Flying with a dog is rather stressful, especially if you have to leave your baby in the care of strangers at an airport. Back in December when I started making calls to arrange for me and Chhaya to fly out of Alaska I found out that flying with a dog nowadays as opposed to last time I flew with Chhaya in 2011, is a rather complicated and expensive affair. Prior to this trip I completed two round trip flights with Chhaya, between Anchorage and Las Vegas. I would drop Chhaya off at the airport, watch her get whisked away while trying to hold it together. Boarded the airplane, got an OK from a stewardess that Chhaya was safely on board and then picked her up at the arriving airport. This would cost $200 each way. Well, I guess regulations and rules changed back in October 2014......of course. The airlines found out a way to make even more money from people. If I leave for a shorter amount of time I board Chhaya in a kennel but if I'm gone for some time I have to bring her with me.......I have no other choice. So I found out that the new rules and regulations affect all snub nosed pets, Chhaya is a pitbull and therefore considered a snub nosed dog. She now has to fly cargo with Delta, that means I have to drop her off and pick her up at a cargo facility which is not located at the airport. The price is no longer $200 one way, it was about $750 one way. Chhaya's tickets cost WAY MORE than mine. That is just ridiculous! I can fly to Sweden and back for $1500 and have money left over.
I also checked with Alaska Airlines before finally caving in and booking with Delta. Now Alaska Airlines consider pitbulls to be a dangerous breed, therefore Chhaya's airline approved crate that she has flown in before is no longer considered an approved crate. She needs a SPECIAL crate, made of steel or some shit like that. It can only be ordered from a a few Alaska Airlines approved web sites and the crate for Chhaya's size starts at like $500 and up if I remember it right. Complete and utter BULLSHIT I say.
So back in December my friend Jim gave me a ride to Anchorage and we took Chhaya to the cargo facility where they weighed Chhaya and the crate, made sure I was not smuggling any drugs or small children in the crate, made sure Chhayas' health certificate was in order........yes, you need to go to the vet and get a health certificate too within 10 days of flying, swiped my credit card and off we went. I was SO scared to leave Chhaya there. You have to check the pet at cargo a few hours before the flight. They stay put at the cargo facility before someone transports them to the airplane. I was scanning for her crate through the windows when I was waiting to board the plane and felt so relieved when I saw them board her on the plane. And I made sure a stewardess confirmed that Chhaya was on board.
Here we are back in December......my brave baby and me feeling extremely frazzled and close to tears.
Now flying out of Vegas turned out to be a bit more complicated.....You have temperature restrictions too when flying a pet. It can't be too hot and too cold. If it's over 75 degrees F you are not allowed to fly a pitbull. I wanted to get on a 7 30 am flight, thinking it would not be over 75 degrees at that time on the date I had in mind. I had been checking hourly temperatures for weeks leading up to the flight. Well, THAT particular aircraft leaving at 7 30 am would not accept Chhaya's crate, it was a whole 4 inches too tall! WOW. I mean, charging me $750 is not a problem whatsoever but making a fuss over a meager 4 inches is? Booking her on a later flight would mean taking a chance that it would warm up to 75 degrees or more. Which would mean, no flying for Chhaya. So I flew out of Los Angeles instead. It was actually better choice since MY ticket from Los Angeles to Anchorage was over $400 cheaper than flying from Vegas to Anchorage. And the rental car I got was affordable too. Yeah, flying with your dog is a complete nightmare and an expensive one too. Thank goodness I make money and can afford unexpected expenses like these.
Here is my baby in Los Angeles.
I was even more stressed out leaving her at the cargo location there. It was very busy and super loud. Some shady looking dude kept on staring at Chhaya and telling me he liked the way she looked. I gave him the evil eye that basically said, "mind your own business and don't look at my baby". After dropping Chhaya off I had to find the rental car location, drop the car off and get myself to the airport. There was some major construction going on at LAX that day so everything was just more complicated. Then the guy working at cargo that had dealt with Chhya's paperwork could not find her health certificate when I had already given it to him and he made a copy of it, so he called me and told me to come back while I was already in traffic, then called me back and said he located the paperwork. Yeah......you can just imagine. I was SO happy and relieved when I picked up Chhaya in Anchorage and I'm sure she felt the same way.
So since these new regulations and fees took place, an increased amount of people have been getting fake companion animal/emotional support animal certificates for their dogs. Stating (even if completely made up) that their dog is flying with them, next to them because they have a condition of some sort that means they need a companion animal. It can be PTSD, stress, you name it. The dog flies FOR FREE. Did I think about getting a fake certificate for Chhaya? Yes. I mean, why the hell should I shell out $750 for my dog to fly cargo when she can sit next to me for free? It's actually VERY stressful for both me and Chhaya, so that in itself should be grounds for a condition, I am stressed out and need my dog, she gives me EMOTIONAL SUPPORT! I personally know a girl that went and saw a therapist a number of times and faked being "sick" just so she could have her dog with her on the plane and not have to pay for her dog to fly. It worked, her dog now flies for free as a companion animal.
No questions asked. I guess you need to see a therapist or something like that to get some kind of a paperwork that verifies that you have issues. I have never been to a therapist or a psychologist or whatever terms you use for professional people that help you with your mental issues, so I wouldn't even know what to say. I thought about it but decided against it. I also worried if there would be enough room for Chhaya curled up by my legs. That whole affair seemed rather complicated. But all kinds of people are getting these certificates just so they can fly their dog for free and I DON'T BLAME THEM! Flying with Chhaya is something that I rather not do again.
The baby is home and enjoying life.
One more thing while I'm writing about my latest flying experience. Check out my free snacks - Starbucks coffee that tasted really bad and a Delta cookie, I love these cookies. It's very trendy for girls to put up pics on their blog or Instagram of first class flights or private jets and all the luxuries that come with it, often funded by a wealthy man that will demand or definitely want something in return for buying you that experience. I can happily say that I pay my own way with my own money, not owing anybody anything. Independence is priceless! I would not want to fly first class anyways, I'm too frugal for that and would much rather save the money and spend it on something else. I think upgrades on flights are a huge waste of money. If I can have a window seat so I can sleep and not be surrounded by screaming infants and fussy toddlers and munch on a crispy Delta cookie I'm happy.
I'd rather munch on a Delta cookie than having to have sex with some dude I don't even like in exchange for a first class flight. BARF! Independence is the ultimate trendy - I decided.