Traveling with pets may cost you more than you think

A carry-on bag is included in Lana Joseph’s ticket price whenever she flies from Cleveland to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on United Airlines. But if that carry-on includes Molly, her six-pound Yorkshire terrier, Joseph has to cough up an additional $250 round-trip.

“That’s way too much for a bag that goes under the seat,” says Joseph, a retired hairstylist from Akron, Ohio, who spends her winters in South Florida. “I can see a small charge, but not an exorbitant fee.”

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Welcome to the topsy-turvy world of pet travel — a world that some say shouldn’t even exist. Americans spent an estimated $55.7 billion on pets last year, according to the American Pet Products Association, most of it on food and veterinary care. But an unknown portion of that amount also paid for plane tickets and accommodations for man’s best friends.

It’s one thing to travel with a service animal, which performs an essential function for a disabled passenger. But it’s quite another to bring your dog, cat, rabbit or bird on a leisure trip because you want to. APPA President Bob Vetere has called this the “humanization” of pets — or, in travel terms, the belief that Fluffy would be sad if you went on vacation without her.

Depending on your perspective, the travel industry has either accommodated those feelings by offering pet-friendly rooms, restaurants and flights, or it has preyed on them by adding fees and surcharges that do little more than line its pockets.

Certainly, accommodating a live animal can be an extra burden on any company. Airlines are required to file monthly reports with the Transportation Department on pets that were lost, injured or died during transport. United has reported a total of 89 pet deaths since 2005, according to the Web site . Still, United’s travel program for animals, called PetSafe, is said to be one of the most pet-friendly in the airline industry. United inherited PetSafe from Continental Airlines when the two merged in 2010.

A little disclosure: I’m owned by three Bengal cats, who stay home when I’m traveling. I love my kitties, but they’re not people. My parents, on the other hand, take their two tabbies, Phoenix and Freckles, on their road trips. It limits where they can stay, adds to the expense of traveling and often stresses out the little furballs. Let’s just say that if you want to start a debate at the dinner table, bring up the topic of traveling with cats. It’s probably an unwinnable argument.

David McAvoy, a registered nurse from Fresno, Calif., who vacations with his pugs Niko, Suki and Bitsy, has asked, “What does the pet fee cover?,” but he isn’t entirely happy with the answer. At a hotel, it covers the extra cost of cleaning the room, which he understands. “What I don’t get are the places that charge a fee each night you stay,” he says. “There are some places that charge $20 extra per night per pet. That can add up fast with three small dogs.”

Such high pet fees are unusual but can sometimes be found at discount motels that display a “pet friendly” icon on their Web sites and a vague “additional fee may apply” at the bottom of the page. If you’re like McAvoy or my parents and want to take the pets with you, beware of such fuzzy language. It may come back to bite you.

Paula Chase, who travels with her Shih Tzu, Buttons, bothered to look when she was planning a trip to Toronto. Buried in the fine print, she discovered that one hotel wanted to charge her $200 per night for her pet. “I was stunned,” says Chase, a retiree from Goderich, Ontario. “The charge for the room for us wouldn’t be near that price.”

She says that the fees are unfair to responsible pet owners. When she travels with Buttons, she walks the dog frequently, makes sure that she’s bathed and always picks up after her. Chase feels that she is either being punished for the behavior of other pet owners or is just being taken advantage of because she’s traveling with Buttons.

How do you avoid the fees? It helps to know where they lurk — airlines and cut-rate hotels are far likelier to sock it to you than a mid-market or upscale property, travelers say. Jerry Nussbaum, a real estate broker from Alameda, Calif., who just finished a road trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona, Ariz., with his dog, Charlie, found several online resources that made his travel decisions easier.

Two standout Web sites were and, which offered tips and information about vacationing with animals and listed pet-friendly accommodations. The sites steered Nussbaum to the Grand Canyon, which, he learned, allows dogs on the Rim Trail, and turned him on to hotels that accepted Charlie. “Generally, we were happy with the service and the welcome,” he says.

