Wednesday, December 23, 2009

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When Dogs Fly

We took Bingo for his flight last Saturday. We used US Airways as our carrier. I was plenty nervous, but Donna had given us very detailed instructions on what to expect and what to do for different situations (she is fabulous!), so I had a pretty good idea on what was going to happen. I highly recommend US Airways for anyone traveling with a service dog! They were very, very friendly and accomodating.

At check-in, we were not charged a baggage fee for his kennel because the agent told us that the kennel is considered an assistive device, which I didn't know. That was a $35.00 savings and something that everyone traveling with a service dog should know. Perhaps it isn't the policy on all airlines, but it is US Airways policy and it is mighty nice of them! Check-in was a breeze. There was no documentation requested, however, I did have the following just in case I was asked: health certificate from the vet (something extra that is not covered by SEGD and which you as the puppy raiser will need to pay for), copies of his shots (just in case, I brought two copies in case they wanted to keep them for some reason, paranoid, that's me!), brochures about SEGD for people in case they are curious and a calendar for nice bribes in case you need them! 8-)

This photo shows Fred and Bingo facing the camera in front of a railing in the airport near security.

After checking in, we got on the monorail (Bingo had not one bit of trouble with it) and hit security where we were waived over to the employee gate. That was kind of cool. Then we had a bit of a hiccup because Bingo and I went through the Xray together and his training collar (metal) set off the alarm. So, we both had to be patted down. The female security guard was afraid of dogs and didn't want to pat him down, so another guard had to pat down Bingo and she patted down me. Of course, I am trying to be helpful and get him to sit, while she is trying to pat me down and the other guard is trying to pat Bingo down. Bingo is sensing that the coat is coming off and play time is starting, so inside the glass security box where all should be calm seriousness, it's a bit of Laurel and Hardy slapstick silliness. She won't get near Bingo; Bingo is leaping around without his coat; I'm not supposed to move, but am trying to get him to sit and put the coat back on; the other guard is telling him to sit and Bingo is ignoring all of us.

We did eventually make it through and find our gate. Fred will continue the saga.

Here's a photo of Bingo curled up between the seats on the plane, so you know we did make it onto the plane!


  1. US airways are fabulous with service animal and service animals in training! They have actually sponsored several SEGDI puppies. We go to the airport twice a year for puppy meetings, US airways always hooks us up for some great meetings. 1 of the meetings is going through security and exploring the inside of the airport, loading on to planes and the golf carts. Next time you fly with Bingo and have to go through security you could try leaving Bingo in a sit stay and walk through and then call him through the x-ray by himself after you get out. All of my puppies enjoy being patted down! Sounds like Bingo loved being patted down too!

  2. Sounds like fun!
    I have never flown with a dog- of course the only time I did fly was to Japan.
    But I have gone to the airport for guide dog meetings, those are quite fun!
    Cute pictures:)

    Toby's Trainer
    SEGDI Raiser