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PirateLiker

Flying with a cat to the US.

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I bought a ticket for my fiancé to fly to California from Ukraine using CheapoAir.com. I got a nice 2 hop flight with an appropriate layover of a few hours in NY to process her visa. Then I called the next day to arrange for her car to travel with her. Although Ukrainian Airlines was friendly and charged a fee of only $113 JetBlue said the cat cannot fly. Cheapoair cancelled my ticket and charged me a $250 fee, which apparently was generous, since i was just past the 24 hour mark.

I thought this would be a routine matter as so many pets fly these days. 

How do I even buy a ticket for this cat? Can I do it through third party booking or do I have to pay the big bucks by booking directly with the airline?

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I can't tell you for the Ukraine, I can only tell you the experience I've had to far with flying my cat to the USA from the UK.

I contacted a company to fly my cat as I didn't want the hassle of having to book everything myself. I would google to see if there are any companies that can fly animals from Ukraine to USA.

I think it depends on the state if the cat will need to be quarantined after arrival, but I know for sure, the cat should be up to date with all vaccinations and have had a rabies shot and waited 30 days after the shot.

If you're looking for a cheap solution to fly the cat, then I would think again because flying my cat is costing somewhere around $1000. That's without any stops.

Flying pets is routine, but you also have to rememer there are only a certain amount of spots every flight to fit the animals in. The company flying my cat needs 3 weeks to get him onto a flight.


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8 hours ago, PirateLiker said:

I bought a ticket for my fiancé to fly to California from Ukraine using CheapoAir.com. I got a nice 2 hop flight with an appropriate layover of a few hours in NY to process her visa. Then I called the next day to arrange for her car to travel with her. Although Ukrainian Airlines was friendly and charged a fee of only $113 JetBlue said the cat cannot fly. Cheapoair cancelled my ticket and charged me a $250 fee, which apparently was generous, since i was just past the 24 hour mark.

I thought this would be a routine matter as so many pets fly these days. 

How do I even buy a ticket for this cat? Can I do it through third party booking or do I have to pay the big bucks by booking directly with the airline?

Hi.

I brought my cat in 2014 with KLM/Delta - worked really well that time.

 

2 years ago my friend tried to do the same, with her dog, and it wasn't good experience. Seems like since then Delta/KLM/Air France raised their prices  and now it costs like a trip in a business class for your pet.

 

They cancelled KLM/Delta tickets and re-booked them with Lufthansa. The dog was brought all way down to her final destination in the US on the same flights with her, and I know they were more than happy with reasonable price for the "dog" tickets.

So, maybe try to contact this airline?..... 

 

Also, usually a "pet" ticket is paid at the airport,  AFTER vet. inspection there, so your Fiancee should arrive  few hours before departure. Then  -  a vet.clearance , and after all paperwork done with vets, she will  pay for the cat's transportation. 

 

But you should talk to airline before you purchase the ticket for your Fiancee -  just to let them know there will be a pet, and they will advise you how to proceed. 

 

I also went to the airport , couple weeks before my flight, to talk with the airline representative - to make sure I had the right cage for the cat, understood correct what had to be done before boarding and to confirm the ticket price. 

 

There is also a procedure and paperwork for a pet to be allowed to travel internationally -  depends on a country you are traveling to. Any vet. clinics in Ukraine know what has to be done for different countries, so they could help your Fiancee with that.  

 

P.S. I'd stay away from a purchasing tickets with UIA for any long distance flights - very often it's a "light" trip, which means your luggage will be limited and you, most likely, will be charged for any snacks during the flight...   Besides, prices are not any cheaper, than with others, more comfortable airlines.

 

 

Edited by Ksenia_O

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Forgot to mention - there are some vaccinations/shots/check-ups have to be done in curtain time, like  " not earlier/later than XX days before flight" or something - don't recall for sure, but remember there was some kind of time requirements. But any vet.clinics know the protocol.

 

Beside, after all of the above the cat has to be 'cleared" by State vet clinic and this, if I remember correctly, has to be done like 3-5 days before departure The State paperwork will serve as a "permission" for the pet to go through airport vet.control.

 

So, before buying any tickets, it should be checked if the cat is "ready" to fly :)

 

it sounds like a lot of work, but it's actually not that difficult as it sounds,  Doable

 

Good luck!!

Edited by Ksenia_O

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Apparently the vaccinations are all done and the cat has her paperwork. Buying two tickets on separate airlines is a PITA. It looks like it is a 4 or more step process. 1. Buy ticket on airline A. 2. Add cat ticket on airline A. 3. Buy ticket on airline B. 4. Add cat ticket to airline B.

 

If you fail on step 2 or step 4 because there are not enough pet spots available on your flight, go back a step or two and beg for a refund. It's kind of hard to believe that there isn't a more efficient way to do this in 2018.

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1 hour ago, PirateLiker said:

Apparently the vaccinations are all done and the cat has her paperwork. Buying two tickets on separate airlines is a PITA. It looks like it is a 4 or more step process. 1. Buy ticket on airline A. 2. Add cat ticket on airline A. 3. Buy ticket on airline B. 4. Add cat ticket to airline B.

 

If you fail on step 2 or step 4 because there are not enough pet spots available on your flight, go back a step or two and beg for a refund. It's kind of hard to believe that there isn't a more efficient way to do this in 2018.

