Mheynes456

The nitty gritty of flying with pets

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Mheynes456

Hi everyone,

I was just going through some of my plans for when we land next year in Calgary and was just wondering about landing with the dogs. We are taking 4 dogs with us and flying KLM. Doing it ourselves from Cape Town so no agents or anything. The flight we are planning on taking is flying from Cape Town to Amsterdam and then to Calgary and the transfer time is only 1 hour 40 minutes. So as someone who has only ever flown twice in my life and it was a domestic flight, I was just wondering for those of you who have done something similar:

1. How does the transfer work with the baggage? Do we have to get off the one flight then collect our baggage and then check it in again onto the next flight? Or does is automatically get transferred onto the next flight?

2. Same as above with the dogs. Do they automatically get transferred to the next flight or do we have to go and collect them and then check them in again onto the next flight? If so, I doubt that 1 hour 40 min is going to be enough time.

3. Is there a rush to transfer between the two flights (I can just picture myself and hubby in a dizzy spin on the one side of the airport running around to find the transferring flight or where to go etc.)

4. Are there security checks when arriving in Amsterdam from Cape Town?

5. How does the dog collection happen at the final destination? Do we collect the animals first straight off the flights and then go to immigration and security etc or are they kept somewhere for us to collect them after the immigration and security stuff?

6. How long in advance do you have to book the animals on the flights with you? I phoned KLM and the guy said I should do it 4 months or so in advance but their website site says at least 48 hours. Do they get booked up pretty quickly?

 

Sorry for all the questions, I have tried to find the answers on the KLM website but not getting much clarity.

 

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JanSalJanNat

Hi

We are still in SA so haven't been through this process yet but with regards to your first question, the baggage are normally transferred automatically if you have a connecting flight.  I assume that will be the case with your dogs aswell, I heard they have a "doggy hotel" basically when you have a layover in Amsterdam where they take the dogs for a walk, give them food and water, etc.  If the flight has a certain layover you have to pay extra for the service though, just check on that.  

When I phoned they said that when you book your tickets you can tell them that you want to book your pets with you on the flight, if you did not do that I would recommend you inform them of this since there's only limited space for pets on a flight.

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Nelline

OK, the animal crates get transferred automatically at Amsterdam, they're very good. With a layover that short I would guess the animals would NOT get exercised. I believe they need a layover time of at least 2 hours in order to commit to exercising the animals etc. Once you're on the 2nd flight please ask one of the cabin crew to ASK THE CAPTAIN to double check your animals are on board before take-off. The cabin crew member will then check with the captain and come and reassure you that all is well, but you do have to ask.

Yes your luggage will get booked straight through but double check when you do check-in in CT

In Canada, once you land, you'll do your own immigration formalities first. The animals will be waiting for you somewhere - in my case (Montreal) they were stacked beside the carousel. I'd taped food to the tops of their crates (the crates had internal "trays" with lids and I put sealed bags of food in here, with the notes taped to the top of the lids) with a note asking for someone to please feed and water them in case of delay. In hindsight I should have added, in case of EXTREME delay, because the extra food and water and no potty break meant they were absolutely BURSTING by the time I could collect them. Then they had to go through formalities as well, including payment from my side to have them enter, but this was quite straightforward and fairly quick. 

Ask if you need more info or detail  :)

 

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Mheynes456

Thanks very much @Nelline. This is very helpful.

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Mheynes456

Hi all,

 

So an update. I have now booked our flights for 22nd April and then I called the reservations office to book the animals. They started the process and then when submitting they say that there is currently an embargo on flying with pets as excess baggage which was put in place 3 months ago and they cant process the booking. I would have to call the cargo office to arrange for them to fly as cargo! This is a nightmare. I was wondering if this could be because of the weather. I know that they don't allow pets to fly between October and March but my flights are booked for April. So now I don't know what we can do. I have messaged KLM on Facebook so hoping they will get back to me soon.

 

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Kayla

@Mheynes456 let usknow if you have had any luck with KLM and finding out whether there is still an embargo on having your dogs as check in baggage. 

Thanks. 

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Mheynes456

@Kayla yes, I eventually came right with them. There eas no embargo. The guy I was dealing with made a mistake on the booking. He booked them on return as well and south Africa doesn't allow them to fly in as check in baggage so that's why he was getting that message. But I fought with him and eventually he said that he can put it through as a special reservation. I have been following up with klm over Facebook though and they have been responding. They called me yesterday to say that only 2 ofor the 4 dogs have been confirmed so now I need to fight with them again! So now just waiting for klm to reply to my Facebook message again.

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SunshineGirl
7 hours ago, Mheynes456 said:

They called me yesterday to say that only 2 ofor the 4 dogs have been confirmed so now I need to fight with them again!

Agh, no man!

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Nelline
15 hours ago, Mheynes456 said:

@Kayla yes, I eventually came right with them. There eas no embargo. The guy I was dealing with made a mistake on the booking. He booked them on return as well and south Africa doesn't allow them to fly in as check in baggage so that's why he was getting that message. But I fought with him and eventually he said that he can put it through as a special reservation. I have been following up with klm over Facebook though and they have been responding. They called me yesterday to say that only 2 ofor the 4 dogs have been confirmed so now I need to fight with them again! So now just waiting for klm to reply to my Facebook message again.

Stop fighting. Start negotiating. It works. In SA you have to fight everyone and everything, so I understand where you're coming from. We had the exact same scenario when trying to book a puppy as hand luggage from the UK, in 2016. We were told it was impossible but the agent was trying to book a return flight... whereas we were wanting a flight to the UK and then a flight with puppy back to Canada. 3 minutes of calm negotiation and presto. All was well.

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Kayla

Thanks so much @Mheynes456

I’m getting so many mixed messages, I’m kinda thinking I should just go with Animal Travel Services and they can send them as cargo. It’ll cost more, but less stress. 

I phoned KLM and they said I need to fly the dogs on Air France because of the embargo on KLM. Super Super confusing!!! We also need to get the dogs to Victoria, which seems to be a bit of a mission!! The dogs need to land in Vancouver and then we’ll need to collect them and ferry them over to Victoria. Which sounds like a nightmare with 1 hyper dog, 1 anxious dog and 2 crazy children 🤪

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Mheynes456

I would say if you have the money for a pet transport company then do that rather. Its less stressful. The cheapest quote that I got is R86000 for our 4 dogs! So for us, I would rather go through the stress and only pay around R20000. We will need as much funds as we can get when we arrive. 

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