Kittens Traveling on Plane

Yes, kittens can travel by plane, but there are certain age restrictions required by the airlines. Please make sure to check with your airline because every airline has different restrictions on kittens traveling. Usually, one kitten (if a certain age), can be on the same kennel as the mother cat. Of course, it all depends on the size. (Tiger kittens are huge, but, they are not allowed inside the plane!). So, always, to be safe, be sure to check the airline where you are booked.

First Time on 737-800 Los Angeles (LAX) to Minneapolis (MSP)

Traveling with Pets/Two Kittens in one Kennel is OK

Traveling with Pets

As soon as they turn a certain number of weeks old, kittens are ready to fly! But not on all airlines. Some airlines allow as early as 8 weeks - that is the minimum time for weaning. That is also the safest time that the lungs are developed to withstand the cabin pressure. Airline rules vary so be sure to check with the airlines. Also, if they are small kittens, two of them are allowed in a carry on kennel. Or, you can put a mom and a kitty. However, I found that some carry-on kennels are too small for a mom and a kitty. Be sure to buy the larger soft-sided kennel (no - please don't use the hard side for cats!). The soft sided (also called Sherpa-type), cuddle the cats' body so they feel that they are just in their little bed. Be sure to line the kennel with newspaper - in case of emergencies :-). Today, my cats are exactly 8 weeks old! They can only be carried in the cabin. My airline of choice :-) does not accept pets to be put underneath the airplane during Summer time. Too many pet deaths this time of the year from too much heat! Don't even try to circumvent the rules. One of my website readers searched this topic "How to circumvent Delta Airlines rules for checking in a pet". PETS ARE TO BE CARRIED ONLY INSIDE THE AIRPLANE DURING SUMMER MONTHS -- or they will die of heat exhaustion! The regular charge for cabin carry on is $125.00. Fortunately for me, there's no charge! :-). I am so lucky!

Three Choices of Airport of Departure

Coming back from Hesperia, CA, I had three airport choices: Las Vegas Airport (3 hours drive); less than 3 hours flight; Ontario Airport (with connection to Salt Lake City; 30 hrs drive to the airport, about 1 and 1/2 hrs flight to SLC; then connect to MSP (about 2:30 flight hours more). ONT's flight was full; the 10am flight was using a CRJ (smaller that CRJ-900). We decided to drive to LAX - there were 12 seats left, according to Travel Net: 2 in F; 10 in Y. I checked in two kittens (both in one kennel - a small hand carry size one).

Sometimes lack of knowledge causes delay :-(

When I was checking in my bag (I checked in my small and light computer bag because of the two kitties; I had a full diaper bag, complete with towels, cat food, paper towels, etc.), the Delta agent told me I had to pay $125.00. I informed her that I read that DL non-revs do not pay for carry-on pets. She looked at the computer screen and said "Oh no - Yes - the computer said you have to pay!". I asked her if I could talk to a supervisor. I explained that I called the Help Desk (I did not tell her that I worked at the Help Desk! :-)). and that I also spoke to a SFO DL supervisor on the inbound flight (the agent in SFO did not know - none of the 4 agents there did not know!), and the SFO supervisor informed the agent that yes - non-revs do not pay for carry-on pets (thanks DL supervisor - whoever you are!). In LAX, the agent monitoring the line at LAX intercepted me when I was entering the baggage drop line to inform me that DL "is not accepting pets" (I knew that the restriction is only for under the belly of the plane). Anyway, back at the counter, the LAX agent did not want to call a supervisor and she searched in the computer for the rule/policies on non-revs carrying a pet, and finally, after about 20 minutes, she found it, read it, and told me "Oh don't have to pay". I thanked her then said "But I don't know how to put the remarks in my record (I could not help her because I did not know either). She then asked an agent (John), who put the remarks like he's "speedy Gonzales" - thanks God..because I knew I was running late already. Thanked both of them and ran to the gate. Those guys were really nice..but sometimes, they do forget some of the rules. Do not hesitate to get a second opinion from an airline representative's supervisor. But, better still, go to the airline's website and print the most recent copy of the rules and/or policy. This will really help you a lot! Airline reps have a lot of things to learn and not all of them remember everything, especially those recently hired temporary relief agents. Be sure to help yourself to avoid your flight being delayed. It can happen not only to you - but also to airline employees as well. So - always be prepared!

I got through security ok; removed the two kitties from the kennel, carried them with me through the x-ray machines...and we ran to the gate. No problems with TSA. (I wonder if pets can be used as distractions (or distractors?) of terrorists.they are so cute.that TSA's could not resist focusing on them!) ...We got to the gate 15 minutes prior to departure. The gate agent already printed the SPIL and rushed to the jet way. I did not want to stop her...I assumed that the flight was full. It was, I found out from other non-revs. With two kittens with me, I looked for a good spot to call for re-listing. I found a service center by Gate No. 57. What happened to the 12 seats available on the flight? The flight to Detroit was overbooked, and they put 12 of the passengers on my 12:05 flight. They were even soliciting for the next DTW flight - for $400.00 voucher. I saw a group of phones, picked one up, and asked to be re-listed. I had my laptop with me but I left the charger at home (not a good idea!).