The travel industry is trying to grab a piece of the pet market, which could top $60 billion this year, according to APPA. The trick is to make pet owners feel pampered instead of punished. J.K. Snow recalls one stay at the Four Seasons in Las Vegas. Before check-in, an employee asked whether her cats, Lulu, Roxie and Willie, would be staying, too.

“As we walked into our suite, the first thing we noticed were the place mats with three pet bowls, bags of pet treats and toys,” she says. “In addition, each cat had its own bottle of Evian.”

Sure, Snow upgraded to a suite to accommodate the felines, but for that kind of treatment, she was happy to do it. Maybe if pet owners felt as though they were getting something for the extra money they were spending for the privilege of traveling with cats and dogs, they’d be happy to part with their money.

As for me, I’m still trying to persuade people to leave their animals at home. If I can convince my parents, I might have a chance.

With the exception of service animals and relocations, should people travel with their pets?

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52 thoughts on “Traveling with pets may cost you more than you think

  1. I left my cat at home because he was self-sufficient. After he got cancer and was on chemotherapy it got a little trickier. The multiple chemo drugs needed administration 2x a day. Medical boarding fees are a minimum of $20 a day on top of the regular fee (and my kitty got cage rage). So when I was deployed for an entire month on business I had some hard thinking to do. I drove to the work site with kitty in tow. My employer actually found out that Comfort Suites charges a one time $25 cleaning fee no matter the length of the stay. You can have housekeeping deferred to once every three days and the animal has to be caged on housekeeping day. Litter box on the tile under the sink. And on cleaning days I would go back at lunch to let kitty out of his cage. This worked well for me.

  2. People will just keep faking service animals and “emotional support” snakes…

    I moved my cats across country. It was a miserable drive, but Drury Inns allow pets and do not charge for them. So, we stayed there.

  3. I have a friend with an absolutely adorable little dog. I agreed to dog-sit while she was gone on a weekend trip. She forgot to mention that the dog piddles when she’s excited or stressed and must sleep with humans or she becomes excited and stressed. I don’t allow animals into my bedroom. So, I got to clean up the carpet in front of the bedroom door, the stairs, the kitchen tile floor and the tiled room where I finally put the dog after it had barked at my bedroom door for an hour. I also got to clean anything in the house with fabric on it, as the dog jumped onto furniture and rolled around on my carpet and my wool area rugs. I told my friend to board her dog when she asked me to dog-sit again. She was very surprised that I had to do that much cleaning.

    I can definitely see a daily charge for cleaning. If you don’t clean daily, the odor of dog gets everywhere, as does the fur. My friend doesn’t notice the odor in her house, but I do the moment I walk through the door. I noticed it in my own house the 3 days I had that dog.

    What I’d like to see is a separate wing or floor for people with dogs or cats. Normal housekeeping doesn’t really clean a room well enough to remove all the dander (to which I’m allergic) and spraying that antiseptic floral room freshener doesn’t remove the pet odor; it merely masks it for a while. Also, while the vast majority of people traveling with their pets have well-behaved pets, the minority cause me to think very uncharitable thoughts around 4 a.m., when their canine companions begin to bark, howl and whine to go outside.

    1. I’d like to see no animals. I stay at Marriott time shares and you are NOT ALLOWED to bring pets to them. Big, big fee for “fumigating” your room — if they catch you
      with an animal. But even if they do not catch you I can smell “dog smell.” Nauseating.

  4. I don’t own pets since I have severe pet allergies. I am especially sensitive to cats. One of my fears is that some day I will be on a 100% full transcontinental flight and someone seated close to me has a cat in a cage under the seat in front of them. It could result in five or six hours of non-stop sneezing, coughing, watery eyes. Sometimes the effect can linger for many hours after the cat and I have gone our separate ways. I can understand why people want to bring their pets with them, especially if they are relocating, but their comfort of having their pet with them could cause people like me great discomfort.

