All animals, no matter what size, must travel in a leak proof, International Air Transport Association specification carrier.
International Air Transport Association specification carriers allows the animal to stand, lie down and turn around unhindered. All requisite entry documentation should be affixed to the carrier, and it is advised that you maintain extra copies of all of your paperwork and carry it on your flight with you.
Be prepared, airport security agents will most likely request to look at your pet (outside of its carrier) and search its container and bedding for any breach of security. Sedating your pet is not advised, as this can stop them from being able to regulate their body temperature. No food should be put in their cages, only a water container which the airline will check prior to departure and at any transit point.
It is also best to use a VetBed type of lining for the carrier or an absorbable type of lining – crumpled up newspaper with a towel on top may be sufficient for the carrier. You should familiarise your animal with the carrier before it travels so they associate it with a positive and comforting experience.
Certain airlines allow small dogs and cats in the aircraft cabin, but most airlines transport them as special cargo or checked baggage in a temperature-controlled and ventilated hold. Contact your airline prior to your departure to confirm that they will accept your pet and inquire how soon before the flight you will have to check in.
Pets become stressed in bustling airports, so keep any waiting to a minimum. If your pet is allowed in the cabin, check in as late as possible. If it is going in the hold, check in early so that it can go to the baggage area and be put somewhere quiet to relax. To prepare your pet, the USDA recommends that your pet be offered food and water four hours before you check in. It’s advisable to take your dog for a walk before leaving for the airport and again before check in. Visit the IATA website for information on international pet travel.
On arrival in Cayman, you will need to go to the ‘Goods to Declare’ counter and submit your paperwork for the animal. They will ask you to take the animal out of its carrier to inspect and check its microchip. All dogs staying in the Cayman Islands for longer than 30 days must be licensed with the DOA.
Animals on Airlines
Some airlines do not allow in the passenger cabin and over the summer months, many airlines will not take pets due to the high heat in the hold.
You are required to take the most direct route possible and preferably an evening or morning flight. You should avoid countries that are not deemed rabies free to help make the whole process easier.
Cayman Airways accepts domestic dogs, cats and birds. Maximum weight allowed including the container is 99lbs. They charge US$100 each way to all international destinations for a small pet travelling in the cabin, US$125 international and US$50 domestic, each way for larger pets travelling as checked baggage.
British Airways has a special hold for pets and the cost varies depending on the size of the animal. They no longer take pet bookings directly from the public and insist all bookings are made by specialist pet relocation agents. They recommend IAG World Cargo, who has decades of experience. Visit the travel assistance page on the British Airways website for more information.