3 Most Important Things To Know About Shipping Dogs and Puppies -- New Airline Regulations

New Airline Regulations for Shipping Puppies as of 8 / 1 / 2018

For the last 11 years, HPK has been shipping puppies out of the Des Moines International airport.  As a result of excellent customer service, we have had 10 years of shipping bliss.  Swissport (the company that handles the DSM cargo counter) here in DSM has treated us and the dogs VERY well.  The two actual airlines that we have been shipping puppies with – through Swissport – are United Airlines and Delta Airlines.  Essentially what that means, is that United and Delta have hired Swissport to handle their cargo business in DSM.

It is no secret that the main airlines have been having some challenges shipping dogs in the last 12 months.  As a result, there are a least three major shipping changes that folks buying dogs need to know about.

Important Point #1 — Delta Airlines has changed its Temperature Restrictions.


 

OLD RULES 

  • Puppies were shipped between 15 degrees Fahrenheit and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

NEW RULES 

  • Puppies, with an acclimation statement from a Veterinarian, will now be shipped between 20 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It must be between these temperatures for the entire length of the journey.  This means that if the shipped puppy in question has a layover, all airports on the journey MUST fall between those temperature restrictions

IMPLICATIONS

  • Shipping will be a challenge during the Summer and Winter months.
  • Customers and HPK will have to work closely to make sure that we plan accordingly.

Important Point #2 – Delta Airlines had removed “Dash” Shipping options 


 

OLD RULES 

  • Dash shipments were used often. In a standard shipment, flights need to be selected that have at LEAST 2 hours between connections.  This is meant to give the delta staff time to easily move your puppy between flights.  “DASH” shipments allowed you to only have 1 hour between connections.  Customers were asked to pay more money – but it was a handy option when we had tight connections and smaller airports.

NEW RULES 

  • Dash shipments have been eliminated.

IMPLICATIONS

  • Truly early flights leaving DSM are no longer an option (i.e. 4:00 a.m.)
  • Customer flights will be pressed to arrive in the early/mid afternoon. Most flights will be arriving in the evening.

Important Point #3 – United Airlines have made life MUCH more complicated. 


 

OLD RULES 

  • When you booked a flight with United Airlines, it was a phone call (unlike delta’s web-based booking service). The phone call obviously used an answering service in India, but it was easy to use and reliable.
  • Flights could be booked and shipped on the same day….even within an hour or so.
  • They did not have any temperature restrictions at all. It was a great option for customers living in the SW United States and Alaska.

NEW RULES 

  • Oh My God. Truly this is not worth using any longer.  Key Point – Paperwork Nightmare.  No Temperature Restrictions. 
  • SO…for starters. Flights, with all paperwork, must be booked 5 days in advance.  The previously mentioned paperwork, along with pictures of the puppy next to its shipping crate, must be submitted to United Petsafe on the day of BOOKING via email.  This gives the gurus at United 5 days to review and approve your flight. 
  • THEN, upon United approving your selected flight you must take a second copy of the paperwork with you to deliver to Swissport representative at the airport. Including copies of the pictures of your puppy next to its crate. 
  • Bottomline – PAPERWORK NIGHTMARE

IMPLICATIONS

  • Honestly – have you ever tried to get a puppy to pose for a photo next to its crate? Seriously not sure what idiot came up with that idea. Well meaning?  Yes.  Pain in the posterior?  Absolutely. 
  • That being said, HPK will try to avoid using United’s Petsafe Desk at all costs. The paperwork alone will make this a nightmare. 
  • The advantage that we do have here when shipping puppies are that there are no temperature restrictions.    

Basically, these changes complicate the shipping process.  It will mean more forethought, more planning, and some more discussion.  At the end of the day, I think there were be fewer puppies shipping via airline, and more puppies shipping via ground transport.