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How to Arrange Solo Pet Travel – Unaccompanied Cargo

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While we’d all prefer our furry companions by our side during relocations, it’s not always feasible. Sometimes, pets must take on solo journeys. If your pet cannot travel with you, they will usually travel as “unaccompanied cargo”.

Navigating the world of pet travel is a complicated process and often the available flights may not align with your family’s ideal schedule. So, to address one of our most frequently asked questions – ‘Can my pet travel alone?’ – the answer is a resounding YES. Many pets do so regularly.

Unaccompanied Cargo Pet Travel

When a pet travels as “unaccompanied cargo,” it means that the pet is transported without being accompanied by its owner or a passenger on the same flight. Instead, the pet is treated as cargo and travels in a separate area of the plane designated for transporting animals. This is a common practice for pets traveling by air, especially when their owners are not on the same flight or when the airline’s policies require pets to be transported in a specific manner.

While the term “unaccompanied cargo” might sound impersonal or worrisome, reputable airlines and pet relocation experts take precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of pets during travel.

Is Traveling as Unaccompanied Cargo Safe?

The U.S. Department of Transportation and IATA impose stringent requirements to ensure the safety and well-being of pets during travel.

When pets travel as cargo, they are placed in a designated area of the cargo hold, which is a separate compartment from the passenger cabin and all other cargo. The specific location can vary depending on the airline and the type of aircraft.

The pet compartment is climate-controlled and pressurized. This helps ensure that the temperature and pressure are within safe and comfortable ranges for the animals.

There are also strict protocols for loading and unloading pets to minimize the time they spend on the ground and reduce the chances of exposure to extreme weather conditions.

The Process of Booking Unaccompanied Pet Travel

When your pets need to travel as unaccompanied cargo, the reservations are managed through the cargo department of the selected airline. While some airlines and destinations permit owners to make their pets’ bookings, many now mandate the use of professional pet shippers to coordinate and book the travel. This shift aims to streamline the process for all involved parties, ensuring a smoother experience for pets and their owners.

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