Owners pay thousands for four-legged flyers
Animal courier companies say there is a big rise in pets being carried by air. Dogs, cats, guinea pigs, tropical fish, parrots, rabbits, even the occasional rat, are all being flown overseas in large numbers.
“We’ll take anything,” says Angela Lacey, a pet importer working at the Airpets handling and quarantine centre near London Heathrow Terminal 5.
But her team advises against hamsters – the expense and the four-month quarantine is a little too much for a pet with an average lifespan of a couple of years.
Recognising the trend, airlines like KLM and Air France are making travel with pets easier, raising the weight allowed to eight kilos instead of six from October onwards. They are also reducing the price for animals’ cabin travel from €75 to €55. The tariffs are for all European destinations, plus Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Israel.
Hundreds of thousands of animals have passed through Airpets at Heathrow since it was converted from a pig farm 47 years ago. But with the legally enforced four-month stay in quarantine cages it’s costly – rarely less than a business-class ticket for the same route.
[Cartoon by Body and Soul International – www.bodyandsoulinternational.com]