    The airlines don’t have pet-free zones in their aircraft nor do they notify passengers in advance that an animal will be in close proximity to their assigned seat. If I had advance notice, I could change my seat to another part of the plane or start taking medication (Flonase) several days before the flight. Flonase requires that you use it every day for about a week before it provides full benefits.

    1. I think if I were you, I’d start taking the Flonase with or without advance notice, given the cost/benefit ratio. I do that myself when I fly in the winter, and I’m on regular seasonal allergy meds spring through fall anyway. I end up with fewer airplane-inflicted maladies that way. Hope that helps.

      1. Consider what the Japanese people do – wear a (surgical) mask 🙂
        If that does not work go up to N95 particulate or higher.
        I think it makes a lot of sense – you filter the air and keep you breathing “holes” moist (as the air is very dry on a flight). But it does not look cool.

          1. True story. I was taking airborne to reduce the length of my cold and commented in a conference room at a previous job that maybe I should wear a mask like many Asians do.

            An American woman reported me to HR for making a racist remark.

            I would have thought it would be a compliment to say that Asians wear such masks.

    2. That happened to me! A flight from LAX to Paris where I started having itchy throat and sneezing. I was mortified – I thought I was getting a cold and that I was infecting everyone within range of me. 10 hours later, as we were landing, the cat began to yowl. The whole flight it had been silently laying there, circulating it’s dander over and over throughout the plane. If I had just known TEN HOURS before, I could have taken my medicine and been fine.

      I actually wrote to Chris to ask what I could have done or if there was some procedure that the airlines have to inform passengers of animals on board. He advised that if I start feeling sick to ask a flight attendant if there’s an animal because they would know but there isn’t any other way to get that information before you board or during the flight. UGH.

  5. I don’t travel with my dog, but I did move him cross country with us last summer. It cost more than double my husband and my cost combined to fly him from Chicago to San Diego. He is 100 lbs, so the crate was huge and they charge by size. I used united’s PetSafe, and would definitely recommend in terms of the service. I also contacted Delta, and they wanted several hundred more (plus he would have had a layover). I can’t imagine dragging him with on a vacation, and he’s very well trained and never has accidents. I find a pet sitter.

    1. Your dog weighs more than I do! My husband is allergic to cats and me to dogs. We never stay anywhere which allows animals.

  6. Whenever we travel overseas (family reunions most of the time), we leave our 2 cats at the vets.
    The bill is like buying another ticket for a member of the family! Well they are “family”.
    Yes when you own a pet you have responsibilities. Pay up and stop complaining.

    I hope this article is not suggesting pets travel free.

    1. Some fees are in place not to make revenue, but to discourage behavior. A friend who stays in Marriott properties for business, brought his girlfriend and her dog on a trip and got zapped with very large fees at a “pet friendly” Marriott hotel. He decided to stay at a competitor across the street that had a more reasonable fee. Simply put, they did not want the business and rather than say “no”, they simply put a big fee in place to discourage pet bookings.

  7. We used to have a ferret pack ( now we have only one). I know they miss us when we travel, but I believe it is less stressing to them staying in a pet hotel or with friends (I know a couple of ferrets owners) than all the hassle to handle them in cages, regular hotels, etc.

  8. But what about a family relocation? Our cat drove with us from NJ to NH, flew with us from NH to Vancouver BC, then flew to meet us (we took 2 weeks and drove) from BC to VA.

