Here is a somewhat detailed account of Tramp’s homeward bound trip – from Dallas, Texas USA to Manila, Philippines, including pictures of his travel papers and descriptions of the airport procedures, as well as some tips for traveling with a pet.
Click here to read PART 1 of this entry, which covers animal transport requirements and how to acquire them.
|Read up on pet travel tips!|
PREPARATIONS FOR THE FLIGHT:
With all the requirements prepared, the next step was to gather together everything I would need to check Tramp in at the airport, and what he might need on his more than 20 hour long flight from Texas to Manila.
As mentioned in the earlier part of this blog, together with Tramp’s crate, I also purchased a travel kit which included the “Live Animal” stickers, another sticker label on which to write the owner information and feeding information, plus the split-type water and food dish attachment that clips on to the crate door.
Since I was still awaiting Tramp’s ID and rabies tags to be mailed to me from the shelter in Houston, I decided to buy him a new ID tag, and had it engraved with his name and my information on it.
The picture on the left (though somewhat blurry) shows the engraving process. Very cool! All I had to do was purchase the tag at a Petsmart in Dallas. Once paid for, I was given a code which I could use to activate an easy to use do-it-yourself laser-engraving machine. I typed in the info I wanted engraved on the two sides of the tag and within a matter of minutes the tags were done!
With the limited space provided for letters, I decided that the best information to put on the tag was Tramp’s name on one side and then my name, home phone number, and my home country. on the other. Thus it reads:
Other items that I placed inside Tramp’s crate were a blanket and an appropriately sized Kong. The blanket served the dual purpose of bed and absorbent material in case Tramp should have a potty accident during the flight. He is potty-trained but 20+ hours is a lot to ask of his tiny bladder so I expected the worst. The Kong was to keep him occupied and give him something to chew on in transit.
|Tramp’s crate with stickers and food dish attachment.|
I also prepared a ziplock bag with some of Tramp’s food and a small plastic water bottle, both of which I planned to tape onto the crate at check in and with the airline personnel’s approval. I also waited until check in before I stuck on the stickers – but that’s just because I wasn’t sure if there was a particular way that the airline wanted them on there.
|Keep all your pet travel papers organized.|
I also prepared a colored folder in which to place all of Tramp’s papers, that I could easily stuff into and pull out of my carry on backpack. What can I say, I like things organized. ;pTHE MORNING OF:I woke up extra early to take Tramp for an extra long walk.Thankfully, it wasn’t as cold as it usually was on previous December mornings in Texas. I made sure he did his potty and when we came back home I fed him a small amount of food and just enough water. That would be his last meal for the next 20+ hours.When it was time to leave I had him go inside his crate, making sure the food dish was properly attached and that his blanket and Kong were in there with him.AT THE AIRPORT:Our flight was at 10a.m. so I asked to be dropped off at DFW airport at around 7a.m., at which time the Korean Air check-in counter would open. Checking an animal in may add about 30 minutes to an hour to your check-in, possibly longer if the airline staff attending you is unfamiliar with the procedure for checking in pets, so come as early as possible to alot for any delays.
|Notice of indemnity|
|Excess baggage receipt|
At the counter, I was asked to present the vaccination records and international health certificate and to fill out a declaration of indemnity – basically, it’s a waiver of liability should anything happen to the pet during the journey. I was also asked to pay the extra baggage fee of 320.00USD. This fee is weight and size dependent so larger pets would cost more to transport. The airline agent then issued me a receipt for payment, and the baggage claim stickers. She then made a copy of the international health certificate and stuck the other copies onto the crate. When she was finished, I asked to attach my stickers and the packaged food and water for Tramp. She said it was ok but mentioned that the animal would not be fed during the flight by any of the on board personnel. And I said that was ok – mostly it was just for in case of emergency stopovers or whatever that might delay the flight.
