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Flying with a pet to the UK

Avoiding another piece of legislation

The UK, Many great attributes, but also a land of bureaucracy and hypocrisy. Nowhere more so than when trying to take your trusty cat or dog into the UK.

Most airlines in the world allow you to take little pets up to 5 or 8 kg onto the plane as your hand luggage. Of course they charge gratefully for this, normally along the lines of 50 euros each way for a short flight. Of course they require paperwork for this which they never look at, like a certificate from a vet to say the little one is good to travel. But if you want to take your pet with you it is still a lot less than sending it cargo, where you may never see it again, or find it has lost a leg on the luggage carousel...

But the UK. Believing that mainland Europe is still full of killer cats and dogs frothing at the mouth with some incurable hybrid of rabies, pets are siphoned into the UK by limited customs buildings at major airports. No travelling in the cabin to the UK, just cargo, followed by picking it up at some off airport office after its paperwork has been carefully studied. Hours of joy and added expense. I guess it gets you used to London :)

Alternatives ? Only to drive the pet in from France. Of course, there is the Eurostar from Paris and Brussels straight to London, but alas, no pets allowed. Foot passenger on the ferry or on a bus ? No way. Only in a private vehicle. Which means flying to a nearby airport, Brussels or Paris most likely, followed by a train trip to Calais and then finding a car. Taxi firms have stepped into the hole to help, travelling by the pet friendly Eurotunnel. You can try your luck with a French taxi to take you or you can book a car from Folkestone which will come through the tunnel, pick you and the pet up, and drive you back through the tunnel to the UK for a small fee, well about 250 euros or so including the tunnel ticket. Is this worth it for your pet? If it saves you paying cargo from the US to the UK probably yes, plus the pet has much less stress. And there is no immigration queue at the entry by tunnel. And they have a Starbucks whilst you wait for your train ! The pet stays in the car with you on the crossing for about half an hour. See the picture of a happy wife and cat sitting on the train.

Tags : pets

Written : 2014-10-27

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