  9. The worst part of the fees is that they encourage unscrupulous pet owners (especially dog owners) to try to pass their pets off as service animals to avoid the fees. It seems to me that the same people who try to pass their animals off as service animals are the same ones who refuse to properly train their animals for being in public, making them nuisances and even potentially dangerous. I have a service dog, and I’ve had hotel managers try to grill me on whether or not my girl is really a service dog (such questioning is illegal under the ADA) all because someone’s Wittle Fwuffikins Not-a-Service-Dog made messes in the room, ate the duvet, and barked all night. No service dog worth its vest would do any of those things, and it is a source of never-ending frustration when I encounter a store, restaurant, or hotel that tries to block my access because of someone’s lying abuse of the law. I support adding a *reasonable* cleaning fee per stay or restricting hotel guests to rooms designated for pets (for allergy reasons), and I know the industry will always try to get a few extra bucks to line its pockets, but if pet owners would take better care to ensure their animals are well-trained and socialized before they travel there wouldn’t be an excuse for this kind of targeting from the service industry.

    A side question on the pets-in-hotels question: Anyone know if the hotels that list themselves as pet friendly need to carry any kind of extra insurance to cover animal violence incidents?

    1. Granted, not everyone knows the law, but a hotel manager CAN question if the dog is required for a disability and what the dog has been trained to do to assist in overcoming that disability…but that’s about it. (Asking about your disability, documentation or other proof IS illegal.)

      1. Exactly. I have no problem answering the basic questions that are permitted by law (which are basically 1: Are you personally disabled? 2: Is this a service animal? and 3: Is this animal trained to aid you with your personal disability?*). I will happily talk about service animals in general and mine specifically, as well as the ADA and what kinds of things the service industry should expect from people with service animals. Advocacy is key to informing and educating the public and ensuring that we are welcome and able to travel freely. Whether we want to be or not, every person with a service animal is on stage and potentially the standard by which the public will view all other service animals. That’s why people with fake service animals are such a problem: they can ruin the traveling experience for those of use with real service animals.

        However, I do *not* appreciate a thirty minute interrogation on the nature of my disability, whether or not my dog is actually doing anything “useful”, and then be inundated with stories of every other misbehaving animal they’ve ever had in on the premises and how much trouble it is to disinfect a room after a dog stays in it.

        *The question about whether or not the service dog is trained to address your personal disability is because a dog trained to address your spouse’s disability when your spouse is not traveling with you is generally classified a “pet” since it’s not actually working.

      2. I do not like dogs in places that serve food. Like super markets — because they are “service animals” and sit in the SHOPPING CART!!! Or restaurants. Once in New York a woman had her dog eating from a plate at the table. I questioned this with the waiter and he said the dog “belongs to the owner’s girlfriend.” I left.

    2. “Service animals” indeed! I had dinner at a very upscale restaurant and man had his “service dog” under the table. I asked to have my table changed to another room and it was done. Man left later with his tiny “service” dog under his chin. Stay home next time. Me or him?

  10. The honest are always paying for the dishonest, regardless of the situation. Baggage fees made people think their large suitcase qualifies as carry-on. Pet fees make people lie that their snake is a support animal. Etc., etc., etc. If everybody would just be as responsible as I am . . .

  11. Even with the airline fee, it is still cheaper to take my dog rather than board him during holidays when others who would normally watch him are also busy. Bringing pets on trips isn’t always about assuming pets will miss their owner. If there were affordable options that I trusted in my home area, I would much prefer to leave him.

    1. Sometimes there is no alternative than traveling with a pet. I had the experience of having a dog who had an autoimmune disease. He could not be boarded because he could not have any of the vaccinations required by any kennel or even the vet. Dog sitters would not sit for him because he was not vaccinated either. He was 7 lbs. I took him home with me for Thanksgiving every year. No one even knew he was on the plane because he was small, I never took him out of his bag, and he never barked. I always paid the fee. More than one person said they would rather travel next to my dog than a child. I do not take my current dog with me by plane because he’s too big and I would never subject him to the cargo hold.

