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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am flying with Nikki for the first time next month. I'm a planner, so I have some questions. Unfortunately, I will not be able to book my flight until about a week before, and I don't know which airport I'll be flying from, and I won't know which airline I'll be on, which might make it a little tricky. It will be a short flight. (2.5 hours)

Thank you in advance for putting up with my questions!

1. Has any airline asked you for a health certificate when checking in? If so, which one? I want to make sure I have the proper paperwork.

2. I recently purchased the large Sturdibag. According to the dimensions, it is a little bit larger than some airline requirements for under seat storage. According to Sturdibag, it doesn't matter because the bag is flexible. For those of you who have used the large size Sturdibag, is this true? Have you ever been forced to purchase another carrier because it didn't fit the dimensions perfectly? I have 2 smaller bags, but they seem too small when Nikki's head is all the way in them and they are zipped up.

3. When you go through security checkpoint, do you carry the dog in your arms, or hand the carrier with the dog in it to the TSA person on the other side?

4. Have you been able to take the dog out of the carrier once on board and put it in your lap?

5. Any tips on the best seats? I usually like to sit as close to the front as possible. If I am flying alone, I like an aisle seat. What about when we have our fluffs?

Sorry to have so many silly questions. I dislike last-minute travel, but with the nature of hubby's business, I sometimes have no choice, and try to be as prepared as possible.
 

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I am flying with Nikki for the first time next month. I'm a planner, so I have some questions. Unfortunately, I will not be able to book my flight until about a week before, and I don't know which airport I'll be flying from, and I won't know which airline I'll be on, which might make it a little tricky. It will be a short flight. (2.5 hourse)

Thank you in advance for putting up with my questions!

1. Has any airline asked you for a health certificate when checking in? If so, which one? I want to make sure I have the proper paperwork.

2. I recently purchased the large Sturdibag. According to the dimensions, it is a little bit larger than some airline requirements for under seat storage. According to Sturdibag, it doesn't matter because the bag is flexible. For those of you who have used the large size Sturdibag, is this true? Have you ever been forced to purchase another carrier because it didn't fit the dimensions perfectly? I have 2 smaller bags, but they seem too small when Nikki's head is all the way in them and they are zipped up.

3. When you go through security checkpoint, do you carry the dog in your arms, or hand the carrier with the dog in it to the TSA person on the other side?

4. Have you been able to take the dog out of the carrier once on board and put it in your lap?

5. Any tips on the best seats? I usually like to sit as close to the front as possible. If I am flying alone, I like an aisle seat. What about when we have our fluffs?

Sorry to have so many silly questions. I dislike last-minute travel, but with the nature of hubby's business, I sometimes have no choice and like to be as prepared as possible.
#1 I have always had the proper paper work but have never been asked by anyone to see it. Some airlines request that you have it, others don't. Check with the airlines.

#2 I too have the large Sturdi Bag and it fits fine under some seats but under others it is a tight fit, but very du able. You will be fine with it.

#3 When you go through security you have to take the dog out of the carrier and walk with it through the check point. The carrier will go through security on the roller thingy.

#4 You are not allowed to take the dog out of the carrier on the plane. Some stewardesses might let you but the rule is the dog stays in the carrier.

#5 An isle seat is probably the best with a carrier as it is the easiest to put the carrier under the seat in front of you.

I never give my fluffs anything to eat too close to the flight and I never give them any type of tranquilizer. The hum of the engines will usually put them to sleep.

Good Luck on your trip.:)
 

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As you may know, I fly back and forth to Phoenix at least twice a month and the girls always go on the plane with me. I have also travelled with the Lhasas (show dogs) when they were showing. From Albuquerque to Phoenix, I take either Southwest or U.S. Airways, although I have also travelled with the dogs on American, Delta and Continental.

Here are my answers to your questions.

1. Has any airline asked you for a health certificate when checking in? If so, which one? I want to make sure I have the proper paperwork.

I have never had anyone ask for health certificates if the fluffs where flying with me, only if I was shipping a dog via cargo. In fact, I often try to give a health cert to the ticket counter and they stare at me blankly not knowing what to do with it, but the airlines do say that you need one, so I take it "just in case".

