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!
- And got the T-shirt
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.
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.
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.