Moving to the USA with my guinea pig?

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Post   » Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:12 pm

Good morning everybody. Let me answer your questions from last night.

Truffielover- Rodney has never traveled except a 4 hour car ride when we when on vacation last spring. I have made the trip about 10 times in my life. I agree about the bird thing. I have a friend who took a parrot in a cage that definitely would not fit under a seat. The crew was going to keep it in the cockpit or something. I will be writing them shortly to find out what happened. It was before 9/11 though.

Mkkayla- I had thought of this especially after receiving this e-mail from a lady named Judi.
"Going through security, yes, you remove the animal from the bag and the bag goes through the belt xray.. you walk through the security doorway holding the guinea pig. I took a rabbit from Washington, DC to New Orleans on Delta this past February.
You can take animals into this country. You can't take guinea pigs to Hawaii, though. After going through what I went through with this rabbit, I would not smuggle any animal. I had a separate ticket for the rabbit that was put on his carrier, and I am unsure if the security people cared about that or not. They didn't say anything. They were too busy trying to decide if the angora rabbit I had was a poodle or a cat. ;-]"

The only thing is that I would have to get the vet to certify that it was a rabbit or a dog ,and if it was a dog that it had had it's rabies shots. He does resemble a Chihuahua don't you think?

Rshevin- We will definitely try to get on an airline that will let us keep him for the domestic flight. I don't trust the airline people in California. There is absolutely no one to leave him with here. The reason we got him in the first place was because his family moved back to America and left him. I never understood why they got him for their daughter in the first place. They knew they were leaving in 1 1/2 and wouldn't be taking him with them. I started researching if we could take him into the U.S. two years ago when we first got him because I knew I couldn't let myself love him if I was going to have to leave him behind. I received the following e-mail that is of some encouragement.
"I moved about 8 years ago from Germany to the USA. I flew with
Lufthansa, and although I was told first that it would be OK to bring the pigs with me in the cabin, in the end it was not allowed. The reason: they are rodents. A small dog or cat would not have been a problem. Lufthansa told me 1 or 2 days before the flight that I could not bring the pigs into the cabin. I was mad. We bought business class tickets to have more space. My pigs (2) had to travel in the animal compartment. They survived it fine. But the airline needs to know about that also, so they can set it up. Usually the space is limited. You will need to provide water and
food for your pet and a stable travel box that allows airflow (but no draft).

WindeSpirit- I came across the "emotional support" animals in the ConsumerReports article. I have never heard of that before. I did an internet search and found the following article.
I apologize for the link. I don’t know how to link a word.
I actually joined the Emotional Support Animals yahoo group the other day to learn more. They have the requirements for the letter you have to present to the airline.
1. Letter must not be more than one year old.
2. Letter must state you are mentally ill, but does *not* have to specify
exactly what mental illness you have, and such information cannot be
required of you by the airline.
3. The letter must be written by a mental health professional and the writer
must identify what type of mental health professional they are, and the
letter must be written on their professional letterhead.
4. The writer must state all of the following: that you are mentally
ill, that the presence of the animal is necessary for your mental
health, and that you are currently under the professional care of
the writer.
I'm afraid it's not going to work for us, unless one of you is a mental health professional and will write me one. :)

We will probably be flying the second week of October; however we will have to get our tickets in the next week or so.

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Post   » Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:33 pm

I understand exactly how you feel about not leaving the pig, especially not having anyone to leave him with as I am in the same situation. I both respect and appreciate the love and attention you are giving him. They're sweet little furballs and deserve it. I'll be interested in hearing how everything goes with the airlines and wish you only the best of luck.

I actually HAVE heard about the emotional support animal clause if you can believe it. My regular carrier (Southwest) doesn't allow any animals at all except for seeing eye dogs but they will make exceptions for emotional support animals. I've never tried though as it's easy for me to find other options. It isn't so easy for you. Too bad GL doesn't have any secret shrinks who could write you a letter. It's a humorous, if impractical, idea. I got a smile out of my parents when I mentioned it.

