Have you ever cancelled a vacation because you couldn't take your pet along? Or have you ever had a very tension-filled getaway because you were worried about your pet's well-being?
I can't tell you the number of times I've thought about this. In order to make life convenient for all you pet-parents out there, here's what you need to know about travelling with your pet on a flight in India.
Disclaimer: Airlines rules may change, pet owners are advised to check with airlines.
1. The most important thing that you should do before taking your pet by air is to make sure they're fit enough to fly. Your pet's health is a priority over everything else. Pets face health-related issues when they're anxious, so make sure your pet is not prone to anxiety.
Extreme hot and cold conditions have a direct impact on a pet's health so keep in mind to not travel during such weather.
You also have to make sure that your pet is vaccinated and its rabies certificates are in proper order and up to date. Without proper medical clearance, your pet will not be allowed to board the flight.
2. Only two domestic airlines, SpiceJet and Air India offer the service of flying with your pet. While both these airlines are pet-friendly, their terms and conditions differ. While Air India allows pets of a certain size in the cabin, SpiceJet only gives you the option of taking them in the luggage compartment.
3. It's mentioned in Air India's rules to make sure that the weight of the pet and the size of the kennel should not exceed the limit provided by the airlines.
If you wish to take your pet along with you in the cabin, its weight including the kennel can't be more than 5 kg.
If your pet is more than 5 kg, then it is accommodated in the cargo hold. The kennel is properly tagged with the pet's name and personal information.
4. The pets will be charged additionally and not counted as excess luggage even if the passenger is travelling luggage-free.
The cost is subject to change and will depend on the size of your pet/crate.
For more details about the rules and regulations of Air India, have a thorough look at this.
5. In SpiceJet, no pets are allowed in the cabin. If a passenger wishes to travel with their pet, they have to be crated properly and then put in the cargo hold.
These cargos are pressurised and temperature controlled for your pet. Make sure to keep reminding the flight attendants that you have a pet travelling in the cargo so that the temperature is maintained accordingly throughout your journey.
6. SpiceJet also has a list of dog breeds that they do not allow on their flights, given their aggressive nature. Short-snout dogs are also not allowed since they are under potential threat of a heat stroke or breathing difficulties. Pregnant dogs are also prohibited from being carried on flights.
Puppies below the age of 12 weeks are not allowed as the pressure can cause harm to them.
7. It is the pet-owner's responsibility to make sure that the pet's kennel is accommodating enough for the pet to move around and is made of non-chewable material. Make sure that the kennel is properly ventilated.
Also, keep in mind that you need to call the airlines a few days before you decide to travel to make sure that the plane they're going to be using has sufficient oxygen in the cargo area for your pet. Another thing which is extremely important is that to make sure that you have the full information from the airlines before showing up at the airport. The airport staff might not be fully aware of the procedure so make sure you are.