I flew round trip with my dog three times but that was back in the 80s. It was only $25 each way and that beat out a 2 week boarding fee all hollow. I flew Western Airlines, (now defunct) and we had a plane change on every flight either at Denver or at Salt Lake City.
Now I have no idea if they still do this or if all airlines do this, but when a live animal was scheduled for flight, they made sure all dry ice and other stuff was not in the cargo with him. The cargo hold was heated, so no worries there, although the air was dry. The pilot was told whenever there was an animal on board. And the dog was always last on, first off.
Because of that, when we switched planes, I could get to the new plane before the dog got there and I watched out the window to make sure he was loaded. The one time the passengers loaded and I hadn't seen him, I told the person at the desk, she called and made sure he was on his way over. They let me not board till the last minute until I could be sure he was on board.
The longest layover we had was 3 hours and I was allowed to go to where the luggage was and get my dog out of his crate. I couldn't leave with him, but I put my coat on the ground and he curled up on it and slept while I read - when it was time for him to go, I just put him back in the crate and they took it.
And I think most of the people really cared about the animals. Once I was watching while his crate was waiting to be loaded and I could see the guy there loading suitcases - he would walk over every couple of minutes and talk to my dog (who was probably barking to get attention!)
I was half and half between wanting to lock the crate and not - I ended up not locking it. I figured I watched as close as I could between flights and I figured I could always call him back if he got out as opposed to maybe having to get him out of the crate for any reason and not being able to do so. I also made sure his collar was off, but then he was tattooed (they didn't have microchipping in those days!).
Now we flew in and out of San Jose and San Francisco airports in the Bay Area and I was visiting my parents in Rapid City all three times. In Rapid City, I could just walk off with the dog, but then, how many people got off in Rapid City? But in San Francisco and San Jose, they checked the dog in like baggage - that is, they put a ticket stub on the crate door and you better believe they checked that against my ticket before they would allow me to take him when I got home again. That made me feel a lot better.
I also put all the info on him on a large sheet of paper and taped that to the top of his crate - date, airline, flight numbers, times, destinations, phone numbers (plural!), my name, my address to where I was going and dog's name (if he got out, I wanted someone to be able to call him back).
I never fed him the morning of the flight (for some reason we always got early morning flights) and I usually flew between February and April, never in summer.
Anyway, I never had a problem and I never saw any sign that my dog was apprehensive about flying and like I said, we flew three round trip flights. But again, this was over 20 years ago and things may have changed a lot since then. I'd drive to the airport and talk to the gate agents and desk people to see what they say. Make sure they all say the same thing and there's no conflicting info.
Hope this helps!
Last edited by rodentraiser; 06-05-2009 at 09:18 AM.