Many of you know I am relocating to the United Kingdom so I can do the work of historian-researcher better and offer you the best information possible in the Legendary Women of World History and Legendary Women of World History Dramas. This means flying international with my two precious cockatiels whom I absolutely ADORE.
But getting a bird from the USA to UK is an annoying challenge — and it has nothing to do with UK immigration law nor with the USDA’s rules for taking a bird out of the USA. Rather, the annoyance of this process comes from the circular information you receive when trying to answer that straight forward question: what kind of cargo crate do I need and how do I get one that will be accepted at both JFK (the main airport birds fly to Europe from) and LHR?
The last several months I’ve been driven crazy in circles. I consult one website which directs me to another page and another and another and not ONE BIT is about flying WITH BIRDS. Even the pages that say they are giving you information about flying with birds inevitably re-direct you back to something that only applies to cats and dogs. (Example pg 1 to pg 2. Note how general this gets (at best) for animals other than dogs/cats). Messaging on social media doesn’t help either, nor does email or even phone calls. No one seems to know anything and what they do know is to refer you back to the same pages you’ve read several times before that only talk about cats and dogs. It’s the customer service runaround that drives everyone crazy when planning a big trip.
Finally today I heard from IAG Cargo which handles air cargo for British Airways and is ultimately the company that off-loads animals from BA planes and brings them to Heathrow’s animal terminal for customs clearances. What they gave me was a pdf of the following three pages from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which sets all the standards for all crates for all animals traveling internationally.
Does that look overwhelmingly complicate to you? It sure does to me. Which brings us to what it all really means:
When travelling with birds a custom crate needs to be made that meets IATA rules for your bird species. While you can do this yourself, the best way to make sure the crate conforms to that maze of rules is to buy one from a professional.
The first company I priced was Pet Relocation, a big company based in Austin, Texas. However a better deal is to be had by shopping around. West coast based O’Brien Animal Transportation Services offers custom crates for birds and help with pet moves (avian, canine, feline) with personalized and personable customer service that far surpasses what I’ve experienced with Pet Relocation. A sweet lady at O’Brien referred me to Sally at Newark/New York City based Airborne Animals which offers exceptional customer service for pet moves beginning on the East Coast. What I love about Airborne Animals: they are very upfront about what goes into moving costs actually TELLING YOU what the average fees are for each part of their service. That’s something the competition DOESN’T do and why I’ll be flying with Airborne Animals’ help.