Flying with dogs – a member’s story

Dogs on holiday - flying is just fine!
Dogs on holiday – flying is just fine!

For those readers of the DailyDog thinking of taking their dog/s on a holiday involving flights, the thought itself can be a bit daunting. Most of us have never flown with our dogs, yet many members of pups4sale who are breeders often fly pups to their new homes. Virtually all pups flown as freight travel on Australian Air Express (AAE) flights, whichever agent is used to arrange the travel. AAE flies well over 10,000 dogs a year across Australia on their own, dedicated freight aircraft, with a very high rate of customer satisfaction. However it is a different ball game altogether when one goes to catch a Virgin or QANTAS flight with a pooch or two in tow in the doggie-crate.

Pups4sale members Ron and Louise C. from NSW recently completed a trip to Darwin with their Cocker Spaniels “Polly” and “Katie”, which involved quite long flights for all four of them. They found the experience very rewarding, given they could enjoy a holiday and be with their best friends at the same time. Many of us who have placed dogs in boarding kennels on the way to a domestic holiday would like to hear whether taking our dogs with us is worthwhile, or too much stress on all concerned. We think Ron and Louise put our fears to rest in the report they recently filed on their adventure:

“We flew out of Canberra on Katie’s 1st birthday, September 17.  Polly is 12 and she had to have a Fit to Fly certificate from our vet.  We had to be there 90 minutes prior to the flight but by the time we booked them in, crated them and finished the paper work we had to hurry to our terminal.  They had separate crates with an old rug in each from home.  We changed flights in Sydney and when we were landing in Darwin we could hear Katie barking – her ears may have popped!!!  The return flight was better for them.  By the end of a month in Darwin they were familiar with stange people, places and dogs so the trip home was “old hat”.  They hopped into their crates and only had a little bark until we were out of sight. They seemed happy with the staff.   We were able to see them being reloaded in Brisbane from our waiting area.  Their crates were on the trolley with other luggage being loaded onto the conveyer belt into the hold of the plane.  They seemed quite happy just sitting quietly watching everything happening around them and then onto the conveyer into the hold.  The staff loading them on and off the conveyer seemed very gentle and kind to them.
We cannot speak highly enough of the staff at Australian Air Express.  They were very helpful and kind and there was a very calm and quiet atmosphere for the animals.  And they were very assuring to the humans!!  In fact it took longer to get my husband through the check in with his metal knee than to get the dogs booked in!!!  And it took longer to get our luggage off the carousel – the staff at AAE were waiting for us!  Again we were impressed by their calmness and kindness.
Flying with dogs?  We would certainly do it again in Australia.  It was the best experience for everyone.”


It’s great to hear Ron & Louise had such a rewarding experience, but we asked them how dogs used to NSW weather handled the often brutal humidity in Darwin. They stayed with their son and his Cocker Spaniel (“Gunner”), and as the picture shows, the dogs were quick to work out how to stay cool! When the DailyDog asked them if they stayed in Darwin or travelled around, Louise wrote:

“Yes, Darwin.  At Larrakeyah Army Base.  Almost every house has at least one dog.  The dividing fences are cyclone wire mesh, so they can all see each other.  All different breeds and mixes.  Most had clam shell paddle pools no doubt from Bunnings!  Several had electric wires (like for horses!) around the boundary so they don’t dig their way out and escape, which Gunner
 quickly discovered when they first moved there!!!!!!  Occasional bark-ups but owners were very good at stopping them.  Our girls were a bit confused at first but soon got the hang of it.  Overall, it was the best thing for their education, especially Katie the pup…”


Clearly Ron & Louise’s story shows that not only is it possible to have a good holiday with dogs in tow, but can also be a very rewarding experience for all on holiday; those with two legs and those with four. 🙂

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