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Booking a dog to fly from South Africa to Canada via Germany on Lufthansa

Booking a dog to fly from South Africa to Canada via Germany on Lufthansa

Old Mar 27, 2024, 7:12 am
  #1  
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Booking a dog to fly from South Africa to Canada via Germany on Lufthansa

I am trying to get some understanding and hopefully find a solution that will permit our dog to be booked with Lufthansa to fly from Cape Town, South Africa to Montreal, Canada via Frankfurt, Germany on one airway bill that allows him to transit (NOT enter) Germany.
My husband and I are booked on Lufthansa with this same routing above with a 9-hour layover in Frankfurt mid-May 2024.

The company that I use (Animal Travel Services in Cape Town, a recognized Freight Forwarder for Lufthansa) has informed me that Lufthansa will not permit them to book my dog all the way through to Canada on one airway bill with simply a transit stop in Frankfurt. I have since contacted a German animal travel company who replied with this response:

"Your agent is correct. They cannot book from South Africa via Frankfurt to Canada for whatever reason. We have heard this from numerous agents in South Africa which we find very strange as the other way is possible" (meaning from Canada to South Africa via Germany a dog CAN be booked as a transhipment, NO customs clearing needed) - from Gradlyn Animal Travel Agency IN Frankfurt, Germany.

When I go to the Lufthansa excess baggage booking I am permitted to book a dog as excess baggage for both legs of the journey, however it does not provide any confidence that he would transit through as a "transhipment" and NOT be subject to being customs clearing (which apparently is a full-day process so would miss the connecting flight plus entail using a German animal travel company, more paperwork, etc).

My desire is to have our South African pet travel agent be permitted to book him through to Canada as I feel this is the best and most prudent way to ensure a safe, uncomplicated journey. Does anyone have any information that either explains the situation above or any specific person I can contact? I have e-mailed Lufthansa Cargo who reply saying that I need to go through a Freight Forwarder in the country I am in (currently South Africa) which is what I have done. I have also emailed the German State Veterinarians at the Frankfurt airport who felt that the dog should be able to simply transit without being customs cleared, however also state that they are not part of customs and thus cannot comment on what might actually be necessary...

Here's hoping someone can shed some light on the situation. In the meantime we have a second option which, while less convenient, has our dog booked with British Airways.
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Old Mar 27, 2024, 2:36 pm
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Forgo the whole pet shipper /cargo transport experience and book your dog as excess baggage with LH. That will work, BTDT. LH specifically states on their website [...]booking of transit and connecting flights with checked-in animals and their through-checking is still possible via Frankfurt[...]. This will cost you EUR 190 for a dog crate up to the "small" size (60 x 45 x 40 cm) and EUR 380 for a dog crate up to "giant" size (125 x 75 x 85cm),,
If you do that, the dog will get transferred to the LH animal lounge in FRA, get taken care of and transferred to your connecting flight to Canada without technically entering Germany.. For this service you'll be charged an additional EUR 150 fee so the total fee for getting your dog from CPT to YUL with LH as checked baggage via FRA is EUR 340 for a small crate and EUR 530 for a large crate.
You need to book the trip via FRA (or with SWISS via ZRH, same price) , as MUC does not have animal transfer facilities anymore ("animal lounge".



.
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Old Mar 27, 2024, 10:47 pm
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Thank you very much for your prompt reply and valuable information. What does BTDT stand for?

It seems that you’ve had personal experience going through FRA..? If that’s the case what was the country of origin and country of destination when you did this and how recently?

I have been able to register him as excess baggage, however I haven’t found any contact person with whom I can speak so as to confirm the whole process to ensure he travels safely and transits through without clearance. Might you have any contact details and name of someone to whom I could speak to get some confirmation? Because we are leaving the same day on LH I wish to avoid any possibility that all the plans fall apart and he’s unable to depart.
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Old Mar 29, 2024, 7:32 am
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BTDT = Been There, Done That.
Multiple times, from all over the globe (places in Asia (BKK, HKT...),North and South America (LAX, MIA, GIG) ) and Europe, acting as flight companion for mostly rescue dogs going to new homes in Europe.

The fundamental difference between transporting an AVIH animal as checked baggage and as cargo transport is that when your pet is transported as checked baggage accompanying you on the same set of flights, YOU are doing the import procedure with customs/agricultural inspection in your destination country - that means you have to see that all relevant regulations are adhered to, and the airline generally has no or very little liability.
Transported as cargo with a pet shipper and an airway bill, it's the *airline* this responsibility falls to, they have ALL THE LIABILITY - and that's why there's different policies (and different pricing). Just have a look at the T&C for the animal lounge transit facility - all of this is NOT applicable if your dog just travels through there as checked baggage, but the pet shipper must really follow that stuff to the T - explaining some of the crazy pricing for this service (and also why LH like most other airlines require the use of an agent instead of allowing you to do the booking yourself)

When shipping your dog as checked baggage you need to make sure your dog is eligible to to enter the final destination country (Canada), that and compliance with LH's general pet transport rules like crate size and CoH forms is what the airline checks at check-in - and that's basically it. And if your dog would ne rejected by Canadian authorities - well, it's you who has to deal with it and not the airline. The airline has delivered the crate on the oversize baggage belt at your final destination, and their duty of care and liability end right there.

