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Flying with pets as excess baggage in January

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Hoping some people with prior experience can point me in the right direction here. I'm trying to firm up some options, and I'm getting a stress headache here!

We plan to fly in January, from Aberdeen, to St. Louis (or next choice is Chicago). I will be 33-36 weeks pregnant. We have 3 pets, 2 cats and a dog.

Here's the options I've looked at so far:

Cunard sailing from Southampton (would be fun but ruled out because they don't take >24wk pregnant women)

KLM - one way flights are extortionate. Do not take animals in hold Nov - Mar and our dog, although small, is too big.

United - says I need to contact local shipping agent to arrange animal transport.

Air Canada - don't accept pets in hold in winter on the aircraft we'd be on.

Aer Lingus - great one way fares, however they won't accept animals if temperature is below 5C anywhere on itinerary. It's bound to be less than that in Chicago! Other than that rule would be perfect. Won't take me after 34 weeks.

SAS - would be perfect but apparently no longer take animals from UK at all.

We've looked at separate animal shipping companies but they all seem so expensive, we just can't afford that.

Can anyone help? Thank you!


Married since 2001. Lived in USA for 5.5yrs, UK for 9yrs, now heading back to USA!

London DCF:

Aug. 27th NOA1

Oct. 12th NOA2 (received 14th)

Oct. 20th Pkt 3 (received 21st)

Oct. 22nd DS-260 filled out, Medical booked and Notification of Readiness sent

Nov. 9th Medical attended

Nov. 16th Email received from embassy with interview date

Nov. 16th Registered for courier

Dec. 2nd INTERVIEW! - Approved! :goofy:

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What about Aer Lingus, but land in the warmer end of the country and one of you (or both) drive up in a rental car with the animals? You could always land in Chicago but your spouse could take a separate flight and land in Florida or something, maybe?


Met in 2010 on a forum for a mutual interest. Became friends.
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That could work. But now hubby is wondering what happens if it's below 5c here!


Married since 2001. Lived in USA for 5.5yrs, UK for 9yrs, now heading back to USA!

London DCF:

Aug. 27th NOA1

Oct. 12th NOA2 (received 14th)

Oct. 20th Pkt 3 (received 21st)

Oct. 22nd DS-260 filled out, Medical booked and Notification of Readiness sent

Nov. 9th Medical attended

Nov. 16th Email received from embassy with interview date

Nov. 16th Registered for courier

Dec. 2nd INTERVIEW! - Approved! :goofy:

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What happens if you fly from the south of France instead? Are there any direct flights from there or Italy or somewhere a bit warmer than Aberdeen? You could drive through the tunnel to the continent and take the animals from a warmer climate?


Met in 2010 on a forum for a mutual interest. Became friends.
2011: Realized we needed to evaluate our status as friends when we realized we were talking about raising children together.

2011/2012: Decided we were a couple sometime in, but no possibility of being together due to being same sex couple.

June 26, 2013: DOMA overturned. American married couples ALL have the same federal rights at last! We can be a family!

June-September, 2013: Discussion about being together begins.

November 13, 2013: Meet in person to see if this could work. It's perfect. We plan to elope to Boston, MA.

March 13, 2014 Married!

May 9, 2014: Petition mailed to USCIS

May 12, 2014: NOA1.
October 27, 2014: NOA2. (5 months, 2 weeks, 1 day after NOA1)
October 31, 2014: USCIS ships file to NVC (five days after NOA2) Happy Halloween for us!

November 18, 2014: NVC receives our case (22 days after NOA2)

December 17, 2014: NVC generates case number (50 days after NOA2)

December 19, 2014: Receive AOS bill, DS-261. Submit DS-261 (52 days after NOA2)

December 20, 2014: Pay AOS Fee

January 7, 2015: Receive, pay IV Fee

January 10, 2015: Complete DS-260

January 11, 2015: Send AOS package and Civil Documents
March 23, 2015: Case Complete at NVC. (70 days from when they received docs to CC)

May 6, 2015: Interview at Montréal APPROVED!

May 11, 2015: Visa in hand! One year less one day from NOA1.

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I thought Cunard was booked up years in advance?

Most of the the threads I have seen people have used the specialists.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Maybe I can find an airline that will let me take the cats on board and I will send the dog via the expensive option.


Married since 2001. Lived in USA for 5.5yrs, UK for 9yrs, now heading back to USA!

