Pet Passports Make For Easy Travel, Avoid Fines

Having a pet passport can speed up and simplify traveling with animals between countries. A typical pet passport will have the microchip or tattoo number of the animal and a complete record of immunizations and vaccinations required for entrance into most countries. While airlines have inspected that document in the past, look for increased scrutiny going forward after one carrier received a hefty fine in a pet passport related incident.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has been fined £1,800 (about $2,800) by a UK court for carrying a cat found to be traveling on an invalid pet passport, reports Barry & District News. On top of that, KLM was ordered to pay costs of £3,000 and a victim surcharge of £120.

A pet passport is just one part of the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), a system that enables animals to travel between member countries without undergoing quarantine. Started in the UK, the PETS program then rolled out to other European Union countries, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

In the case of the KLM incident, the Mexican cat’s passport had discrepancies over its identification and, more importantly, its rabies vaccinations. “Without trading standards’ intervention, the possibility of a rabies outbreak could have been catastrophic,” said Principal trading standards officer Christina Roberts-Kinsey.While the PETS program is a step in the right direction, standardization between countries is still a work in progress. To fly, pets need a wellness exam, food in-transit and they, too, will have to go through security at the airport. Companies that specialize in transporting pets like have the most current and accurate information.

The approach designs a custom plan for each individual pet, satisfying or exceeding the entry requirements of countries around the world. Clients receive their pet‘s flight schedule the week before the flight detailing all of the flight numbers, departure and arrival airports along with the pet’s “Air Way Bill” (or ticket) number. These 24/7 flight tracking instructions keep pet owners informed.

Flying on United? A first-class lounge for pets recently opened at Chicago O’Hare.

Motor Club Membership Has Pets Wagging More, Paying Less

The American Automobile Association (AAA) is a not-for-profit motor club that has been helping travelers since 1902. Formed mainly in response to a lack of roads and highways suitable for automobiles, AAA membership has evolved to serve the changing needs of more than 50 million members. Tackling everything from emergency roadside assistance to road maps, travel guides and travel services along the way, AAA is relevant today too. Advice and discounts cover everything from saving money buying a car to caring for and traveling with pets.

“Owning a pet, whether it’s a dog, a cat, a hamster or a bird, can be pricey,” says AAA in its monthly newsletter. “In this sluggish economy, everyone is on the lookout for ways to shed unnecessary expenses, and spoiling our pets may not make the budget.”

AAA directs members looking to save on spay/neuter services, discount pet food and medication to partners such as Pets Warehouse, PetFoodDirect and large retailers like Costco, PETCO and PetSmart.

On the road, AAA’s hotel search engine will help travelers locate a AAA Diamond-Rated hotel fit for them and their pet. A copy of AAA’s “Traveling With Your Pet” ($9.99 digital edition available at the iTunes Store, and, details pet-friendly hotels, restaurants, attractions and more.The AAA website has free information on traveling with pets too, including:

AAA also offers discounts on vacation packages, cruise vacations and more. A lot has changed at AAA since 1902, including up-to-date mobile apps and a YouTube channel that can be a great help to the travelers of today.

AAA online guidebooks, launched last year, let members download free digital guides for their Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad, Barnes and Noble Nook, Sony Reader or smartphones equipped with an e-reader application. Site visitors to can view the available eTourBook titles, but only AAA members can initiate a download. To complete the process, members login to download titles to their personal computer and then sync the files to their portable device.

This video about safe summer travel is typical of what AAA has for motorists.

[Flickr photo by TheGiantVermin]

Summer Travel With Pets Made Easy With New Book

For many Americans, pets are essential participants in family outings but bringing them along can pose some challenges. The new edition of “Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA PetBook,” offers resources for planning pet-friendly vacations that can make the process easier.

The book includes a listing of all pet-friendly AAA Approved and Rated lodgings throughout the U.S. and Canada. Listing more than 600 pet-friendly campgrounds, dog parks and attractions, the guide has useful tips for preparing four-legged travelers for the road or air and handy information about pet etiquette, insurance and emergency animal clinics.

“We know pets are very much a part of our guests’ families. As such, we want to welcome pets and their owners to our more than 1,600 pet-friendly properties,” said Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western.

AAA runs an annual Photo Contest that picks winners to appear on the back cover and spine of the next edition and also receive cash and prizes.

