Sunday, November 25, 2012

Operation Flying Tom: Approved for Flying

For my flight home I'll be flying Korean Air, which is funny because when I first flew to Korea this was the airline I took. Since then I haven't flown Korean Air again and certainly miss their good meals and excellent service. I picked this airline because I figured for the price and prestige, Tom will have a good flight. Thankfully the wind will be blowing towards America, so our flight will be about 9 hours.

Since I found out that Tom weighs over the 5kg limit to bring him in the cabin, I knew I needed to get a sturdy and reliable carrier for check-in. A few weeks ago I went to the Chung Hwa animal clinic in Itaewon and checked out their carriers. Knowing I could get the same thing cheaper online, I ordered one as soon as the airline confirmed Tom's spot on the plane.

The name of carrier is "Iris Air Travel Carrier" and looks to be a Japanese product. What I like about this carrier is that it is assembled with hardware, making it something that will stay together during travel. You can check out it's listing on Gmarket with this link and scroll down to the "M" product area.

It wasn't too difficult to put together and came with a hex-key to assemble the bolts. While I worked on it Tom watched on patiently.

I lured him in there by throwing in a treat and then quickly closing the door. He didn't seem to upset being in the carrier, and had room to stand up and lay completely on his back. I hope that he finds his way into the carrier himself and gets to know his new plastic home.

Most of what I need to get done to prepare Tom for flying has been taken care of. The next step will be to take him back to the Vet about 10 days before departure and get certificates for his flight. Then it's to the airport quarantine office to be approved and off we go!

I thought I would copy and paste the following information from the Korean Air website on transporting pets, as I found this information quite useful.

Check list:

Check pet's health status
 Pets must be healthy and at least 8 weeks old.
 Avoid any type of sedatives as it can affect the body temperature and blood pressure of the pet.
 Korean Air will refuse to carry any animals that are under medication, violent, ill smelling, sick or pregnant
Pet carriage to destinations
 Please check in advance if your destination allows pets.
 Currently the UK and Australia apply very strict plant and animal regulations, prohibiting passenger planes to carry them. To check the custom regulations for each country, click  ‘Custom regulations for each country’ or contact the organization concerned.
Rabies vaccination prior to departure
 Most countries ask for a rabies vaccination certificate from pets, such as dogs and cats if they depart from Korea.
Pets should be vaccinated 30 days before the departure date. Please make sure that the vaccine will be effective for your entire trip (Vaccine is usually good for 1 year.)

Applying for Pet Travel:

How to apply
 After having documentation required for the quarantine inspection at destination ready, contact the reservation center and make the booking for pet travel. For regulations and requirements in Korea, contact Incheon Animal Quarantine Office(+82-32-740-2660~1). Filling a form
Documentation required
 Customs documentation (2 copies)
 Rabies vaccination certificate (2 copies)
 Documentation provided by the animal quarantine office (2 copies)
Bring the above documentation to the check-in counter.
The required documentation varies according to departure city. Please confirm the documentation before your travel.
Charge for pet travel
 Regardless of your free baggage allowance, you will be charged extra for your pet according to the excess baggage charge in the following table.
 Payment will be made during check-in.
 For the details, please refer to the table below.

Call the Airline:

One thing they don't mention on the site is that you should call the airline before you travel to alert them your pet is traveling and to make sure it has been approved. For all you know other passengers might be taking a lot of pets too, filing up the cabin space. So it is best to call and let them know ahead of time. Also you can ask important questions to the representative if necessary. You can find numbers to your airline via their website.

If you have any questions about pet travel I would be happy to answer them as I am going through this process. So far since everything has been running smoothly I feel more confident taking Tom over. As for how Tom feels, well... hehe!


  1. Hi, glad that Tom The Cat is quite comfortable inside the carrier -- All the best on getting the final approval !


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