2. I recently purchased the large Sturdibag. According to the dimensions, it is a little bit larger than some airline requirements for under seat storage. According to Sturdibag, it doesn't matter because the bag is flexible. For those of you who have used the large size Sturdibag, is this true? Have you ever been forced to purchase another carrier because it didn't fit the dimensions perfectly? I have 2 smaller bags, but they seem too small when Nikki's head is all the way in them and they are zipped up.

I've used bags bigger than the dimensions that the airlines show for under the seat, and have always been able to just smash them in with no problems. No one has ever questioned me about the bag and no, I've never had to purchase a different one.

3. When you go through security checkpoint, do you carry the dog in your arms, or hand the carrier with the dog in it to the TSA person on the other side?

When you go through security, you take the dog out of the bag and walk with the dog through the metal detector. You place the bag on the conveyer like any other piece of luggage. TSA will not touch the dog.

4. Have you been able to take the dog out of the carrier once on board and put it in your lap?

Legally you're not supposed to be able to hold the dog while in the air. The dog is supposed to be in the bag. With that said, I have been able to take a fluff out and hold her. This depends on how full the flight is and how nice the attendants are. Some are very strict and some are real dog lovers. If I do take the fluff out, I try to cover her with my jacket or a blanket or such, just in case.

5. Any tips on the best seats? I usually like to sit as close to the front as possible. If I am flying alone, I like an aisle seat. What about when we have our fluffs?

Seats are tricky. Some of the fluffs bark if you are in an aisle seat as they see the feet moving down the aisle. Mine don't pay any attention to this, but I have had a Lhasa that would bark -- but only if we were in an aisle seat.

If you want to take the fluff out and hold her on your lap, I have found that seats at the very back of the plane are best because no one seems to want to sit there and you usually don't have all of the seats in the row filled.

Middle seats have larger spaces for the carryon bags under the seats. But I hate sitting in middle seats.

Believe me when I say that it truly is easy to take your furbutt with you. Heck, I have 2 with me and it isn't a challenge.

One other thing. You can take the fluff out of the bag and hold her while waiting in the airport (to board).

Good luck.
 

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Suzan, Lynne provided great answers. Just to add.. I sat in the aisle seat with Mia before and it was fine..there is still enough room for Mia under the seat in front of me. If you prefer aisle, just do it. :)
 

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1. Has any airline asked you for a health certificate when checking in? If so, which one? I want to make sure I have the proper paperwork.

Airlines don't care, but the individual states you will be entering may care. I don't think any airline will ask you for paperwork on your dog, but whatever state department that would be in charge of dogs crossing state lines can stop you once you get off the plane. I haven't had to show papers to anyone. I would have a health certificate and rabbies certificate just in case.


3. When you go through security checkpoint, do you carry the dog in your arms, or hand the carrier with the dog in it to the TSA person on the other side?

I put the carrier through the machiene and carry Rugby through with me, although if you have a leash handy you can also walk them through security.

4. Have you been able to take the dog out of the carrier once on board and put it in your lap?

You are not allowed to take the dog out. When I picked Rugby up at 12 weeks I am not sure he had ever been confined really and he was HORRIBLE, barking, screaming, bitting the bag, barking some more the ENTIRE flights. Once we got on the second place I snuck him out and hid him in my shirt for some much needed silence. The flight attendant told me he was going to pretend he didn't see him out, but other flight attendants can/would make me put him back in. They also are not allowed to be out of the carrier in the airport at all, but I generally don't follow that rule and no one has said anything to me yet!

5. Any tips on the best seats? I usually like to sit as close to the front as possible. If I am flying alone, I like an aisle seat. What about when we have our fluffs?

I don't think it matters.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One good thing about Nikki is that she is quiet and well-behaved, so I have no reason to think she will be otherwise on a flight.
 

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Some airlines DO require a health certificate (Horizon/Alaska Air being one) and yes, I've been asked a few times for it, so I always make sure I have it if the airline requires it.

