When pigs fly: traveling with pets

By Nicholas DeRenzo
October 3, 2012
Courtesy Pet Airways

This week, a 49-pound miniature potbellied pig named Bosley flew from Florida to New York on Pet Airways. (I’ll wait while you giggle and get those “when pigs fly” jokes out.) The two-year-old company currently serves nine locations across the country and prides itself on being the only airline that always flies pets in the main cabin and not in cargo. Cats, dogs, rats, birds, and even a hermit crab have counted among their so-called Pawsengers, but this is the airline’s first pig.

Weird, sure. But pet travel isn’t just a novelty. According to a study by, 14-18% of American adults have traveled with a pet in the past three years. And the Department of Transportation reports that over 500,000 pets fly in the U.S. annually.

Earlier this year, our blogger Brad Tuttle spoke with Maggie Espinosa, author of The Privileged Pooch: Luxury Travel With Your Pet in Southern California, about traveling with a pet. She gave us some great things to do to prepare for a trip with a pet:

  • Check for blackout dates—there are times of the year when it’s either too hot or too cold for pets to fly safely in the cargo area.
  • Check the breed—short-nosed breeds like Boston Terriers and bulldogs can have respiratory problems that are made worse by the stress of air travel.
  • Bring along your pet’s favorite food—any deviation from its usual diet can cause stomach problems.
  • Make sure your pet’s ID tag includes your current cell phone number, in case it gets loose at the airport.
  • Have you ever flown with a pet? Sound off below with your best pet travel tips!


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