London DCF:

Aug. 27th NOA1

Oct. 12th NOA2 (received 14th)

Oct. 20th Pkt 3 (received 21st)

Oct. 22nd DS-260 filled out, Medical booked and Notification of Readiness sent

Nov. 9th Medical attended

Nov. 16th Email received from embassy with interview date

Nov. 16th Registered for courier

Dec. 2nd INTERVIEW! - Approved! :goofy:

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The only airline I can find that let you take the cats onboard is Lufthansa.

I spoke to Virgin Atlantic and they don't have any restrictions on weather, I checked due to heat. Delta I think also don't have restrictions regarding weather.

Both would ship them in the cargo hold, that's what I have decided to do, then changing in the US I bought a different carrier so that the I can take my cat on the domestic flight in the cabin. Should make for an interesting switch which I haven't quite worked out yet!

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I'd actually prefer them to be in the hold, because I have enough to worry about with 3 kids, let alone 2 cats also! But that's where the temperature restrictions come in. However, I spoke to Aer Lingus cargo at length today and they said that it is rare that they embargo to Chicago due to cold weather, and even if they did it shouldn't affect us since we are picking them up there rather than transferring. They also said they would usually know ahead of time (at least before we board our first flights). We will see what the long term forecast is looking like closer to the time, and possibly book into Orlando instead. If it's getting close to departure and the weather is seriously cold, we can always just fork out the cash to send them via a specialist company, or leave them with my grandparents and one of us fly back to get them at some point.


Married since 2001. Lived in USA for 5.5yrs, UK for 9yrs, now heading back to USA!

London DCF:

Aug. 27th NOA1

Oct. 12th NOA2 (received 14th)

Oct. 20th Pkt 3 (received 21st)

Oct. 22nd DS-260 filled out, Medical booked and Notification of Readiness sent

Nov. 9th Medical attended

Nov. 16th Email received from embassy with interview date

Nov. 16th Registered for courier

Dec. 2nd INTERVIEW! - Approved! :goofy:

Share this post


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The only airline I can find that let you take the cats onboard is Lufthansa.

I spoke to Virgin Atlantic and they don't have any restrictions on weather, I checked due to heat. Delta I think also don't have restrictions regarding weather.

Both would ship them in the cargo hold, that's what I have decided to do, then changing in the US I bought a different carrier so that the I can take my cat on the domestic flight in the cabin. Should make for an interesting switch which I haven't quite worked out yet!

Virgin unfortunately has no routing that works for us, and Delta doesn't seem to allow pets on non-US flights?

Lufthansa is an option but would require flying to Orlando. (We could fly further north but if we can't get close to where we want to be we may as well make sure it's somewhere warm!)


Married since 2001. Lived in USA for 5.5yrs, UK for 9yrs, now heading back to USA!

London DCF:

Aug. 27th NOA1

Oct. 12th NOA2 (received 14th)

Oct. 20th Pkt 3 (received 21st)

Oct. 22nd DS-260 filled out, Medical booked and Notification of Readiness sent

Nov. 9th Medical attended

Nov. 16th Email received from embassy with interview date

Nov. 16th Registered for courier

Dec. 2nd INTERVIEW! - Approved! :goofy:

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Virgin unfortunately has no routing that works for us, and Delta doesn't seem to allow pets on non-US flights?

Lufthansa is an option but would require flying to Orlando. (We could fly further north but if we can't get close to where we want to be we may as well make sure it's somewhere warm!)

Delta will fly pets internationally in the cargo hold or as part of dash.

http://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/special-travel-needs/pets/domestic-international-pet-travel.html

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Also, I checked with a couple of pet travel companies and it's pretty expensive and it seems like they'll only put my cat on a direct flight which in my case would be 4 hours away from where I'm actually going.

I'm hoping to fly in the next few months so I'll write an update on how it went.

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Just an update for anyone else in this predicament. We've decided to fly Iceland Air. They have the least restrictions on flying with pets, the shortest layover I can find, shortest total travel time, and are quite cheap as well. :)


Married since 2001. Lived in USA for 5.5yrs, UK for 9yrs, now heading back to USA!

London DCF:

Aug. 27th NOA1

Oct. 12th NOA2 (received 14th)

Oct. 20th Pkt 3 (received 21st)

Oct. 22nd DS-260 filled out, Medical booked and Notification of Readiness sent

Nov. 9th Medical attended

Nov. 16th Email received from embassy with interview date

Nov. 16th Registered for courier

Dec. 2nd INTERVIEW! - Approved! :goofy:

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A courier like Airpets if your pets stayed with family would allow you to fly them to you with out you having to come back for them. Although I know it can be pricey. I flew a 16kg dog from LGW to Washington DC and it cost £1200.


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