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hawker
Topic Author
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2004 12:18 pm

Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 7:18 am

I remember the Airport (Heathrow) show a while back, which paid a lot of attention to the veterinary unit which supervised the condition of animals on long distance flights.

However in terms of the way animals are loaded in baggage holds. I wonder if any baggage handlers out there can respond to a few questions.

Are cages wedged upright so food and water containers can't spill?

Are animals last on first off, or can they be buried under a pile of suitcases?

Any maybe a silly question, but I assume the holds are dark and noisy. When animals such as dogs and cats are taken off, do they seem agitated or relaxed?

Sorry if this is off the normal airliner related posts.
 
flypdx
Posts: 603
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2005 3:19 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 7:27 am

A lot of people give their pets sedatives to keep their pets calm for flights.
 
Leezyjet
Posts: 3544
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2001 7:26 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 7:42 am

I'm not a baggage handler, but I do supervise the loading/unloading of aircraft.

Quoting Hawker (Thread starter):
Are cages wedged upright so food and water containers can't spill?

Not wedged, but placed on wooden crates or spreader boards so they are not on the cold floor, and lashed down with proper cargo restraints. And will be kept as level as possible. Usually no food is put in the cage, only water.

Quoting Hawker (Thread starter):
Are animals last on first off, or can they be buried under a pile of suitcases?

Usually first on, first off although not always. It takes a while for them to be strapped down so they get them in the hold as soon as possible. They will usually be offloaded as soon as the animal people arrive to collect the animal - so not always right away. They absolutely cannot be buried under the cases (although it does happen from time to time). There must be sufficient room for air to circulate around the cage.

Quoting Hawker (Thread starter):
Any maybe a silly question, but I assume the holds are dark and noisy. When animals such as dogs and cats are taken off, do they seem agitated or relaxed?

Depends if the lights are left on or not. Some airlines leave them on, some turn them off. Hold shouldn't be any more noisy than the cabin, but I haven't ever travelled in one so I cannot confirm that !!!. The animals are usually more agitated by being trapped in the cage and being moved around than being in the hold.

Hope that helps.

 Smile
 
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mariner
Posts: 19473
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2001 7:29 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 7:42 am

Quoting Flypdx (Reply 1):
A lot of people give their pets sedatives to keep their pets calm for flights.

A lot of vets strongly disapprove of sedating dogs for flights.

http://www.morganthedog.com/dogs/airplane.html

The theory is that a dog has a natural ability to control it's own body temperature. Sedatives interfere with that ability, and can cause the dog distress, even in a sedated state.

Many vets believe that if the stress level gets too high, the dog will simply "close down", put itself in a catatonic state, until the flight is over.

My two dogs, both male, Harry is three years old and Pluto is two years old, flew from Los Angeles to Auckland.

I did not sedate them, and they bounded off the plane without a worry in the world.

Neither dog had soiled their crate, although Pluto may have done one small pee.

cheers

mariner
 
skywatch
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RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:09 am

I know that at least the MD-11 has a specific hold for pets. The temperature and pressure are carefully monitored, to make their flight less frightening.

---Skywatch
 
legendDC9
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 9:24 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:25 am

This is such a sore subject. I have personaly seen pets arrive DOA due to various reasons. Mariner is right, sedatives to interfere with the dogs ability to control his/her own body temp. However, I have also seen a dog that died from blood loss when he cut his face open trying to nervously chew out of a kennel. I saw a dog that killed a cat in the kennel next to him. He somehow got out of his kennel in broke open the cat's kennel. Unless used to it from very early on, pets don't know what's going on with them. The ramp is very loud and very hazerdous. It can be extremely hot or cold depending on location and the pets have no way to protect themselves from the tempratures or the noise. Add to that the unfortunate cases of kennels opening up and pets running away or worst, falling of a baggage cart in their kennel. ( I saw a show-dog that chipped his front teeth when his kennel fell from a cart that was making a sharp turn). Plus, just the number of misconx when pets do not arrive at their final destination at all, just like lost luggage. Overall, I would never put my dog in the airplane's cargo hold. It is like playing russian roulette with your pet.
 
