Mewsic for Airports: Flying with cats, part 2

Part 2: International flights

If you are flying internationally with your cat, you have all of the same concerns as in the prior post, but more so. You will still be able to find airlines that let you carry your cat on with you, but you will need to check that they accept them on the particular route you want to travel. Yep. The airline might take pets in general, but not to the specific place you are headed to, depending on the length of the route and the rules of the country you’ll land in.

For example, I’ve had excellent experiences flying with Aífe on Lufthansa between Seattle and Berlin. So when I needed to move from Germany to Ireland, I was looking forward to booking a flight with them. However, even though they take pets on flights all over the world, it turns out that they won’t take animals on flights to Ireland or the UK. It doesn’t say that on their website, and the first representative I spoke to said it would be fine for her to join me on the flight I was planning to book. But then several other airlines I was comparing said you couldn’t bring cats onto their flights into Ireland or the UK, so I called Lufthansa back to double-check. It took my talking to several representatives before I could confirm that there was a restriction on flights to those islands.

I called the Irish Department of Agriculture to ask why all of the airlines I’d talked to said the Irish government wouldn’t let them carry pets into Ireland.

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#11: A Long Ass Way to Tipperary

I just moved from Germany to Ireland with my cat. I had thought it would be a lot easier than when I moved to Germany from Oregon with my cat. But, actually, it was quicker, and in some ways easier, to cross 5177 miles from Portland to Berlin than it was to get the 1189 miles from Berlin to Dublin. This is because I was able to fly from the US to Germany with my cat on board, but couldn’t find any airline that would take pets on flights into Ireland or the UK. Even Lufthansa, with whom I have flown trans-Atlantic with my cat, twice, and who has a whole ‘we’re pet friendly’ page on their website, does not book pets on flights into Ireland or the UK. I spoke with the Irish Department of Agriculture, and no, they don’t have any prohibition about pets entering the country. The flights just won’t take them.

 

Long story short, I was left with a choice:

  1. Pay a freight company to take my cat and ship her for me. One recommended company gave me a quote for nearly €800! When the flight I was planning to book for myself was only €57!
  2. Spend three days but only about €300 taking trains and ferries across Europe with my cat.

 

I went with the second option. Partly because it was far less expensive, partly because it sounded like an interesting adventure, and partly because I really didn’t like the idea of letting strangers put my cat in a box and take her away from me and overseas. And I’m glad that I did go this route: even though I was weeping by the end of it.

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