The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) recently passed regulations important to helping pet owners to choose a safe airline with a reliable record to transport their pets.
Until now, a limited number of airlines had to file yearly reports on the number of incidents it had regarding cats and dogs during the year. The numbers were buried in the back of the yearly DOT Air Travel Consumer Report. The USDA has expanded the number of airlines required to report their pet incidents to include some smaller US-based airlines. Additionally, they have expanded the definition of a pet to include “any warm or cold blooded animal which, at the time of transportation, is being kept as a pet in a family household in the United States and any dog or cat which, at the time of transportation, is shipped as part of a commercial shipment on a scheduled passenger flight. This is good news for owners of rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and all sorts of reptiles as well as breeders who transport their pets in the cargo hold of an airplane.
Also, the DOT is requiring the airlines to report the number of pets they transport each year so pet owners can run the numbers themselves and see who has a good track record for transporting pets.
More good news: pet incidents are down in 2013. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics : “In December , carriers reported two incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets while traveling by air, down from both the five reports filed in December 2012 and the six reports filed in November 2013. December’s incidents involved two lost pets. For all of last year, carriers reported 21 pet deaths, 15 pet injuries, and six lost pets. In 2012, carriers reported 29 pet deaths, 26 pet injuries, and one lost pet.” (ref: https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/dot19_14.pdf)
All good things for pet owners wanting to find the best airline to fly their pet.