Can dogs fly?

Flying: With a dog on the plane: cargo with four legs

Some passengers are sitting in the aircraft cabin, but their minds are in the hold. Your dog is traveling there with you - and you don't know how he's doing. One thing is certain, however: very few dogs get the holiday mood on the plane

Airberlin flight 7160 from Berlin to Bangkok is ready to board. Suddenly a loudspeaker announcement: "Passenger Benjamin Huber, please check in." An excited passenger rushes to the counter. But an Airberlin employee reassures him: "Your dog has poured out his drinking bowl and won't let any of us over to refill it." He takes the passenger - against all regulations - to the Airbus, fetches a bottle of water from the galley and climbs with the dog master into the small, air-conditioned cargo hold where the dog box is already lashed ready for departure. Mr. Huber caresses his excited Labrador and provides him with fresh water for the long-haul flight. AB 7160 takes off on time - but the master and dog still have palpitations.

Sedative tablets against travel fever

Flying is a challenge for humans and animals - but especially for four-legged friends. Small dogs still have it relatively well: They can go into the cabin in a special transport container. For owners of larger animals, if they do not hire an animal transport company, they say goodbye to their loyal housemates at the bulky goods counter - which often enough does not go away without tears. When the dog box has disappeared on the conveyor belt, "Bello" runs under the airlines under "Cargo" like any other cargo. He is alone in his box. The smell of kerosene is the purest cocaine for his sensitive nose. The noise, the strange people - a flight is pure stress for every dog. But especially for the many long-term holidaymakers who are heading to Mallorca, South Africa or Thailand to spend the winter in these weeks, there is no question at all: "Bello" has to go with them. In internet forums, they discuss whether they should give their four-legged friend sedative tablets or whether so-called DAP collars are better, which exude the scent of the dog's mother's breast and are supposed to have a calming effect. The vets are divided. The flight attendant Steffi from Saarbrücken, who is familiar through her daily work with dogs on the plane, clearly states: "For my part, I would only expect my dog ​​to do this in an extreme emergency."

Not all airlines are animal lovers

The greatest fear of many dog ​​owners is that their pet will be forgotten somewhere or have to wait for hours on a runway in the scorching heat for loading. The internet is full of stories about dogs that have arrived utterly disturbed, dehydrated, sick or even dead after a wandering flight. But Lufthansa Cargo spokesman Michael Göntgens assures that Lufthansa can "guarantee all pet owners that their animals will have a good, safe and comfortable journey". The largest German airline, which transports around 12,000 dogs per year, has its own "Animal Lounge" in Frankfurt, which - as Göntgens proudly emphasizes - "Europe's most modern animal station" with specially trained animal keepers and doctors. Not every airline is so animal-friendly. "Ryanair does not allow the transport of pets on any route," says the low-cost airline in a nutshell. Competitor Germanwings only takes dogs up to eight kilos (including box) in the cabin. Lufthansa transports everything that has four legs. On the other hand, the flight for the four-legged friend can sometimes be more expensive than an economy ticket: On long-haul flights, the dog is considered excess baggage - on flights to Africa and Asia this costs 30 euros per kilo. Airberlin makes it cheaper: Germany's second largest airline costs 120 euros for a large dog on long-haul routes. Perhaps that is why Airberlin tickets are so popular with "Bello" and "Fifi": According to Airberlin spokeswoman Silke Manitz, the airline transports around 90,000 animals per year, mostly dogs. Most popular destination: Palma de Mallorca - and that "not just in winter!".

Good to know

Which dog crate is the right one?

The International Air Transport Association defined the size of dog crates on flights. It must be given that the dog can turn around in its box and stand upright. Dogs in boxes that are too small are not transported by the airlines, a decision that is made at the airport and can lead to unnecessary delays. With these three rules of thumb you can calculate the box size for your dog yourself.

Length: Nose to the root of the tail plus 10 to 20 centimeters

Width: Shoulder blade width times two

Height: Head height plus 15 centimeters

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