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Discussion Starter #1
Hi!

I have a 6month ago golden retriever, and I am just wondering what are some of your experiences are with flying Westjet. She is currently 24" while standing straight up, to the top of her head.

Have they accepted a full grown golden retriever in baggage rather than cargo?
What size kennel have you been using to travel?

I understand Westjet max restrictions are 36" x 24" x 26" - but I have read around there are NO kennels that match that description.


Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I really want to make this travel a pleasant experience. It is only a 2 hour flight.

Thank you so much!! :)
 

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I've never flown with a dog, puppy or otherwise. However, have you considered a soft crate? Like a canvas one? You might find one in similar or smaller dimensions. And don't be afraid to get a crate that is slightly smaller than usual for her/him. I'd rather my boy be a little cramped in the cabin than be in cargo.


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No personal experience flying with a dog in baggage on WestJet but in looking at their website if your dog and kennel weight combined are less than 100 lbs it should be allowed in baggage. Check Amazon.ca for kennels, try Petmate Sky Kennels.

I would call WestJet and speak to an agent to verify that there aren't any restrictions on pets for the date/flight you're looking at and to verify everything you need to do to bring your dog so there are no surprises on flight day.
 

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I don't think West Jet allows dogs on planes... I think Cargo is the only way to go?

Just curious - where are you flying to/from?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've called them a couple of times. They mentioned the weight and kennel size restrictions which I think we could do. But I heard some rumors regarding how the dog has to fit in the kennel. One agent said they have to be able to stand straight up with 2 inch head clearance. The other said as long as the kennel is at least shoulder height of the dog it should be okay. Additionally, I read on other sites that the kennel size restriction isn't completely followed.

They did mention for sure you need a hard top kennel that can withstand some accidental force. I'm just hoping that there is someone that has flown with a golden retriever in check in, and that cargo is optional. If all else fails, I'm going to buy a kennel that closely matched their specs, and go a day before my flight with Echo to make sure they let us fly.

I am just flying from Calgary Alberta to Abbotsford British Columbia.
 

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Just a quick search tells me your dog will not be allowed to travel as checked baggage from May 15 to October 31 because of potential heat risk. So if you were thinking for summer... you're out of luck. Air Canada and most other airlines are the same. It's really dangerous.

Personally, I would never fly my dog - either cargo or baggage. It's just too risky for a variety of reasons. Plus, potentially really scary for the dog. Dark, noisy, too hot, too cold. I sure wouldn't want to travel in the baggage hold - I wouldn't put my dog through it either. Can you drive instead? If not, might be worth leaving your dog home with someone who can take care of him.

Here is West Jet's info page:

Pets
 

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Jack was flown from Vancouver to Winnipeg and back for breeding purposes about five years ago. He was a very relaxed boy so he didn't react negatively the way some others may. I believe we used Air Canada (?). They are very particular with kennel requirements and will not fly the dog if weather is not ideal. They have trained workers who take your dog out potty and the ones we met were very kind to Jack, went out of their way to make him comfortable while in their care. You drop them off well before the plane takes off. They require a leash and collar to be attached to the kennel, and water within the kennel. On the second round, he was actually pretty happy it seemed to hop in his kennel and go. When picking him up, he was happy and relaxed.
Having said that, I have heard stories where dogs are very stressed. I guess it depends largely on the workers on duty and especially, the temperament of your dog.
I would only fly one of my three current dogs if absolutely necessary. Two of them are just not cut out for it.
 

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I've flown my 2 dogs from Whitehorse to Regina and from Calgary to Whitehorse. West Jet was very good with the dogs compared to Air Canada. There is a restriction on certain months when pets can't fly in Cargo due to heat and cold. If I didn't have to fly my dog I wouldn't.
 

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I'm a US Citizen not Canadian, and may be misunderstanding you. Here in the US, baggage and cargo are one and the same. Are you wanting your dog to go in the cabin with you? I doubt seriously a 6 month old Golden can fit in something of these limitations for going with you in the cabin, because those are young puppy sizes:
40 cm x 44 cm x 21.5 cm
(16 in. L x 17.5 in. W x 8.5 in. H)
My husband is an airline captain and based on what he's seen on tarmac and in the belly hold of the planes he flies, we will never ever put one of our pets in cargo on a commercial aircraft. He's seen some unsafe things and rough handling happen to pet crates on the tarmac from baggage handlers and yes, he's reported them to his employer.
 

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The dog would have to go either as baggage in a kennel underneath the plane and you having a seat on the plane or my cargo in a kennel being shipped while you are not on the plane with West Jet. Unless its a small puppy or dog that can fit in a carrier under the seat the dog will have to go as excess baggage.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I guess a lot of my confusion is there is a difference between cargo and baggage. I was thought to believe cargo was used when the kennel is too large, and it's done for longer flights. Baggage I thought was the same plane, and the limit is 26 inch in height which is why buying a kennel was so confusing.

But to make even more confusing. I heard you can send cargo but it's actually in the same plane.

Sorry. Unfortunately driving is just not an option for me. However, I have been thinking of playing her in dog care for those few weeks.
 

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After seeing what airlines have done to my luggage I would never fly with my dogs . I would hate to think of having to leave them behind for "a few weeks" But that sounds like the safest choice to me. We have payed people a couple of times to pet & house sit but we had people we trusted & knew. Good luck.
 

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I had to fly Kiba across country when he was 8 months old and we went with alaska airlines and used a skymate kennel because they are made for flying. They will fly during the summer if it doesn't get too hot but my pup seemed pretty stressed after the flight and ate part of his crate mat. I am not sure why he was so clingy and stressed but I am suspicious of flying dogs now and would not recommend it if you can get around it. Also he flew with baggage wich was considered cargo. They put the kennel by the AC so they don't get too hot and we used a water bottle made for dogs so he could sip water. One thing I have heard is that xxl kennels (like great dane sized) have to go on cargo only planes so you would have to fly seperatly, but you should not have to worry about that. And they wher more concerned about the kennel being secure than size they probably won't be too picky as long as your dog can fit comforably in the kennel and there are ventilation holes on all sides (skymate makes them like that with spring lock doors wich was required vs. the normal latch doors).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update!

So I decided just to buy a kennel and go to Westjet early to see what they have to say. I also brought Echo along.

Yes - in Canada cargo and baggage are two different things. Cargo is on a different plane, but will fly to the same destination (maybe at a different time), and you need to ensure food/water is available during the trip. It is also more expensive ranging $160 one way.

I think my confusion happened because my breeder was telling me her goldens always fly cargo in the same plane as her - I believe she meant baggage.

From the experienced Westjet lady I talked to - she said she has seen full grown golden retrievers fly baggage, and there never has been a problem, especially for such short trips. I chose a kennel from petland that matched their kennel sizes as closely as possible - and they didn't have a problem at all, they didn't even measure it - they said it was the perfect size.

I am really glad that I went a couple days early to check their regulations instead of being surprises on the day of. They even pre-approved her boarding to make Saturday go easier.

:D
 
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