Flying with a pet? Here’s what you need to know


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Christmas holiday travel rush has officially begun at RDU International Airport.

The airport expects to handle a record number of passengers this month.

We’re talking an unprecedented 1.2 million passengers for the month of December.

That’s a significant 7-percent increase over December 2018.

“Traffic is more spread out in December than November,” said RDU spokeswoman Crystal Feldman. “We estimate this could be the busiest December on the airport’s history.”

Officials predict the two busiest days will be Sunday and Monday as folks make their way home to be with family.

For the next couple of days, long lines will be the norm during peak travel times and experienced travelers know that.

“There’s a lot of a people, because everyone is traveling this time of year,” said Florida resident Brenda Suggs, who arrived at RDU this morning.

For those using an airport this time of year there can be a downside.

Going through security lines is traveler Jonathan Tugwell’s frustration.

“It takes a long time to get through everything.”

Before you can get to the terminal, you’ve got to get to the airport itself and parking your vehicle can be problematic so the airport offers a service to make it easier on you to get to the gate.

 “We have a new parking option called ‘Park RDU Express,’” said Feldman. “It’s a mid-priced parking option that features a trunked terminal service every five minutes.”

Experienced travelers also know the airport routine and make sure they plan ahead.

“Get here early with enough time to get through everything and deal with it,” said Tugwell.

Once folks clear the airport, they look forward to the holiday visit.

“You get to see friends and family and that’s always great,” said traveler Meredith Berson.

When it comes to traveling during the holidays, life can get tense real quick when you’re on the road or flying with family. 

And you can amplify those concerns when you have to bring your pet along.

More and more people are flying with their pets, but be aware some airlines limit the number of animals allowed in the passenger cabin, so your pet may be shut out on the flight you choose to take, so check ahead of time.

Also, be aware, some major airlines like Southwest and Jet Blue only allow pets in the cabin – they do not allow them in the cargo hold at all.

You need to make sure you check with your airline before flying with your pet to find out where it will be located in the aircraft.

If you are planning on flying with your pet—there are a number of things to consider.

Before you leave, make sure your pet’s identification is up to date along with your contact information.

If you’re planning to fly, check to see if there are any extra fees you may have to pay. There tends to be two fee options depending on your pet’s size.

“If it’s a smaller pet sometimes they can go below the seat in front of you,” said Alyssa Parker of the Better Business Bureau. “If it’s a larger pet, it might have to go into cargo, so you have to make sure you do your research and understand where your pet is going to be.”

The ASPCA recommends taking your dog or cat to a veterinarian for a check-up to make sure its fit to fly.

You’ll probably want to do the same thing if you’re planning to take your animal on a road trip.

Before you travel with your pet make sure they are protected

Keep them safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier.

Make sure they have plenty of food and water

Put together a pet travel kit in case of emergencies.

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