Of course, you could always rely on friends!

I called my life line - Nestor, of RDU (he helps me all the time! :-)). I found out that I was already moved to the next flight to MSP, at 2:55pm. That was at 12:15 p.m., , so that meant I really had to find a comfortable place for me and the kitties.

Flying with Pets: a Real Sacrifice! But the rewards are great! :-)

I managed to get a fish fillet sandwich from McDonald's, went to the ladies' room (I got a finger wagging scolding from a Hispanic G2 employee who was talking loudly while using her cell phone. This is because I left the kennel unattended (well, not really; the only divider between me and the kitties is my toilet cube door!) -- on the bathroom counter while I attended to my personal needs. I told her "Excuse me - you could see everything in there --nothing to hide!"). Some people are just not using their gray matter! Now, if that bag was all closed..and you could not see anything inside..and it was left unattended - that is a different story! While she was wagging her finger at me, a TSA officer was talking to the kitties. We both just looked at each other while thinking the same thing: use the brain! I played with the kitties while waiting for the next flight. I was also praying that all the flights of Delta and all the airlines not be cancelled or delayed. One flight cancelled or delayed would cause all the seats in my flight be filled up. ("Dear God, not today, please, I have two cats with me..thank you").

Finally .....

My cats and I got on at the 2:55p.m flight. Seat 33A is the very last row, non-reclining (flight is full - happy to have that seat! :-)). It is a 737-800. I have been on other 737s - Alaska Airline has a big fleet of 737-s from SFO - but I've never been on a long stretch like this one. I was sitting next to a Japanese family of 5. On Row 32 is another family with 3 small children and I could already tell that that was going to be an interesting flight! At one point, the smallest one was screaming and crying loudly (while I had a terrible headache!). I think I know why the child cried so loud. She heard her mom say "Shut up!". And she screamed - an ear piercing scream! I don't know about you - but I never liked hearing that phrase when parents talking to their children. I ride public transportation, and sometimes I take the most challenging bus line. I have heard that command so many times from parents with children on the bus. I notice that 99 percent of the time, after the parent tells the child to "shut up!", the child cries even louder. Some parents are so very disrespectful in the way they talk to their children!

B737 interior

The color of the interior of B737 is similar to all DL aircraft I've seen. Uniform interior -- light blue leather seats - same as with the rest of the fleet. I know that NWA did not have 737's so the a/c is a DL original. It is configured 3/3 in coach, and of course, 2/2 in First Class. The total number of rows: 33. Most of the crew members on that flight were from MSP. I felt so much at home. I love it when the crew members are from my hometown. On my flight from SFO to LAX on CRJ-900, all, except one were from Minnesota!

The flight

The flight was scheduled for 3 hours and 55 minutes. But I was not surprised when the captain announced that the new flight route would only take 2 hrs and 51 minutes from take off to touch-down! The inbound flight of the aircraft is delayed coming from Detroit (DTW).Usually when the pilots are anticipating a delayed flight, they come up with an alternate route - usually shorter and faster - to compensate for the loss of time due to the delay. Not sure if the pilot initiates this - or the SOC or Flight Ops who usually monitors the delay situations. I love a shorter flight! I love going to different countries, but sometimes it takes forever to get there. Too bad there is no more Concorde! The flight from Paris to New York on Concorde was only 3 hours!

It was mostly a smooth flight except when we were about one hour away from MSP. It was a moderately bumpy flight on and off for about 45 minutes - then smooth again up to MSP. We had a real nice bumps. (My prayers work most of the time! :-))

At the airport

I followed a young mother with a little girl, about 8 years old, go to the ladies' room. I was next to their cubicle when I heard the mother scream at the child: "Shut up!" (what is this about some mothers?). And I think she slapped the little girl when they were inside the cubicle because I heard a loud slapping sound, followed by a painful girl's cry!

Anyway, I got out of the bathroom, grabbed my kitties' diaper bag (I had my laptop there, it dropped right on my left toe when I picked it up! Painful!).

Airline travel gives you an opportunity to meet new people

When I got to the baggage claim and put the kennel down, there's a guy who started talking to the kitties. He later introduced himself to me - and to all his brothers who came in from Salt Lake City. He had a band - and he gave me his business card. Sadly, his mother passed away and that is why all the sibling flew in from all over the country. He suggested that I visit his website and to leave him a message at his website.

After a light rail and a bus ride, I am back at home. I unlocked the door to the home so quietly so that JKK would not see me come in. I was carrying my surprise gifts to him for his 50th birthday :-). He just turned 50 this year and I am pretty sure he'd appreciate the gifts.

The Conclusion and Overall Experience

Nice flight; the usual non-rev waiting (we are so good at that!); short bumpy ride; crying children; mean mothers. It does not matter: I 'll do it all over again!


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