This dog is going to be the death of me, or at least my bank account. I don’t remember what airline we took when we flew up to Alaska, but I know the dog cost about $100 to be checked as baggage. The process of checking a live animal is miserable. We did everything right. We had her papers all in order. We had an airline approved kennel with stickers saying “LIVE ANIMAL.” As if the whimpering coming from inside the kennel wasn’t verification that she was, in fact, alive. We had a water dish clipped to the side of the kennel and a ziplock bag of food taped to the outside. Still, it took TSA almost two full hours to get her checked in, which included taking her out of the kennel so she could snarl at the TSA agent – way to make a first impression.
Now that we are leaving Alaska we decided it was best not to include her on our cross-country trek to Georgia. Our plan was to ship the mutt to my mother in Tennessee and pick her up on our way through. I called the one and only airline that will ship dogs as cargo from here to the airport close to my Mom, Delta. The cost for shipping is based on the size of her kennel. I measured it and was quoted $534. That’s one way with their Military discount. I appreciate that Delta gives a military discount for shipping pets, since it is not an expense the Army covers. Not that I’m complaining, they give us plenty of money to move – they just don’t pay for things like dogs and motorcycles and campers. No fun allowed.
That’s a lot of money to spend on a dog. She’s not even getting any special treatment. Her accommodations are her kennel, that I paid for and sits in my living room every other day of the year. You can fly a person from here to Tennessee for about the same price and we don’t shed nearly as much.
Faced with that expense, we decided to look at other options. One was to fly the big kids to Tennessee with the stupid dog. All the grandparents and aunts and uncles wanted them to come for a visit this summer anyway. Plus the more I thought about the logistics of smashing six people with all our stuff into a minivan and driving a million miles across North America, the more my head hurt. Making arrangements for two 16-year-olds to make five stops with five different family members is no small order.There were many emails, texts, and phone calls exchanged. Once I solidified the flights I called Delta, to see how far in advance I needed to notify them about the dog – who would be checked as baggage.
This Delta agent told me there is an embargo on checking live animals from now through September. To make matters worse, the cost to ship her cargo has gone up $100 – even with the discount. Also, they can only fit one kennel her size on the flights, I can’t book more than two weeks out, and it’s first come first served. Frick on a stick.