Anand Sankar, who transported his two cats from Bangalore to Delhi by air, writes:
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Just thought I should share my experience of transporting my cats by air (domestic, within India), could be useful for anyone!
From a cursory reading online and through forums, I found that budget airlines don’t have much interest in transporting pet animals. And I wouldn’t trust a budget airline with my pets.
The choice boiled down to Air India or Jet Airways.
— Air India has a strange policy of not allowing pets in cargo holds. They have to be carried in the cabin, but only one pet per passenger. Did not work for me since I had to carry two. There is no extra charge in Air India but it is at the ‘discretion’ of the flying captain of that flight to allow the pet into the cabin. God only knows how that works, so it was pointless to pursue Air India.
— Jet Airways has a clear policy. Rs 5,000 per pet crate upto 25 kgs. It is carried in the hold.
1. I had to book my ticket and then manually go to the local Jet Airways reservation office to get my PNR endorsed for carrying pets. There is limited space in the hold, so inform Jet Airways that you are carrying pets on that flight immediately after booking your ticket . The call centre is useless. They have no clue about the pet carriage rules, don’t bother calling them.
2. Payment for the pet crates is only accepted after examining the pet crates and veterinary certificate. You have to buy IATA APPROVED crates. No improvisation allowed. Go at least three hours before the flight to the airport.
DO NOT SEDATE YOUR PETS for air travel. MY VET SAID NO.
3. I had to fill a form at the check in counter. Submit photocopies of vaccination, deworming and fit to fly certificate. The fit to fly certificate must be issued no later than 24 hours before the flight. (Tip: even if you go to the vet two to three days before your flight, you could ask him/her to date the certificate 24 hrs before the flight).
4. Payment is made in cash at the Jet Airways ticketing office at the airport.
5. Airline staff will escort you to a special area for x-ray of oversize baggage. This is the most painful part. You HAVE to remove your pet from the crate and get the crate x-rayed. BE PREPARED. No time for sympathy here. Your pet will be in distress with strangers and men with machine guns around. Just hold on to it tight. If you get bitten or scratched, grin and bear it. Thankfully there is no queue here, the scanner guys are very understanding, they do the x-ray as fast as possible.
6. Airline staff will then give you cable ties, which you have to use to secure your crates. Only you have to do this, it is airline policy that they will not assist you. You ensure that your crate is secure.
7. Airline staff take over the crates and load them into the aircraft.
8. When you board the aircraft ensure you inform the LEAD AIRHOSTESS that you have pets travelling in the hold and she MUST inform the Captain. The airline sends a notification to the pilots, but you ensure you also put in a word.
9. After the flight, go to the airline’s baggage reclamation counter. Your crates will arrive there. A dedicated staff member will bring them.
My overall experience with Jet Airways was GOOD. They handled the whole BLR-DEL transfer quite professionally.