transatlantic flight

mochalily2020

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Hi everyone,

I currently live in London with my 4 year old guinea pigs and a little rescue dog. My partner has recently gotten a job opportunity to move to Montreal, Canada and this move should take place in about 4 months or so.

I am very reluctant to make this move but with the current Covid situation job opportunities are quite scarce here and I dont think we have any other option.

I was wondering if any one has done a transatlantic trip with their piglets? I have contacted a pet transportation company that can offer a crate with a divider between the two guinea pigs so that they can hear eachother and see each other but cannot fight in case they get stressed during the trip.

Any advice would really be appreciated as I will certainly not be leaving the guinea pigs in the UK

I have attached photos of them

Thank you in advance for any useful tips !
 

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Siikibam

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mochalily2020

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I wouldn’t separate them during the travel - they can comfort each other during the stressful time. But most piggies travel well. How does this company bring them over? I assume they’d be bringing your dog over as well? You need to speak to the airline and see if they would allow you to travel with them.
Our Experience Of Piggies, Europe And Aeroplanes
Transatlantic Flights With Guinea Pigs

We were told my the company that they have had incidents of the guinea pigs fighting when stressed but that they would allow them to be caged together if we prefer.. We were a bit uncertain regarding what to do about that..

It's really reassuring to hear that most piggies travel well, thank you.

yes, they would be bringing our dog over as well.

They would bring them in the same flight as us but in the cargo unfortunately as they are not allowed in cabin.
 

Siikibam

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Would the cargo area be warm enough for them? I really would advise against splitting them.
 

mochalily2020

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Would the cargo area be warm enough for them? I really would advise against splitting them.

yes we were advised that it will be warm enough.

Regarding the split we aren't sure yet about the best solution.. the guinea pigs get along really well for the most part but one of the two can become a bit of a bully so we are worried that if they get nervous she might bite the other one. They would be in the same crate but there would be a divider between them that resembles a grid so they will be able to see and hear eachother
 

Siikibam

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I wouldn’t put in a divider either. When you get there you would have to re-bond them. But you’ll have to do what they say really. Is everything else set? Exciting times 😁
 

mochalily2020

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I wouldn’t put in a divider either. When you get there you would have to re-bond them. But you’ll have to do what they say really. Is everything else set? Exciting times 😁
yeah, i should get a response from them in the next week or so and will let you know what they say.
Yeah it's all set, it's exciting but the pet aspect makes it a bit nerve wrecking too😰 really hope they all handle the 7 hour flight ok
 

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I’m sure they will be okay once they see you at the other end.
 

Swissgreys

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My first question would be what time of year are you flying?
I would also be asking the company a LOT of questions about how they will transport them.
The divider itself isn't an awful idea, but with animal transport the crates are often left in unheated locations for up to several hours prior to the flight. Depending on the time of year this could be fatal for guinea pigs.
One way to make it safer is to be on the same flight and insist on dropping the guinea pigs off yourself. Make sure the flight is still taking animals by calling to confirm 24 hours before hand. The hold they use is temperature controlled and reserved for animals and other sensitive cargo, but animals can get bumped from a flight if a priority cargo needs the hold at the last minute (a body gets priority over animals).
Your guinea pigs will be loaded into the right hand side of the plane (as you are sitting facing the front) so if possible try and get seats on that side, drop them at the absolute last possible minute, and then get ot the gate asap. I would never board a plane until I had seen my animals being loaded. The staff will try and say you need to board, but the plane isn't leaving until your animals are loaded and strapped in.
I also always wrote a letter to the pilot with pictures of my pets, and a short note explaining that they were on board and asking them to double check the hold conditions. On one particular flight with a rescue dog I was actually invited into the cockpit to see the camera footage of the hold and my dog laying down asleep in his crate :love:

It can be done and 7 hours isn't that long, but be very wary about how long your guinea pigs will be left hanging around at the start of the flight. Pet transport companies are notorious for taking the animals a day or two before, and then dropping them off very early for fligths where they are lef to sit in the cargo area. It makes their life hassle free and ensures your pet will get on the flight, but could be traumatic for guinea pigs.
 