 

Well, it is really recommended  to book your pet at the same time as you book your own flight. If you want both to be traveling on the same flight.

 

Step 1  - call to book your flight and notify the person, making the reservation, that you will be traveling with a pet . And if airline does pets transportation, then go to Step 2, if doesn't - well,  probably, call another airline?

Step 2 - determine whether a pet  can travel in the cabin (has to be under 8 kg). Very often,  if all "pet places" have already been booked by the time you call, then the rest of pets travel in the cargo hold - the area is air-conditioned and a certain temperature is maintained for pets to feel comfortable.

 

P.S. Apparently,  airlines may have separate and additional requirements - vaccinations , very often a vet.health certificate is a must and etc . Check with your airline to determine what requirements they may have, if any - to make sure the cat really has everything done to be allowed the boarding.

Edited by Ksenia_O

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And you are right - it's always good to have one ticket for entire trip. Even if flights are operated by different airlines, they are partners, and usually have the same/similar requirements for pets transportation.

The very first flight will determine and provide you with requirements.

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If I remember correctly, there are a series of requirements:



1) Airline Rules and Regs regarding pet travel
2) Importation of cats into the US
https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/pet-travel/bring-pet-into-the-united-states/pet-travel-cats-into-us
3) Importation of cats into California (?) https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/ahfss/Animal_Health/FAQS.html

 

Also may be helpful:

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/pets

 

Just curious, how come JetBlue said no? Seems like every time I purchase a ticket, they want to sell me a pet ticket as well.

Edited by MjC772
additional question

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1 hour ago, Ksenia_O said:

And you are right - it's always good to have one ticket for entire trip. Even if flights are operated by different airlines, they are partners, and usually have the same/similar requirements for pets transportation.

The very first flight will determine and provide you with requirements.

YOu would think so, but that approach cost me a cancelled ticket and a loss of $250. I bought one ticket on 2 other airlines. One allowed the cat addition, the other didn't. The ticket was useless at that point. The booking agency refuned $550 and kept $250.

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Hopefully you planned for more than just a few hours thru New York to get processed thru. In theory it should be a quick process, but 2 hours is cutting it close. Remember there is a 45 min. check in window for the flight after she arrives internationally, so that gives you 1 hour and 15 min to play with. and from that it takes a minimum of 15-20 min just to get off the plane after it lands due to the number of passengers they carry. so lets say best case scenario you have about 1 hour to enter on a K1 visa. If everything goes great you will be ok, she gets sent to secondary your looking at 2 hours for that alone minimum, and no way she is making that second flight. I think on here or if you google it you can check the average times to get processed at different POE's. I am assuming JFK she will come thru, and that place is pretty busy.

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1 hour ago, Loren Y said:

Hopefully you planned for more than just a few hours thru New York to get processed thru. In theory it should be a quick process, but 2 hours is cutting it close. Remember there is a 45 min. check in window for the flight after she arrives internationally, so that gives you 1 hour and 15 min to play with. and from that it takes a minimum of 15-20 min just to get off the plane after it lands due to the number of passengers they carry. so lets say best case scenario you have about 1 hour to enter on a K1 visa. If everything goes great you will be ok, she gets sent to secondary your looking at 2 hours for that alone minimum, and no way she is making that second flight. I think on here or if you google it you can check the average times to get processed at different POE's. I am assuming JFK she will come thru, and that place is pretty busy.

I agree with you mostly but my Fiance was through CBP within 10 minutes of stepping off her flight at JFK, of course I planed for a lot more and ended up having to pay to move her up to a flight 2.5 hours earlier. So best case scenario to my surprise is 25 minutes after landing lol

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31 minutes ago, ThomasNC1988 said:

I agree with you mostly but my Fiance was through CBP within 10 minutes of stepping off her flight at JFK, of course I planed for a lot more and ended up having to pay to move her up to a flight 2.5 hours earlier. So best case scenario to my surprise is 25 minutes after landing lol

Nobody - repeat Nobody - should believe your JFK point-of-entry estimates as being anywhere near reality. That kind of thinking would be delusional for most people flying into any airport, let alone JFK. Allow for A LOT more time than 25 minutes.

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8 minutes ago, WandY said:

Nobody - repeat Nobody - should believe your JFK point-of-entry estimates as being anywhere near reality. That kind of thinking would be delusional for most people flying into any airport, let alone JFK. Allow for A LOT more time than 25 minutes.

You don't say.

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52 minutes ago, ThomasNC1988 said:

I agree with you mostly but my Fiance was through CBP within 10 minutes of stepping off her flight at JFK, of course I planed for a lot more and ended up having to pay to move her up to a flight 2.5 hours earlier. So best case scenario to my surprise is 25 minutes after landing lol

That has to be a rare occurrence, I am not saying that couldn't happen, but it is not very likely. Why pay to bump flight up a few hours, I could see if it was 4-6 hours maybe, but I would have made her wait 2 hours for the original flight, or I have been able to sweet talk the airline into an earlier flight a few times, but of course I speak the language, and would have an easier time doing it. Even with my global entry and mobile passport and all the other fast pass goodies the best time I ever did was about 7 min coming thru Salt Lake City of all places, and that is with no human interaction. It would take CBP 10 min just to get the K1 envelope open the way they roll. I'm really glad it went that fast, and I hope when I bring my fiancee back thru LAX later this month it is only 10 min.

Edited by Loren Y

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