airtran737
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RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:25 am

I have loaded many dogs, cats and other animals onto flights. We always put them on last so that they will be first off. We put them upright, and would a lot of times try to talk to them and comfort them. The cargo bin is a scary place for an animal, especially on the CRJ where the APU is screaming right next to them. In my opinion, animals get treated better than people do when they fly.
 
legendDC9
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 9:24 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 8:55 am

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 6):
The cargo bin is a scary place for an animal, especially on the CRJ where the APU is screaming right next to them

Don't forget the MD80, DC9 family that the bins are not tall enough to fit the 500 series kennels. For those you have to take the dog out, put the kennel in sideways and put the dog back in. I feel so sorry for any animal that is forced to travel that way. Yes, most everyone handles them as if they were their own pets, but the pets are so helpless, that it's the things you can't control, like noise, fumes, heat or cold that really impact them the most.
 
jetdeltamsy
Posts: 2688
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 11:51 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:26 pm

Quoting Hawker (Thread starter):
Are animals last on first off,

Most carriers tout their ability to transport animals in the hold in a humane manner.

The fact is, however, that critters in the hold die in vast numbers. Sometimes they freeze to death. Sometimes they die from panic related stress.

Don't ship your pets this way. I can't offer a viable solution, but if you love your pet, don't put it in the belly...ever.
 
airtran737
Posts: 3517
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:47 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:37 pm

It's not that bad in he cargo hold. Hell, YX had a ramper flew from MKE to PHL not to long ago and he was OK. It's heated, and pressurized in there. If you have small enough arms you can even turn the lights back on as you close the door. I think that the most important thing is that the rampers need to have a face to face with the captain and inform him that there are live animals in the cargo bin. When we had animals on EV and OH this was the S.O.P.
 
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mariner
Posts: 19473
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2001 7:29 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 1:43 pm

Quoting Jetdeltamsy (Reply 8):
Don't ship your pets this way. I can't offer a viable solution, but if you love your pet, don't put it in the belly...ever.

I've flown dogs across the Atlantic and across the Pacific and have never had a problem.

I accept that there may be a risk, but the alternative is not to take my dogs, and that is close to being unacceptable.

cheers

mariner
 
kaniksu
Posts: 189
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:54 pm

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 2:22 pm

I've only flown with a pet once and I took my cat on board the aircraft in a special carrier that fit underneath the seat.

I watched the show "airport" as well and remember all of the dead animals.... most of them were small animals bound for sale at pet stores etc but it still made me uncomfortable.

I don't think I would do it unless absolutely necessary. I've definitely heard never to sedate your pets before a flight, it can be even more dangerous for them.
 
hawker
Topic Author
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2004 12:18 pm

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Thu Jul 07, 2005 5:21 pm

Thanks for all the feedback guys really appreciated. The information on sedation was really interesting and obviously most animals are treated with great care. Still obviously risky though.
 
OttoPylit
Posts: 2259
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:58 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Fri Jul 08, 2005 6:54 am

Pets sent as cargo are usually taken good care of. Granted, many animals become very distressed and agitated in a cargo hold, and some are just laid back and chillen. Usually, animals are put in last and taken off first to reduce the stress and time spent. They are to be placed in the pressurized and heated cargo bins. In an aircraft like a 767, they are placed in the bulk bin at the very rear and tied down, away from the ULD's. In something as small as a DC-9, I believe they have to be placed in the forward cargo bin, but I could be wrong. Been many years since I have worked inside a DC-9. But they are not tied down. They are set in last and baggage is not to be stacked near them in case of falling, so tehy can be taken out first at the destination.

Unfortately, the fatality rates of animals as cargo is high, but that is due to sedatives, too much stress on the animal itself, and your typical snafu's. But normally, it is relatively safe.

