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Ground Versus Air Travel for Your Pet

Published on: July 5, 2017  |  Author: Starwood Animal Transport

Ground-Vs-Air-Travel-For-Pet-Blog.jpgGround travel is nothing new to pets. At the very least, your kitty rides in the car when she has to make the Dreaded Vet Visit. And your dog loves nothing more than to ride shotgun as you run errands or head out for a hike in the woods or a swim in the lake. Even that vet visit isn’t so bad, because your pup gets to be with you.

But what if your pet must travel a longer distance? Should he drive or fly? The best decision for you and your pet depends on your needs and theirs.

Maybe you’re moving from San Diego to Boston. You might be able to pile Rex the Wonder Dog into the car for a multi-day journey, but Fluffy the Feline is not likely to meow with excitement at the prospect. She may meow her way across the country, though, driving both of you wacky.

But what if you and your canine companion are planning a European holiday? Or you’re moving overseas with Rex and Fluffy? Ground transportation is out of the question. Either way, you need professional help.

Some pet transport companies provide only ground transportation, whereas others are strictly air transporters. Here at Starwood, we offer both air travel and ground travel service because we know it may require both to get your pet efficiently and comfortably from Point A to Point B.

You may live quite some distance from the most appropriate departure or arrival airport. Or your dog and his kennel are so large they won’t fit in the small feeder airplane that serves your home town. Adding a ground leg to his journey makes the most sense. Or, if you’re headed a long distance but not outside the country, you may simply prefer your pet move by ground rather than air.

Options are critical when it comes to pet travel, because every situation is unique in some way. Flexibility can help reduce complexity, and that reduces stress for you and your pets.

Going by ground

Ground transportation may feel less stressful for your pet because the “look and feel” of traveling in a vehicle is at least somewhat familiar. On the other hand, he or she will be riding with someone they don’t know, for several days. That could boost their anxiety level. 

Some companies that provide ground transport for pets make trips more “efficient” by taking as many pets as possible. Rex and Fluffy may have an even longer trip as their transport vehicle zigs and zags to pick up or drop off animals along the way. All that action and those unknown animals could boost their anxiety level even more.

Here at Starwood, we believe that’s not fair to your pets. We transport one family at a time, whether you have one pet or several. Rex and Fluffy can travel as directly as possible to their destination, and they won’t be asked to share the experience with some other dog, cat, ferret, or bunny they don’t know.

Traveling by air

Flying is faster. For in-country travel, your pet’s entire journey will take just a few hours rather than several days. That’s a lot less separation anxiety for both of you, and there’s a lot to be said for that. 

When traveling by ground, any itinerary works fine. When traveling by plane, there are a multitude of factors to consider, including:

  • Not all airlines accept pets, and those that do are not all equally pet-friendly. Every airline has its own set of rules.
  • Your pet will require multiple travel documents. Exactly what is needed will depend on the destination country.
  • Each pet must travel in a heavy-duty kennel approved by the International Air Transport Association. Sizing the carrier correctly is essential.
  • Very hot or very cold weather can affect your pet’s travel plans. 

These issues are challenging, but obviously not insurmountable. Millions of animals travel around the world on planes every year ­– safely. But finding accurate information regarding your destination and making all the arrangements fall into place properly takes time and, frankly, a certain amount of “insider” knowledge. Relying on a professional pet transport company can significantly boost your confidence and peace of mind.

But here’s the thing: your pet’s experience will be positive only if you choose your transport company carefully. Reputation is everything, and membership in the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association is a must.

And speaking of peace of mind . . .

Even though you can trust our Starwood team implicitly, we know you’ll still worry. So we created the Starwood Pet Protection Plan, which offers three types of coverage for any pet you entrust to us while they are in transit. It’s available whether you choose ground or air travel for your pet. All you’ll have to worry about is smooching Rex and Fluffy when you’re happily reunited. 

Cat in a red suitcase ready to fly