One 'trick' I've heard is taking an 'old' health certificate, change the date and photocopy it and then present it. I've never done it but just thought I'd share, LOL.
 

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1. Has any airline asked you for a health certificate when checking in? If so, which one? I want to make sure I have the proper paperwork.
I have been asked for health certificates by the airlines before, specifically Alaska Airlines and Virgin America.

2. I recently purchased the large Sturdibag. According to the dimensions, it is a little bit larger than some airline requirements for under seat storage. According to Sturdibag, it doesn't matter because the bag is flexible. For those of you who have used the large size Sturdibag, is this true? Have you ever been forced to purchase another carrier because it didn't fit the dimensions perfectly? I have 2 smaller bags, but they seem too small when Nikki's head is all the way in them and they are zipped up.
The Sturdibag or any collapsible bag should work fine. I have heard on other travel forums that Delta at times is strict about their bag measurements, but I've personally never had a problem with a soft-sided bag. I did have a rolly bag for Diesel once, and that didn't fit under the seat, so collapsible is always best.

3. When you go through security checkpoint, do you carry the dog in your arms, or hand the carrier with the dog in it to the TSA person on the other side?

Take the dog out of the carrier and walk through with her. On a side note, I have had to take off their collar/leash/harness before because it wasn't allowed through the metal detectors, but it may vary from airport to airport depending on the TSA working at the time.

4. Have you been able to take the dog out of the carrier once on board and put it in your lap?
I've only been able to do this if there were no other passengers in my aisle. But legally, they must remain in the closed carrier at all times.

5. Any tips on the best seats? I usually like to sit as close to the front as possible. If I am flying alone, I like an aisle seat. What about when we have our fluffs?
Aisle has always worked ok for me. I don't recommend the window, as it's the hardest to get the carrier in. The middle seat usually has the largest space, so if you're flying with hubby, then it may be easiest to get an aisle and middle seat, and see what works best for Nikki.

One other note, I always use the family security lane when flying with my fluffs. It's easier to get your things in order and people are more understanding about you taking your time (including the TSA). It's also considerate for your fellow passengers that may be in a rush to get through security.
 

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1. Has any airline asked you for a health certificate when checking in? If so, which one? I want to make sure I have the proper paperwork.

Airlines don't care, but the individual states you will be entering may care. I don't think any airline will ask you for paperwork on your dog, but whatever state department that would be in charge of dogs crossing state lines can stop you once you get off the plane. I haven't had to show papers to anyone. I would have a health certificate and rabbies certificate just in case.


3. When you go through security checkpoint, do you carry the dog in your arms, or hand the carrier with the dog in it to the TSA person on the other side?

I put the carrier through the machiene and carry Rugby through with me, although if you have a leash handy you can also walk them through security.

4. Have you been able to take the dog out of the carrier once on board and put it in your lap?

You are not allowed to take the dog out. When I picked Rugby up at 12 weeks I am not sure he had ever been confined really and he was HORRIBLE, barking, screaming, bitting the bag, barking some more the ENTIRE flights. Once we got on the second place I snuck him out and hid him in my shirt for some much needed silence. The flight attendant told me he was going to pretend he didn't see him out, but other flight attendants can/would make me put him back in. They also are not allowed to be out of the carrier in the airport at all, but I generally don't follow that rule and no one has said anything to me yet!

5. Any tips on the best seats? I usually like to sit as close to the front as possible. If I am flying alone, I like an aisle seat. What about when we have our fluffs?

I don't think it matters.
This statement isn't entirely true. They are allowed out of the carriers in airports (at least the airports I've been in), just not allowed to walk on the ground (unless you have a service dog, etc) I always take my dogs out at the airport. The announcements I've heard overhead always say that all pets must be held if out of the carrier. This may vary airport to airport but the multiple airports I've been in, I've never had them announce that dogs are not allowed out of the carriers.
 

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I've never been asked for health certificates, nor have I been asked to prove that I've paid a fee for my dog. I've had her out on my lap in the waiting area, but she stays in the bag on the plane. She's more comfortable there. People next to me don't even realize I have a dog. I've seen people with their dogs in their laps on planes with nothing at all being said. Other times, I've heard them be told to put the dog back. I know it's against the rules to have them out of the bag during the flight, but it seems to depend on the flight attendants on the plane from what I've seen. Some care while others don't. We always fly American Airlines, so I have no idea about other airlines.
 