Heck, if you want to see something on animal cruelty, check out how animals are shipped as mail. For instance, I alway see ducklings or chicks that are shipped via USPS on airlines. You will have 100 chicks literally stuffed together into a dark, cardboard box with holes in it for ventilation. This thing can be so packed that you may see feathers and legs sticking out of holes because it is so packed. That is outright animal cruelty to me, stuff as many in so you don't have to pay for shipping another box. And it can get pretty nasty if one of those boxes break open. I once saw a bin be opened and little chicks running everywhere. We had to delay baggage unloading beause we had a guy in there collecting as many chicks as he could, and then carefully unload the baggage in case any more were hiding somewhere. It was amazing none were crushed by moving baggage. At least when crickets are transported, they are done in a box with a large mesh net on the sides and aren't overstuffed. Frogs and tadpoles are another matter. I was once unloading mail and saw a little envelope fall out of a priority mail bag. The envolope had stamped all over it, "LIVE TADPOLES HANDLE CAREFULLY". Live tadpoles? In this little, dry envelope? Do they hibernate or something?

So fortunately, pets as baggage get treated much better than animal cargo.


Otto
 
N276AASTT
Posts: 592
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2004 6:19 pm

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:12 am

I'm a ramper for AA at DFW and I can say that every effort is made to give the animals as much "comfort" as possible. It's highly stressful being caged in a small enclosure, loud noises, strangers, bumps and jolts. I have opened many a cargo hold and smell "Doo" due to them being in there so long, nervous, etc. Depending on the baggage loads for the flight, the animals are given as much space in the bellies as possible. And it also depends on what type of aircraft it is too. Animals can only fly in certain sections of the aircraft. Usually for the smaller aircraft like F100's, 727's, 737's, and 757's the animals are flown in the forward belly in the F1 cargo section away from any baggage so that if there is any shifting during flight, the kennels are not hit or jumbled. 767's, and 777's animals fly in the rear bulk baggage. Reason being that these sections mentioned have climate controls that the pilots use otherwise if they don't know animals are present, they could freeze. Also, weather plays a role as well in the handling, during some TX summer days, animals are not allowed to travel because of the heat out on the ramp can endanger their health. We usually try to stage an animal out at the gate 30 min to an hour before departure, as those baggage carts offer very little relief to them. I have seen everything from a box of crickets all the way up to a lion shipped.
 
Bicoastal
Posts: 2446
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 1999 5:56 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:42 am

My sister has flown her dogs (German Shepard mixes) back and forth across the Atlantic 24 times. No problems and she never gives them sedatives. She always flies Lufthansa and United. They've treated the pets well. The pets are put in the manual pit of the widebodies. The animals need to be healthy. The flight crew knows when an animal is loaded. The manual pit is pressurized and climate controlled. On flights to and from Europe the airlines are required to tie down the kennels so they won't move or bounce around in turbulence. My neighbor who is a ramper for United at Dulles says that the treatment (water and soothing) of the animal really depends on the individual rampers. Some like pets more than others. Plus some of the new American immigrants working at United aren't, depending on their culture, as doting on the pets as native born Americans. On hot or cold days, the kennels are brought indoors until they are loaded on the airplanes.

I believe the FAA is now requiring the airlines to report on the treatment of pets/safe arrival, etc. Soon, we'll be able to know the facts about animal transport, rather than anecdotal stories.
 
pogo
Posts: 323
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 1:58 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Fri Jul 08, 2005 8:45 am

As a ramp supervisor I try my best to keep any animals as stress free as possible. As has been mentioned I also talk to the animals, especially dogs and cats, whether or not it helps I do not know but it can't hurt.
All animals must have sufficient space around them to breathe and be secured, bags should by no means be placed around or on top of any animal container, although I have experienced a few flight where this was impossible to avoid.
Most dogs and cats I have dealt with have been fine, although I have found that puppies can get very agitated.
I have seen a few dogs sedated but they look terrible and very ill.
I had one experience that was shown on the Airport series on the BBC, a rottweiler had arrived from SOF on a Balkan Tu-154, the poor thing had been sedated and had woken up mid flight finding itself with a muzzle on, in a dark hold and in a wooden crate that was too small for him, needless to say he was a bit pissed off, and the only way of moving him was by putting your hands in the crate as there were no external handles. The dogs name by the way was Santa, should have been Satan!!
 
Bridogger6
Posts: 667
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:21 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:16 am

In the most recent edition of the Air Transportation Consumer Report released in about two days ago by the US Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics they have a section on pet safety and travel. The statistics were released this month, but pertain to the month of May.

