Everything you need to know about moving your dogs to Germany - PART 2 Preparing for the Flight

I hope 'Moving your dogs to Germany - Part 1' was useful! Part 2 will review everything you need to take care of, flight related, for your dogs. You'll probably be planning your flights before you have to do the paperwork in Part 1, but when we moved, we expected the flight costs, not the vet costs. So I wrote about the vet requirements first in hopes to prepare you to save up some extra money (set us back more than $500 just to get all of the paperwork handled - read Part 1 if you haven't already).

Booking a flight for your dogs

When you first start searching for a flight, you can do so the way you usually do (hopefully you know to search in incognito mode). We personally chose to book a direct flight because we had heard too many horror stories about connecting flights with lost dogs and also because some of the cheaper flights were connecting in countries with quarantine laws. Thus, the direct flight seemed both easier & safer.

TIP: it was cheaper for us to book a roundtrip flight vs a one way flight so look at the prices for both. Doesn't make sense right? But we had confirmed with our airline that there wasn't an issue with us booking the roundtrip and not taking the flight back.

When you find the flight you would like to purchase, you should call that airline before booking. Let them know that you are looking to book for (flight #) and checking to see if there is room for (# of) dog(s), with kennel (sizes). If they say yes, great! They'll probably then ask you if you've already booked the flight. You'll say no and then let them know you'll call back after booking the flights online (you should do this right after the call as there is very limited space for dogs on flights). Oh, and don't book the flight on the phone, it's pricier.

Once you book the flight online, call the airline back and let them know you want to reserve spaces for (# of) dog(s), with kennel (sizes) for (reservation/flight #). They'll confirm that they have reserved spaces for your dogs for your flight reservation. You won't pay for your dogs yet. You'll pay for them when you get to the airport and check in. Once they inspect you have all of the proper paperwork and kennels, then can you pay for them at the counter (more about the airport process in Part 3-Our personal experience getting the dogs on/off the flight and through customs).

Buying the proper kennels/crate for the flight

Next step is finding the proper kennel/crate for your dog(s). You should check your airline's website and IATA (International Air Transport Association) regulations for what type of kennels you can have. There are a couple of important things such as requiring a kennel with ventilation on at least 3 sides, etc so even if you currently have a kennel, it may not meet current IATA regulations. We had to buy new kennels as that was the case with us. You can easily find one on Amazon, which we did (we bought the 'Sky Kennel'). The price will depend on what size you need, and you may need to buy separate metal bolts/nuts as that kennel came with plastic ones (IATA regulation), but that's a minor problem. Otherwise, our kennel came with absorbent paper, hanging water/food bowl, and some labels so check for those when shopping. *Oh also, if your pup gets cold easily, buy them a little sweater to wear. I hear it can get cold in the cargo. Both of our pups like the cold so we let them be.

Read Part 3 for airport preparing and how our actual experience went with our flight/customs

*This is simply what I learned from my personal experiences/research. Please always make sure to consult with the proper authorities such as your Airline, TSA, IATA.