A $200 lesson on flying with dogs

So after 3 hours on the phone today calling airlines and “pet transport” services, this is what I’ve learned about taking dogs to Korea:

  • You need a rabies shot that’s over 30 days old (knew that already)
  • You need an “international health certificate” (knew that)
  • The health certificate needs to be issued by a veterinarian who is approved by the USDA, which apparently is required to even issue a health cert
  • The health certificate needs to be issued within 10 days of landing in Seoul or wherever you’re going
  • The health certificate needs to be mailed to your state’s USDA office so they can endorse it, and since it needs to be issued within 10 days of the flight that means sending it to and from via overnight mail
  • Not all airlines require that you use a third party pet transport service, despite what the idiots at O’Brien Animal Transportation might tell you


When I still thought I needed to use a pet transport service, I got a price of $1700 from O’Brien who claimed that TSA regulations require all airlines to use services like theirs. Yes, they wanted ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED dollars to put Terry on my plane and then take him off. So then I called another place called Pet Express who quoted a much-more-reasonable-but-still-expensive $975, and the fine folks at PetRelocation.com wanted me to spend $3000 to fly Terry to fucking Amsterdam, put him in a dog hotel for the night (drugs and hookers cost extra), and then fly to Seoul. Riiiiight.

In the end, I wound up canceling our plane tickets on Singapore and buying seats on an Asiana flight that costs the same and lands in Seoul at roughly the same time. The difference? Asiana will let me check Terry like a suitcase for the low, low price of $225. I’ve eaten $200 in fees for canceling the Singapore Air flight but the net result is saving over $500 by not paying Pet Express.


posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 12/30/2009 | No Comments