Alaska Airlines had one pet death and one pet injury.

Comair had one pet injury.

Continental Airlines had two pet deaths and one pet injury.

Frontier Airlines had one pet injury.

Northwest Airlines had one pet injury and one pet loss (how can you lose a pet?!).

US Airways had one pet death.

In total for the month of May, there were four pet deaths, five pet injuries and one pet loss.

Hope this helps, and here is a link to this consumer report: Air Travel Consumer Report
 
JrMafia90
Posts: 205
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:36 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:55 am

Quoting Bridogger6 (Reply 17):
one pet loss (how can you lose a pet?!).

I have no clue. Go figure. I wonder if it actually died and they tried to cover it up.
 
legendDC9
Posts: 458
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2004 9:24 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Fri Jul 08, 2005 11:39 am

Quoting JrMafia90 (Reply 18):
Quoting Bridogger6 (Reply 17):
one pet loss (how can you lose a pet?!).

I have no clue. Go figure. I wonder if it actually died and they tried to cover it up.

Pets do get lost just like baggage gets lost. It will usually involve a connecting flight that the pet may have missed or someone just not caring enough and loading them on the wrong aircraft (In a hub environment). Overall, the good folks on the ramp can take as much care of the pets as they can, but whether or not the pet comes through ok, will be entirely up to how they react to the whole flight experience.

I have been working around airplanes for nearly 10 years and I know that a good majority of the time things end up ok. However, I love dogs (and will take care of cats too) but I will never subject my own pet to this environment unless it was absolutly critical to take him with me and there was no other option available.
 
OttoPylit
Posts: 2259
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:58 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:16 pm

Quoting Bridogger6 (Reply 17):
Northwest Airlines had one pet injury and one pet loss (how can you lose a pet?!).

Well, sometime last year in ATL, somone opened up a 738 and out came bounding a greyhound that had gotten loose in its kennel. Of all animals to get loose, it had to be a greyhound. It took off from Concourse E and was found about an hour later under C Concourse and returned to its kennel and owner.

If an animal does get away, it is possible for the animal to run off and not be found again, or in the case of a bird, fly away. Maybe that is what is meant by loss.


OttoPylit
 
dforce1
Posts: 507
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2005 4:16 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Sat Jul 09, 2005 3:35 am

Quote:
You will have 100 chicks literally stuffed together into a dark, cardboard box with holes in it for ventilation. This thing can be so packed that you may see feathers and legs sticking out of holes because it is so packed. That is outright animal cruelty to me, stuff as many in so you don't have to pay for shipping another box.

That should not be legal and I'm disgusted that the USPS actually permits that. As far as I'm concerned, you should take down the name of the company doing it and report them. I can't imagine what they're doing being legal.
 
United737522
Posts: 410
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2005 1:33 pm

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Sat Jul 09, 2005 4:52 am

http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/07/08/pets.on.planes.ap/index.html


Interesting article. Go to the bottom of the page for some specific horrific incidents.
 
AMSSFO
Posts: 912
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:42 am

RE: Animal Treatment In Baggage Holds

Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:30 am

Quoting Bicoastal (Reply 15):
I believe the FAA is now requiring the airlines to report on the treatment of pets/safe arrival



Quoting Bridogger6 (Reply 17):
most recent edition of the Air Transportation Consumer Report

I have read something about this recent requirement as well. The stupid thing is that they do not require airline to publish how many pets are transported in a month so we do not have any clue whatsoever whether it is a high number or not. It would be nice if they at least publish the total number of all pets transported on every airline, as many airlines probably do not want to have their numbers publicly published for competition reasons.

Quoting Bridogger6 (Reply 17):
Northwest Airlines had one pet injury and one pet loss (how can you lose a pet?!).

the factual report (found when you click through the DOT report) tells us that due to poor kennel design a cat escaped from its kennel while being transferred from the cargo warehouse to the passenger terminal. NWA sent a letter to the kennel manufacturer asking that the double-latch �vault� door found on some of its kennels be incorporated on all kennels throughout its product line.

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