I do not know anyone you could call - except the service center at +49 6986799799 and the agents there are not well-versed in animal policies at all. Never saw a need for this as well. There is no way to reach the competent staff directly, all this has been cut years ago.
Edit: Try calling LH animal coordination FRA at +49 69 696 27406, or contact them through the web form available here: https://www.lufthansa-cargo.com/de/contact-service-team - but don't expect an answer before Tuesday or Wednesday next week as nobody in the back office will be working until Tuesday (Easter holiday weekend in Germany including Monday)
There is absolutely no need to stress out, though. LH is one of the biggest players in the world when it comes to animal transport, and the animal lounge in Frankfurt is a world-class facility for transiting animals.
They have a youtube channel, check that out for customer reviews (see
and the comments, for example)

Last edited by bhomburg; Mar 29, 2024 at 7:58 am Reason: found a phone number at last going through my communication with LH
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Old Mar 29, 2024, 8:11 am
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Thank you very much for your time and comments. I figured from your earlier comments you’re well versed on pet travel. I do have further questions if you don’t mind and I will followup with the webform you mentioned as perhaps they will answer:

After reading the T&Cs I see that it says something about an airway bill number being needed a day or so prior to flying. My understanding is that as excess baggage I wouldn’t get one until actual check in…What is it you experienced?

You are correct, I am stressing as I’m simply not familiar with sending a dog excess baggage. Our previous dog flew 7 times return Canada to South Africa via the EU and while we used a pet travel agent leaving both countries I always did the customs clearing upon our return to Canada.

The things I’m stressing about if we do go this route are:
1) how “well” are they in their crate handled when dropped off at the excess/oversized baggage area?
2) how smooth is the checkin procedure leaving the first country? I wonder how often they do it?
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Old Mar 29, 2024, 9:52 am
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The T&Cs referenced above only concern cargo transport.This was just to illustrate the bureaucracy behind it. Transported as checked baggage, dog crates technically are passenger bags and get regular baggage tags like any other piece of checked baggage. They do get treated better, though (no throwing )n
I have accompanied more than 100 animals as checked baggage across many airlines in the last decade-and-a-half and they all arrived at their destination safely. Keep in mind that going the checked baggage route will usually mean shorter crate times than if you were sending it with a pet shipper. Arrive early at check-in, complete all paperwork and then go for a walk and only return the animal to the crate right before check-in cutoff, which in most places is an hour prior to departure. Same at arrival - the dog crate will come out of the oversize baggage belt in the passenger arrival area before you go through customs, and you'll be reunited again much sooner than if you had to retrieve the crate from the cargo terminal after your went through immigration and customs first.
Smoothness of check-in process has a lot to do with how qualified the staff is (to put it bluntly - if they know what they are doing), and that's directly proportional to the amount of animals they handle.
My personal experience with the LH group airlines is that they were uniformly competent. If check-in is staffed by LH personnel and not by outsourced staff borrowed from whoever runs ground operations at the airport where you originate you'll be fine if the required documentation is all in order, and the dog is comfortable in its suitable and right-sized crate.
Depending on how long your layover is, you also have the option of short-checking the crate to Frankfurt, retrieve it there and take care of your dog yourself during the layover.The airport is surrounded by forests ideally suited for some off-leash fun time..
However, this requires that your animal is eligible to enter Germany. As South Afirca is an 'unlisted country" that means rabies titrate testing and strict adherence to a multi-month waiting period regime (https://food.ec.europa.eu/animals/mo...u-countries_en). In this case, I`d rather pay LH 150 Euros for taking care of the dog in the animal lounge during transit.
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Old Apr 5, 2024, 11:16 pm
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Update so far on dog from SA to Canada via Germany with Lifthansa

This is in response to a message Smara2001 posted which for some reason I cannot locate on this thread. Her message read: "Yes you can travel with your pet":

Thanks for your reply, I would be interested in more exact details of how you managed your pet’s travel..?

Firstly I would like to say that once I got to people working for Lufthansa Cargo dealing with animals they were very prompt and kind in replying to my query.

So far Lufthansa has CONFIRMED the following:
1) my dog cannot be booked to fly manifest cargo through an SA Pet travel agent agent OR as excess baggage from Cape Town via Frankfurt to Canada.
2) when the Frankfurt Animal Lounge team member checked with Montreal as to what was the issue he was told Canada has a ban on dogs arriving from high-risk rabies countries. South Africa and India are on the high-rabies list of countries. (Keep reading because there is NO ban on personal pets coming into Canada with the required paperwork which is a valid rabies certificate and proof of ownership prior to coming into Canada).

DESPITE having a written letter from CFIA (the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; veterinary authority for Canada) stating that Canada DOES NOT have a ban on the import of personal pets EVEN from high-risk rabies countries Lufthansa isn’t revisiting their stance. The Lufthansa representative with whom I’m emailing says unfortunately the embargo will not be lifted even though stated in the letter the veterinary authority has invited any questions so as to assist in clarifying for them the Canadian ban (which by the way is for animals for commercial use such as resale, rehoming, etc - NOT personal pets with proof of ownership).

It has been suggested to me that I can book my dog to Germany from SA have him clear customs in Germany then have him rebooked to Montreal, Canada using Lufthansa (or Air Canada). Ultimately the result is the same (a dog from SA gets to Canada via Germany), however at a greater degree of cost, time and paperwork.

I have asked the Lufthansa contact in Montreal WHY they have chosen to impose and stick by the embargo despite the information I have provided from the Canadian authorities such that I can understand their viewpoint. In the least some understanding would be beneficial.

My priority is that my dog travel safely and thus I do not wish to blindly book him as excess baggage hoping he’ll arrive and as such we will be booking an alternative airline this year.

Last edited by JanetB; Apr 6, 2024 at 7:25 am Reason: added who I was replying to
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