mochalily2020

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My first question would be what time of year are you flying?
I would also be asking the company a LOT of questions about how they will transport them.
The divider itself isn't an awful idea, but with animal transport the crates are often left in unheated locations for up to several hours prior to the flight. Depending on the time of year this could be fatal for guinea pigs.
One way to make it safer is to be on the same flight and insist on dropping the guinea pigs off yourself. Make sure the flight is still taking animals by calling to confirm 24 hours before hand. The hold they use is temperature controlled and reserved for animals and other sensitive cargo, but animals can get bumped from a flight if a priority cargo needs the hold at the last minute (a body gets priority over animals).
Your guinea pigs will be loaded into the right hand side of the plane (as you are sitting facing the front) so if possible try and get seats on that side, drop them at the absolute last possible minute, and then get ot the gate asap. I would never board a plane until I had seen my animals being loaded. The staff will try and say you need to board, but the plane isn't leaving until your animals are loaded and strapped in.
I also always wrote a letter to the pilot with pictures of my pets, and a short note explaining that they were on board and asking them to double check the hold conditions. On one particular flight with a rescue dog I was actually invited into the cockpit to see the camera footage of the hold and my dog laying down asleep in his crate :love:

It can be done and 7 hours isn't that long, but be very wary about how long your guinea pigs will be left hanging around at the start of the flight. Pet transport companies are notorious for taking the animals a day or two before, and then dropping them off very early for fligths where they are lef to sit in the cargo area. It makes their life hassle free and ensures your pet will get on the flight, but could be traumatic for guinea pigs.
Hey thank you for all this information!

We are flying in about two months so November.

You make a good point, we thought about them taking the piglets day before but now we have reconsidered and will take them in ourselves on the day of the trip.

Have you travelled with guinea pigs before? How did you manage to send the pilot a letter, we would like to do the same as well?
Our dog is a rescue from Romania as well which is why we are a bit concerned so it's good to know that you have done this and it went ok.
 

Swissgreys

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Hey thank you for all this information!

We are flying in about two months so November.

You make a good point, we thought about them taking the piglets day before but now we have reconsidered and will take them in ourselves on the day of the trip.

Have you travelled with guinea pigs before? How did you manage to send the pilot a letter, we would like to do the same as well?
Our dog is a rescue from Romania as well which is why we are a bit concerned so it's good to know that you have done this and it went ok.
Ideally you can actually take them yourselves, and have a lot more control over the situation.
It isn't that difficult, and pet transport companies aren't necessary if you are willing to take time to book the flights yourself.

I have flown with dogs (4 greyhounds on one very memorable flight!), rabbits and guinea pigs on separate occasions.
To be totally honest when we flew with the small animals they actually came with us as hand luggage, but that is difficult to do these days as restrictions are a lot tighter and less airlines will let you do this.

November is tricky as it will be too cold outside for your guinea pigs at both ends of the trip.
You need to speak directly to the airline and ask what provisions they will make for keeping them warm during loading and unloading.
Even if you drop them off right before the flight, crates need to be straped onto a metal transport tray and lifted into the aircraft, and this takes time. Also the hold won't reach the optimal temperature for a while as it is open during loading so gets fairly cold.
Talk about this issue with the airline well in advance.
I would actually try asking if you can take them as hand luggage as long as their carrier fits under the seat in front.
The airline will give you the exact dimensions as it varies from carrier to carrier - European carriers tend to have more room than US carriers.

You need ot be careful about the letter for the pilot - obviously you don't want to spark a security alert!
I wrote a letter with a large colour picture of my pets at the top.
I did not put it in an envelope and once we sat down I called a member of staff over, opened the letter, explained I had pets on board and asked them to pass on the information to the pilot.
The letter was always very polite and usually went something along the lines of: Today my much loved rescue greyhound George is traveling in the hold. George waited five years to find his forever home, and is moving with his family to Switzerland. Thank you for making sure our boy is safe and warm in the hold. etc.
Usually this got passed around the rest of the staff and everyone was always very nice about it and asked questions, etc.

