Let’s talk about traveling with your dog! Tips, tricks, advice, and things that may go wrong.
Last week Robert and I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, drove to Panama City, FL, and up to Anniston, AL to participate in the One World Canine Obstacle Run with his dog Iseult for the very first time. In today’s episode we won’t be answering an email or social media question but instead sharing our experience and giving advice on how it went and may go if you try out traveling a long distance with your dog.
Now the trip down went very smooth, but some factors you may not think about in your initial planning. How are you getting your dog, the crate their flying in, and your own luggage from the departure doors all the way into check in and out when you arrive at your destination. Luckily, we had each other to lean on in moments where we had to pick up a cart to wheel the dogs crate around, or go and grab the rental car after you’ve got the dog out of baggage claim.
Thankfully we were able to snag carts to wheel and push the dog and crate around!
(RF comments/thoughts to add——) Landing in Atlanta we got lucky that Robert was able to grab the rental car quickly and I was able to wait and stay with Iseult. There was no way by us we would’ve gotten her crate onto the transit train and wheeled her to the rental car pick up area. This of course was one of our biggest worries the entire trip and we leaned on the help of one another to get through this. So, we’ve made it through the endeavor and adventure of the airports and flying what happens after?
How hard was it to find dog friendly hotels in the three states we visited? (RF answer/thoughts/response——)
Another big thing to keep in mind and consider is how often/much you are going to transport the dogs crate out of the car, as a rental car they MUST be in their crate, and into the hotel room. While dog friendly hotels don’t require your dog to be in a crate it’s a good safety precaution to have it to ensure your dog can’t destroy or use the bathroom inside the room itself.
Think about the size and weight of your crate, for Iseult her crate was very long and a bit awkward, so it truly required two people to lift and move it from the car to the hotel and back.
Now we completed our trip and were starting the long flight plan back to Alaska. This is where things got even tougher. Bright and early at 3:30am Robert dropped me and the dog off at the departures point and took off in a hurry to return the rental car and ride the train back to where we waited in the Alaska Airlines check in line. First troublesome moment was that all other airlines had their check in stands already opened, occupied with employees, and huge lines while Alaska’s had no employees and a line forming.
I waited and waited, by the time an agent arrive Robert had made it back across the airport to meet us in line to assist in getting her checked in around 4:15am. Of course, the attendant couldn’t verify our Club 49 accounts saying we were going to have to pay to check our baggage and the dog, couldn’t find either of our information in the system and had to check with another attendant. I remember her saying well are they from Alaska?
As she held our IDs in her hand that clearly have Alaska on them. This was the moment we both knew this was not going to be as smooth as the trip down was.
(RF thoughts/comments——) They proceeded to get us checked in and all things taken care, oh and we did get our free checked bags but important to note for later two bags checked and Iseult should have and were on my ticket and information. Or should have been.
Quickly we wheel Iseult to the large bag check area, the TSA agent was terrified of the dog who is one of the friendliest sweetest dogs you’d ever meet and asked me to keep her six feet away from him as he quite frankly did a poor job on checking her crate contents, but that’s not my job. Then had me stick her back in and off we went separated from her. In this moment I didn’t feel good or confident leaving Iseult in their care but what else were we going to do? This is how flying works and we just had to hope Iseult would be okay and on the right flights.
We get on our flight from Atlanta to Seattle I receive the sticker saying, “your friend Iseult is on board” and everything is smooth sailing. We arrive in Seattle, we are on two separate flights, that’s fine they arrive 40 minutes apart, and we plan for me to grab Iseult and the bags while Robert lands and gets the car in Anchorage.
This would’ve just been too easy. I am on board; I bug the flight attendant as they say on the intercom the doors are closing and I haven’t gotten the Iseult sticker yet. Two minutes later several flight attendants come to my seat and say she is not on my flight but flight number 175! That flight luckily was the one Robert was on and going to Anchorage but what if it wasn’t? Somehow in Atlanta the agent checking us in placed Iseult with me for our first flight but with me on Robert’s flight for the second one.
How could this even be okay? I am panicking and being assertive with the attendants on my plane, saying she was supposed to be with me and I would prefer she be loaded onto my plane for them to tell me there was no room and they guaranteed she would be safe and checked onto the other flight, them having no knowledge of if there was a person who could be responsible for her on that other flight. Again, luckily this was Robert’s flight. I am forced to be okay with this and hope that Iseult will be on a plane back to Anchorage and not be left behind or sent to the wrong state!
(RF response and details after I took off——) How do we feel after landing? Upset, frustrated, but relieved that Iseult made it okay and we got her back to Alaska safely. Robert tells us the aftermath of this situation, how did we handle our thoughts and complaints to the airline of the unprofessional situation they allowed to happen? (RF response/thoughts/comments—–)
I am just happy Iseult made it safely back and Alaska Airlines did try to make it right after this.