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All of the others have pretty much answered all of your questions I think, but I wanted to add that for the health certificate, I want to say it has to be within a 14-day period before the day of your flight. So, one obtained 2 months prior will not be valid. I may be wrong on this, but from having my two dogs shipped to me, I believe that was the rule.
 

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#5 I find the middle seat, underseat is the roomiest. I have found. I think teaching the dog in ? that the bag is a great place to hang out for hours is good practice for a trip. Atticus has ways loved his camo carrier backpack and has spent hours in this bag. It is also a car seat. I like it because it is a backpack. Atticus sleeps on flights and I never take him out. Doesn't mean I don't want I just don't want to upset other passengers as we are always on packed flights and not everyone likes dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thanks everyone! Great advice!

I probably won't be able to get a heath certificate in the proper time span as I don't know when I am going to fly, so I'll take my chances with that.

I hate the middle seat, and although it has more room for Nikki's carrier, I'll probably opt for an aisle seat, if I can get one.

I also ordered a Celltei bag, so I can compare it with the SturdiBag and see which one works out best for us.

A dear friend gave me a nearly new KwigyBo bag, but I won't use that for the plane ride.

I hope that this thread and all the great advice and links has also helped others who will travel with their fluffs soon.

It's amazing how we spend more time worrying about our fluffs than we do ourselves!!
 

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1. Has any airline asked you for a health certificate when checking in? If so, which one? I want to make sure I have the proper paperwork.
I have never been asked for paper work flying with Continental.

2. I recently purchased the large Sturdibag. According to the dimensions, it is a little bit larger than some airline requirements for under seat storage. According to Sturdibag, it doesn't matter because the bag is flexible. For those of you who have used the large size Sturdibag, is this true? Have you ever been forced to purchase another carrier because it didn't fit the dimensions perfectly? I have 2 smaller bags, but they seem too small when Nikki's head is all the way in them and they are zipped up.
When I have flown I used a Sherpa bag and they didn't measure or even look at the bag.

3. When you go through security checkpoint, do you carry the dog in your arms, or hand the carrier with the dog in it to the TSA person on the other side?
Yes. I carried Bailey through the metal detectors in my arms and then put her back in her bag on the other side. I didn't zip her up until we boarded the flight and no one seemed to care. We even had a bit of time at the gate and I took her out and sat her on my lap.

4. Have you been able to take the dog out of the carrier once on board and put it in your lap?
No, but I did slide the carrier out from under the seat and opened up the top so she could see me. It was a bit warm on the plane and I didn't want her to get hot. I did take her out when we were landing and held her but then put her back in the bag to get off the plane.

5. Any tips on the best seats? I usually like to sit as close to the front as possible. If I am flying alone, I like an aisle seat. What about when we have our fluffs?
I sat by the window just because I was with family. It allowed me to pull her bag out from under the seat and gave her some extra room.

Good Luck and have fun on your trip :)
 

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Call your airline about whether or not they require a health certificate and contact your vet. My vets have always been happy to work with me and do a really fast exam or issue me a certificate without seeing the dog if we've been in recently. While I've never been asked for one, I always carry one.
I've been able to smush the sturdibag in some small spots.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Call your airline about whether or not they require a health certificate and contact your vet. My vets have always been happy to work with me and do a really fast exam or issue me a certificate without seeing the dog if we've been in recently. While I've never been asked for one, I always carry one.
I've been able to smush the sturdibag in some small spots.
Thanks that might be an option but I might be in Boston and have to book a flight home only 2-3 days in advance, so I don't know....we'll see.....
 

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Def. take a little blanket in your carry on so you can sneak her on your lap under the blanket, even if just during take off and landing so she doesn't get scared. Like others have said you never know how each flight attendant will be but it's worth a shot and they might not notice. You'd have the best chance of hiding in the window seat, but that depends on if you can handle a window seat...
 
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