An Alien in America

An alien's perspective on life and everything else

The flight across

Posted by nickxyz on February 2, 2008

In order for our two girls (2 dogs) to not be quite as stressed as a transantlantic flight might cause them to be, we decided to leave the country via a direct flight. Booking a one way ticket from the US to Germany for that very purpose turned out to be not as easy or as inexpensive as we thought. A one way ticket during our timeframe would have amounted to somewhere in the neighborhood of $2k (through various web sites). Thinking outside of the box, we tried a regular round trip ticket during the exact same timeframe and were quite surprised. A regular round trip ticket only ran about $400 for the exact same route out. Not quite sure why that would be the case, but the round trip ticket quite obviously was a LOT less expensive. So, we booked the RT trip.

Outbound was to leave at 10.30 pm at night, getting into Germany the following afternoon. I had booked that flight previously for a family trip and it was almost empty. Who else would book a red eye flight?? After our girls had successfully made the trip to the airport, I wanted to check them in as early as possible. The ticket counter personnell was quite helpful, but for some reason decided to quote me a completely different price than the phone reservation agent had about 2 weeks prior ($100 / dog). And what a difference it was. Each of the girls was quoted a price of almost $250. To boot, it appeared that only one dog had been referenced in my booking, and for the fact that it had to be reserved and planned for by the airline in terms of space and availability, the agent at the counter also indicated a slight risk that the second dog might not be allowed on board. Nice!

After expending some of my award winning charm and negotiation skills, I was able to book both girls, but had to bite the bullet on the price. Well, so be it. At least the airline has the best reputation for dog / animal safety and also maintains a dedicated veterinary station at our German destination.

Going on board, I had to mention to the main steward that I was traveling with two dogs and whether there was any way he could double check that they had been loaded properly, the AC and pressure adjustments had been turned on. They actually did that and reported back shortly before take off that my two girls were fine and ready to go. After almost 9 hours, of which I slept about 7, we arrived in Germany on a foggy afternoon. The steward again called down to the cargo hold and reported back to me even before de-boarding that my girls had made the trip safely and would most likely already be waiting in the baggage are by the time I made it down there.

And indeed, they slid down the belt at about the same time I got there. The horse was doing just fine and didn’t appear to have had any issues during the flight at all. The fat one, always the more sensitive one, was visibly shaken. She didn’t care for the ride down the conveyor belt at all. After having moved the two kennels onto those standard airport luggage carts (one for each kennel), both girls sat kinda tilted in a corner. Walking up to Customs, the two bright representatives had seen us coming down the hallway for at least 100 m, yet as we approached the pass through, I might as well could have kept going right on through. If I had not opened my mouth and asked them if they wanted to see papers for the girls. At that point, some lightbulb must have turned on and one of them finally piped up and yes, I needed to be seen by the local vet……

The vet was called and came by fairly quickly, took a look at the papers and the girls. Asked me to bring out the first one to check the microchip. She pulls out this scanning device and begins to tell me that this one is a cheap replacement because the primary scanner was broken, and most likely this replacement would not read the microchip after all anyway. Well, and it didn’t. What a waste… But, not to complain, the two girls got through Customs without another glitch and out we were in Germany!

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2 Responses to “The flight across”

  1. Megan said

    Congratulations on the big move and successful delivery of the “kids”. I’m sure this is going to be quite an adventure for all of you.

  2. nickxyz said

    Thank you. I was a great relief once we had finally arrived

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