I actually caught this on the radio, which is a bit rare since I generally listen to most of my NPR content via podcasts (Downcaster). Anyway, there was a story on WAMU Animal House about traveling pets. I do recommend listening to this show, since the text at that link doesn’t say much. If you don’t want t hear Captain Paul Watson’s illegal fishing stories, you’ll want to skip to later in the podcast when they discuss United lifting it’s limited dog breed ban, and when they talk to dog safety expert Melanie Monteiro about sending your pets on a plane.
When I moved last year, I actually had my cat flown across the country on Continental/United. I did have someone help me with all the logistics, because I figured it would be better to pay someone to make sure there were no snafus (like missing required documentation), then to add that stress onto everything else going on with a move.
Anyway, among the pet transport planners I talked to, the Continental PetSafe program (now United) was everyone’s favorite, and luckily they flew to DCA. The most interesting tip that Melanie Monteiro shares is that you should bring a photo of your pet flying, and show the flight attendants, and have them bring the picture to the captain. Apparently, even though the pet cargo hold is full pressurized, it can still get cold. According to her, the captain has a switch that can direct additional warm air into the pet cargo hold, so the captain can make your pet’s journey a bit more enjoyable! I didn’t know that (nor did I fly on the same flight as my cat), so I don’t know if my cat got the benefit of warm air, but at least she made it over ok!