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Post   » Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:15 pm

I would try calling both Delta and Continental. Contintental doesn't specify their international policy so there might be some room to argue that the guinea pig shouldn't be any more of a problem then the pets they allow on domestic flights. Delta allows guinea pigs on domestic flights so I would at least try to get Delta for the flight from LAX to Denver. I'd also suggest asking them about international flights to the US since the way I read it on their site it only addresses flights from the US and I don't know if it would be different going to the US. I'd probably try arguing with JAL although that one seems less likely...

Is it just me or does ANA's policy contradict itself? First it says they welcome pets in the cabin and as checked baggage and then it says you can't bring them on?

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Post   » Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:42 am

Cien's idea is right on. Continental did look the most flexible.

After you get someone to agree to it, I would have a vet write on their letterhead that Rodney is healthy, and will not be of danger to any passengers, but must ride in the care of his owner because he is a fragile species.

I'll be on pins and needles til I hear how this works out because he reminds me so much of my Phoebe. She was able to free roam and follow when called.

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Post   » Sat Aug 12, 2006 7:25 pm

I agree with you about Delta and Continental. The only problem is that they both fly out of Tokyo. The only way to get there is a "puddle jumper" flight from our local airport or a long and very expensive train ride. I haven't checked the schedules yet, but I'm not sure the earliest train would get us there in time.
Delta's flight to San Francisco is actually on a Northwest Airlines jet because they are companion airlines. They do have a flight from Tokyo to Denver thought Atlanta. It is a 20 hr. flight duration instead of the 13 hours through California. Continental does have a flight from Tokyo to San Francisco and one to Los Angeles. Unfortunately there is the same problem getting up there. The other thing I have found is that neither company has a flight from either San Fran or LAX to Denver!

I have to run, but will write more later.

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Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2006 8:58 pm

I hope all this extra security at the airports calms down before we fly. As it stands now we wouldn't be able to have a water bottle in the kennel if we carried him on with us. Not to mention all the nasty inconveniences for us!
We have been putting Rodney in his kennel to take his afternoon nap every day. I put food, water, grass, and a vegetable in there and cover it with a dark towel. I want him to get used to the kennel being dark (I leave one end open for air of course). I have found that he gets very agitated in there if he can see us. He chews on the bars and demands to get out. If we put him in a room alone he just eats and goes to sleep. I set up a spy camera to see what he does when he is alone. I put him next to the window air conditioner (not in the draft of course) so he could get used to a steady drone, and the floor vibrates a little too.

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I gave AGAIN, dammit!

Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2006 9:01 pm

You have certainly thought of everything! I hope you are able to take him in the cabin with you, and Rodney has a safe journey.

You can quote me

Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:19 pm

"Is it just me or does ANA's policy contradict itself? First it says they welcome pets in the cabin and as checked baggage and then it says you can't bring them on?"

No, it is not just you. It seems to directly contradict itself.

If it were me, I'd do as CienDragon suggests; call both Continental and Delta. Delta's published policy doesn't say anything about international flights; only domestic.

I live in Atlanta and am not surprisingly partial to Delta (they're based here). Objectively, though, I've been treated very well on every Delta flight I've ever been on. A good friend who used to work for Delta and who is a member of North Georgia HRS used to fly all over the place with bunnies and pigs in the cabin, with very little trouble.

The additional 7 hours going through Atlanta (Narita-Atlanta-Denver) will be far less hazardous to Rodney, in my opinion, and well worth being able to take him in the cabin if 1) Delta will permit it on international flights and 2) you can find a way to get to Narita in Tokyo to make the flight.

The area they put pets into in cargo is heated and pressurized. It is dark, however, and extraordinarily noisy. Things can shift around, bump, and fall, and one of your biggest worries (ground crew at LAX) is well-founded. I'm very much afraid if you don't take him in the cabin with you, you'll not see him again.

There may be companies that transport animals internationally. GL member Chii used a domestic US company to get her group from North Carolina to Washington state. You might contact her for any information she may have about the company she used; see if they have any international suggestions.

