What you need to know about travelling with your pet from the Philippines
If you’re a proud owner of a furry pal, you’ve probably considered taking them on one of your travels one time or another. Because, what can be more perfect than seeing the world with your pet? Fortunately for you pet owners, we’ve done the legwork for you and found out how exactly you can travel abroad with your furry friends.
- Choosing the airline
- Gathering documents and requirements
- Payment of Animal Travel Fees
- Check-In Process (Live Cargo)
- Pick-Up Process (Live Cargo)
- Additional Tips for Pet Travel
CHOOSING THE AIRLINE
Not all airlines allow pet travel. That said, if you intend to travel with your pet, you will need to choose among airlines that do have a pet travel policy.
Take Note: Every airline will have different rules, regulations and requirements for pet travel. So a requirement for one airline will most likely be different for another.
In Cabin Travel vs. Live Cargo Hold
With varying rules per airline, you will also need to check if the airline allows in-cabin travel, live cargo hold, or both.
For instance, Korean Air and Delta Airlines are said to offer an In-Cabin Travel option for pets, while Philippine Airlines only allows pets in a live cargo hold (excluding service and emotional support dogs).
GATHERING DOCUMENTS AND REQUIREMENTS
Just like how we need to present our own travel documents to travel, so do our pets! Owners will need to prepare all requirements (as requested by both airline and local government authorities) and present them (1) upon check-in, (2) boarding, (3) quarantine, (4) upon arrival, and (5) cargo pick up (live cargo hold).
Take Note: As mentioned previously, airlines each have their own set of rules and regulations when it comes to pet travel. So you can expect that requirements to be different, so be sure to call beforehand to clear (1) pet travel policies, (2) documents and requirements, and (3) fees and payment processes.
Typical List of Requirements for Pet Travel
- Pet Microchip - Usually required for international flights for identification purposes. Refer to this list of countries that require microchips for pet travel.
- Updated Veterinary Health Certificate (validity based on airline/local government regulations)
- Updated Vaccination Records (validity based on airline) - dogs must be vaccinated against distemper, infectious hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, adenovirus type 2 ; cats must be vaccinated against herpes, calicivirus, panleukopenia, and feline leukemia.
- Import/Export Permit from the BAI (Bureau of Animal Industry) - for more information, visit their website at https://www.bai.gov.ph/.
- Secure and Leak-proof Pet Crate - must follow dimensions set by the airline (also depending on In-Cabin travel or Live Cargo Hold)
- Petdentity Pet Passport - you can actually get a passport for your dog and it only costs Php 499 through Petdentity! This is not a requirement but a 'nice-to-have' to organize all of your dogs health certificates and vaccination records. To order, send them a message on their Facebook page!
*Conditional requirements may include weight and size of pet, crate or carriage dimensions, and pet breed. Please call your airline for specified requirements.
Service and Emotional Support Animal Exceptions and Requirements
Service and Emotional Support Animals have a different set of requirements, and again, also vary per airline. Typically, these types of pets are more likely allowed to board in-cabin with their owner, however must adhere to a stricter set of regulations. This said, be sure to check with your airline for specific requirements for SA and ESA animals.
Individuals who plan to travel with an SA or ESA will most likely be required to provide authorized medical documents detailing the patient’s disability or mental health in addition to their animal companions’ requirements.
PAYMENT OF ANIMAL TRAVEL FEES
The charges for animal travel fees will vary depending on their airline, number of animals, miles, weight and type of animal. These fees can be found on the airline’s website, or in most cases, will be provided upon request via call.
When it comes to payment of fees, the airline you intend to fly may have separate instructions. Some airlines might have an available pet travel fee option online upon booking, while other airlines might request that you pay before just before check-in.
CHECK IN & PICK UP PROCESS (LIVE CARGO)
In the event that your airline only allows for the animals to be transported through live cargo, be sure to take note of the following procedures for Check In and Pick Up:
Check In Process:
- Secure a Quarantine Permit- Passengers must arrive early enough to secure this as this must be done before Check-In.
- Fill out forms- These forms are necessary for your dog to be placed in cargo, and will be presented upon arrival and pick up
- Weighing of Pet and Check-In of Pet- In Manila, this can be done at the cargo building at the old domestic airport, or at the passenger terminal check-in counter.
- Payment of Pet Transportation Fees- Depending on the airline, weight and size of your pet, these fees may vary.
- Notify Airline Officials of Live Pet in Cargo + Pick Up Location- Inform the pilot of your pet so they can control the pressure and temperature. Also be sure to ask where the pick up location would be for your pet - as it can be at the conveyer belt or at the actual cargo.
Pick Up Process:
- Present Waybill and Valid ID- Present the claiming documents along with your valid ID to pick up your pet upon arrival
- Pick Up Pet at Designated Location
- Check your Pet’s Disposition- Always check how your pet is doing after the flight. Be sure they aren’t in any harm before signing any forms.
- Sign Release Forms- Again, to be done if you're satisfied with your pet's condition
ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR PET TRAVEL
1. Call your desired airline
Once you’ve decided on a pet-friendly airline, give their representatives a call! Travelling with your pet (especially for the first time) can be overwhelming, so don’t just rely on the information they’ve put out on their website.
2. Double check country requirements
Apart from airline requirements, be sure to check if the country you are travelling to has specific regulations and requirements for pet travel. The last thing you want to happen is to travel all that way only to be denied entry at your destination.
3. As much as possible - book direct flights
If your pet will be but in live cargo, a direct flight is your best option. So many issues can happen in between connected flights, and it’s truly the last thing you want to worry about!
4. Don’t forget to label!
Be sure to label your pet’s carrier - whether they’ll be in-cabin or in live cargo. And as much as possible, purchase a collar with their name and the owner’s contact details.
5. Let an aircraft representative know of that you’ve got a pet onboard
Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) suggests that pet owners should inform aircraft representatives that you’ve got a pet on board. This is so that they can notify the pilot to control pressure and temperature in the cargo.
6. Manage feeding hours
As much as possible, do not feed your pet 4-6 hours before your flight - depending on the duration of your flight. Also, be sure to let your pet’s get their business done right before boarding or check-in.
7. Purchase a sturdy crate
If you are allowed to place your pet inside the cabin with you, a soft leak-proof crate should be fine. However, if they are to be put in cargo, be sure to purchase a hardshell carrier for better handling. Also be sure they've been crate trained as well.