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Do You Trust Commercial Airlines with Your Hunting Dog?

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August 28, 2009

Do You Trust Commercial Airlines with Your Hunting Dog?

By David DiBenedetto

The day I picked up Pritch from the breeder I met a guy there who was also getting a pup. He was the captain of a large sport fishing boat that was moored in the Bahamas. He was also a pilot and intended to bring his dog with him when he flew to the boat aboard his private plane. Sounded pretty ideal.

Sadly, my lifestyle is a bit different. My boat is only 17-feet long and is docked at the local marina. And I don’t fly my own plane. If intend to take Pritch hunting in, say, Stuttgart, Arkansas for ducks or to Texas for the mother of all dove hunts I’d either drive or have to load Pritch on a commercial airliner.

Problem is, I’m pretty darn fearful of loading Pritch in the underbelly of an airline. I’ve heard all of the horror stories…about the guy who looked out his passenger window to see his dog scampering around the runway or how some former airline employees say they would never subject their dog to a commercial flight.

The good news is, there have been some improvements. Continental has a PetSafe program with a 24-hour desk dedicated to tracking pets in flight and all animals travel in climate-controlled conditions. And recently a new airline, Pet Airways (above), was launched that caters only to animals. On each flight there’s a trained “pet attendant” who checks on the animals every 15 minutes. (Sounds better than the treatment humans get these days on airlines.) But for now there’s only one plane in the fleet and the destinations are limited to New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Denver.

I know that plenty of canines are flown all over the country without incident every day, but I’m curious how many of you travel with your gun dog to distant hunting locations via the friendly skies?

Comments (11)

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from revots wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I would be sacred to ship my dog on a plane. I am lucky enough to do all my hunting practically in my back yard. By the way, while reading "Some Dogs Are Just Nuts" on my laptop, I burst out load with laughter. My wife asked me what was so funny. I told her she wouldn't get it. All though it does not fit your situation, I would like to see a discussion on raising a pup with an older dog in the house. Keep the blog coming, it's good stuff.

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from Hunt_Hard wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I really would have a hard time shipping my dog on a plane. The package and item loaders job is to load luggage and I would fear they would treat my dog just as that. Although I would feel better if there is a pet "program" dedicated to giving the pets a nice comfortable environment. Im happy leaving my dog on the ground and I think my dog feels the same way.

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from Quackwacker wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I would not fly my dog. I drive to Ark, and would drive to Texas from Ga at the drop of a hat!

Heck, Id even carry them to North Dakota if I had the chance..........but Id drive.

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from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I have shipped many dogs over the years and everything has been just fine. In fact, currently I think airlines would take better care of the dogs than humans

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from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I wondered where I left that plane

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from mattreney wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

with the prices of flights it wouldnt be much more to drive besides the dogs are worth the extra cost

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from James Card wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

I flew Japan Airlines with my spaniel and I'll never fly on that airline in the future. They are heartless bastards and have no concept of animal care. Dogs are simply cargo to be shunted off. May Godzilla rise up from Tokyo and crush their entire fleet so they will never fly the skies again.

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from Erich127 wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Much like most of you, I'm hesitant in putting my dogs in the belly of an airliner. But, with airlines trying to get the competitive edge these days, they are trying to find new ways to make money, one of them being pet travel. Some airlines have programs specially designed for pet travel (along with the previously mentioned tracker). One good example of this is Midwest Airlines. They have a website describing their pet program (http://www.midwestairlines.com/ProgramsAndServices/PetTravel.aspx). While thier route map isn't extensive, they could probably get you close enough for a short rental SUV drive to your hunting destination. Hopefully more airlines will follow their lead.

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from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Erich127-- I've also heard real good things about Midwest airlines and their pet program. -D

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from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

As an A&P mechanic, I went to their website and elsewhere and investigated this company and their future plans. Their maintenance and flight programs seem entirely proper. Their expansion is coming as they have discovered that the market for this service is growing all over the country. Seems as if these folks are the real deal. Wish them well.

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from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I don't think I would be brave enough to do that either.

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from James Card wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

I flew Japan Airlines with my spaniel and I'll never fly on that airline in the future. They are heartless bastards and have no concept of animal care. Dogs are simply cargo to be shunted off. May Godzilla rise up from Tokyo and crush their entire fleet so they will never fly the skies again.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

As an A&P mechanic, I went to their website and elsewhere and investigated this company and their future plans. Their maintenance and flight programs seem entirely proper. Their expansion is coming as they have discovered that the market for this service is growing all over the country. Seems as if these folks are the real deal. Wish them well.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from revots wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I would be sacred to ship my dog on a plane. I am lucky enough to do all my hunting practically in my back yard. By the way, while reading "Some Dogs Are Just Nuts" on my laptop, I burst out load with laughter. My wife asked me what was so funny. I told her she wouldn't get it. All though it does not fit your situation, I would like to see a discussion on raising a pup with an older dog in the house. Keep the blog coming, it's good stuff.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hunt_Hard wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I really would have a hard time shipping my dog on a plane. The package and item loaders job is to load luggage and I would fear they would treat my dog just as that. Although I would feel better if there is a pet "program" dedicated to giving the pets a nice comfortable environment. Im happy leaving my dog on the ground and I think my dog feels the same way.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Quackwacker wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I would not fly my dog. I drive to Ark, and would drive to Texas from Ga at the drop of a hat!

Heck, Id even carry them to North Dakota if I had the chance..........but Id drive.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I have shipped many dogs over the years and everything has been just fine. In fact, currently I think airlines would take better care of the dogs than humans

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I wondered where I left that plane

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from mattreney wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

with the prices of flights it wouldnt be much more to drive besides the dogs are worth the extra cost

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Erich127 wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Much like most of you, I'm hesitant in putting my dogs in the belly of an airliner. But, with airlines trying to get the competitive edge these days, they are trying to find new ways to make money, one of them being pet travel. Some airlines have programs specially designed for pet travel (along with the previously mentioned tracker). One good example of this is Midwest Airlines. They have a website describing their pet program (http://www.midwestairlines.com/ProgramsAndServices/PetTravel.aspx). While thier route map isn't extensive, they could probably get you close enough for a short rental SUV drive to your hunting destination. Hopefully more airlines will follow their lead.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Erich127-- I've also heard real good things about Midwest airlines and their pet program. -D

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I don't think I would be brave enough to do that either.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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