Flying your beloved pet by commercial airliner can be a risky and stressful proposition for you and your pet, meaning that flying your pet by private jet, with or without you, means a happier, healthier and much more appreciative friend. Still, there are some things to think about.
Make sure your pet has proper vaccinations and customs documentation relevant to your destination. Hawaii has strict quarantine restrictions.
Also, remember you are flying, not in a park or the woods. The main (rule) is that they are on a leash at all times to and from the aircraft, on the ground and during the flight.
Rules for carrying pets vary by operator, and in some cases there are fees. Large pets may be required to occupy a seat. The safest way for a dog to fly is with a body harness, not a neck collar. Small dogs and cats should be in a carrier that is also affixed to a seat during takeoff and landing and does not block the aisle. Large pets need to be counted as passengers due to their weight, so make sure to tell your private jet company that your are traveling with a pet. Don’t just show up with your pet!
Carol Martin, founder of Sit ’n Stay Global, a company of flight attendants specializing in flying pets privately, recommends pet owners purchase top-of-the-line harnesses for their animal.
If the pet is going to fly unaccompanied Martin says getting the pet acclimated to its crate in the weeks leading up to the trip is a smart move. Place the crate at home in a location the pet normally hangs out, putting in favorite blankets and toys. Martin also advises not to worry about your pet drinking or eating on the plane, as pets can fly domestic-length flights without fear of dehydration. She does recommend a light meal and normal walking routine prior to the trip. As pets get excited by flying, she shares a tip to keep them calm: Provide the crew favorite music to pipe in the cabin, or send along an iPod with speakers that can be set up near your pet.
Internationally, travel is more complicated from a documentation perspective. Martin uses the Pet Passports section of PetTravelStore.com as a resource, and notes that for some countries, it can take up to six months to get paperwork in order.