can you fly with a pet bird

Nothing beats airline travel for its speed and convenience. So it’s not surprising that many pet parents are choosing to bring their birds along with them. The good news is that it’s absolutely safe to fly with your pet, says Dr. Katherine Quesenberry, head of avian and exotic pets at New York City’s Animal Medical Center.

If you’re flying with your pet bird, however, you need to prepare. Not every airline allows parrots to come onboard with their parents. And even when you can carry on your bird, all airlines have restrictions on when and where you can travel. Plus you’ll have to pay—many airlines charge extra fees that can set you back on average $100 per flight per pet.

Here is everything you need to know about flying with your pet bird so both of you can have a safe and happy trip.

Flying With Your Pet Bird Prep

If you want your feathered companion to be comfortable, pick a travel cage made especially for birds and make sure it has a perch. Your bird will be more comfortable as a result of having something to sit on, according to Quesenberry. You’ll need a soft-sided carrier that can fit under the seat during takeoff and landing if you plan to bring your bird into the cabin.

Quesenberry advises that, regardless of the kind of carrier you choose, your bird should become acclimated to it several weeks prior to your trip. Give your pet lots of praise and treats for entering their new cage while they explore it. To further pique their interest, it is beneficial to include a favorite food or toy.

If your bird is anxious when traveling in its carrier, covering one with a clear side might help her relax when you’re in the air. While sedatives are generally discouraged, discuss them with your veterinarian, particularly if you have a cockatoo or other loud-screaming bird.

2. Go to the vet.

Making sure your bird is prepared for travel is an additional reason to bring it in for a checkup. Even on domestic flights, many airlines demand current health certificates from passengers traveling with pet birds.

How To Prepare for a Flight With Your Bird

Make sure you’ve done the following before boarding your flight to ensure your bird has a pleasant flight:

  • Get a travel cage for your bird. Their usual cage is likely to be too bulky. The airline will require that your bird’s carrier fits under the seat in front of you if you intend to bring your bird in the cabin with you.
  • Label the carrier of your bird if it must fly in the cargo area in case you become separated. You want to know how to get in touch with the airline so they can let you know where your bird is.
  • It will be challenging to get your bird to drink water, so make sure they have foods in their carrier, such as fruits, that will help them stay hydrated. Spritz those with water if needed to provide more hydration.
  • To make your bird more comfortable, have them practice spending time in their carrier before your flight.
  • Recognize that for the duration of their flight, you will not be permitted to remove your bird from its carrier.

can you fly with a pet bird