  12. I know there’s no winning this argument with pet owners, but they don’t seem to care at all that my Mom is deathly allergic to cats. She can barely breathe and her chest fills with congestion within 10 minutes. She absolutely cannot be near them. Every time my parents travel, I have a fear that someone will have a cat stowed near them and they won’t realize until it’s too late – forget having to take another flight, they could find themselves at a hospital rather than on vacation. I think that airlines should have to put them in the hold – as someone else said, you can’t stop the dander from getting in the air and embedded in carpets, etc. People seems to think that allergies are something you can just take a pill for and that they’re minor sniffles. For some people, they are life-threatening.

  13. We have a 3.5 lb. chihuahua/dachshund who goes most places in our local area with us (outdoor, pet-friendly restaurants, shopping, etc.). She’s also been on a road trip with us and stayed at the Paris Las Vegas in one of their pet-friendly rooms for the weekend. They offered pet food and water bowls, special treats, doggie bags, etc., which was a nice touch. I believe they restrict all pets to rooms on one floor, if I remember correctly. Our dog hasn’t been on a plane yet. We traveled to Aruba for a week and our pup had actually stopped eating and drinking while we were gone and got very sick. She always stays in our house and has the same caretaker, who does an excellent job. We took our dog to several vets who ran tests and resulted in lots of hefty bills, so I guess leaving your pet home can be expensive too. She’s now on a “clean diet” and doing much better. Still, the vets couldn’t really pinpoint what was wrong with her without doing more tests – and I honestly think her problems may have been caused by separation anxiety since she’s completely healthy again now. Anyone have tips for reducing your pet’s anxiety while you’re away??

    1. Also you might want to consider DAP, which is “Dog Appeasement Pheromone”, synthetic odor of lactating mom-dog (sorry, I figure the correct term may get bleeped by autoposting). That’s useful for many anxious dogs. Also, obedience train your dog. This can be a very useful tool for dealing with anxiety-provoking situations like fireworks. Our dog (100 lbs of labrador) gets DAP and the TV left on and lots of extra obedience work on the 4th of July. Training your dog to eat, drink and eliminate on command (as service dogs are trained) is also very useful when you do have to travel with the dog. Thundershirts or similar swaddling techniques can also work for anxious dogs.

  14. My latest pet peeve are people who take their dogs shopping with them and place them is a cart. Then you get that cart and get hair on your stuff not to mention what else had been on that pet’s bottom. When I get a cart, I close the part where kids could sit for similar reasons.
    My BIL is very allergic to cats. How well do pet friendly hotels clean rooms where pets have been?

    1. I have seen this myself. Dog in area where you put your child. Dog’s butt there.
      No thanks. I’ll carry my groceries around with me.

      1. Same here if I don’t have to pickup any large items, like bottled water (we don’t have access to water in our office). I use the cloth shopping bags I bring from home to hold the items I am getting while I shop.

  15. When I relocated overseas, I brought my two dogs with me. They traveled in cargo and no passengers were disrupted whatsoever. To say that pets shouldn’t be “allowed” to travel is a little bit ridiculous. I am not willing to give up my dogs to an animal shelter simply because of a work relocation.

  16. I just wonder about the complaints when a flight needs to make an emergency landing due to a severe allergic reaction. Since most people focus on cats, I’ll note they’re not the only animals to generate allergic reactions: notes “People with asthma as well as pet allergies can have especially serious symptoms.” I wouldn’t want to be the person whose vacation is interrupted/disrupted by a severe reaction to a pet.

  17. i didn’t vote. partly because i’ve always found a friend or family member to care for my pet(s) while i’m gone, but also because there’s another reason why people may travel with animals.
    i support a wild life center which takes owls, hawks, turtles (and even occasionally) snakes on educational outreach programs which can sometimes last overnight. they’re definitely crated at all times, so there’s no mess at all to clean. other than one owl who has been known to wake up and start hooting softly a bit at 4:30 am, nobody even knows they’re there.

    then there was my former co-worker who used to put her tiny dog in her oversized purse to fly southwest from dallas to houston (pre-2011) – i always thought that was rather “cheatie” – pet dander is a known allergen for many people.