In this year’s contest, sponsored by Best Western, two winning pet photos will be featured on the cover and spine of the book, published in May 2013. The first place winner, featured on the back cover, will receive $300, a $150 Best Western Travel Card (valid at any Best Western Worldwide), pet treats and five copies of the book. The second place winner, featured on the book’s spine, will receive $150, pet treats and two copies of the book.

“Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA PetBook,” in its 14th edition, is annually updated and available at many AAA and CAA offices as well as select bookstores and online booksellers.

Flickr photo by David d’O

Traveling With Pets Made Easy With Online Expert

Traveling with pets can be a complicated and time-consuming task. Carry-on pets must be small enough to fit comfortably in a small kennel under the seat. Larger pets must meet minimum standards that may vary between airlines. To fly, pets need a wellness exam, food in-transit and they too will have to go through security at the airport. specializes in just that sort of travel and can make it easy.

“If you’re traveling for the first time with your pet on a flight you need to put some extra effort not only to make the reservation and get the documents completed, but also to train your pet physically and psychologically,” blogged Caitlin Moore, new media coordinator for

The approach designs a custom plan for each individual pet. Clients receive their pet’s flight schedule the week before the flight detailing all of the flight numbers, departure and arrival airports along with the pet’s “Air Way Bill” (or ticket) number. 24/7 flight tracking instructions keep pet owners informed.

“When you first contact, either by phone or email, you are put in touch with a PetRelocation Service Consultant familiar with your destination region who will obtain all of the necessary details to provide you with an accurate quotation and answer any questions you might have about the move,” says on its website.

PetRelocation also only works with “pet friendly” airlines that have climate controlled waiting areas and pressurized cargo holds. Airlines used must guarantee that their dedicated live animal cargo staff will care for pets. When layovers are necessary, they route pets through airports that have on-site pet hotels. has a helpful social element too with an extensive blog where pet owner questions are asked and answered. Their online pet owners community at features message boards, secure live chat and more.

Recently, employees and about 8,000 dogs attended the Great Texas Dog Walk, an annual event held by Texas Hearing & Service Dogs. Austin dog lovers gathered with a goal of raising $125,000 to support the work that they do.

“Moving with your pets shouldn’t have to be stressful,” says This looks to be a good resource when traveling with pets.

[Flickr photo via Dimas]

Pets Travel ‘Fur-st Class’ With New Airline Program

Pets can travel a number of ways on a variety of airlines. Most accept them as a carry-on, some allow them as a checked bag and others allow pets to be shipped as cargo. Up until now, the process was to get a health certificate for the pet, book the flight, bring the pet and that was about it. Now, a new program has partnered a major airline with a leading veterinary practice to add a pre-flight program that promises to improve the whole experience.

Partnering with 800-hospital strong Banfield Pet Hospital, Alaska Air customers traveling with or shipping their pets in its new “Fur-st Class Care” service, get a free office visit, travel consultation and $10 discount on the health certificate required for all pets traveling in the cabin, as baggage or as air cargo.

“We know pets play an important role in our lives and we share Alaska’s commitment to fostering the human-pet bond by being one of the leading airlines for pet travel,” said Dr. Karen Johnson, vice president and client advocate for Banfield Pet Hospital. “When it comes to pets, there is nothing more important than ensuring their health and safety whether at home or on a trip. We’re proud to partner with such a well-respected organization that has a great track record of pet safety during travel.”After completing the pre-flight program, Alaska Airlines allows passengers to travel with their pets in the cabin as part of its “Fur-st Class Care” service. The airline also offers “PetStreak Animal Express” service for shipping animals via air freight in a safe and caring environment when their owner isn’t traveling with them.

“Alaska is one of few airlines that still welcomes pets onboard – both in the cabin and the cargo hold – and we’re committed to pet care and safety,” said Torque Zubeck, managing director of Alaska Air Cargo. Alaska Airlines employees receive specialized training in safely transporting pets and now exceed government guidelines by implementing new, safer kennel standards for animals traveling in the airplane hold starting in May.

Alaska Airlines should know what they are talking about. The airline, named most pet-friendly by Smarter Traveler, flew nearly 83,000 pets throughout its route system last year.

[Flickr photo by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI)]