I also laminated a similar letter and stuck it to the top of each dogs crate. It always included several contact numbers etc and some info about the dogs insdie. I wanted the people handling my animals to feel a connection with them. I also covered all sides of the crate with reflective tape to make sure it would be very visible in poor light conditions.
 

mochalily2020

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Ideally you can actually take them yourselves, and have a lot more control over the situation.
It isn't that difficult, and pet transport companies aren't necessary if you are willing to take time to book the flights yourself.

I have flown with dogs (4 greyhounds on one very memorable flight!), rabbits and guinea pigs on separate occasions.
To be totally honest when we flew with the small animals they actually came with us as hand luggage, but that is difficult to do these days as restrictions are a lot tighter and less airlines will let you do this.

November is tricky as it will be too cold outside for your guinea pigs at both ends of the trip.
You need to speak directly to the airline and ask what provisions they will make for keeping them warm during loading and unloading.
Even if you drop them off right before the flight, crates need to be straped onto a metal transport tray and lifted into the aircraft, and this takes time. Also the hold won't reach the optimal temperature for a while as it is open during loading so gets fairly cold.
Talk about this issue with the airline well in advance.
I would actually try asking if you can take them as hand luggage as long as their carrier fits under the seat in front.
The airline will give you the exact dimensions as it varies from carrier to carrier - European carriers tend to have more room than US carriers.

You need ot be careful about the letter for the pilot - obviously you don't want to spark a security alert!
I wrote a letter with a large colour picture of my pets at the top.
I did not put it in an envelope and once we sat down I called a member of staff over, opened the letter, explained I had pets on board and asked them to pass on the information to the pilot.
The letter was always very polite and usually went something along the lines of: Today my much loved rescue greyhound George is traveling in the hold. George waited five years to find his forever home, and is moving with his family to Switzerland. Thank you for making sure our boy is safe and warm in the hold. etc.
Usually this got passed around the rest of the staff and everyone was always very nice about it and asked questions, etc.

I also laminated a similar letter and stuck it to the top of each dogs crate. It always included several contact numbers etc and some info about the dogs insdie. I wanted the people handling my animals to feel a connection with them. I also covered all sides of the crate with reflective tape to make sure it would be very visible in poor light conditions.

Yes taking them as carry on would really be the best solution I would feel a lot less stressed about this move.. it's a shame that they do not allow it.. I will try contacting a couple of airlines directly but the 2 main ones which have direct flights (BA and AirCanada) do not seem to offer this possibility.

It's a good question regarding the temperature control, I will contact the airline once it gets a bit closer to the date and see what they have to say about that. It's also a good reminder to put warm lining inside their crate.

I liked your idea about putting some personal information on their crates as well, hopefully it will make the handlers a bit more sensitive about their situation.

If you remember any more tips please let me know it would be greatly appreciated
 

Mo & Stubbins & Vani

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Yes taking them as carry on would really be the best solution I would feel a lot less stressed about this move.. it's a shame that they do not allow it.. I will try contacting a couple of airlines directly but the 2 main ones which have direct flights (BA and AirCanada) do not seem to offer this possibility.

It's a good question regarding the temperature control, I will contact the airline once it gets a bit closer to the date and see what they have to say about that. It's also a good reminder to put warm lining inside their crate.

I liked your idea about putting some personal information on their crates as well, hopefully it will make the handlers a bit more sensitive about their situation.

If you remember any more tips please let me know it would be greatly appreciated
Hi! :)
This may be incorrect, but I believe that American Airlines allows small pets on board.
This is what I found on their website:
On American flights, you can bring 1 kennel as your carry-on bag if:
  • You pay the carry-on pet charge
  • Your pet stays in the kennel and under the seat in front of you the entire flight
 

mochalily2020

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Hi! :)
This may be incorrect, but I believe that American Airlines allows small pets on board.
This is what I found on their website:
On American flights, you can bring 1 kennel as your carry-on bag if:
  • You pay the carry-on pet charge
  • Your pet stays in the kennel and under the seat in front of you the entire flight
Heyy thank you for you message! :)

From what i read it appears as though this is the case as long as it is a flight within North America so transatlantic flights like ours is not included :(

If you read something different please send me!
 

Siikibam

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You should contact them to clarify it.
 

artcasper

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How exciting moving to Canada.. I hope that you find a solution to get your animals safely across to Canada..
 
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