|Baggage claim stickers|
Once we were done taping all the items onto the crate, I was instructed to take Tramp over to Oversized Baggage (I asked a porter to help me out with this). There, an airport security officer asked me to take Tramp out of his crate so he and his crate could be given a visual inspection since he wouldn’t be going through any X-rays. I thought that the officer might tell me that the Kong and blanket couldn’t be allowed to stay in with him (some airlines don’t allow them for some reason) but he made no mention of the items and put them back in, then secured the crate with plastic ties so the door couldn’t be pushed open by Tramp.Then it was time to say our momentary goodbyes. As expected, Tramp started to bark once the officer carried him away in his crate, and I said a silent prayer that Tramp would calm down and be safe during his long flight home. Then I made my way through passenger security check and waited another hour until my flight was ready to board.Unfortunately, my flight had already been booked long before I knew that I would be bringing a dog back with me from my trip. So I wasn’t able to get us on a direct flight and Tramp had to suffer an additional 3 hours in transit.A few more hours and we would be home in the Philippines. Hold on, Tramp, I thought. Just a few more hours to go.
ARRIVAL IN MANILA: Finally, finally, we landed safely in Manila! Getting off the aircraft and going through passenger checks could not happen fast enough as I was so eager to finally claim my baggage and Tramp. Mostly I was worried about his bladder because I knew he would hold his pee throughout the entire trip.At last, at the baggage carousels I looked around for airport staff and asked where I could pick up my dog. The person I spoke to said he would be coming out with the baggage. I was shocked. -Tramp would bounce around in his crate with all the rest of the baggage on the conveyor belt?? Thankfully, that person turned out to be mistaken and didn’t know what he was talking about, he disappeared for a while saying he would check with Korean Air about the dog. I collected my other bags and a moment later the guy reappeared having collected Tramp from the Korean Air personnel.Tramp was alright and excited to see me! I poured some water into his crate dish, but couldn’t yet open the crate because of the plastic ties. After loading him onto a cart with my other baggage I rolled him over to another customs officer who was in charge of animal imports.
|Notice of quarantine|
At this point, I still wasn’t sure if I would have to leave Tramp at customs for a 30-day quarantine. I was asked for his papers (vaccination record, international health certificate and import permit) and asked to pay the 350.00PHP inspection fee and was issued a receipt. The customs person barely even looked at Tramp. Though he issued me a notice of quarantine, there was no actual mention of quarantine whatsoever. For my purposes – great! I wasn’t keen on having Tramp be stuck at the airport.After everything, we at last made it through customs and out of the airport. My brother was waiting to pick us up. As quickly as we could, we removed the plastic ties on Tramp’s crate and found a grassy place in the parking lot where he could pee – it took him about 5 minutes – and that’s only a slight exaggeration.
And then we were off and bound for home. 🙂
|Tramp and me at Banfield Pet Hospital in Dallas|
In no particular order, here are some pet travel tips that might make your travels with your pet easier and safer…
Pet travel tip #1: Read up as much as you can on pet travel tips found on the internet or pet store/clinic brochures.
Pet travel tip #2: Make sure your pet is wearing ID tags with your name and contact info. Have him/her microchipped if you can.
Pet travel tip #3: Place absorbent bedding to line the crate floor, in case of potty accidents.
Pet travel tip #4: If airport security will allow it, leave a chewtoy such as a Kong in the crate with your pet to occupy him during the flight.
Pet travel tip #5: Make sure your pet’s crate is labeled with your name, contact info and destination address. Attach “Live Animal” stickers and a label with feeding information as well.
Pet travel tip #6: Prepare a ration of your pet’s food in a sealed bag and some water in a plastic bottle. If the airline will allow, tape these onto the crate with the feeding instructions. In case of emergency stopovers or flight delays, your pet will have some food and water to last him for a while.
Pet travel tip #7: Keep all your pet travel papers organized and in a separate, easy to access folder in your carry-on luggage.
Pet travel tip #8: Thoroughly exercise your pet a few hours before the flight so he is sleeping for the most part of the journey. Make sure he gets to potty before he is placed in the crate. Feed and give water to your pet about an hour before check in at the airport. If possible, have your pet potty again somewhere in or around the airport.
Pet travel tip #9: Arrive for check in around 4 hours before boarding. Checking your pet will add about an hour to the process.
Pet travel tip #10: Carry your pet’s leash in your carry-on bag with you. This way you can quickly put him on leash and have some way to control him and keep him out of trouble when you arrive at your destination.
Pet travel tip#11: Have scissors or nail cutters handy in your checked baggage so you can immediately remove the plastic ties on the crate once you’ve arrived at the destination and let your pet out.