Traveling from Alaska to Lower 48

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AlaskaPeegs

Post   » Thu May 09, 2019 4:50 am


Hi all. I am looking for advice for traveling with my 2 guinea pigs from Fairbanks, Alaska to the Lower 48. I am applying for jobs so I'm not sure exactly where we will be traveling to, but probably Seattle or the Midwest. My piggies are 2 girls, both are 4 years old, and have had no health issues. I am in the process of acquiring a prescription letter for them to be my emotional support animals (I suffer with mental health issues stemming from cancer diagnoses). I have looked into several options for traveling:

1) Flying. Unfortunately no airline that travels out of Alaska allows guinea pigs in the cabin, which would be the ideal way for me to travel with them. We have Delta, Alaska and United. I can only have one emotional support animal in the cabin, and the airlines can also refuse to accept "exotic" animals. (I will need to call them to double check I can't have 2 guinea pigs in one carrier, but it seems like the answer will be no.) Delta and Alaska will fly them in temperature controlled cargo. Has anyone done this before? I am really resistant to doing this, but the flight to Seattle would be ~4 hours, and once I get to Seattle I can pick them up and then take Frontier airlines to the final destination which would allow them both to be in the cabin with me. And if Seattle is the final destination--which it might be--then it would just be the 4 hour flight.

2) Driving. I have looked into several options for driving, including the drive from Fairbanks to Seattle and the drive from Fairbanks to the Midwest (Kentucky or Michigan). The drive from Fairbanks to Seattle would be about 5 days with 8 hours of driving daily, however there are few hotels in the first leg of the trip so it might be more driving per day at first. I'm nervous about driving because neither me or my boyfriend are very well versed in car maintenance should something go wrong, and the Alaska Highway can be rough and remote. Does anyone have any experience with such a long road trip with piggies? I'm guessing no one has probably driven the AlCan!! The drive to the Midwest would be closer to 10 days, but I could also ship my car from Seattle and then fly Frontier to final destination.

3) Drive to Anchorage, then take Alaska Ferry from Anchorage to Bellingham, WA. Not a good option because pets are required to be kept in the car on the car deck (even if they are emotional support animals). The ferry ride is also 5 days long.

So I guess my question is would it be more stressful for them to travel 4 hours in controlled climate cargo on an airplane, or 5 days in a car? (Keeping in mind that there may be additional travel, but via Frontier.) We are looking to make the trip in the next month, and feeling very under prepared. The plan was to drive, but the more research I have done the less confident I feel.

If anyone has any advice on carriers and kennels for this sort of travel, please let me know.

I apologize for how long this post is!

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Thu May 09, 2019 1:25 pm


I don't have any advice for you but until others chime in, you may find something useful here:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=28820

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Thu May 09, 2019 1:48 pm


I think I'd vote for the Alaska ferry. I've done a ferry trip with an animal in a car, and it went pretty well. I'd make sure I'd have access to the car when I wanted it, though.

You can leave the windows cracked for air, put a pretty sizeable C&C cage in the back seat, and check on them frequently. The kitchen staff on the ferry would probably either supply you with veggies or let you put some in their refrigerator.

You might also apply for an exemption to the "pets only on the car deck" since they'll be caged and not running loose in the room. However, ferry rooms can be REALLY small, so you'd need to make sure they'd fit. Actually, come to think of it, that would be my first step -- seeing if I could get permission to keep them caged in my room.

AlaskaPeegs

Post   » Thu May 09, 2019 2:34 pm


Thank you for the info! I will read through this other thread.

As for the ferry, I called them this morning and they do not make exceptions for small mammals or for emotional support animals. They would need to remain in the car in the car deck. The access times are limited while between ports, 15 minutes at a time and some times we would have to wait 8 hours. :( When at port, we would be able to access them. I don't know how much temperature fluctuation there would be, but I imagine it could get cold at night.

Has anyone flown their piggies in controlled climate, pressurized cargo? They would be on the same flight as us not on a cargo plane.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Thu May 09, 2019 10:40 pm


My dad was in the Air Force and we got relocated from New Jersey to Germany. We brought our Peruvian guinea pig who was almost 5 and our dog, a 12 year old Labrador Retriever with us and they both flew in the pressurized cargo area just fine. That was a 20 hour flight in 1984. The airlines fly live animals pretty regularly and they usually take good care of them. They should be fine for a 4 hour flight. If you saw how they transport these poor little piggies to the pet store, you'd be shocked. They come in little cubicles that are barely big enough for them to move in, stacked up on a pallet. It's no wonder most of them run and hide when you approach them when they're at the store.

AlaskaPeegs

Post   » Fri May 10, 2019 1:56 pm


Thank you, Renonvsparky. I definitely am reading up on a variety of threads online that say similar things, usually relating to international travel with piggies. We wouldn't have a layover, so it would really be 1 hour pre-flight, loading, the 4 hour (usually closer to 3.5 hour) flight, unloading, and Alaska airlines says they have them ready for pick up in bag claim 30 minutes after landing. They also let the owners know that their pet is on the flight prior to take off which helps relieve some of the anxiety. At this point, we are really leaning toward this but I wish there were better options for us. :(

I have seen the pallets with the little containers stacked up in the pet shop, and it broke my heart. Here in Alaska, they ship them in from California via Alaska Airlines.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Fri May 10, 2019 6:37 pm


I talked with the associate at Petco and she said that they go out of their way to get the small animals out of the transport carriers as fast as possible (guinea pigs aren't the only small animals transported in that manner). They get trucked in and it's a very bumpy ride. They are pretty rattled by the time they arrive. Transportation is not a very pleasant ordeal for these little ones, so the shorter the ride, the better. When we arrived in Germany with Chico, we took her out of the carrier right away and gave her some reassurance that everything was ok while we waited for ground transportation to our temporary lodging. It helps them (and you).

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri May 10, 2019 7:47 pm


Not only is it a bumpy ride, but a lot of them are dead at the bottom of those containers when they arrive. It's an inhumane system that ought to be outlawed.

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Renonvsparky

Post   » Fri May 10, 2019 11:48 pm


Well I could have gone the rest of my life without knowing that. It should be outlawed. There needs to be regulations on breeding and selling small animals.

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