Good luck and please keep us posted.

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Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:38 pm

All I have to say is "awe." The story about Rodney taking afternoon naps (nap! how precious!) in his little carrier is absoutely the cutest thing. Putting him by the noisey AC is a really good idea that I'm making a big mental note of for myself in my own travels. It made me smile and that's an accomplishment. I did have one idea about the water bottle. They might let you carry it on empty. You could then fill it with water from the flight crew on the plane. If security is still so tight when you travel. As a fellow pig traveller, thanks for the updates. I like to learn from others experiences.

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Post   » Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:57 am

We are in the process of getting tickets. Here is what we received from the travel agent.
I spoke with United and they allow guinea pigs in cargo. The current charge is 22000 Yen($189).
Currently, I can offer a roundtrip United ticket from Osaka to Denver for $1004.00 per person.
It looks like this is the best she can do. I'm bummed, but I guess I just have to accept it.

Rodney did stay in his kennel one afternoon last week for 6 hours! He was fine and even wanted to get back in later. (strange piggy)

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Post   » Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:15 pm

I'm glad you'll be able to bring him with you.

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Post   » Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:34 pm

It is amazing the amount of work you are prepared to do for this litte pig so that he can stay with you.

Be proud of that, it's wonderful to read a thread like this after a few hours in the animal communities reading posts on randomly pregnant sows and mite infestations that would make you cry.

Really, really wonderful.

You can quote me

Post   » Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:23 pm

We had one who liked his carrier. He was very comfortable in there. If Rodney likes his, that will help.

Good luck to Rodney and to you. Please let us know how everything went when you get here.


Post   » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:38 pm

Hi... I know this thread is a little old, but I've been reading through it to try and figure out how I will travel with my guinea pig when I move from CA to MD this summer. I noticed mention of Delta and Continental airlines... A while back I knew that Delta airlines allowed guinea pigs as carry-on, so I assumed that would be the way to go. But looking into it recently, apparently they've changed their policies to only allow dogs, cats, and birds. :-( I called Continental, and they only allow those three plus rabbits; no guinea pigs (and the guy I talked to said none of their partner airlines allowed guinea pigs, either).

Does anyone know if there are any airlines nowadays that allow guinea pigs in the cabin? I'm terrified to leave my guinea pig as cargo for a 5+ hour plane ride. :-(

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Post   » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:16 pm

Unfortunately, no. The latest word is no one allows guinea pigs in the cabin.

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Perpetual Pig Slave

Post   » Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:51 pm

I wonder what the deal is with rabbits.

One of the spanish phrases for Guinea Pigs is "Connejillo de Indios"

looks an awful lot like "Conejo"/rabbit
so looks alot like "Rabbit of the indians" to me.
Exotic short eared Indian Rabbit.

My guess is they think it will be a slippery slope and once they let in Guinea Pigs they will get requests for hamsters, rats, mice and chinchillas...which unlike GPs all have a reputation of being escape artists who would hide in small places you couldn't get them out of.

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Post   » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:30 pm

::sigh:: It has a lot to do with guinea pigs still being classified as rodents.

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Post   » Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:55 pm

Aren't rabbits rodents? That is a silly thing, if they are in a carrier they should be allow. Maybe we can do a petition or something. Does anyone know what can be done, so they chnge their policiy?

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Supporter 08-09 & 11-13

Post   » Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:06 pm

Is there anyway you can drive? Rent a car one way??

I have moved across the country a couple of time. In 1995 I moved from NJ to Ca and I flew. In 2004, I moved from Ca to IL and I drove. It took me 3 days but I was able to transport all the important things with me. I know JennG moved from IL to NJ and she has alot of pets. It can be done.

I know it is 3000 miles from Ca to MD. But, I would be afraid that the guinea pigs would not survive the cargo hold on a plane.

I personally do not understand why guinea pigs are not allowed on a plane if they are in a carrier. It makes no sense.

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GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:06 pm

Rabbits aren't rodents.

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