Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Princess Amelia goes on an airplane

"What do you mean we're leaving?  I like this chair...What's an are-vee?" (Hotel. Bartow, FL)
(This blog was written about our trip from San Juan to Miami.  It never got posted so I'll insert it here, during our trip from St. Louis, Ft Lauderdale, San Juan).

Pepper's AirBnB, Fajardo, PR:  "Good spot.  I can watch everyone come & go."

"Better, but it's only a double.  Mom & Dad kick..."

"Recliner by the window.  JUST right.  You can move my food & water over here please!"
Hotels:  Our friends over at sv Summertime Rolls recommended trying AirBnB to rent a house instead of a hotel.  Surprisingly, many house rentals allow pets for a small additional cleaning fee.  Otherwise, finding a hotel that allows pets can sometimes be difficult.  And Kitty Mama gets nervous about housekeeping coming in despite the "Do Not Disturb" sign and dreads to think that Princess Amelia's meowing during our absence could result in a phone call from another guest.  We scored a condo near the marina for $55/night.  The bonus was a little kitchenette & a hot tub for kitty parents (In our search we did:  wifi, washer/dryer, pet.)  UPDATE:  The Pear Tree Inn St. Louis Airport charged an additional $15/day fee.  Their policy was pets weren't supposed to be left unattended for more than 30 min or you could be asked to leave.  As someone who has traveled for business & listened to barking dogs ALL DAY, this is clever.  If someone complains, after 30 min, you're gone.  Fair enough.)

Another concern is that Amelia will smell another animal, since these rooms tend to blocked off as "pet friendly".  Heaven forbid she start peeing & pooing all over in protest (tile floors are a bonus.  Remember, she never left her house for 15 years!).  However, she seems to love exploring, quickly understands where her litter pan is & digs King sized beds.  Who can blame her?  She actually meowed in protest when we left the AirBnB/hotel in Jacksonville & Bartow.  "BUT I LIKE IT HERE!"

Youza.  King size bed.  Me likey.

Carrier:  When we left, we traded her hard-sided carrier for a soft-sided carrier.  Smaller & easier to store on the boat.  Make sure it's an airline regulation carry-on (our is from Delta).  She has used it in the car, in the dinghy on the way to the vet and can be airlined home.  Another advantage to stopping in Puerto Rico, was a shorter flight home.  In fact, when we stop in FL to RV shop, she only has one short leg.  Additionally, no health certificate is required since it's US to US.  

American Airlines:  The airlines are good about posting their pet policies online, but in the age of the internet/social media, sometimes I forget to PICK UP THE PHONE.  American has a dedicated recording about pets and a quick transfer to a person to confirm Puerto Rico was indeed "not an international flight" helped ease Kitty Mama's anxiety.  Internet:  You need to confirm the flight is "pet accessible" so after holding the flight for 24 hours on their website (you can also cancel within x hours), I called, listened to the recording, then spoke to an agent.  She confirmed our flight was pet friendly, attached Amelia to our reservation, and reminded us to take her to the ticket counter (to confirm travel worthy and pay additional $125).  Our tickets were $145, so I asked if I could buy a seat for the cat (so she could have her own carry-on!).  "But's she's our child?"  LOL.  "I'm sorry your fur-baby can't have her own seat."  The pet carrier is one of your personal items, ie. one purse/computer bag/backpack/cat.  Since she's traveling in the cabin, no health certificate is required!  BONUS!  No vet visit in the middle of boat prep!   (aa.com, FAQ, Special Assistance, Pets.  https://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInformation/specialAssistance/pets.jsp)

Southwest Airlines:  No pets on international flights but San Juan was confirmed as "not international."  6 pets or less per flight.  Call to add your pet to your ticket.  $95.  "Pet can not be disruptive". (southwest.com then scroll to bottom, Traveling with Pets.  https://www.southwest.com/html/customer-service/traveling-with-animals/pets/index-pol.html?clk=GFOOTER-CUSTOMER-PET)

TSA:  From the tsa.gov website under "FAQ"--"Please remove your pet from the carrying case and place the case through the X-ray machine. You should maintain control of your pet with a leash and remember to remove the leash when carrying your pet through the metal detector. Animal carriers will undergo a visual and/or physical inspection."  Amelia was harness trained for the car, but hates it.  Luckily, her response is usually to lay down and refuse to move.  That may work to our advantage.

STL hotel.  "There's a pretty girl in the closet..."
Pet paperwork:  Since we've begun traveling with Amelia, we started a "pet passport" folder with her last inoculations, history, vet contact info, last health certificate, & medications.

What to pack:  Amelia moved to the boat with her own backpack, but for the flight:  medications in side pocket (anti-anxiety medication--make sure you try this before you fly.  Amelia requires a tiny dose or she passes out with her face in her food bowl.  I don't know what would happen at TSA if we pulled an unconscious cat out of the carrier.  It's a little unsettling!), ziplock bag of food (& treats!), and pee pad under her towel (with a spare) until we can get a new litter pan.

Check out the Facebook page, "Gatos del Mar" or "Sailing and Cruising with Pets" for more tips.

Here's what Amelia had to say about all this:

I woke up to Daddy cleaning the "saloooon".  I don't know why but I'm suspicious.  Then Mommy started dragging food out of cabinets.  That can't be good.  Then she started spraying "vinegar" all over.  I don't know what that is but it smells like pee!  

Did I see my carrier go by?  Hey?!

I woke up this morning to "BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!" (the lift).  Mom and Dad have been talking about "hauling out".  I don't know what that means, but apparently it's noisy.  Just when it started getting hot inside, Daddy came in and threw me in the carrier, and handed me to Mom who put me in a "rental" car.  MEOW.  I hate the car!  But I could see out the window and that's always fun.  

We went to an AirBnB.  I don't know what that is, but there was a window and a bed for taking a nap.  My litter pan & food bowl are here, but I wish Dad would come home and give me treats.  I found a bug to play with.  Good times.  Hey, humans?!  DINNER!

"Traveling isn't so bad.  My parents are pie-lots after all..."

Mom & Dad got up early and threw me in my carrier and then back to the car!  I hate the car!  We are driving to the aeropuerto.  Hey, I speak Spanglish also!  That's an airport.  I don't know what that is, but it doesn't sound good.  Why do people keep sticking their faces in front of my window?  Mommy started talking about TSA.  I know what that is.  My friends on Gatos del Mar say you get extra points for biting somebody, so I have that to look forward to.  Whoops!  Here we go.  Hey, look at all these people!  Do they have cats in a bag, too?  Wait!  I didn't get to bite anybody.  Hey, humans!  TREAT!  

Mom & Dad were excited about Starbucks.  I don't know what that is, but I didn't get anything.  Hey, why are you kicking my carrier with your feet.  What's that noise?  I feel sleepy.  Hey STEWARDESS LADY, filtered water in an insulated tumbler with a cube of ice down here!  Do you have Greenie's?!  Where are you going?  Daaaddddddyyyyy!

"Holy shit, Batman!  Are we almost THERE?!"

Are we here?  Wait, what's a train?  WOOOOOWWW, Dude!  Hey, we're back in a car!  I can see out the window if I sit in Daddy's lap but he said NO.  LOSER!  Hey, look my food bowl.  Gotta go pee...I feel sleepy.

Pepper's AirBnB, Fajardo:  She's not going to be happy when she finds out we're not taking her favorite chair to the boat.

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