When flying with pets, many animal welfare organizations strongly recommend that the pets travel in the cabin area of the aircraft with you, rather than in the cargo hold. This is especially true for humans traveling with emotional support animals. ESAs can't fulfill their tasks if they're away from their owners after all. Although the statistics on animal loss and death as a result of cargo hold shipping indicate that less than 5,000 animals are killed or lost every year in the United States, you do not want your pet to become a statistic. Especially if you're travelling with your emotional support animal. Not only is losing them devastating as a pet owner, this could also mean your mental health can suffer while you look for a replacement ESA--if you ever get around to getting another one so soon. For this reason, if you own a small animal such as a cat, small dog, or rodent, you should make arrangements for the pet to fly in the cabin. Also be ready to present all your valid and legitimate ESA registration requirement just in case proof is necessary to board your animal. Even more so if you're bringing an emotional support animal with you. This is so your dog's welfare as well as yours are given the importance they need. If your animal is too large to fit in the cabin, you may want to consider an alternate mode of transportation instead of flying with your pets. There are now a lot of logistics options that allow ESAs entry so that they can travel comfortably with their humans. You shouldn't have a hard time finding one. It's not just for your sake, especially if you're with an emotional support animal, but most especially for your pet. Just like humans, staying in a cramped space for hours is not only uncomfortable, it could also lead to injuries.
When traveling in the cargo hold, pets can be subjected to temperature extremes which may include excessive heat or freezing. If you have a service animal, it might also be harder for you to function with your support dog or cat away from you. For this reason, many airlines do not permit pets in the cargo hold during the summer when travelers try flying with pets, as pets have been known to die in the intense heat of the closed hold while planes wait to taxi down the runway. Although most ESAs are allowed to fly, it's still good to know that non-ESAs are given this level of consideration especially during this season. Surely this puts several fur parents' minds at ease. Secure a legal and valid ESA letter just in case the airline would wish to check if your pet is registered as an ESA. In a cargo hold with imperfect climate control, the hold can also reaching freezing temperatures very quickly once the aircraft is in flight, which could be fatal for your pet. This is devastating on its own, but it could also be worse for you if your pet is an emotional support animal. It is also possible for the cargo hold to lose pressure, and some cargo holds have imperfect air circulation systems, meaning that your animal has a chance of suffocating from lack of oxygen. This is the last thing that you want for your support dog. So if flying isn't possible, you're better off using other modes of transportation to get to your destination. This can be considered cruelty and is highly discouraged, more so if the animal is an emotional support one, which means they should be flying with their humans and not locked in a crate.
Traveling with pets can be very stressful; flying is even more stressful for the animal. To make it easy for both you and your pet (especially if you have an ESA with you), you can just take them with you in the cabin. Animals do not understand the rapid temperature and pressure changes which can occur, even in the cabin of an airplane, and the stress may adversely affect the breathing and heart rate of your pet. This may lead your pet to suffer from anxiety, or worse, this can lead to death. If you are flying with pets in the cabin, you can keep an eye on their vital signs, but if the pets are isolated in the cargo hold, they may reach a state of crisis without anyone being aware of it. When flying with pets, you should also not use tranquilizers or nervous system depressants, which may cause respiratory collapse or heart failure if the animal becomes stressed in the air. If you have an ESA with you, you would want them to be as alert as possible with no senses compromised.
In addition to death, loss is also an issue when flying with pets, especially if you are forced to transfer. Pets are viewed as luggage or cargo by most airlines, rather than living beings, and your animal's carrier may be handled roughly during transfers, adding to the emotional and physical stress that your animal feels. In addition, the cage may end up among the millions of pieces of luggage lost annually around the world. In the United States alone, roughly six out of every 1,000 pieces of luggage is lost. If your pet is lost, the airline may offer financial compensation, but this will not compensate you for the loss of a friend. Nothing will ever compensate this tragic event and it nothing will ever compensate the struggles a person has to go through if the animal lost is an emotional support dog or cat.
If you absolutely must ship a pet as cargo, animal welfare activists recommend that you consider using the services of a professional live cargo shipping firm. These firms handle your animals with care and respect in aircraft specially fitted out for animal transportation. If you refuse to do this to your emotional support pet, your best option would be to find other means to get to where you need to go. Of course if you have an emotional support animal with you, you should be allowed to take your pet in the cabin with you and skip this part. The aircraft includes medical staff to watch your animal, and the cabin is climate controlled and pressurized. Because the firm specializes in animal handling, your animal is also far less likely to be a victim of animal cruelty at the hands of an exhausted or irritable baggage handler, an unfortunate result of flying with pets on crowded airlines. This is especially helpful for humans who require ESAs to make their flights bearable. Not only does this make the trip pleasant for the animal, it also ensures that their humans are safe and stable while in the air.