Flying with SD in small aircraft - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2011, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Flying with SD in small aircraft

I need some advice from someone with a similar experience. I am flying with my SD who is a pretty good size male GSD. I have been trying to do some research and prepare myself for it because I have never had to fly with him. The flight has a layover and the second plane looks like it's a smaller regional jet. On the airline's website (American Airlines), it says that if the SD cannot be accomodated in the cabin, that he would have to go on the cargo area on a kennel provided by the handler. But then they have size/weight restrictions, saying it can only be a series 500 kennel (700 not accepted) and that the combined weight of the two cannot exceed 100 lbs (my SD is 90 lbs). I also read something about a charge if he has to go on the cargo area, but I'm not so much worried about that, I could live with that.

So I decided to call the airline and inquire about it, the lady that I spoke to said that she didn't know of any size restrictions and that I would be fine. But the way she was talking led me to believe she didn't really know what she was talking about.

Also, has anyone had any experience traveling/flying to Mexico with their SD?

I just want to make sure everything will be OK before I show up and then they tell me my SD cannot be accomodated. Any input will be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2011, 08:06 PM
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I don't know about flying, but have you looked into the laws about service dogs for Mexico yet?


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 02:36 AM
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Flying out of the country really complicates things. While in the US service dogs are allowed to fly in cabin, they aren't in many other countries. And so they can't in flights that land in those countries. So are they allowed to fly in cabin in Mexico? Did the person you spoke to know this was an international flight? Also are you prepared with knowing the laws for public access in Mexico, and have all needed documentation?

You should also speak with the airline about setting up things in advance, such as pre-boarding with accommodating a SD.


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 06:28 AM
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i don't think there's heat or ac in the cargo area. find out.
when the plane lands in Mexico you don't want your dog
sitting in a cargo area with no ac.

does the dog have to be quarrantine in Mexico?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 07:53 AM
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I have flown cabin with a smaller SAR dog (75lbs) in coach and that was pretty tight and bulkhead (which is nonexistent in a regional jet) was the best choice.

This site helps you check out seat dimensions and legroom in airplanes
Airline Seating Charts - Best Airplane Seats - SeatGuru

Are you capable of dealing with the emergency door if something happened? That is where the legroom is and the one up front would have the most legroom. I am not sure if that is allowed or not.

The other question might be if the dog could lay in the hallway in the back of the plane. I rarely see people use the bathroom on a short hop regional jet and they could be asked to accomodate and you could move the dog to you. Plus the last seat in the back usually won't recline and that is where you are more likely to NOT have a neighbor.

Just some ideas - Mexico? I dunno. I would check into their laws vis a vis service animals.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 10:20 AM
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No special rights for SDs in Mexico. They are considered the same as a pet dog.

To get into the country you need "Certificate of Good Health":
including immunizations against rabies, distemper, hepatitis and leptospirosis. Any immunization must been administered at least 15 days before pet's arrival to Mexico, but not more than one year.

When entering they may allow you to proceed with your dog or they may detain the dog for further testing and evaluation.

To return to the U.S. you will need "current rabies certificate that lists the name of the rabies vaccine used, lot number, and date of injection."

To read source go to Travel to Mexico | Service Dog Central

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all the info! I definitely need to speak with someone in the airline directly involved with the boarding process and perhaps to a flight attendant. I'm trying to avoid having to make the drive since roads south of the border are pretty much owned by organized crime.

It's a shame there are no special rights for SD's in Mexico. Since I will be visiting relatives I won't be going out much, if at all. Culture toward dogs in general in Mexico is terrible. Dogs are seldom allowed indoors in most homes and dog training is almost non-existent.

Thanks again for all the input and I will post updates for everyone's information.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-30-2011, 07:45 PM
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If at all possible I would seriously consider going without your dog. You will not be able to take him in taxis or with you if you go out to eat or shopping. I would also be nervous leaving a GSD behind by itself at your relatives home as he would be a tempting object to steal, especially if he was ever outside alone even for a short period. (You mentioned about dogs not being very welcomed in people's homes.)

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILGHAUS View Post
If at all possible I would seriously consider going without your dog. You will not be able to take him in taxis or with you if you go out to eat or shopping. I would also be nervous leaving a GSD behind by itself at your relatives home as he would be a tempting object to steal, especially if he was ever outside alone even for a short period. (You mentioned about dogs not being very welcomed in people's homes.)
I have considered not taking him with me, I just don't know if I would be at ease at all not having him there with me. We have never been apart since I got him. I did mention about dogs not being welcome in people's homes in general but he is welcome at my relative's home just as any other member of the family and the house is in one of the nicest/safest parts of the country so I don't think that would be an issue either. I won't be taking any taxis since my relatives will be picking me up from the airport and driving me if need be. Not planning on shopping or dining out either (holiday homecooking is the best )

So my biggest concern is the airline letting me board with him. I also understand that since it's an American carrier, that U.S. laws apply to the flight, am I wrong?

ILGHAUS I appreciate your input, I've also read a few of your other posts which have been very helpful! Right now I'm trying to get a good point of contact at the airport that has knowledge on the subject matter and that hopefully can give me a concrete answer. Thanks again!
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-31-2011, 02:25 PM
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I have a friend who has a Mastiff for a service dog and she has run into a whole lot of nightmares on international flights. I can certainly put you in contact with her if you'd like, just PM me. She ran into situations where an airline SAID they would accommodate her and her SD, and then she actually arrived at the airport for a connecting flight, they refused to do so.

I do know that some airlines will refuse to fly your dog if they don't "comfortably fit" in a 500 series kennel, and that includes not slouching and ears not touching the top. A friend of mine ran into trouble flying her Ibizan hound because his ears touched the top of the kennel. They refused to fly him.

Another thing to keep in mind that, with some airlines, there is no where to let your dog go to the bathroom in between flights. This can be a huge issue, depending on how long your total travel time is.

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