Firstly, please understand that all airlines are different, with different, ever-changing policies. What we know now may change at any time. You’ll need to do your own research, and lots of it!
All airlines have embargoes. These are conditions and times of the year when they will not fly pets due to potentially dangerous temperatures. Pets die every year during airline transport, so even though the embargo is a hassle, it’s for the best.
Usually the summer heat embargo begins sometime in May and goes through September. Military PCS moves are exempt from temperature embargoes, but you need to consider what is safe for your pet. To fly during an embargo, unless the airline has temperature control ground transportation, your pet will only be allowed to fly if safe temperatures are met at takeoff and landing (including layovers). These vary by season, but can often be met during the summer by flying at night when it’s cooler, and vice versa in winter.
Temperature embargoes are in place because of the temperature on the GROUND, not in the air. It’s while pets are being transported to the plane (and waiting on the tarmac during loading) that they are at risk. Snub-nosed breeds are at higher risk due to breathing problems. There are certain airlines that have temperature-controlled ground transport – these are safest for your pet. As of now, the only airlines we know of with this option are Lufthansa and KLM.
Dealing with Airlines & Booking your Pet
Before calling airlines, make sure to know their policies, or better yet to have them in front of you. Many airline representatives do NOT know policy about flying pets, especially during an embargo, and knowing your facts will help you get to the right people. You can find the fine print about PCS exemptions (and other policies) on airlines’ websites.
Once you book your pet’s flight, don’t assume that your work is done. Most people call again later to confirm their pet, only to hear “What pet? We have no record of that.” Be prepared to call, and call, and CALL AGAIN.
Again, the only airlines we know of that have temperature-controlled tarmac transport for pets are Lufthansa and KLM.