GENERAL REMARKS FOR PLANE TRANSPORTATION
Airlines companies have changed a lot of rules these past 5 years. It used to cost barely 50$ to take a cat on a plane but now prices have climbed as airlines companies try to get more money from every side possible. In some cases, it cost more to send a cat than the cat itself! This is ridiculous and another important contemporary abuse.
If you travel with your cat in the same plane, and if the animal is small enough and the travel do not exceed 10 hours, you can try to see if you can take your cat with you as a cabin baggage under the seat. It is usually the cheapest way to do it. However, if it is a long trip, I do not advise to do it and many airlines will not authorize you to do so. Why? The room under a seat is very limited and this forces you to take a small transport cage where the cat can barely move. Regulations says that a cat needs to be able to stand and turn around in the cage. But if you put the cat in cargo as a checked baggage, you can have a bigger cage and the cat has more room to move around and is in fact, less stressed and disturbed/distracted. It sleeps most of the time. Also, being under a seat can be stressful for the cat because of all the noise made by humans and its desire to get out if it sees you (and to cry). You are also running the risk of the cat peeing/pooping and the smell will disturb your neighbors. The general price for a cat in cabin runs around 200 euros/dollars these days (with Air France).
If you travel internationally, check the airlines rules. Some do not accept animals in cargo if it is an oversea trip.
Air France has one of the cheapest price from Paris to Los Angeles. It will cost you 200$ to Paris or 200 euros to Los Angeles if you are in the same plane.
Australia and New Zeeland are probalby the most expensive place to import cats from now. Middle transport pet cies are asking prices close to the 2,000$, just for the transportation! Airlines have taking full advantage of cargo (you have no choice than to send your cats cargo now) with ridiculous high prices.
SENDING A CAT CARGO
If you are not in the same flight than the cat, you can request the cat to be send cargo. This is more expensive and it depends of the airlines. Continental has a special program for animals where they are well taking care of. Inside the United States it cost around $300-400.
Where it becomes very expensive is if you take a private airlines transport animal company or if you need to go international.
Here are the (unfortunate) new rules
1. The majority of today International Airlines do not accept anymore personnal reservations in cargo service.
2. You need to use a third party and their service to book the reservation and you will have to pay them an extra fee that can sometimes be horrendous!
3. Do some research before you choose one. I have spent hours checking these and it goes from 500$ to 3,000$.
THE WORST TRANSPORT ANIMAL COMPANIES (in regard to prices)
Unless money is not an issue for you (lucky you), here are the most expensive companies that you will find (and they are the first to pop on the internet as they advertise a lot)
- Pacific Pet Transport asked me $1,668 in 2011 to flight a kitten from London to Los Angeles.
- Pet Movers asked me $2,295 to flight a kitten from London to Los Angeles in 2011.
- Pet Air UK asked me Silver £695.43 and Gold £1065.43 (in sterling pounds) for the same flight.
THE BEST EUROPEAN TRANSPORT COMPANIES
I found that KLM has the best prices for this, but you need to use the right third part cie.
The best I found is based in Amsterdam beside Schiphol international airport. KLM has an animal hostel inside the airport that is free if you are using their flight and need the animal to spend the night there before a morning flight. If you can get a direct flight to your destination it will cost you less than if the cat needs to stop and be transfer or worse, spend the night in another US airport (you will have extra night costs).
The third part company based in Amsterdam is called VCK Logistics Airfreight and is represented by Miss Monique Schellinger. (+31 (0)20 6549131 )
To send Wilson from Amsterdam to Los Angeles, it cost me 380 euros (which was twice cheaper than anything else I had found) with them (2013).
It cost me 480 euros to send Java from Amsterdam to Los Angeles in 2014.
It cost me $560 to send Valinka from Prague-Amsterdam to Los Angeles (2013).
Now you will also have to pay a fee at the arrival in the USA and go to the US custom (but it is free). The fee varies from 60-100$.
Lufthanza has a nice service but is twice more expensive and you often need to leave the cat at the Frankfurt hotel which is extra costs. It would have cost me 770 euros (from Brussels-Frankfurt-Los Angeles) to send Wilson from Frankfurt (twice more than from Amsterdam).
Example of non direct flight: Air France from Paris to San Diego via a private cie asked me 911 euros + transport cage 64.80 euros (that is close to 1450$). You cannot make a direct reservation with them anymore if you are not in the plane. Another Airfreight asked me 621 euros to LA.
Five years ago I had been able to use Continental direct to San Diego and it had cost me 500$ (twice less) but you cannot do it anymore.
To flight a cat from London can also be quite expensive.
The problem with exporting from England is their very strict laws in regard to animal. You need to pay a special vet for health papers and it is costly. There are no more quarantine in England but it is still a pain.
Some airfreight cies include all paperwork at the arrival in the price and go to custom for you too but it adds often another extra very expensive cost!
From London, Virgin Atlantic was the cheapest in 2011 to send Cookie = 475 euros.
1. Do not feed the cat 5 hours before the flight or you wil have pee/poop issues.
2. You are forbidden to give any sedative to a cat for transportation
3. Put a piece of your own unwashed clothes in the cage. Your odor will tranquilize the cat as it smells you.