  18. One of my cats is an insulin-dependent diabetic. When we travel, we have a professional petsitter who comes in and takes care of the cats and administers his insulin.

    It’s worth the $28/day.

  19. Well, after this discussion, I went back and looked at my hotel reservations for my upcoming trip in May. As a consequence, I cancelled the one reservation and made one at a different place, specifically because of the original reservation’s pet policy. Pets are allowed in all rooms at that place. So . . . thinking through my own earlier post, am now staying at a place where I can be guaranteed no pets have been in that room before me. (No smoking and no pets allowed at the new property.) Off-topic: it’s weird these days to have to choose smoking vs. non-smoking rooms, as so many properties have gone to non-smoking altogether! Guess I’ll have to pay attention to restaurants as well!

  20. I have two rescue dogs that I do not coddle. However, they hardly eat when we leave them at home during vacations so if we’re driving and there are appropriate accommodations, we take them with us. It’s also expensive to leave pets at home to have either someone stay with them or come three times a day to let them out. So we factor that into our hotel budget and upgrading the hotel is usually a less expensive option.
    My main beef with hotels and B&Bs is that they charge so much extra per night for the pet rooms and then per pet, but you get to the room and it has obvious pet stains and pet smells. Please clean it better for how much you charge people! Also, I’m highly allergic to cats and I would love to have species specific rooms. A girl can dream!

  21. It depends. I compete in dog sports with my dogs… many times you need to take them along if you are traveling for competitions. The last two years I drove 27 hours each way from Colorado to Florida to compete with my Australian Cattle Dog at the AKC Agility Invitationals, because she’s too large to fly in the cabin and I didn’t feel comfortable flying her in cargo. However, we just got a new puppy that is a smaller breed. We actually brought her back to Colorado from Sweden last week, via United Airlines. That would have been one heck of a boat trip. 😉 She’s a smaller breed – a Danish Swedish Farmdog. I’m looking forward to being able to fly with her to competitions, versus driving, when we have longer trips.

    I know most people aren’t in THAT situation…. but for most regular dog owners I still say “it depends”. If you going on a quick trip, maybe best to leave them at home with a pet sitter. For longer trips though, is it fair to be gone from them for weeks at a time?

    For cats – they should stay at home. They do not travel well / like changes in their environment.

    It is frustrating that people try to “cheat” the system by claiming service animal when they aren’t just to get to bring their pet into places they shouldn’t, or to not pay fees.

    That being said, I agree that the airline fees are ridiculous. The airline doesn’t even clean messes from people, never mind spray/vacuum/whatever where the pet was… and they are in MY under seat space, just like any other bag might be. I do agree it would be courteous to “flag” them in the system somehow to alert passengers that might have allergies, although the pet is supposed to remain in the carrier the entire trip.

  22. Same old debate. In my opinion, a responsible pet owner will leave the pets at home. For those whose pets are so messed up that they “won’t eat” when you are gone, there are obviously some problems with fido or fluffy. Well rounded pets aren’t like that.

    Maybe the reason some of these fees are so high is to serve as a “deterrent” fee. It is quite annoying to stay in a hotel where dogs are barking. Hotels sell peace and quiet, which is difficult to do with a yappy little dog or two or three in the neighbouring room. There is only one kind of pet that should be travelling and that’s a service animal.
    If you are such a mess that you need a “comfort animal” I think that’s just a farce

    1. Yes, some pets are a little off but you don’t know that when you adopt them from a shelter. So it is being a responsible pet owner to bring them with you, because like it or not, you signed up for it.

  23. I am a pet person. I love my animals dearly and am still in mourning for having to put our much loved and spoiled bulldog down last week. But, they are NOT YOUR CHILDREN people, no matter how many times you say they are. Unless you’re MOVING permanently and are relocating them with you, find a reliable pet sitter who will come to your home and feed, walk and play with your pets in the environment that will cause them the least amount of anxiety. Subjecting the pet(s) to the anxiety and stress of travel, planes, strangers and unfamiliar locales and other passengers/vacationers to the possible allergies etc…is just being selfish.

