Sometimes, SATO’s options don’t cut it. And worse, sometimes they just don’t want to help. Hopefully that is NOT the case for you, but if it is, don’t panic. You have other options.
Flying Space A
Space A/AMC/Patriot Express is a great option for getting your pet to Italy. These flights are based on space available, but PCSing families get priority. Even if your SATO office won’t book you on a Space A flight, you can do it yourself with PCS orders. These flights are considerably cheaper than commercial flights, and they take pets no problem.
However, the only Space A flight to Aviano is out of Baltimore, Maryland. Finding a domestic, pet-friendly flight from your state to Baltimore may not be an option, but renting a car is worth it to get your pet to Italy safely.
Check out our blog entry for more information. You can also visit Space A’s website, and look at their Pet Travel Brochure here.
Flying Commercially on your Own Dime (& Possible Reimbursement)
If SATO won’t accommodate flying with your pet, you can always fly commercially on your own dime. You MAY be able to be reimbursed once you get to Vicenza, but the army will only reimburse for flights on American-based airlines. The process for reimbursement is lengthy, with a lot of paperwork, but it is possible.
You can also use the dollar amount that SATO has allotted to your airline ticket and apply it to another airline / airport. You’ll have to work with SATO to do it, and you’ll have to pay any difference out of pocket, but it’s a good option if it means your pet can fly with you.
Using a Pet Shipment Company
Pet shipping companies are probably the most expensive option for moving with your dog, but the company will take care of everything. They can cost anywhere between $1,000-$3,000.
We don’t have a lot of information about shipping companies ourselves, so you’ll need to do your research. Also, please know that we CANNOT pick your dog up from the airport without you, so if you ship your dog separately you will have to be here in Italy BEFORE YOUR DOG.
I’m Already in Italy, but my Pet is in the States.
If you want to bring your pet to Italy “unaccompanied,” you have a couple options. You can hire a pet shipping company as mentioned above, or you can have a friend/family member come visit you and bring your pet.
To have a friend/family member bring your pet, the same health and paperwork requirements need to be met as if you were doing it yourself. For someone else to do this, you’ll need to provide them with a Power of Attorney.
After the requirements are met, your pet can be booked on a commercial flight as normal. You can refer to our blog entry “Working with Airlines & Temperature Embargoes” for more info.