handyman.
Mel has been a reliable handyman and friend. Most of the cabinets and carpentry at my brother's internet cafe was done by this guy. He also installed the deadbolt door in my room and put the chicken wire on my sari sari store.  I showed him the carrier, told him what I wanted and he figured out how to do it, and then told me what I needed to get from the hardware store the next day.

 top part of the carrier

Mel in action

Fruitycake doing an inspection

good job!

hollow aluminum pipe to hold the bolt in place

a look inside the carrier

This gave me peace of mind. The great part was it didnt cost me much to have it modified. The bolt cost only 30php (or less) for 6 pieces. Mel's going rate was only 200 PHP, he asked for less than that but I gave him more as a going away treat.

Day before the trip to the hotel (where I stayed prior to my flight), I took some shots of the cats..


Fruitycake passed out

Cats helping me pack

Enchong, Boomer and Thumper
Thumper watching Fruitycake
Boomer "watches" Fruitcake use the litterbox
Sniff sniff...I really miss the other cats back home. It'll take a few more months before I can get them over here. But its a relief that I know the process now. The problem is to get someone (trustworthy) to do it for me while I lay down the instructions.

Getting the carrier was tricky so it was the first thing I did after we have secured the plane ticket.

The rest of the steps had to be followed in a timeline prior to the flight because it was required by the Bureau of Animal Industry to be done on a certain number of days.

1)  Cat shots (3 in 1 and rabies)

2) A Health Certificate from the Veterinarian

3) An Export Permit from the Bureau of Animal Industry

Photos and detailed procedure on my next post


Thumpy and Raggedy Ann

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