  24. I would never take my dog on a vacation (we hire a pet sitter, who stays in our apartment with the dog), but when I visit my father for a week or more, I generally take my dog. Even with the exorbitant airline fees (and they are exorbitant), it’s still cheaper than hiring a pet sitter in New York City. But I know my dog has separation anxiety.

    We lose track of the problem a bit when we try to condense the question to “Animals and Travel Don’t Mix” or “The Animal Will Miss Their Owner”.

    Lana Joseph’s issue is a genuine one. Airlines charge us extra to use part of our already existing baggage allowance when it includes a pet. At first, these fees were actually nominal and fair ($25 or $30 per flight) for the privilege of carrying on your dog or cat in a carrier. That’s reasonable and is justified by the extra hassle of having the agents check paperwork, etc. Now pet fees are a profit center, and that’s not fair. I’m asked to pay an extra fee (and a huge one), and I still lose part of my carry-on allowance in the process. This is price-gouging. Even Southwest, a previously reasonable carrier, is trying to turn this into a profit center, and I’m a little dismayed.

    Hotels do the same thing. One-time cleaning fees (even expensive ones) are fair, but per-nightly charges are not. It would be easier (and frankly fairer) to simply prohibits pets. But to impose a ridiculous nightly fee is for me just too much.

    In my view, businesses should either be pet-friendly or not. I’m ok when a hotel or airline doesn’t allow pets, but I start feeling gouged when they turn pets into a profit center to milk those who can’t be without their own pets or must travel with them for other reasons. That’s not pet-friendly, just greedy.

  25. In my opinion, non-service animals don’t belong in the passenger cabin on any form of public transportation (flights, trains, buses, etc.) where their presence could create a health hazard for travelers with allergies. If the pet cannot be placed in the hold, the owner should leave it behind or find an alternative form of transportation. When it comes to service animals, airlines should be required to make reasonable accommodations for both disabled passengers AND passengers with pet allergies. A starting point could be requiring passengers to provide information about service animals when making a reservation and also giving passengers the opportunity to report pet allergies during the reservation process – this way, they can ensure that affected passengers are seated as far away from service animals as possible. Alternatively, part of the cabin could be designated an animal-free zone.

    Hotel rooms are a different story – pets are limited to one room and outdoor areas, and the room can be thoroughly cleaned between bookings and (ideally) designated as a pet-friendly room so that other guests with allergies can avoid rooms likely to trigger a reaction.

  26. The only exception I would make is a relocation – sometimes you have to fly (like moving cross country) – but if you have more time, drive it!

  27. For airlines, it seems to me that part of the cost is the administrative costs airlines are likely to incur when other travelers complain about sitting next to a squawking bird. Realistically, United probably has to employ more people than it otherwise would have because it allows animals in the cabin.

    1. I would agree that UA and every airline that allows pets does have to employee additional people to handle animals placed in the hold as cargo. The animals are loaded separately and are the last thing placed in the hold. They are (or should be) kept in temperature controlled environments before being placed in the plane. All of which requires people.

      I see no reason why additional people are required when the passenger caries on the pet in the cabin.

  28. Great post! I recently did a little cats and hotels experiment and took one of my cats to stay at The Langham, Sydney for a travel story. Let’s just say I learned a lot, and realised I should have done a few basic things like taken her own favourite food (she wasn’t sure how to cope with the pet room service menu of salmon and quails eggs). While a hotel stay, even a five star one, wasn’t quite Miss Kitty Fantastico’s speed, I’m sure if I’d taken my other cat (who happens to be a Bengal cross, so you know what they’re like!) it would have been just fine. But from now on I think I’ll keep the gorgeous hotel stays to myself and leave the kitties at home.

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