Last time, I left Ian to figure out the traveling pet situation. It's a good thing too, because leaving India with the 2 cats was a PITB, from getting the vet papers and travel papers within hours of departure to being told to take the cat out of the carrier for the xray machine in the airport with two problems... no way was he taking the cats out of the carriers, and the carriers didn't fit through the xray machine anyway. Then there was no one around who knew what to do with the cats until someone... who knows who... came and took them away and he hoped and prayed they were actually going into the belly of the correct plane.
This time we're flying Austrian, code-shared with United. The Federal Government has this thing called the Fly America Act and most of it seems to fall into United's lap. Huh. United, as all of us in the Foreign Service with pets now know, has greatly increased the cost of their pet shipping fees. To the point that shipping a pet can cost anywhere from $1500 to $4000 per pet (depending on size/breed/destination) thanks to an added fee from the "Pet Safe" program and the associated fees added to shipping pets via Cargo vs Checked Baggage. It used to run between $100-$400 per pet.
Except the military who are PCSing. Which is how it should be. No one should be penalized for moving around the world as demanded by their job, and on top of that be forced to choose whether to bring their pet with them or not. I don't know about you, but we don't have a couple grand to ship the cat. Which is why this time we are bringing him in the cabin with us as an extra piece of carry-on luggage. He's a cat, he'll fit.
We're getting him this lovely travel bag, the Sherpa Sports Duffle, and I'm reading up on travel tips for making it even a little bit less painful. Masala meowed the entire trip, he was hoarse when he arrived home. We still miss him. Tandoori retreats into his own little world, so I don't expect him to make much of a peep at our feet.
Because though the fees have sky-rocketed and the military have been exempted from incurring the cost, the Foreign Service and our affiliates have not. We letter bombed them asking for them to include us as we serve our country in 180 countries/positions around the world.