Life got pretty busy after my last posting - both on a business & personal front but the container shipped in late September and I then managed a 10 day trip over to Pennsylvania in October and took the cats with me. This is the story of how that trip went.
After booking my flight from Manchester to JFK I called customer
services and made reservations for the 2 cats, to be paid at the airport
on the day of travel. It is worth insisting and speaking to a
supervisor if the first person you speak to claims they don't take
In preparation the cats visited the vet a month in advance for
microchips and rabies vaccinations, and then not more than 10 days
before the flight another visit for the health and fitness to fly
The morning of travel I woke up earlier than usual for our flight and let the
cats out to do whatever cats do at 5am, then fed them a small breakfast
and got them into their carriers. The carriers were labelled with the
cats' names, chip numbers, flight number, ultimate destination address
and our cell phone numbers.
I arrived at the airport 3 1/2 hours before the flight time and went to
check in as normal with a trolley laden with suitcase and 2 cat
carriers. The check in agent called down the pet check in agent who
confirmed that the temperatures were fine for the cats and went through
all the paperwork, I paid the fees for the cats and then weighed in the
suitcase as normal baggage. The pet agent then escorted me and the cats
through security, where I did have to open the carriers so they could be
swabbed for testing! After security the cats and I went our separate
ways and I was assured that their water bowls would be refreshed before
I didn't actually see the cats being loaded onto the aircraft, but was
assured they were on and "tied down" before I boarded. The flight was
just as I like - blissfully uneventful.
On arrival at JFK I cleared immigration about 30 minutes after touchdown
and then went to baggage claim, waited a few minutes for my suitcase
and then a few more at oversize baggage for the cats. They were both
fine and seemed quiet but awake and not at all distressed. Clearing
customs was also straightforward, as usual. Some of the other passengers
came over to see the cats before leaving, having seen them in the check
in queue back in Manchester.
Then I met up with my husband for the first time in 2 months and drove home
to PA via a route where I was able to see the Statue of Liberty. We
stopped and rewatered the cats when we had a coffee and on arrival at our
new home they came out of their carriers and explored every room, under
every piece of furniture, inside every cupboard for the next couple of
hours. I'm not sure whether my sons were more pleased to see their
mum or their cats!
I promptly went down with a horrible cough & cold and spent most of my stay feeling pretty grim. Work issues also reared their ugly head and had to be dealt with as soon as I returned to the UK.
The container was delivered a few days after I returned to the UK so husband and sons had the fun of unpacking it :-)