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Seeking Hints on Travel from California to France with Small Service Dog

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  • Seeking Hints on Travel from California to France with Small Service Dog

    My wife and I are making our first international trip with our (her) service dog. He is a small (6 pound) chihuahua mix. Very good traveler. Very calm. So far we have made several domestic long haul trips (CA to FL, SC, NC, etc) and have encountered several delays and all has gone well. Our dog will be in the cabin and we have done quite a bit of research on Airlines and also in the requirements for entering France. We expect to make several international trips since our work lives are requiring us both to spend considerable time n Europe (especially France) so we will need to become good at this.

    All that said we are still a bit nervous about this first international trip. I am hoping that those of you with experience in this regard can give us some good tips. Specific areas of concern i would love guidance on include...

    1. The 11 hour in-air flight time is a lot longer than we have experienced. Our dog has a very patient bladder and so forth but what do you do in case of emergency? How do you prep to try to avoid any accidents? And since i assume no matter how well this goes he will need to go upon arrival whats the quickest route to a place for him to do his business in CDG international?

    2. What is the debarkation experience like when you get to France? Moving through customers, etc? Are there any hidden gotchas?

    3. Any airlines that, no matter what they say, you would absolutely stay away from or any that have been over-and-above in providing good support for people with pets? Have you flown in different classes (Econ, Premium, Bus, First) and any recommendation on classes on different airlines (i saw that Air France recently eliminated being able to fly Bus/first with a pet). I would not say that 'money is no object' but if flying business class made life a lot easier on our dog and ourselves we would consider it.

    4. Any special recommendations on preparing to fly back out of France? Anything that makes it easier to get through the check-in process and keep our little guy comfortable before leaving? In the US we have usually checked-in, then taken him outside for one last walk before going through security...there also seem to be more and more US airports with Dog facilities inside past security. Any tips for CDG?

    Any and all feedback across these topics (or other things you think we should really consider while we get ready to go) would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance!

  • #2
    Re: Seeking Hints on Travel from California to France with Small Service Dog

    Adam_Diane - you should carry pet pads with you and one should be slightly "marked." We are not aware of any pet relief areas at CDG, but the customs clearance process should be smooth with the proper documentation ( Air France was just given good marks by a consumer agency, but we would mention that your flight should be non-stop with Air France because they will make you recheck your pup on each leg of the itenerary causing you to enter the layover country. Most airlines will not allow pets in business class as the seats recline differently than economy class. If you plan to travel to and from the EU frequently or you will be spending more than 4 months in the EU, you should consider getting your Chi an EU Pet Passport from an EU veterinarian. If you travel from the US, you don't need a USDA-endorsed health certificate if your pet has an EU Pet Passport. Safe travels!